LifterLMS vs. WP Courseware: a comparison

In this comparison between LifterLMS and WP Courseware, we’ll look at their pricing structures, features, e-commerce functionality, design flexibility, learning reinforcements, and more.

Why we're creating this online course platform comparison

We’re the creators of AccessAlly, an all-in-one LMS and membership WordPress plugin. Our software is designed to help you create your online course, programs, digital downloads, and membership site.  

We have thousands of happy clients, and we also realize that AccessAlly isn’t the perfect fit for everyone. That’s why we compare software and platforms, like LifterLMS vs. WP Courseware, so that you can have all the information you need to make an informed decision.

We want you to find something that works the first time, even if that’s not AccessAlly, so you don’t have to keep moving around from software to software.

How do LifterLMS and WP Courseware Differ?

Both WP Courseware and LifterLMS are WordPress plugins that work with your WordPress website. The biggest differences between the two are their pricing structures, features, and integrations.

Similar to AccessAlly, LifterLMS can support a basic course setup or an advanced membership setup. They also offer advanced learning management system (LMS) features to support an advanced course setup.

WP Courseware, on the other hand, is a basic course builder. If you want LMS features, memberships, or advanced functionality with WP Courseware, you’ll have to pay for add-ons to achieve such a setup.

In this comparison between LifterLMS and WP Courseware, we’ll look at their pricing structures, features, e-commerce functionality, design flexibility, learning reinforcements, and more.

We’ll look at how you can leverage these valuable features and use these tools in your business. We’ll give you some ideas and use cases to consider to get your wheels turning.

We’ll also compare LifterLMS and WP Courseware to AccessAlly.

By the end of this page, you’ll have a clear idea of which software, LifterLMS, WP Courseware, or AccessAlly might be best suited for your business.

Pricing limits on members, courses, and products

Right off the bat, LifterLMS’s pricing structure can be quite confusing. Its lowest tier is $99 per year, but you’ll be paying quite a lot in individual add-ons. For example, to accept Stripe and PayPal payments, you’d be looking at an additional $198 per year.

Their Universe Bundle is their middle tier, coming in at $299 per year. While this does include add-ons for design, e-commerce, and marketing, you’ll be limited in quizzes and assignments, social and group features, and private coaching features.

If you want to use LifterLMS to its fullest potential and not be limited by your tier, then you’ll need to budget for the Infinity Bundle, which is its highest tier at $999 per year.

WP Courseware has more transparent pricing than LifterLMS. With WP Courseware, you’ll pay less than LifterLMS, and also have fewer features. When it comes to WP Courseware’s pricing structure, the tier limitations are based on the number of site installs, not feature restrictions. So whether you choose the Teacher plan, with 2 site installs at $129/year, or the Guru plan, with 25 site installs at $199/year, you have access to the same features within WP Courseware.

In short, if you want all the LMS capabilities with LifterLMS, budget for $999 per year. For WP Courseware, budget anywhere from $129 – $199 per year depending on your number of installs. Remember that with WP Courseware, you’ll need additional add-ons, integrations, and/or plugins, so make room for those in your budget too.

Two devices showing screenshots of course builders

Course Builder Comparison

Both LifterLMS and WP Courseware offer a drag-and-drop course builder, which many of their users report as easy to use.

They both offer the ability to protect content, release it all at one time, on a specific release date, or drip the content.

With LifterLMS, most features you’ll use come built-in. In comparison, with WP Courseware, you’ll need additional add-ons, integrations, and extensions if you want anything more than a very basic setup, which typically comes at an additional cost.

In fact, it’s not uncommon for WP Courseware users to use six or more plugins working together to run their online course area. And while that may work for some, that’s a duct-taped solution that may not be a great long-term solution.

If you’re looking to run your business using as few systems as possible, then LifterLMS is going to be a better fit for you than WP Courseware.

Integration Options

When you’re building your online courses, you can expect to use a couple of integrations. You’ll most likely need an integration with a payment processor, like StripePayPal, or WooCommerce. You may also be interested in an integration with your CRM.

Some plugins offer two-way integrations, where the two systems communicate with each other. While others offer one-way integrations, where one system pushes information to another. A two-way integration is preferred because it gives you the ability to create a unique and memorable opportunity for your learners. It can really set you apart in the online world.

WP Courseware does offer integrations, but they might be different than what you expect. They offer integrations with membership plugins like MemberPress, Paid Memberships Pro, and WishList Member just to name a few. WP Courseware works with Easy Digital Downloads and WooCommerce for e-commerce plugins.

While a variety of integrations may seem appealing at first glance, remember that it adds complexity to your setup. As we mentioned, it’s not uncommon for WP Courseware users to have six or more plugins installed to run their online courses. That’s a duct-taped setup that’s unnecessarily complex. Instead, consider choosing one software that will replace all six (or more) of your other plugins, like AccessAlly.

LifterLMS integrates directly with MailChimp and ConvertKit. Remember to check your tier limitations though, because those integrations cost extra on the lower tiers. LifterLMS also offers integrations via WP Fusion and Zapier for other CRMs and marketing automation systems. These are third-party tools that allow two systems to pass information via a one-way integration.

When you’re planning your setup, map out all the integrations, add-ons, and additional plugins that you’ll need. You’ll want to know the full cost, and where to turn for support if something goes wrong with the integration.

If you want as few integrations as possible, then LifterLMS is a better choice than WP Courseware. Be sure and budget for the Infinity plan at $999 per year so you can access all the integration options without paying extra.

Looking for something that integrates both ways?

Marketing automation tools are here to stay.

Use your marketing automation tool to power your course and membership program by taking advantage of AccessAlly’s deep 2-way street integration.

It’s built to help you sell more, teach better, and engage with your students longer.

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Taking payments and e-commerce Functionality

When you consider e-commerce features, you’ll want to think about things like how people will pay, for example, with a credit card or via PayPal. You’ll likely want to offer one-time payments, payment plans, and recurring subscription payments. Remember that even if these aren’t part of your business now, it’s likely they will be in the future.

You’ll also want access to powerful coupon code features, the ability to run a paid or free trial, and overall ease of use and management for both you and your customers.

LifterLMS works out of the box with a manual payment gateway, but this is primarily used for a user mailing a check. If you want your customers to be able to checkout with a credit card or use PayPal, you’ll have to purchase those extensions. They also have extensions available to purchase for and WooCommerce. This is another example of how the cost of LifterLMS skyrockets quite easily unless you’re paying for the Infinity Bundle.

Once you purchase one or multiple of these extensions, you’ll be able to use valuable e-commerce features within LifterLMS like:

  • One-time payments
  • Recurring payments
  • Free and paid trial periods
  • Coupon codes with more advanced restriction features

All in all, LifterLMS has adequate e-commerce capabilities. The drawback is that the extension you’ll need can quickly skyrocket your monthly cost if you’re not already on the Infinity plan.

WP Courseware has a native shopping cart and supports Stripe and PayPal as its payment gateways. You don’t have to purchase extensions to use these payment gateways.

With WP Courseware, you can offer three types of payments for WP Courseware courses: free, one-time, or subscription payment. They do offer coupon codes with more advanced restriction features. They don’t make it possible for the site owner to offer any trial period, neither paid nor free, natively.

So LifterLMS slightly outshines WP Courseware because of its ability to support paid or free trials as long as you’re on the Infinity plan.

Design Flexibility

Since both LifterLMS and WP Courseware are WordPress plugins, they work with your WordPress theme. Being able to work with your theme is a huge advantage over choosing something like Kajabi or Podia because they can limit your design flexibility.

As mentioned, they both have drag-and-drop course builders that allow you to make front-end changes, like fonts, colors, and logos, without having to use code.

Both LifterLMS and WP Courseware are quite similar in their design flexibility features.

WP Courseware works with all kinds of WordPress themes, and they note Beaver Builder page builder, Genesis Framework, and Dynamik Website Builder as a few of their favorites. Once you’ve installed WP Courseware, you can create custom templates, but they don’t offer any to get you started.

If you’re familiar with your theme and making custom templates, then you could add a custom course template.

When it comes to templates on LifterLMS, they do have them available. You’ll have to be on the highest tier or purchase design add-ons to access them. You can customize templates with code, but they’re not easily customizable within the drag-and-drop builder.

The only major difference is that LifterLMS has its own theme, LaunchPad that’s available for purchase. Since this theme was designed by LifterLMS, it’s quite easy to work with when it comes to designing your courses. Other than that, WP Courseware and LifterLMS have quite similar design features.

AccessAlly offers a customizable theme and pre-made templates that are easy to customize so you can create the look and feel of your brand easily, without building complicated templates or needing to hire a designer or developer.

If you want full design flexibility, AccessAlly is for you

Because AccessAlly is a WordPress plugin, you can use any WordPress theme or builder you like.

Or start with AccessAlly’s theme, which comes with all of the progress tracking and navigation menus integrated out of the box.

Power, flexibility, and beauty all in one course platform.

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Online course design examples

Learning reinforcements: quizzes, progress tracking, homework, and certificates

Learning reinforcements are valuable features that can take your learning environment to the next level. These are any feature that enhances the environment, retention, or experience for your students. Things like detailed progress tracking, video bookmarking, completion certificates, homework assignments, gamification, and private notes are just a few examples. 

Even if you don’t offer these features now, it’s likely that as you expand your business, you’ll want to try these features. 

LifterLMS has more advanced learning reinforcement features available compared to WP Courseware. Note your tier though, because if you haven’t chosen the highest tier, you’ll find yourself paying a high annual fee to get these valuable features. 

LifterLMS offers quizzes, quiz timers, prerequisites, student dashboards, discussion areas, achievement badges, and certificates. 

If you’re on the highest tier (or paying to get these add-ons), you can use advanced quizzing systems that allow for multiple quiz question types, like fill in the blank, short and long answer, file uploads, and custom code among other features.

WP Courseware does offer quizzes, both blocking (which means they must pass), and non-blocking. They also recently added features so that you can leave feedback on your students’ quiz answers. You can add surveys, and they also offer an import and export quiz feature where you can bulk add your questions. 

Through WP Courseware, you can add course progress to any post or page. They also offer a grade book feature, where you, as the administrator, can see overall progress from your students. 

WP Courseware recently made updates so that you can create custom certificates. Certificates can now be built from the ground up using the native Gutenberg editor in WordPress. You can drag and drop certificate fields into the spot on the certificate you’d like them to display. You can also save these as templates. 

Affiliate Management

The short answer here is that neither LifterLMS nor WP Courseware offers an affiliate marketing program.

LifterLMS works with Affiliate WP and iDev Affiliate. WP Courseware works well with Clickbank, Paydotcom, Payloadz, E-junkie, Commission Junction, Share-a-sale.

And compared to AccessAlly: AccessAlly offers a built-in WordPress affiliate plugin to help you market and sell your online courses, memberships, and events. Because the plugin functionality is part of the AccessAlly software, it is tightly integrated with AccessAlly’s other features. This makes the creation, deployment, and ongoing management of the affiliate program super easy.

If affiliate marketing is a big part of your business, neither LifterLMS nor WP Courseware offers what you’ll need, natively.

Bulk course enrollment and Teams

WP Courseware doesn’t offer a bulk course enrollment feature natively. You can find add-ons or integrations, but this will be a complex feature to integrate. They do have a bulk upload option where you can add multiple students from a spreadsheet, but this is not a bulk enrollment feature.

With LifterLMS, you can create a duct-taped solution through their voucher system. Through this system, you could provide voucher codes to a business and allow team members to sign up using their code.

What’s lacking in LifterLMS is the team management feature. There’s no dashboard or team connection with the voucher system. It’s also not scalable in the way that a fully automated teams feature will be. These vouchers are created on an as-needed basis. You can’t have one order form that will purchase a certain number of licenses over and over again. They have to register with their voucher. The team leader doesn’t know if their vouchers have been used – only the admin can see it on the backend.

If bulk course enrollment is an important part of your business now or will be in the future, neither LifterLMS nor WP Courseware will meet your needs.

Need affiliate and team functionality?

AccessAlly has built-in affiliate tracking and everything you need to create beautiful affiliate dashboards for your referral program.

Plus you can sell your courses and content in bulk using the Teams functionality, where a team leader can invite their team members to instantly access courses. Then track their progress and so much more.

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your workflow on LifterLMS vs. WP Courseware:

LifterLMS logo
  1. Download, install and activate the LifterLMS plugin on your WordPress website
  2. Download the LifterLMS helper, install and activate
  3. Set up the design of your website using a WordPress theme
  4. Create your course catalog to show visitors your available courses
  5. Create your membership catalog where visitors can see your available memberships
  6. Connect your payment processor
  7. Set up your student dashboard
  8. Integrate with your payment processor
  9. Design your order forms
  10. Add additional learning reinforcements like quizzes, assignments, create certificates, and more
WP Courseware Logo
  1. Install the plugin on your WordPress membership site
  2. Integrate with your payment processor 
  3. Add design elements and customization based on your theme and/or page builder 
  4. Connect your CRM
  5. Integrate your membership plugin
  6. Set up your course content
  7. Add desired learning reinforcements (integration likely required)
  8. Test your set up before selling your content

See How Kajabi and Teachable Features Compare

We’re a digital marketing software company built by marketers and software engineers. With our particular background and expertise, we’ve designed our membership and WordPress LMS plugin AccessAlly, to give you everything you need in an easy to use, powerful package, you’ll see where LifterLMS and WP Courseware fall short or shine in comparison.

Protected course content Included checkmark Included checkmark Included checkmark
Built-in Recurring Stripe and PayPal payments Included checkmark Included checkmark Via Infusionsoft
Course builder for modules, lessons, and topics Included checkmark Included checkmark Included checkmark
Automatically creates tags, pages, and menus Included checkmark    
Deep 2-Way Integration with Infusionsoft, Ontraport, ActiveCampaign, ConvertKit, and Drip Included checkmark    
Multiple currencies, automated expiring coupons, and order bumps Included checkmark Included checkmark  
Cart abandonment automation Included checkmark    
Progress tracking, and progress-based unlocking content Included checkmark Included checkmark Included checkmark
Multiple types of quizzes, and auto generated certificates of completion Included checkmark Included checkmark Included checkmark
Course Licensing with Teams or Umbrella Accounts Included checkmark Included checkmark  
Searchable member directories and editable custom fields through profiles Included checkmark    
Gamification where members can earn points, and activity-based automation, login tracking Included checkmark    
Media player, video bookmarks, tagging automation on quizzes Included checkmark    
Cross-selling dashboards, with 1-click upsells Included checkmark    
Built-in affiliate tracking with multiple tiers, links, and reporting Included checkmark    

The true cost of LifterLMS vs WP Courseware

The true cost of WP Courseware is that it’s not scalable as your business grows. Although it may be a great basic course builder, you’ll find yourself integrating add-on after add-on until you’ve had enough and you’re ready to migrate to a new system that can handle everything.

With LifterLMS, the true cost is when you think you’re choosing a cost-effective solution, but as you grow you find your features limiting. You’re forced to pay an annual add-on fee or upgrade to the highest tier to have access to everything. And even at that price, you’re lacking valuable features like bulk course enrollment and affiliate program management.

In Summary

LifterLMS might be right for you if...

  • You’re looking for a membership and LMS plugin all-in-one
  • You’re already using a WordPress website and looking for a WordPress plugin
  • You don’t mind using a third-party tool to connect your course with your CRM
  • You have a need for more advanced quiz functionality 

WP Courseware might be right for you if...

  • You’re already using WordPress
  • You don’t mind using integrations to make your member’s area function
  • You want a basic setup with no plans to enhance
  • You’re already using a membership plugin and just looking for a course-builder

Researching course platforms on your own is great, but if you want to talk to someone, we're here to help!

If you’re wondering whether you’re on the right track or not, we can help you sort out all of the different options. We’ll let you know if AccessAlly is a good fit or not, too.

We’ll start by asking you a few questions and guide you in the right direction.

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