An In-Depth Comparison of
Podia Alternatives & Substitutes

Are you looking for a Podia alternative for your online course or membership site?
Read our in-depth overview, comparisons of popular competitors, native software features, and pricing.

Whether you are considering purchasing Podia or you're already using Podia and need to locate a replacement, this article has everything you need to select the best software for your business.

Podia logo

Before We Dive into Our Podia Comparison

We're always curious about who writes reviews for products online, so I want to give you the full disclosure.

We are the creators of the AccessAlly LMS plugin for WordPress, and we're affiliates for some of the tools that we’re comparing here, which means that we may earn a commission if you buy from our recommendations.

We never let an affiliate incentive sway us in our reviews, but this makes it possible for us to test and provide in-depth and hands-on experience with a lot of the course and membership tools you might be comparing and considering. 

Now let’s see how Podia compares, and why current Podia users might start looking for a Podia alternative in the first place.

screenshot of podia pricing

Why People Choose Podia

Before we get into our list of Podia alternatives, let’s look at why you might consider implementing Podia for your online course or membership site.

  • Easy to get started: If you’re just getting started online and don’t have any other systems in place yet, Podia can save you time and help shortcut your startup process while keeping your expenses consolidated.
  • All in one platform: With Podia there’s no need to worry about getting a bunch of different solutions to work together, and you can start putting online courses or memberships up for sale in a relatively short amount of time.
  • You want to simplify: For some business owners, the technical maintenance required for their systems can become a burden. With Podia, you can easily train a team member to take care of your business from within one platform.
  • It’s affordable: Podia is one of the most affordable course platforms out there, and it gives anyone who is just getting started selling courses a chance to get a minimum viable product. Because of its competitive pricing, Podia is a strong contender when you’re comparing it to other hosted, platform-as-a-service options and WordPress membership plugins.

Why People Recommend Podia

You might have posted in a Facebook group asking people what they use for their membership site or to sell their online courses, and received a lot of “Podia” recommendations as answers. Why is that?

  • Podia has built their reputation over time: If you see people recommending that you choose Podia, it’s likely because they’ve used it or seen it as a student on someone’s website. That’s because Podia has been used by universities and businesses since 2014, and people often recommend what they’re most familiar with.
  • It’s a good course builder and easy for users setting up their first course: Another reason online course creators recommend Podia is that it’s easy to set up and get started if you offer a simple course, and don’t need the more advanced features of an LMS. If you don’t need a lot of added functionality like advanced sales funnels, robust engagement campaigns, or custom course layouts, then Podia can help you get your course online fairly quickly. 
  • Flat, affordable pricing: Podia’s pricing is some of the most competitive on the market.  They don’t charge you more as your business scales, and there are no additional transaction fees on top of your merchant account fees, distinguishing them from many platform-as-a-service companies. That’s why it’s easy to recommend to friends or colleagues.
laptop displaying how to create a course in podia

Why People Look for Podia Alternatives

While Podia has some great things going for them and we recommend it for users who may need a system to test a “proof of concept” or have no plans of expanding into different setups down the line. 

If you’re here you’ve likely tried Podia and found it limiting, or you’ve heard from others who may have outgrown the Podia system and want to learn more. If you want to build a more customized and engaging learning environment, Podia might not be the right fit for you; here are some of the other common reasons why people look for Podia substitutes.

  • Lack of design flexibility: Podia’s design options are limited because you must design your course layout within the Podia framework. Their top tier does allow for the use of third-party code for further customization, but you likely won’t be able to manage this without the help of a development team, and could be costly for ongoing support and maintenance of that code. This can be stifling for those who value custom designs and want to be able to put their unique stamp on their courses and membership area. 
  • Lack of functionality: Because Podia focuses on a more simple course setup or basic membership site, you may need to adjust your expectations if you want to include advanced quizzing and homework submissions, credit systems, member directories, and other engagement strategies to keep your members motivated. 
  • Basic e-commerce: One-time and subscription payments are possible with Podia, however, their PayPal integration does not support recurring payments. Instead, you can use Stripe if you’d like to offer recurring payments to your customers. You can also create basic coupons to specify a percentage or amount off of the total purchase price and set an expiration date, however, if you want to use evergreen funnels to offer expiring coupons that are unique for each person, you’ll need to re-think your strategy or migrate to another solution. Podia does make it possible to offer a free trial for your membership, but if you’d like to offer a reduced price trial, you won’t be able to. There’s also not a way to recapture lost sales through abandoned cart automation within Podia at this time, which has the potential to add a significant amount of income to your bottom line.
  • Autogenerated Certificate setup: Many course creators like to issue certificates of completion to course participants, however, this is not a native feature for Podia users and requires the use of a few third-party tools, and manual creation upon the request from course participants themselves.  
  • Ownership: Podia is a Platform-as-a-Service course and membership platform, which means you’re building your business on rented land. If you cancel your Podia subscription, you lose access to all of your courses and students’ information. Plus, migrating off Podia is difficult because everything is stored in their proprietary set up, and your videos are hosted on their servers, too. You’ll need to re-upload your content and export your members, emails, and everything to keep your business going. 
  • Extensibility: Because the Podia system is closed, you can’t easily extend it by installing add-ons and plugins. That means you can’t add an integrated forum, gamification, or other features that could improve the user experience for your courses.
  • Marketing Automation and CRM integration If you offer more advanced sales funnels, segmentation, and automations based on user interactions with your course, you’ll likely find this feature limiting on the Podia platform and will benefit from a more advanced CRM or marketing automation system. This will require integration with a 3rd party tool such as Zapier to connect Podia to your CRM, adding one more piece of complexity to your setup to achieve a seamless user experience. 

WHEN COMPARING ONLINE COURSE PLATFORMS, LOOK AT BOTH THE LEADERSHIP AND THE LMS SOFTWARE

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"YOU GUYS, HERE AT ACCESSALLY MIGHT BE ONE OF THE SMARTEST AND HARDEST WORKING PLATFORMS OUT THERE.

AccessAlly is so so so good. It's literally at the core of my business!

It really is a pleasure being a customer of AccessAlly."

- MICHAEL KILLEN, SELLYOURSERVICE.CO.UK

Compare Podia Pricing

Podia’s pricing is pretty straightforward.  There are 2 tiers and both include unlimited members, emails, and courses or membership levels. 

In general, their pricing is reasonable and competitive compared to other platform-as-a-service tools on the market, such as Kajabi, Thinkific, and Teachable.

As with most things in life, you get what you pay for and the limitations that come with the lower price include minimal design flexibility, no advanced sales tools, no gamification, or ability to extend the feature set.

While cost is not the only thing to look at when you’re considering what membership software or LMS to choose, it does factor into the equation.

Here is the cost breakdown for some of the most commonly compared Podia substitutes:

Podia $390/year
No memberships or affiliate functionality
$790/year
Includes 3rd party code and embedded checkout forms
Kajabi $1490/year
Includes only 3 products, and limit of 10,000 contacts
$3990/year
100 Products, 100,000 contacts, limited email sending
Thinkific $490/year
Unlimited courses and students
$4990/year
Additional features and groups
Teachable $390/year
Plus 5% transaction fee
$4990/year
No transaction fees, includes bulk student enrollment
Mighty Networks $280/year
Community forums only, no online courses, plus 3% transaction fee
$980/year
Includes online courses, plus 2% transaction fee
MemberPress + LearnDash $448/year
No course or student limits, basic functionality
$918/year
Includes group licensing, affiliate functionality
LifterLMS $299/year
Ecommerce and CRM addons included
$999/year
Quizzes, groups, and social learning
AccessAlly $990/year
Unlimited courses and students, affiliate, and bulk courses
$1290/year
All LMS functionality

More In-Depth Comparisons of Possible Podia Replacement Software

Now that we’ve looked at all of the reasons why someone might choose Podia, or switch from Podia to another LMS solution, it’s time to see how Podia compares to alternative LMS solutions!

In these in-depth comparison pages, you'll see where each tool shines and where it falls short so you can make the best decision for your particular business and needs.

A from AccessAlly Logo

AccessAlly vs. Podia

LearnDash Logo

LearnDash vs. Podia

Teachable Logo

Teachable vs. Kajabi

MightyNetworks Logo

Mighty Networks vs. Podia

Kajabi Logo

Kajabi vs. Podia

MemberPress Logo

MemberPress vs. Podia

Your Podia Substitute Might Include Several Tools, Software, and Plugins

Now because Podia handles a few different aspects of an online business or course delivery operation, you might find that some Podia replacements require you to use more than one tool.

How you decide to construct your tech stack depends on your requirements, and what goals you’re trying to achieve. For instance, you might need:

CRM Software

CRM software and an email marketing automation platform is important to both sell your courses and memberships, as well as deliver them in an automated, sustainable fashion.

Website host

If you’re going with the self-hosted membership site option, a reputable host will go a long way toward giving you a fast site that you have full control over.

Website Theme

One of the drawbacks of Podia is their design framework, so if you’re investing into the design then you’ll want to decide on the best theme or design options.

Subscription management

Taking payments is a key part of selling courses and memberships, and there are several different tools that allow you to take payments, and manage subscriptions.

Affiliate Management

If you want to give students and colleagues the ability to refer and earn a commission, an affiliate management solution can help you do just that.

LMS plugin

Finally, how you deliver your courses to help you teach and engage better is how you can set yourself apart in the marketplace, and help your customers succeed.

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Kimberly Gosney