If you’re looking for the best WordPress LMS plugin to help you sell online courses directly from your website, this LearnDash vs LifterLMS comparison is for you.
They’re complete online course platforms that offer everything you need to create, manage, promote, and sell online courses, digital products, and memberships right from your WordPress website.
In this detailed article, we’ll compare the key features and benefits of LearnDash and LifterLMS and help you choose the better e-learning solution for your business.
Let’s dive in.
Quick Verdict | The Best WordPress LMS Plugin Is….
Don’t have the time to read the complete comparison? Here’s my quick verdict for you.
If you’re a new course seller looking to invest in your online course business as it grows, LifterLMS is the better option because of its free WordPress LMS plugin and optional add-ons.
But if you’re looking for a WordPress LMS solution with world-class course selling and student management features, excellent user experience, and a reasonable price, I’d recommend choosing LearnDash.
LearnDash vs LifterLMS – The Main Differences
LearnDash and LifterLMS are among the best WordPress LMS plugins. They also have a lot of similarities. But let me first show you how they’re different from each other.
|LearnDash does not offer a free trial or free plan||LifterLMS core WordPress LMS plugin is free.|
|LearnDash offers a 30-day money-back guarantee after full payment.||LifterLMS gives you 30-day access to all features for $1.|
|LearnDash offers all the necessary course creation and payment management options in its paid plans.||You’ll need to use multiple add-ons for many basic features, which can significantly increase the tool’s price.|
LearnDash vs. LifterLMS – An Overview of The Best WordPress LMS Plugins
Both LearnDash and LifterLMS offer everything you need to turn your WordPress website into a professional course selling and membership site platform.
There are no apparent weaknesses or loopholes in their services either, making it hard to choose a winner.
Let’s dive deeper into their features and benefits to find the right fit for your business.
What Is LearnDash?
LearnDash is among the world’s most popular WordPress LMS plugins that has allowed thousands of bloggers, small-medium-sized businesses, enterprises, and universities to set up complete online learning platforms and make millions of dollars selling courses and memberships.
LearnDash is not just a WordPress plugin.
It adds a complete e-learning system to your WordPress site and offers more online learning, student management, and course creation features than many other top online course platforms.
Here’s a list of some of LearnDash’s core features.
- A drag & drop online course builder
- Eight different types of quizzes
- Supports videos, audio, text, PDFs, and file attachments
- Drip courses, mandatory content, linear and open progression.
- Student badges, leaderboards, completion certificates
- Graded assignments and evaluations.
- Automated email notifications on course milestones
- Additional payment gateways via Woocommerce integration
- Full, recurring, and subscription payments
- Fully customizable course themes and templates
- Works with any WordPress theme
- Group course access for organizations and teams.
- Integrates with dozens of business and marketing applications.
In short, LearnDash is a complete online learning solution for knowledge entrepreneurs using WordPress.
What Is LifterLMS?
LifterLMS is also one of the top WordPress LMS plugins that allows users to sell online courses, memberships, bundles, and various other digital products.
It adds a complete e-learning solution to your WordPress site and allows you to create your course content using the classic WordPress environment.
It is designed for non-technical users, which means you don’t need technical or coding knowledge to create courses and digital products with LifterLMS.
This is why thousands of schools, companies, and entrepreneurs use LifterLMS to offer their students a world-class online learning experience.
Here are some of its core features.
- An intuitive multi-tier drag & drop course builder.
- Multiple dynamic quizzes for student evaluation.
- Supports video, audio, text, PDF, and several other content formats.
- Offers direct integration with all the leading email marketing tools.
- Provides multiple payment options with the core plan and additional gateways via add-ons.
- Achievement badges, completion certificates, and email notifications.
- Supports upsells, private coaching, bindles, memberships, and digital downloads.
- Offers discount coupons and bulk sales.
- Comes with an affiliate management system.
Like LeardDash, LifterLMS also covers all the bases when it comes to building an online course platform. The main difference between these tools is their user experience and pricing, which we will discuss later in the article.
LearnDash vs LifterLMS – Comparing Two Of The Best Online Course Platforms For WordPress
Let’s now evaluate the various aspects of LearnDash and LifterLMS and find out the better solution for your business.
Here are the factors we will evaluate.
- Pricing And Features
- Course Creation
- Course Website Builder
- Course Marketing
- Student Experience
- Teacher Features
- Payment Management
1. Pricing, Free Trial, And Features
Your course platform’s cost plays a crucial role in determining the overall profitability of your course.
Here’s how much LearnDash and LifterLMS charge for their services.
LifterLMS Pricing and Free Trial
The core LifterLMS WordPress plugin is available for free and offers all the core online course selling features except for payment gateway integration which you can buy as an add-on.
It also offers three premium yearly subscription plans that both come up with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
But there’s no free trial of these premium options.
Earth Bundle, priced at $199/year has one active site and unlimited support for 1 user, great for beginners.
Universe Bundle, their most popular plan, offers the core LMS features along with several design and eCommerce add-ons for up to 5 active sites.
The Infinity Bundle, priced at $1,200/year, unleashes the full power of LifterLMS gives you all the necessary add-ons for growing and scaling your e-learning business.
Apart from these paid plans, you also have the option to purchase add-ons separately. For example, you may choose to go with the core LMS plugin and one payment add-on (starting from $120/year) to set up your online course.
In this case, your yearly price will depend on the features you need.
Still, to get all the advanced LifterLMS features like quizzes, email marketing, certificates, etc., you’ll need to spend a significant amount of money every year.
LearnDash Pricing And Free Trial
LearnDash’s pricing model is quite different from LifterLMS.
LearnDash has two pricing plans:
This is a WordPress plugin that you can install on your own site. It gives you complete control over your courses and site functionality. You can choose from three license options:
- 1 site license for $199 per year
- 10 site licenses for $399 per year or;
- Unlimited site licenses for $799 per year
This plan doesn’t include ProPanel, a reporting and management add-on. However, you can add ProPanel for $49 annually to get insight into your courses and learners.
LearnDash Cloud is like the LearnDash plugin’s big sibling, offering everything that the LearnDash plugin does but with additional benefits. It operates like other full-fledged online course platforms, not just a plugin.
For LearnDash Cloud, you can choose from two payment options: $24 per month when paid annually or $29 per month when paid monthly.
This hosted solution includes everything you need to get started with LearnDash. It gives you a full, ready-to-go website complete with templates and customization tools to build courses that match your brand. It also includes ProPanel and iThemes Security Pro at no additional charge.
In addition, using LearnDash Cloud also allows you to promote and use your courses outside of the WordPress space. While you’ll still host your courses on WordPress, the cloud option opens up more possibilities for promotion and use beyond just WordPress plugins.
Here’s a quick comparison overview for both these plans:
Additionally, you can install some paid add-ons to enhance your courses and site functionality.
- Groups Plus ($49 per year for one site license): An advanced group management and reporting toolkit that allows you to sell seats, track time spent in courses, assign multiple instructors, and more.
- Gradebook ($49 per year for one site license): You can customize, track, and share scores with Gradebook. It also helps you explore student progression and scores using simple tables and generate report cards.
- Notes ($49 per year for one site license): Learners can take notes as they go through your course. Notes are available for exporting and can be used for instructor communication.
LearnDash also offers a 15-day money-back guarantee if you’re unsatisfied with the product. You can also request a demo or try it for yourself for free before purchasing.
Overall, LearnDash offers more value for money as compared to LifterLMS and is the clear winner.
2. Course Creation
How easy is it to create your course content and design it the way you want in LearnDash vs LifterLMS?
Let’s find out.
Once you install and activate the LifterLMS WordPress plugin, you can start creating your courses and membership sites directly from your WP dashboard.
The course creation page uses the default WordPress editor, where you can add your course description and other necessary instructions and details for your students.
You can also control your course visibility from the settings bar on the right of your screen.
To create your course content, you need to launch the course builder from your course admin section on the right.
The courses in LifterLMS are organized in Sections (modules) and Lessons.
You can use the drag & drop course builder to quickly create new sections and organize different lessons in them.
A lesson can contain multiple content formats like a video, audio file, a quiz, or an assignment.
You configure each lesson’s content from its individual settings area. Here you can embed videos and audio files, design quizzes, and configure assignments and other settings such as drip courses, lesson prerequisites, etc.
You also have the option to offer a lesson for free, require a mandatory passing grade for quizzes, and assign a lesson weight based on its importance.
Here’s an example of how your course curriculum appears to your students and prospective buyers once it’s complete.
Overall, LifterLMS’s course builder provides you robust course creation features to create and organize your course content any way you want.
LearnDash also provides a powerful course builder to help you create your course content directly from your WordPress admin panel.
Once you download, install, and activate the LearnDash WordPress plugin, access its course creation section from your WP dashboard.
If you don’t have any existing courses, click Add New in the courses section. Otherwise, access the course builder directly for any existing course.
The course builder is based on your default WordPress editor environment and has a drag & drop interface for creating and organizing course content.
In LearnDash, a course consists of Sections, Lessons, and Topics.
Sections are modules, Lessons carry the actual course content like a video or quiz, and Topics are optional divisions you can use under Lessons to better organize your content.
The course builder uses a drag & drop interface to freely move lessons between different topics and sections. You can also create new lessons, topics, or sections from the same page. In every lesson, you can add various content types like videos, audio files, PDFs, attachments, etc.
Since the course page uses the default WordPress editor, you can use it to give your course a title, add a description or instructions for students, set a featured image, or assign tags and categories.
You can also configure whether students can freely access your lessons from any module or follow a fixed sequence in which they need to complete lessons and assignments before getting access to the next lesson.
Here’s an example of how your course page and curriculum appears to prospective buyers and students.
Overall, LearnDash’s course builder offers an equally wide range of features and almost the same quality of user experience as LifterLMS. Therefore, I’ll call it a draw.
3. Course Website Builder
Your course website and landing pages play a key role in driving sales and converting traffic into leads.
Let’s see what site-building features LearnDash and LifterLMS offer.
LifterLMS does not come with a native site builder tool. However, it integrates with Beaver Builder, Divi Builder, and Elementor, using which you can build your course website and landing pages.
You can also use WordPress Gutenberg to create your course site and landing pages using different page building blocks.
LifterLMS recommends using premium WordPress themes like Astra, Neve, or Authority Pro and also offers several site templates for these themes.
But you’ll need to purchase one of its approved site builders and a pro theme to make this work.
In short, you don’t get any native site-building features with LifterLMS.
LearnDash also doesn’t have a built-in site builder and recommends using Elementor, Divi, or Beaver Builder.
However, it does offer five free course website themes that you get with its premium plan.
These templates are specifically designed for WP Astra, a premium theme that also has a free version.
Here’s the homepage of one of the templates you get with LearnDash.
And here’s the course page for this template.
You can customize these themes to your brand’s requirements or use a page builder like Elementor or the default Gutenberg interface to create your course site.
In short, no native site builder but better than LifterLMS because of the free templates.
4. Course Marketing
Marketing features are crucial for driving traffic to your course website and converting it into leads and customers.
Let’s analyze the sales and marketing features you get with LearnDash vs LifterLMS.
LifterLMS is a learning management system plugin for WordPress sites. Despite having excellent course-building features, it doesn’t offer many native marketing and sales features.
However, you can add various marketing features to LifterLMS using add-ons and integrations.
Similarly, you can add webinars to your lessons or landing pages using Zoom, Go To Webinar or any other popular webinar tool.
You can also create upsells and discount coupons for different courses and offer free lessons or sell product bundles to drive more sales.
LearnDash doesn’t offer native email marketing features, but you can integrate it with MailChimp, Infusionsoft, ActiveCampaign, and several other popular email services.
Similarly, you can use Zoom, YouTube Live, or any other webinar service for hosting live and recorded webinars in your lessons and course pages.
Additionally, you can offer discount coupons, free course previews, product bundles, etc. to drive sales.
In short, LearnDash and LifterLMS offer pretty much the same marketing features.
5. Student Experience
What’s the learning environment for your students in LearnDash vs LifterLMS? Let’s find out.
LifterLMS offers a clean and modern interface where your course content takes center stage, and the rest of the course lessons are listed on the right of your screen.
Below the main course video, you can see additional links for the students and navigation links at the bottom to move between lessons.
Remember, this appearance is completely customizable and you can use any page builder to structure your course lesson pages differently.
LearnDash offers a modern and sleek student experience with minimum distractions and a complete list of lessons on the left of your screen.
You also get navigation buttons at the bottom of every lesson.
Students can also see an overall course progress bar on the main course page of your site.
Overall, LearnDash fares slightly better than LifterLMS in student experience because of its modern outlook and more customization options.
6. Teacher Features
What features do you get with LearnDash and LifterLMS for evaluating your students?
Let’s find out.
LifterLMS comes packed with different student evaluation and management features. However, not all of them are free.
For example, you get three different quiz types with the free LifterLMS plugin – multiple-choice, true or false, picture choice.
For advanced question types like fill in the blanks, reorder items, code, reorder pictures, etc., you’ll need to purchase add-ons. Other features like leaderboards, charts, etc. are also available as paid add-ons.
You can also award certificates and badges for different achievements.
LearnDash offers a wide range of student evaluation and management features. Plus, all of them come with their paid plans (no add-ons required.)
Let’s start with the quizzes.
LearnDash offers eight different types of quizzes that include multiple-choice, true or false, fill in the blanks, reorder lists, picture recognition, surveys, open-ended questions, and item matching.
You have the option to make a quiz mandatory for progress or assign a minimum passing grade. Similarly, you can limit attempts, put time limits, and randomize questions for every new attempt.
Instructors can create mandatory assignment submissions and link course progress with completion grades.
You can also create certificates, award badges, display leaderboards, and several other features to reward students.
Overall, LearnDash offers a better variety of student evaluation features without the need to get extra add-ons.
7. Payment Management
How can students pay for your courses in LearnDash and LifterLMS? How do you get paid for your work?
Let’s find out.
LifterLMS allows you to accept full, partial, installments, and recurring payments with various payment gateways.
Currently, you can accept payments with PayPal, Stripe (credit cards), Authorize.net, and WooCommerce.
If you’re using the free LifterLMS plugin, you’ll need to purchase one of the payment gateway add-ons separately.
But if you’re subscribed to one of LifterLMS’s premium plans, you get access to PayPal and Stripe integration.
LearnDash also supports full, partial, installments, and recurring payments for online courses and membership programs.
Its premium plans come with Stripe and PayPal integration which means you can accept credit card payments as well.
You can also use 2Checkout, WooCommerce, and several other payment solutions by purchasing add-ons.
Overall, LearnDash is cheaper than LifterLMS for using different payment solutions.
LearnDash vs LifterLMS – Pros and Cons
Before reaching our final verdict, let’s quickly summarize the main pros and cons of LearnDash and LifterLMS that we have discussed in this post.
LifterLMS Pros and Cons
|Offers a free plan||Expensive premium plans|
|Comes with a 30 day demo for $1||Requires add-ons for many basic features|
|Gives you a robust drag & drop course builder||No course site templates|
|Lots of student management and evaluation features|
|Offer excellent user experience.|
|Has dozens of different add-ons|
LearnDash Pros and Cons
|Affordable premium plans that contain all the necessary course building and management features||No free plan|
|No need for add-ons for fundamental course features||No free trial or demo without payment|
|Stylish and modern student experience||The course builder isn’t as user friendly as LifterLMS|
|Free templates for course site|
|Payment gateways included in subscription plans|
LearnDash vs LifterLMS Verdict | Which WordPress LMS Is Right For You?
I’ve analyzed all the core features and benefits of LearnDash and LifterLMS for you in this detailed article.
As you’ve seen, both these WordPress LMS plugins offer tons of e-learning features and cover almost every base when it comes to selling courses online.
So you won’t make a disastrous decision by choosing either of them.
But you have to choose one, so here’s my verdict.
Overall, LearnDash is a much more intuitive, robust, and affordable product than LifterLMS. In addition, its premium plans are quite affordable and offer everything you need to sell courses online without requiring any add-ons.
LifterLMS is a great product as well. But it requires too many add-ons for my liking. Plus, its premium plans are quite expensive as compared to LearnDash. It might be a good option if you only use its free plugin with a payment gateway add-on. You might also use LifterLMS if you want to create a custom plan by only purchasing the add-ons you need.
By Jawad Khan for Learning Revolution
LearnDash vs LifterLMS | Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Is LearnDash scalable?
Yes, LearnDash is a highly scalable product that offers e-learning features for businesses of all sizes.
Does LifterLMS work with Elementor?
Yes, LifterLMS works with Elementor, Divi, Beaver Builder, and many other popular WordPress site builders.
What is the primary distinction between LearnDash and LifterLMS?
The principal difference between LearnDash and LifterLMS resides in their pricing structures and feature delivery methods.
LearnDash is exclusively available as a premium plugin, with pricing starting at $159. This option encompasses all features within a single package. Conversely, LifterLMS offers a free core plugin on WordPress.org, supplemented by additional add-ons that can be purchased individually or as bundles.
LearnDash provides a comprehensive suite of features out of the box, eliminating the need for separate extensions. In contrast, LifterLMS employs a more modular approach, enabling users to tailor their LMS experience through a variety of add-ons.
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