In this article, we’re going to be looking at LearnPress vs LearnDash, to see which one of these popular LMS plugins comes out on top.
When it comes to plugins for WordPress, there’s plenty of choices out there. This is great news when you’re looking for a plugin to do a certain job, but it can make it hard to decide which one is best suited to you and your needs.
Both LearnPress and LearnDash offer learning management system capabilities and have good reputations for doing so. The question that many people are left wondering is, which is the best for WordPress users?
For those that aren’t quite sure what an LMS plugin is; it is a tool that helps convert your WordPress website into an eLearning platform. In the past, adapting a WordPress website in this way would have taken a great deal of coding. An LMS plugin works by creating, managing, and selling online courses directly from your website – and without the need for any coding knowledge.
Although there are a number of plugins that can make this happen, the two most popular are LearnPress and LearnDash. We’re going to take an in-depth look at each of them, the features they each offer, to help you decide which WordPress LMS plugin is best for you and your online business.
LearnPress vs. LearnDash – Which is Better Overall?
If you’re in a rush and don’t have time to read through the reviews, here’s a quick TLDR.
Overall LearnDash is better. It’s packed full of amazing features to help you create professional and engaging online courses that your students will love. Everything you need is included for a one-time fee, and the customer support is unrivaled. Although it’s pricey, you get what you pay for!
LearnPress is a good option if you aren’t in a position to pay anything right now. However, if you want all the premium features, it could end up costing you more than LearnDash. The other downside to LearnPress is the notoriously poor customer support, even with paid plans.
The Main Differences Between LearnPress and LearnDash
On the face of it, these two plugins are very similar.
Both have a course builder with the ability to add quizzes or assessments, both plugins allow you to drip feed the course or allow access to all lessons at once, and both allow you to create flexible courses with ease on your WordPress site. Their core functionalities are the same but each platform has its own strengths and weaknesses so it’s important to think about your own needs when you’re trying to decide which platform to use. It’s not until you drill down into the individual features that you really start to notice a difference.
Obviously, one of the biggest differences is pricing. LearnPress gives you the core plugin and limited features for free, with the option to pay for more features or full access to everything that the plugin offers for $249. LearnDash doesn’t have any kind of free trial version which can put you off trying it, but the overall price is much lower at between $159 and $199.
LearnPress is a hugely popular LMS plugin for WordPress with an excellent reputation. With lots of different features like assessments, drip-feeding courses, and no need to code, it’s ideal for beginners who want to set up an online course on a budget.
LearnPress has been installed over 100,000 times on WordPress, showing that the plugin developed by ThimPress is already proving massively popular. This free plugin can easily be added to any WordPress website or added to any self-hosted website that you own. It allows you to make use of a number of LMS features to create your ideal online course website.
As well as that, there are options for premium add-ons that you can use if you want to enhance your LMS website even further.
LearnPress Main Features
LearnPress offers a wide range of features to help you create, sell and manage online courses on your own website for free.
The main features include:
- Course creation
- Course management
- Auto enroll
- Student-instructor communication
- Payment processing
- Free to use
- Drip feed or self-guided content
You’re able to send notifications to admins and users (instructors and students) with updates about the courses or to notify them of any activities – much like an email list specifically for students on your course.
On the free version of LearnPress, you’re able to auto-enroll students so that they can get started as soon as they’ve signed up (and paid, if your course isn’t free). One of the most surprising things is that you’re actually able to take payment without buying a premium add-on, so you can make money without any expenses. The plugin supports a variety of different payment gateway platforms like Paypal, Stripe, and WooCommerce.
When setting up your course LearnPress has you covered. The plugin supports a variety of WordPress themes, including the Astra theme, so it will integrate with your site and branding with ease. LearnPress also supports WordPress Multisite, meaning you can run multiple courses at once with very little extra work.
LearnPress allows you to choose how you would like your course to run. If you want your students to gain a more in-depth understanding, take the course at the same speed together and discuss the content in between then you can choose to drip feed the course and release the lessons gradually. If the course is self-guided you can give them access to the entire course on enrolment.
Ease of Use
LearnPress is actively working on making the platform more user-friendly for people with limited technical skills.
The interface is simple and makes it easy to turn your WordPress site into a dynamic LMS platform without ever having to learn any coding skills. This means that you can set up a course as a total beginner and not have to worry about doing something wrong. Most of the building and managing of your course is done by simple drag and drop actions, so if you can edit elements on your WordPress site then you can create a course.
While LearnPress is a great platform for beginners, it’s important to note that it has been reported to lag at times and be a little buggy.
While this isn’t ideal, LearnPress is working on it.
Customer support is where LearnPress falls flat on its face. You don’t have to look very hard to find multiple complaints about the total lack of any proper support. While you would expect this for a free plugin, the paid version isn’t priced that differently from LearnDash and if you’re spending that much you would expect to have someone to ask questions to.
The response times are awful. Even though you’re offered complimentary support for 6 months when you purchase a premium add-on, you’d be hard-pressed to actually get hold of someone.
Integrations and Addons
LearnPress has mastered the art of integrations (and up-selling). While the core plugin is free and allows you to create a course, doing almost anything else will result in you needing to install a plugin – either free or paid.
With free plugins, you can whitelist courses for some or all students, review courses and enroll students, import and export courses, and enable payments. LearnPress allows you to use big-name plugins like BuddyPress which allows you to communicate with students and instructors. Other than that most other features require you to pay.
LearnPress reviews are on the whole pretty mixed. It ranges anywhere from 1 to 4 stars. A lot of the complaints are about the number of premium plugins and the total lack of customer support.
While the lack of customer support is frustrating, if you’re using a free plugin to generate income then you have to expect that LearnPress is going to want a slice of the pie at some point. On the other hand, the ease of use and integrations receive glowing reviews.
LearnPress Pros and Cons
As with most software, LearnPress has its own pros and cons. Here are a few things you may want to take into consideration before deciding which is best for you.
- The core plugin is free
- No coding needed
- Easy to use interface
- Lots of Freebies
- Takes payment without charging you
- Almost zero customer support
- Limited features without paying for premium addons
- Lots of bugs and it can lag
If you’re wanting to try out selling online courses or offer one to your audience for free without incurring lots of fees then LearnPress is an excellent option for you.
You can set up a basic course that engages your students and the free plugin enables you to take payments. However, if you want any features other than this then you will need to pay for premium add ons.
There isn’t a lot of transparency in the pricing of premium add ons unless you go in to try and buy it yourself. Depending on how many add ons you buy, LearnPress could end up more expensive than paying for LearnDash. Buying all of the premium plugins with the LearnPress Pro Bundle could set you back $249, but if you only need to pick and choose from some of the premium features then it could be more affordable.
If you want to find out more about LearnPress, you can check it out for free here.
LearnDash is another popular plugin for WordPress websites that helps people create an eLearning website. It has a number of great features, but many of its users enjoy the drag and drop capability that the plugin has. LearnDash is not free and has packages that start from $199; although there is a 30-day money-back guarantee offered on any LearnDash purchases.
LearnDash is very similar to LearnPress in terms of basic functionality. However, LearnDash is aimed at more experienced sellers that have basic knowledge of coding and want access to more features straight off the bat. LearnDash is one of the most popular WordPress LMS plugins on the market and is trusted by huge organizations including Yoast and Keap. They want to allow instructors to create the most dynamic and engaging courses on the internet, and their features back that up!
LearnDash Main Features
LearnDash LMS allows you to create your own online courses with ease thanks to its user-friendly interface, which allows you to dive into great detail if you need or want to.
The main features include:
- Drag and drop course builder
- Drip feed course content
- Advanced quizzes
- Flexible prerequisites
- Automated notifications
- Badges and certificates
- Discussion forums
- Leader boards
- The ability to take recurring payments
As you can see, this WordPress plugin has loads of great features to help you create a professional online course experience for your students. You’re able to auto-enroll students, and when they complete an assignment you have the option for it to be automatically approved, or assess it yourself. You can also add private comments that only the user can see, meaning you’re able to provide more feedback than simply “yes or no”.
LearnDash’s huge list of features included makes it unique and allows you to easily change the flow of the course. You can choose to set the course to be completed in a certain order by drip-feeding the content or allowing students to work on all of the modules at once. In addition to this, you’re able to set up a forum for the course within LearnDash so that your students can ask questions in front of the rest of the cohort.
LearnDash makes it easy to keep track of your student’s progress.
You can set up user profiles with ease so that each student has their own dashboard, and you can then track their progress and communicate with them directly if you think they need some help.
LearnDash also has the nice added option of being able to give your students a certificate when they finish the course – this feature does exist on LearnPress but it comes in the form of an extra plugin that you have to pay for.
Finally, you’re able to sell courses as a one-off or a subscription thanks to the brilliant payment integration, allowing you to create an ongoing passive income.
Ease of Use
LearnDash is consistently praised for its easy-to-use interface that allows users to create courses with quizzes, assessments, videos, lessons, and lots more.
Despite being packed with features it’s still easy to understand and create an engaging course with limited technical knowledge, thanks to the drag and drop interface and dedicated dashboard for building your course.
If you pay for the ProPanel then you get a few additional features and an expanded dashboard to help you create and manage your courses with ease.
LearnDash has the added bonus of integrating with almost any WordPress theme which is great if you’re conscious about your branding. As if this wasn’t enough, you’re able to simply copy and paste lessons from one course to another, meaning you can reuse parts of one course to create a new one.
LearnDash is known for its excellent and extremely reliable customer support service.
The help portal has a huge library of documentation that can guide you through every step of the main set-up as well as explain each of the features if you need a little help. If this doesn’t work for you then LearnDash can be contacted via email and will reply Monday-Friday within business hours. This is particularly helpful if you have a tricky question or need an expert to help you troubleshoot.
One thing that isn’t clear is how long you will have this support for. When you buy a package you’re given a year of free support and updates – what happens after this? You would expect to still be able to email them if you need to and with the excellent reviews you probably don’t have to worry but it’s still something to consider.
LearnDash has a fairly limited amount of integrations with other plugins, but that’s because the team has gone out of their way to ensure that almost everything you need is available within their software. Simply put, there aren’t a huge amount of integrations because there doesn’t need to be.
One of the main forms of integration is payment. While your options are more limited than with LearnPress you’re still able to connect to major players like Paypal and Stripe.
LearnDash’s integration with WordPress itself is excellent. The plugin works seamlessly with most themes and will automatically match your branding without any input from you. The plugin is also compatible with WordPress multisite which means you can use the same plugin to manage courses across all of your different sites.
Customer reviews for LearnDash are excellent, receiving a minimum of 4.5 stars on every major review platform. Customers particularly praise the ease of use, endless features, and excellent functionality across both one and multiple sites.
Another major talking point in the reviews was the almost faultless customer service. It’s very rare to find customer service that’s dependable in the modern-day, particularly with online businesses, but LearnDash support truly nails it.
The one point that seems to let LearnDash down in the reviews is the price.
It’s more expensive than LearnPress and doesn’t have a free trial, but the excellent reviews are encouraging if you’re looking for a plugin with high functionality. LearnDash also offers a 30-day money-back guarantee, so while it doesn’t have a completely free trial you know you’re covered if you buy one of the packages and find it doesn’t work for you.
LearnDash Pros and Cons
- Drip-feed courses
- Lots of features
- Excellent customer support
- Sell one-off courses and subscriptions
- Easy to use
- Lots of content options like video integration
- Create course bundles
- Recurring subscriptions
- Paid membership
- No free trial
- Some features lack options
- No freebies
There’s no doubt that LearnDash is the more expensive option compared to LearnPress, but they make sure that it’s worth the money with excellent support and lots of unique features.
While you could end up paying for features that you don’t necessarily use, there are three different pricing structures to try to minimize this. The cheapest package, coming in at $159, allows the LearnDash plugin to be used on one site but still allows unlimited courses. This is great if you’re a blogger or only run one business.
The next package up is only $30 more and allows you to use LearnDash on up to 10 sites.
The final package is $329 and allows you to use the plugin on a maximum of 25 sites.
All of the packages are one payment for lifetime usage, come with one year of free support and updates and allow you to use all of the features that make LearnDash stand out. While there isn’t a free trial all of the packages come with a 30-day money-back guarantee which gives a little added peace of mind.
If you want to find out more about LearnDash, visit their website here.
LearnPress vs LearnDash: The Verdict
After taking an in-depth look at both LearnPress and LearnDash, it’s time to reveal our verdict…
LearnDash has everything you need to create a professional-looking course that your students will love. The features like course completion certificates and their outstanding customer service are what sets LearnDash apart from LearnPress. The only downside is that the cost is higher but it’s a one-time fee.
But that’s not to say that LearnPress isn’t a great option too, because it really depends on your needs and the stage you are at with your business.
When comparing LearnPress and LearnDash it’s easy to think that they’re pretty similar. Both offer the basic functionality of creating dynamic courses with multiple different types of content. You’re able to accept payment for courses, choose how you would like to run your course and integrate the plugin with your current WordPress theme and branding. However, there is some variety within features and pricing so you need to think about your personal needs before deciding which plugin to use.
LearnPress could work for you if…
If you’re a total beginner and hoping to set up your first course then LearnPress might be the better option for you. While you don’t have all of the features that LearnDash offers you, LearnPress enables you to set up a professional-looking course for free. This means that if you want to offer the course for free or you’re not sure if you’ll sell many subscriptions then you don’t have to worry about overheads on an untested product.
Using LearnPress is also great if you simply don’t need lots of advanced options. If the course runs itself and doesn’t need a lot of input from you then the forum, user, and feedback options that LearnDash offers you aren’t worth it. LearnPress is a good place to start but if you find yourself wanting to purchase premium plugins then it might be worth checking to see what LearnDash offers before you get out your credit card. If you buy too many premium features you could end up paying more than if you chose LearnDash.
If you’re more experienced in creating courses, or you’re looking to start a business that has online courses at its core then spending the $159-$329 on LearnDash will likely be worth it for you.
LearnDash’s excellent customer service will likely prove to be priceless as you grow your online business, and knowing that for a one-time fee you have access to every feature means that you can develop and improve your courses without worrying about incurring extra expense.
LearnPress vs LearnDash: Which One is Right For You?
At the end of the day, whether LearnPress or LearnDash is better entirely depends on your situation. Think about what you’re hoping to achieve with your online course, what kind of content you’d like to include, what you’re hoping to charge (if anything) and how much experience you have and you’ll find that the answer of which platform to choose will follow.
The great news about having a choice of plugins like this is that you can be confident that there will be some that suit your needs. Plugins are rarely a one-size-fits-all situation, instead, you need to find the one that best matches what you need. Both of these plugins do a great job, it is just a matter of seeking out the one that is going to serve you best.