The 11+ Best WordPress LMS Plugins (Updated for 2022)
- Jeanette Martin
You’re all ready to create and sell a course on your WordPress site, but there’s just one problem.
There are so many WordPress LMS plugins out there and you’re feeling totally stuck. How can you possibly figure out which WordPress LMS plugin is right for you?
Fear not, because we’ve put together some great options to help you make an informed choice. These are the best WordPress LMS plugins around and you’re sure to find one that works for you.
You’ll see that every LMS plugin has different bells and whistles. Some features will be important to you, depending on what kind of course you want to offer now. Other features may be handy in the future. But some plugins have features you’ll never use, so why pay for them?
Before we get into the details of the WordPress LMS plugins, let’s first be clear on what a WordPress LMS plugin is, and what you need to look for when choosing one.
What is an LMS Plugin?
When you’re looking to create an online course with WordPress, a WordPress LMS plugin is a good solution. That’s because it’s specially designed learning management software for building and managing digital courses on WordPress sites.
A WordPress LMS plugin is designed to replace a traditional classroom with an eLearning setup. You install the plugin, and voila, your WordPress site is now an online course platform! And best of all, no coding is required.
That said, there’s a big range in what different WordPress course plugins offer. Some are simple and basic while others offer a full suite of features:
- Some free WordPress LMS plugins give you only the basic tools to create and offer a free course. And if you wish, you can buy a few add-ons to customize your site with features you need to upgrade to offer paid courses.
- Other WordPress LMS plugins include the full suite of learning-focused features you need to offer comprehensive paid courses.
What to Look for in WordPress LMS Plugins
So what exactly should you be looking for in a WordPress LMS plugin?
Short answer — whatever will make life easier for you and your students to reach your goals.
And your experience and goal are different from someone else’s. This is why you need to do a bit of research before you get locked into the first WordPress LMS plugin you stumble on.
One course creator’s ultimate goal can look very different from another course creator’s. Let’s look at two possible examples:
Course Creator 1: This course creator isn’t planning to be the next Udemy with its 40 million students. He or she has one video course and is looking to keep things no-frills simple. They do need a portal for students to pay and an easy way to upload course videos. That’s it.
Course Creator 2: This course creator is at what we could call “course basecamp”. But they’re planning a Himalayan climb! They’re in this for the long haul and plan to offer a whole marketplace of quality courses in the future. They want to create courses with high student interaction and offer incentives, and may need several sites eventually. They need to think about all the features their LMS plugin will need as their business empire grows.
These two hypothetical course creators represent two ends of a spectrum. But no matter where you sit on this spectrum, there are a few features everyone needs to consider:
- Ease of course management: To manage your course easily and effectively, look for a drag-and-drop course page builder where you upload content (pdf, video, links) into a template. Other features include the ability to drip feed content to help you pace students’ progress, a simple grading system to make homework easy for you, and good support as you build and manage your course.
- Ease of student motivation: Look for a plugin that offers a way to track student progress to motivate and reward students through the course. These include incentives, badges, and certifications to show off excellent work, and a forum integration to bring more engagement and collaboration between students and teachers.
- Ease of student management: You’ll need a way to track enrollment and payments, and course reports to see how popular and successful your course is.
- Ease of financial management: Look for a plugin that offers good support, low fees, and variety in your payment gateway options. Also choose a plugin that offers options for students to buy courses (single course, bundle, subscriptions, or lifetime memberships), and marketing tools such as affiliate programs and coupons to boost enrollment.
Now that you know what to look for in a WordPress LMS plugin, let’s dive in!
The 12+ Best WordPress LMS Plugins in 2022
LearnDash is the simplest and most convenient WordPress LMS plugin. It’s used by universities, Fortune 500 companies, training organizations, and individual businesses. And it’s the only one developed by e-learning experts.
The educational know-how of the developers shows up in the full suite of features LearnDash offers, including:
- Create courses with a simple drag-and-drop course builder
- Set prerequisites to ensure students are ready before they access a quiz or lesson
- Drip feed lessons to avoid anyone failing to complete an assignment
- Invite other course creators to add their course to your site with the Front End Course Creation add-on and share revenue
- Engage students through gamification by awarding course points to motivate students to unlock further content
- Set up a leaderboard to display the best students’ quiz scores
- Reward quiz winners and everyone who completes the course with an official certificate
Students can enroll in multiple ways:
- Purchase a single course
- Subscribe with recurring payments for a bundle of related courses
- Buy bulk course licenses for businesses to offer their staff
- Payment gateways include Paypal, Stripe, WooCommerce and 2checkout
Price: $159 annual fee for 1 site.
2. Lifter LMS
LifterLMS is another simple and powerful WordPress LMS plugin with rich features. It’s like LearnDash but a bit more pricey. Whether you’re creating a simple course or a comprehensive training program, it’s easy to set up.
As with LearnDash, LifterLMS has a full range of features:
- A flexible drag-and-drop course builder to simplify course creation
- Prerequisites and lesson access rules
- Drip-feeding of content
- Multi-instructor course marketplace like Udemy
- Gamification through badges and certifications
- An online community
- Assignments and personalized student dashboards
- Excellent analytics and reporting
- Content protection
A prized feature of LifterLMS is its support. Live hours and technical training support help you navigate any obstacles in course delivery. Another bonus is the 30 day trial for $1.
LifterLMS also offers built-in payments and enrollment functions that serve a range of individual courses and memberships, including recurring payments. It integrates with Paypal, Stripe, Authorize.net, and WooCommerce.
Read our full LifterLMS review.
Price: Free (without payment gateway or quizzes) for 1 site. Each add-on (design, ecommerce marketing, automation) is $120/year. Or $360/year for the Universe Bundle with all add-ons for 5 sites, plus priority support.
LearnPress is free and is one of the simplest WordPress LMS plugins. It offers a lot of the functionality of more expensive LMS plugins, plus an extensive library of free and premium add-ons to customize the site according to your needs. So it’s good for anyone starting out or on a budget.
A LearnPress compatible theme, while not required, makes it easy to set up LearnPress on your WordPress site. Depending on how complex you want your site to be, you can choose from 9 different free LearnPress add-ons. For example, to create course prerequisites, offline payments, or a course forum.
And when you’re ready for them, the 17 premium add-ons ($30 + each) give added value and allow you to integrate assignments, multiple instructors, certificates, drip content, and so on.
The absence of a recurring annual fee is a plus with this free LMS plugin! You can take payments via Paypal, or integrate paid extensions such as WooCommerce, 2checkout, Authorize.net, and Stripe.
The LearnPress team is constantly upgrading the service. Compared to more full-featured LMS plugins, you may need to put in a bit more time to create lessons and navigate the setup. But it’s great value for someone who’s starting out.
Price: free for 1 site. LearnPress Pro bundle with all the add-ons is a $250 once-off fee.
4. Tutor LMS
Tutor LMS is a newer WordPress LMS plugin but is fast gaining in popularity. It’s free with high-quality add-ons to create a full-fledged LMS. The supporting parent company Themeum is an established WordPress theme and plugin developer.
Like LearnDash,Tutor offers the ability to invite other course creators to build and manage their courses from the front end of your site. You could even create a marketplace and share revenue!
And if you’re switching your course from another LMS you’ll find the migration tool simple.
It offers similar tools to the pricier LMS plugins, including:
- A drag-and-drop front-end course builder
- A quiz creator with 10+ question types
- A front-end student dashboard
- It supports all course media types, including video integration with Zoom
- It includes add-ons for content drip and course prerequisites
- 11 more add-ons, such as certificates and attachments can be purchased
You can integrate WooCommerce and other standard payment gateways, and offer one-time purchase, subscriptions, and lifetime access payment options.
Price: free for 1 site. For $149 a year, all add-ons are included.
Sensei is a free WordPress LMS plugin developed by Automattic, maker of WooCommerce and WordPress.com. So it’s a perfect fit if you already run a WooCommerce site and want to sell courses. Customers can shop for a course from your storefront and checkout via the WooCommerce shopping cart.
But even without a WooCommerce site, you can use the free Sensei WordPress LMS plugin to create courses. From there, simply integrate the WooCommerce Paid Courses plugin in order to sell them. You can offer membership, bundles, or single courses.
- Create and offer free online courses, with lessons and quizzes
- Set quiz grading to manual or automatic
- It’s simple even for a beginner to create a course with Sensei as it’s like creating a post in WordPress
- Sensei works with any WordPress theme
- Integrate a few free extensions to offer certificates and attach media files
- Sensei’s course analytics reports on student registration, course completion, and grading
6. WP Courseware
WP Courseware, the original WordPress LMS plugin, started in 2012.
Since then, it’s created an array of features, including:
- Intuitive, visual drag-and-drop course creation
- Integration with most of the email marketing, ecommerce, membership, and WordPress plugins
- Many options for creating quizzes (multiple choice, true/false, open-ended, and file upload)
- Ability to randomize the quiz questions for a retake and limit retakes to set a standard for a passing grade
- Excellent support, with access to YouTube tutorial videos and free ebooks to guide you through course creation
- Test drive with a fully functioning demo where you can register and view 3 sample courses just as a student would
WP Courseware makes it easy to take payments through a built-in shopping cart, using PayPal or Stripe. To increase sales you can offer payment plans, free courses as a lead magnet, and coupon codes.
What sets WP Courseware apart is competitive pricing at $129/year for not 1, but 2 WordPress sites. So this may be your best bet if you’re planning to offer 2 different course websites. Or, as many course creators do, if you want 1 site reserved for development and testing.
Read our full WP Courseware review.
Price: $129/year for 2 websites.
7. Good LMS
Some features of Good LMS plugin include:
- Easily create courses, quizzes, and certificates from the WordPress dashboard
- Avoid a big learning curve and get your course up quickly
- Expand your courses into a course marketplace with different instructors
- Set instructor commissions
- Display course reviews to attract more students
- Create coupon codes as another marketing option
- Students have a dashboard to see progress on their courses and quiz results, plus an option to retake quizzes
- Their payment options include Paypal, Stripe, Paymill, or Authorize.net
To test whether Good LMS is a good fit for you, watch demos of the instructor, student, and transaction backend to see how it works in practice.
For a premium LMS plugin, Good LMS is a cheap option that costs $32 for the license, with support for 6 months (extended to 12 months for another $10.13).
Price: $32 for 1 site.
8. Namaste! LMS
Namaste! LMS is another free WordPress LMS plugin like Good LMS and Sensei. Again, you can create courses from the WordPress dashboard. So Namaste! LMS scores well for simplicity and value.
The MoolaMojo integration allows students to earn credits for courses and assignments, and then apply them to future courses. To see which students excel and which assignments are too hard, for $27 you can add the Namaste! Reports plugin.
However, the functionality is limited with the free version. You’ll quickly need to upgrade to the Namaste! PRO version if you want to:
- Award badges and certificates
- Provide students with a progress bar and leaderboards
- Drip content
- Protect access to course files
- Add a shopping cart and integrate with WooCommerce or WPSimple Cart plugins. The free version only supports Paypal and Stripe
- Use customized Namaste! WordPress themes
- Access student reports and analytics with Namaste! Reports
- Keep in touch with students through Namaste! Connect
You can try out Namaste! PRO with a 60-day refund policy.
A big bonus of Namaste! PRO is there are no recurring payments!
Price: free for 1 site. $137 one-time payment for Namaste! Pro with all plugins plus 12 months support.
9. MasterStudy LMS
Its features include:
- Unlimited courses, quizzes, and memberships with multiple instructors
- Create lessons in 3 formats — text, video, or slideshow
- Import Udemy courses to your site and get commissions on sales
- Clean user-friendly interface for students
- A social media-type message board for students to seek help from instructors
- Comments and questions can be posted by students within the lessons themselves
- A private messaging system allows students to connect with their peers
- Students can also create a user profile and check progress on courses and quiz scores
If you need more features, the MasterStudy PRO version offers:
- Front end drag-and-drop course builder
- Badges and certificates
- Content drip
- Live streaming
- Instructor commissions
- Zoom integration
All these PRO features are included with the optional Masterstudy Education WordPress theme ($69 for 6 months 24/7 support). The plugin supports Paypal and Stripe plus WooCommerce integration.
Price: free for 1 site. $54.99/year or $149.99/lifetime for MasterStudy PRO.
Teachable is a standalone SaaS course creation tool rather than a WordPress LMS plugin. But because it integrates with any WordPress site and has a host of features, it’s become one of the most popular choices of course creators.
The free plan offers unlimited courses, coaching, and basic quizzes, plus flexible pricing plans.
But if you want extra features, you’ll need to upgrade to the $29 monthly plan (billed annually). This will give you the ability to:
- Drip course content
- Create a private student community
- Integrate with Facebook
- Integrate email marketing
- Offer coupon codes
One downside is that both the free and the $29 monthly plan include a % transaction fee on each student purchase.
The next plan up ($99/month) is designed to boost student engagement. You can give out course completion certificates and grade quizzes. It includes advanced reports, priority support, strategy calls, and integrates affiliate marketing.
The focus of Teachable is paid courses and maximizing your returns as a course creator. To that end, one unique feature is the ability to book and host one-on-one coaching calls as well as offer courses. And Teachable has affiliate rewards to incentivize students to spread the word.
Teachable is the most expensive option listed here but may be worth it if you can afford to be more hands-off.
Price: free for 1 site, or $29+/month.
MemberPress Courses is a WordPress LMS Plugin that it’s built into the MemberPress WordPress membership plugin. So it’s well set up for building a membership site and selling courses. You can also take payments, protect your content, and sell digital downloads.
Some other features include:
- A visual drag-and-drop course builder
- Ability to track students’ progress
- Content drip
- A Classroom Mode feature to handle styling the look and feel of the courses and lessons
- Edit courses and lessons right from the WordPress Block Editor
- Limit student access to different courses or content as you wish
- Build a sales landing page to promote a restricted course if a student clicks on it
- Create coupon codes
- Set up affiliate links (through their own Easy Affiliate plugin)
- Manage subscriptions
- No transaction fees on course sales
- Support through a user manual and video instruction
Students can pay through PayPal, Stripe, and Authorize.net, and you can offer multiple membership options.
Price: $179/year for 1 site.
12. Thrive Apprentice
With Thrive Suite, you’re getting a complete package for selling online courses. This includes a set of templates for creating dedicated landing pages to jazz up your marketing.
Thrive Suite has a range of features for online course creators, including:
- Thrive Theme Builder, a complete theme and website builder
- A drag-and-drop course creation dashboard
- Drip content
- Course Cloning feature to simplify duplicating the structure of a course
- Thrive Apprentice for total visual design control so you can create the look and feel you want the student to experience
- Thrive Suite’s Conditional Display feature, which personalizes the content a customer sees, depending on where he or she is on the sales journey
- A range of membership tiers
- Members-only blog posts, videos, and downloads
- Multiple websites
Integration with WooCommerce, SendOwl, and Thrive Cart which accept Paypal or Stripe payments.
Price: $19/month (paid annually at $228) for Thrive Suite. 25 websites with unlimited support and updates.
Which WordPress LMS Plugin is Best for You?
Now that you’ve seen the best WordPressLMS plugins, how will you choose which is right for you?
As you know, many factors come into play. But one simple criterion is price. Sometimes you need to get started and integrate features as you can afford them. If this is the case, then why not go with a budget WordPress LMS plugin?
LearnPress, Tutor, Sensei, WP Courseware, Good LMS, Namaste! LMS, and MasterStudy LMS all have free or inexpensive options that you can expand on later.
But do you need as much help as possible with setup? And is momentum more important than money to your business at the moment? If so, you’d be better off looking at a full-featured WordPress LMS plugin.
The plugins LearnDash, LIfter LMS, Teachable, MemberPress, and ThriveSuite all fit this bill.
Get Started Today With Your Best WordPress LMS plugin
Yes, there’s a right WordPress LMS plugin to suit everyone! And by now you’ve landed on some options that‘ll work best for your course, with the features you need, at the right price.
Once you’ve zeroed in on the right option for you, all you need to do is download and install your chosen plugin on your WordPress site. Then you can move on to create, design, and upload your unique and marvelous course content.
And before you know it, you’ll end up with a functioning eLearning site that’s ready to enroll your first students.
So are you ready to get your course out there now?
Then go ahead and choose the WordPress LMS plugin that’s right for you!
And if you already know what plugin you want to use, but you’re still struggling with what exactly you want to teach, check out our free Course Builder’s Bootcamp.
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