Thinking of creating an online course or membership program and are not sure which platform to use? I know the world has been impacted quite significantly by the worldwide pandemic that is COVID19, and because of that, more people are pivoting their businesses online. Plus, e-learning was already on the trajectory of becoming a $3B industry by 2025.
In today’s post, I’m sharing my thoughts on two budget-friendly yet robust contenders for hosting online courses and digital products: Membervault (MV for short) & Podia.
I’ve gotten a chance to play around with both platforms, and I’m thoroughly enjoyed both because they’re considered budget-friendly and (fairly) simple to use options.
**From the years of 2018-2019, I faithfully used Podia for my free resource library**
Full disclosure: I use neither platform currently, I now use NoHasslePlatform,
For anyone who’s looking for a side by side comparison, this is it!
What is MV or Podia?
Both MemberVault and Podia is a content hosting platform that’s suited for hosting free and paid content for students and clients, such as downloads, courses, and membership programs. If you’ve heard of other online courses and membership programs like Teachable, Kartra, Thinkific and Kajabi, it’s similar but each site has its own functions and limitations.
I’ll focus on these two today.
Here’s Podia’s homepage:
Podia markets themselves as a platform that you can use to sell online courses, downloads and memberships. I used Podia for a few months to sell digital downloads and my users commented that they enjoyed it a lot! I used to host my free resources download there. But now, I focus on using my email list and sending free download files as my lead magnet.
Here’s Membervault’s homepage:
Membervault markets themselves as a place to do everything from hosting free challenges, paid 1:1 services (including coaching and consultations), online courses, downloads and more.
Personally, I liked the premise of Membervault but I did find it a bit complicated. If you are not the most tech-savvy person in the world, the learning curve might give you a headache.
Okay… User Experience?
Personally, I found MemberVault a bit clunky to use, but it’s free up to 100 students. If you are on a budget, and are willing to take that learning curve, go for MemberVault.
However, if you value simplicity, Podia is a lot easier to work with, and overall I was happier with using the platform. In general, the interface is simply more intuitive to use.
Also, both Podia and MemberVault integrate easily with Stripe & Paypal payments making it easy for clients to pay for your courses or memberships. You can also create payment plans, which many of your students will appreciate. This is a plus, as some platforms do not allow you to integrate to Stripe or Paypal and only accept major credit cards.
While this is subjective… I think Podia wins. (Also, I love purple.)
However, you are the ultimate judge.
Pricing & Features
Let’s take a look…
Memberpress has three pricing plans:
- A forever free plan (up to 100 students)
- A base plan at $39/month USD
- A pro plan at $69/month USD
It’s definitely the “budget-friendly” plan for any beginner. It’s good also you host small classes.
Podia, on the other hand, only has two plans:
- Mover: $39/month USD for hosting online courses and downloads
- Shaker: $79/month USD for hosting everything memberships
In terms of price, I think Membervault wins this one since it has a free plan, if affordability is something on your checklist. It has a free forever plan which is nice for any business owners who are on a budget. However, it is less intuitive to use than Podia so it does have a bit of a learning curve and you might spend more time figuring it out, or you might need to hire a VA.
On the other side, Podia begins at $39/month (USD) for hosting online courses, downloads. For hosting both courses and memberships, Podia costs $79/month (USD). I have personally used Podia in the past because it is so simple to use, which is a major win in my books.
Final Verdict (all things considered)
In conclusion, it comes down to personal preference, what you need and what you can afford.
If you need it to, Membervault can replace your website, landing page tools and shopping cart service but you will have to take some time to learn the platform. However, that can be convenient! All you need externally is an email service provider (ESP) to send emails and drip funnels to your audience. Or you can use sales funnels like Clickfunnels, ThriveCart, SamCart or NoHassleFunnels.
If you prefer simple and dislike tech headaches, Podia might be the best choice for you. And if you want to check out the course platform I am using now, that’s No Hassle Platform.