How to launch an online course: Self-hosting vs Market-hosting platforms

how to launch an online course
You have finished your online course – congratulation. You have done a wonderful job. But actually, that was the tip of the iceberg when you see the whole picture. The real hassle will come ahead and that is the proper launching and promoting your course. After all, you have created your course for your target audience and to reach out them you need a proper platform to launch your course.

There are two typical choices available for launching an online course: Self-hosting and Market-hosting platforms.

Which one is the best for your course?

Well, this question should have popped up in your head before finishing your online course. But usually what happens – you finished the course but still not sure which one is the best for your course launch and it sounds like the trickiest decision to make.

Here, I will briefly discuss the main pros and cons of self-hosting and market-hosting platforms that will help you to decide which one should be used for launching and promoting your online course.

So let’s get started.


Self-hosting is the act of having your course totally under your control. Self-hosting can be a great idea for your course launch as you will have a full control over every aspect of your course. Whether it’s about changing the contents or customizing the functions and style of your course or even fixing the price for your course, you can manage all whole aspects of your course.

Pros of Self-hosting

1. Get the full earning

This is probably the biggest benefit of self-hosting – you get the total sum of what you originally earned. No commission fee per sale or monthly subscription fee – you get the full payment from your customer.

2. Control on the pricing of your course

Who knows better than you the true value of your course.price for online courseYou invest a great deal of time and energy on creating your course and therefore deserved to be rewarded fully for the amount of work that you put into your online course. The great thing about self-hosting is that it gives you the freedom of fixing the price for your online course.

3. Access to the e-mail list of your audience

Self-hosting can also give you access to the e-mail list of your target audience. This is very important as e-mail marketing is now being considered as one of the most effective marketing strategies in the online business world.

access to the emails of your audienceThis is how it works: people buy your course or you offer them your course for free and in exchange, you get their emails. Getting access to their e-mails is a big thing. You can reach out and connect with them in the future at any time you want. That way you can offer them more related courses or other products (e.g. e-book) and can generate more revenue from them. They become lifetime customers of yours, if you treat them well and get their trust – see that’s the power of e-mail marketing.

Cons of self-hosting

Now that you know the benefits of self-hosting, let’s also discuss the dark side of it.

1. Creating a website for your course

To launch your course, you need a website.create a website for an online course_self hosting This could be a bit of a headache if you are a newbie. You have to go through the stress of WordPress and all the plugins. And that’s not all, you have to put some real efforts into transforming your website into an authority website. Thereafter, you can rank well on Google and can attract your intended audience to buy your course.

2. Marketing and selling of your course

This is the biggest downside of self-hosting – especially for the newbies, the whole process can be a nightmare.

To promote your course, you need to develop an online and offline social networking. For example, arranging gatherings with family, friends, and coworkers and to have a word of mouth with them about your new course – sometimes that’s a tedious job though.

marketing of your online course_self hosting Likewise, you need to share the news of your course with your online friends through Facebook, Twitter or any other online social network – but doing it incessantly could afflict them as well.

While leveraging all your social networking to promote your course is good, it may still not get the attention that it deserved. Therefore, you need to come up with a comprehended online marketing approach that helps you to reach out your target audience with a more profound voice. For example, promoting your course through blogging, e-mail campaigning, webinars, and podcasts. In today’s world, these are effective marketing strategies. Excluding them and you are at the mercy of marketing web forums, most of which will cost some money.

Market-hosting platforms

If you are not ready yet to face the challenges of self-hosting, then it’s better to launch your course through market-hosting platforms. There are several platforms available online where you can upload and launch your course. The most popular platforms that you can think of are; Udemy, Skillshare, Cick4Course, Teachable, Thinkfic, UseFedora, and Kajabi.

Which one is the best? That’s another topic and I may have a separate post on that in the future.

But let’s first discuss the benefits of using these platforms.

Pros of market-hosting platforms

1. No need for a website

Unlike self-hosting where you must have a website for launching your course, here you don’t need it. You can leverage their websites for launching your course.

2. They will do most of the marketing job

Yes, you don’t have to worry too much about the marketing of your course. These platforms will share most of the marketing burden of your course. marketing of your online course_market hosting They will reach out to your intended audience and refer them to buy your course.

But that doesn’t mean that its time for you to set back and relax. You still need to leverage all the offline and online social networks for promoting your course – embrace every opportunity that helps to promote your course.

Cons of Market-hosting platforms

Now let’s have a look at the main cons of market-hosting platforms.

1. It takes a sizable bite out of your paycheck

This is the major downside of hosting your course on market platforms. commission on sale of your online course_market hostingThey will take a commission on each sale – that can be up to 50%. In addition, you have to make yourself ready for a monthly or annual fee.

And that’s not all, In some cases, they have a very restrictive role on pricing and you can’t do anything about that – you may need to learn how to compromise.

2. No access to the e-mail address of your audience

This is especially a problem if you want to launch your course on Udemy, which is the most popular platform for online courses. Although you can see your audience list who purchased your course, you won’t have access to their e-mails. All sort of engagement will happen through the platform and not via personal contact. Thus, you can’t reach out them to sell other similar online courses in the future.

Final words

If you have created your online course for the first time and have no prior experience of the online course industry, I would advise choosing market-hosting platforms. Once you gained some experience and success, then you can think of self-hosting for launching and promoting your course. And if you are committed to making a success in online courses business, better to start building your own website today. Sooner or later you would need it for launching and promoting your courses. If you want to know how to build an authority website, join Wealthy Affiliate program today. It will not only help you to build an authority website but you will also learn how to create your own online business from zero. I am a member of this program and I can’t suggest you better than this. Join today as a free member of Wealthy Affiliate and explore it by yourself.

If you want to learn how to create an online course from scratch, check out my post ´´How to create an online course – the ultimate guide´´.

I hope you like the post. Please share your thoughts about the post in the comments box below. I would be more than happy to discuss. 

Thanks for reading, 


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  • Nate Kidd

    I will admit, there are advantages of market hosting when you complete and are ready to launch your first online course. The biggest would be not having to worry about a website being hosted or marketing your course.

    But, if you are in this for the long haul, its my opinion that you should go with self hosting. You would be in full control and dictate every aspect of marketing to include price and control of your leads.

    You may earn less money at first because you have to learn how to market, but in the long haul you would benefit more.

    Thanks for an excellent post. Awesome information.

  • Camille Garcia

    Very useful information. I don’t know how long it took you to write this but its evident that you intend to help people out to make the best decision for themselves in regards to creating their online presence/business.

    • Akbar

      Thank you Camille. I like to to do research on different aspects of online courses and it makes me very happy to convey some useful information to my audience regarding online courses. I hope you like the post. Thanks for reading.

  • Sook young Kim

    Wow, this post is very useful and informative. Furthermore, I think it will help to save money effectively. It is a very good suggestion to be a member of WA without further consideration. 🙂
    Thanks, Akbar

    • Akbar

      Hey, many thanks. Yes, I would strongly recommend joining WA. This is a great platform where you will learn the whole process of creating your online business from scratch. You can join it for free and I am sure you will love it.

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