Creating an LMS with LearnDash: How Much Does it Really Cost?
Online Course Platforms

Creating an LMS with LearnDash: How Much Does it Really Cost?

Are you planning to build an online course using LearnDash but unsure about the actual cost? LearnDash is a popular Learning Management System(LMS) plugin for WordPress that can help you create a feature-rich e-learning platform. As online learning becomes increasingly popular, having a powerful and user-friendly LMS platform is essential for anyone looking to teach online. 

However, while LearnDash itself has an affordable pricing plan, the total cost of building a comprehensive LMS with LearnDash can be higher than expected due to the need for additional plugins and themes. So, it's important to consider the costs involved.

Not only can the cost add up quickly, but the dependency on various plugins can also create issues such as conflicting plugins, slow website speed, spam and virus attacks, and lack of proper plugin management.

To avoid these potential issues, it may be worth considering all-in-one platforms like EzyCourse. EzyCourse offers a comprehensive solution for creating and managing your online courses, without the need for multiple plugins and themes. Plus, EzyCourse offers a fast and reliable app, providing a seamless experience for both you and your students.

You may want to check out : 7 Best Online Course Platforms.

So whether you're an educator, trainer, or coach looking to create an online course, or a business owner looking to train employees, this guide will provide you with all the information you need to build a high-quality LMS that meets your needs. Let's get started!

Cost of LearnDash LMS Plugins and Themes

While LearnDash itself is quite affordable, it’s important to keep in mind the cost of essential plugins needed to build a fully functional LMS and to customize and optimize the user experience. Here are some of the essential plugins and themes for LearnDash and their respective costs:

Essential Plugins:

LearnDash Toolkit - $149/year for 1 site

LearnDash Toolkit is a collection of essential tools and features that enhance the functionality of LearnDash. It includes features such as transcripts, course timers, lesson progression tracking, and group branding.

BuddyBoss for LearnDash - $228/year for 1 site

BuddyBoss for LearnDash is a powerful plugin that adds social networking features to your online courses. It includes features such as user profiles, private messaging, and group forums. Engagement and collaboration among students is a must have feature in an online course platform these days.

GamiPress - Free

GamiPress is a gamification plugin that allows you to add badges, points, and rewards to your online courses. This can increase student motivation and encourage healthy competition. Even though GamiPress is free, it doesn’t come along and you need to set it up separately.

Stripe add-on - Free

As LearnDash comes with PayPal payments accepting ability, you may want to add Stripe to accept payments for your courses flexibly, but just like GamiPress you’d have to install this add-on and integrate it into your LearnDash LMS.

Reports for LearnDash - $120/year for 1 site, $180/year for 5 sites, $220/year for 10 sites

This add-on provides powerful reporting and analytics for your courses and users, giving you the power to make quick data-driven decisions.

Email Marketing Integration - costs vary 

Integrating an email marketing platform such as Mailchimp or ConvertKit with LearnDash can help you automate email campaigns and increase student engagement. The cost of this integration varies depending on your chosen email marketing platform.

MemberPress - Free

MemberPress is a popular WordPress plugin that allows you to create membership sites and restrict content access to certain users. It integrates seamlessly with LearnDash, allowing you to create custom membership levels for your online courses.

Recommended Themes:

a. Astra Theme - Free or $47/year for Pro

This lightweight and customizable theme works seamlessly with LearnDash and includes pre-designed templates.

Total Cost:

The total cost of all the essential plugins and recommended themes for LearnDash starts from $500/year, depending on the number of sites and email integrations and payment gateway options you choose. Keep in mind that this doesn't include the cost of additional plugins and themes you may want to add. It's also important to note that some of these plugins may have additional fees for support or updates.

While LearnDash can be a powerful LMS option, the cost can add up quickly with all the necessary plugins and themes. It's worth considering other LMS alternatives, such as EzyCourse, that offer all-in-one solutions without plugin dependency, bad and conflicting plugins, spam, viruses, and slow loading times. Comparatively, EzyCourse offers a complete all-in-one solution for course creators, with no need for additional plugins or integrations. This can be a more cost-effective and efficient solution for those of you looking to launch their online courses quickly and easily.

Ultimately, the choice of LMS depends on your specific needs and budget. We encourage you to carefully consider all the costs and benefits before making a decision.

Membership and Gamification Plugins for LearnDash

Membership and gamification are two key aspects of creating a successful online course. With LearnDash, there are several plugins available to help enhance these features.

Membership Plugins for LearnDash:

MemberPress: MemberPress is a popular membership plugin for WordPress that integrates seamlessly with LearnDash. It allows you to create unlimited membership levels, control content access, and manage payments. 

Paid Memberships Pro: Paid Memberships Pro is another popular membership plugin for WordPress that integrates with LearnDash. It allows you to create unlimited membership levels, control access to content, and manage payments. The cost is free for the basic version, with paid plans starting at $247/year.

Gamification Plugins for LearnDash:

BadgeOS: BadgeOS is a gamification plugin for WordPress that integrates with LearnDash. It allows you to award badges and points to students as they complete courses and activities, which can increase engagement and motivation.

GamiPress: GamiPress is another gamification plugin for WordPress that integrates with LearnDash. It allows you to award points and achievements to students as they complete courses and activities, and it also includes a leaderboard feature. The cost is free for the basic version, with additional paid add-ons at $49/year each.

Overall, the cost of these plugins can add up quickly, especially if you opt for the paid versions. It's important to carefully consider which plugins are essential for your online course and budget accordingly.

However, with EzyCourse, all of these features are included in one platform, making it a cost-effective alternative to LearnDash and its associated plugins. EzyCourse offers built-in membership management and gamification features, as well as a range of other tools to help you create and launch your online course. Plus, EzyCourse offers competitive pricing plans, making it an affordable option for course creators of all levels.

Email Marketing and Course Promotion Plugins for LearnDash

Email marketing and course promotion are essential components of any successful online course business. LearnDash has a number of plugins available to help with both aspects of marketing your courses.

Email Marketing Plugins:

ConvertKit Integration for LearnDash: This plugin allows you to seamlessly integrate LearnDash with ConvertKit, a popular email marketing platform. You can easily add users to your ConvertKit email lists based on their activity within LearnDash, such as enrolling in a course or completing a lesson. The cost of this plugin is from $29/year for a single site.

Mailchimp for LearnDash: This plugin integrates LearnDash with Mailchimp, another popular email marketing platform. You can add users to your Mailchimp email lists based on their activity in LearnDash, as well as send automated emails to users based on their course progress. The cost of this plugin is similar to the ConvertKit integration, that is, starting from $29/year for a single site.

Overall, the cost of email marketing and course promotion plugins for LearnDash can range from $29 to $69 each. However, these plugins can help you create a more effective and engaging marketing strategy, leading to more course sales and greater success in your online course business.

BuddyBoss for LearnDash

BuddyBoss is a popular WordPress theme that is designed to work seamlessly with LearnDash. It provides a beautiful and functional interface for your online course site, allowing you to create a customized and professional look for your courses.

BuddyBoss is a complete social networking solution that comes with advanced features like gamification, social groups, and messaging. It is a great tool to help you engage your students and build a sense of community around your courses.

The cost of BuddyBoss for LearnDash starts at $228 per year for a single site license. This includes access to all the themes and plugins, as well as support and updates. BuddyBoss also offers a 14-day money-back guarantee, so you can try it out risk-free.

Overall, BuddyBoss is a great option for those looking to create a visually appealing and engaging online course site with LearnDash. With its advanced social networking features and seamless integration with LearnDash, it's definitely worth considering as a valuable investment for your e-learning business.

LearnDash LMS Mobile Apps

To provide your learners with a seamless learning experience on their mobile devices, native apps are an absolute necessity. For this you can integrate the AppPresser plugin into your LearnDash LMS.

AppPresser is a popular WordPress plugin that can help you convert your LearnDash LMS website into a native mobile app for iOS and Android platforms. It is a powerful tool that allows you to build custom mobile apps with WordPress content and plugins.

Using AppPresser, you can create a fully functional mobile app for your LearnDash LMS website in a matter of hours, without any coding knowledge. The plugin comes with pre-built app themes that can be customized to match your brand's style and identity. You can also add push notifications, offline content, and other mobile-specific features to your app.

The cost of using AppPresser for building a LearnDash LMS mobile app depends on the plan you choose. The basic plan starts at $79 per month, but requires an additional $199 (waived for annual subscriptions) for setup for App Store submissions. The pro plan starts at $99 per month and includes setup for store submission.

However, it's important to note that AppPresser is not a perfect solution and comes with its own set of limitations. AppPresser-generated apps are not as fast as native apps. Additionally, AppPresser requires a technical setup and configuration process, which can be challenging for beginners.

In contrast, EzyCourse is a comprehensive online course creator platform that comes with a built-in mobile app. The app is included in all plans and can be customized to match your brand's style and identity. It is fast, reliable, and supports all essential LMS features. With EzyCourse, you don't have to worry about plugin conflicts, spam, or virus attacks, as the platform is managed and maintained by a team of experts.

Hosting, Storage, and Development Costs

In addition to the costs associated with purchasing and using LearnDash, there are other expenses to consider when building and maintaining an LMS. One of the most significant costs is hosting. If you are using WordPress to host your LMS, you'll need to factor in the cost of hosting. A shared hosting plan can cost as little as $5 per month, while a dedicated server can cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars per month.

Another cost to consider is storage for your course content. This can include the cost of cloud storage solutions like Amazon S3 or other CDN solutions. Depending on the size of your course content and the number of students, this cost can vary significantly.

If you don’t have much technical knowledge or haven’t used WordPress earlier, or maybe know the basics but require custom development work to build out your LMS, you'll need to factor in the cost of development. Custom development work can include building custom features, integrations, or themes. This can be a significant expense, especially as you need to hire a developer or a team of developers.

In addition to the upfront costs of hosting and development, you'll also need to factor in ongoing maintenance costs. This can include the cost of updating your plugins, to keep them up-to-date, ensuring your website is secure, and addressing any technical issues that arise. These ongoing costs can add up over time and may require additional resources or staff to manage effectively.

When considering the total cost of ownership for an LMS built with LearnDash, it's essential to take into account all of these costs to make an informed decision. While LearnDash can be a good platform for creating and delivering online courses, the additional costs associated with hosting, storage, and development can quickly add up. 

Total Cost for LearnDash LMS with all Plugins and Themes

When you add up the costs of LearnDash LMS, essential plugins, themes, and additional plugins, it can add up quickly. Let's break down the costs:

LearnDash LMS: Depending on the number of sites you want to use LearnDash on, the pricing plans range from $199 to $799/year.

Essential plugins: The essential plugins for LearnDash, such as BuddyPress, MemberPress, and Gravity Forms, can start from $228 per year.

Themes: Premium themes for LearnDash, such as the Astra theme, can cost anywhere starting from $47.

Then there are  additional plugins suiting your specific needs. When you add up all of these costs, the total price for using LearnDash can be quite expensive. The total cost for LearnDash even with just the basics is around $700/year and if we take in account all essential plugins, themes, and additional plugins it will easily exceed $1,000 per year.

When using LearnDash, it's important to consider additional costs beyond the initial purchase and add-ons. Hosting costs range from $5/month to thousands for a dedicated server, while storage for course content can include expenses for cloud storage or CDN solutions. Custom development work can also add significant costs, and ongoing maintenance is necessary to ensure plugin updates, security, and technical issues are addressed.

It's also important to note that there are alternative LMS options available that may be more cost-effective. For example, EzyCourse offers a complete all-in-one online course creator platform with no plugin dependency, no conflicting plugins that can crash, spam or virus, and comes with a mobile app, all managed by the platform itself. Plus, EzyCourse offers a range of affordable pricing plans to suit every need at just a fraction of the cost.

So, before you invest in LearnDash, it's important to weigh the costs and benefits and consider alternative options like EzyCourse.


As you can see, the cost of building an LMS with LearnDash can add up quickly. While LearnDash offers some great features, the dependency on multiple plugins and themes can make the experience complicated and costly, given the plugin dependency and the potential issues that may arise with bad and conflicting plugins.

It's important to note that there are alternative LMS options available that offer similar features at a lower cost. Before making a decision, it's essential to consider your budget, the features you need, and the potential challenges you may face with LearnDash.

In conclusion, while LearnDash can be a good choice for creating an LMS for Wordpress users, it's important to weigh the costs and benefits before making a decision, and remember that you don’t need to be tied to WordPress plugins. We recommend taking advantage of free trials and demos to get a better sense of whether LearnDash is the right choice for your needs.

If you're looking for a complete all-in-one online course creator platform, with everything built right in, so you don’t need to hassle through multiple integrations and additional costs, you must check out EzyCourse. With its comprehensive suite of tools and features, including a customizable website builder, powerful marketing and sales tools, and branded native mobile apps, EzyCourse is an affordable and easy-to-use solution for creating, launching and selling your online courses. Start your free trial now!

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