Kajabi vs WordPress – What You Need To Know To Decide 

 Updated: September 17, 2021

kajabi vs wordpress

What Are Kajabi And WordPress?

Kajabi and WordPress are two very popular solutions for online course creators to host and build a website and deliver their program through.

There are fundamental differences between the two that we’ll explore in this review to help you decide which one may be the best fit!

What’s the difference between Kajabi and WordPress?

The main difference and thing to understand that differentiate Kajabi and WordPress is the type of platforms they are.

Kajabi is an all-in-one self hosted platform which provides an easy to use out-of-the-box setup for course creators with everything they need.

kajabi home

WordPress is a content management system (CMS) that can achieve several things with different themes and LMS plugins.

Now, what does that mean?

Think of it as renting a furnished apartment vs buying an unfurnished house.

With Kajabi, everything is already there and ready for you to use, but you can’t move things around too much or replace things.

With WordPress, everything is for you to set up, but you get to decide exactly what you want to have there.

Kajabi Pros:

  • It’s a lot easier and faster to get started
  • You don’t have to worry about hosting or integrating a bunch of tools together
  • It’s more reliable and scales with you

WordPress Pros:

  • You can make everything look and work exactly the way you want it
  • You have full control over all aspects of the site
  • Access to the server side of things can be a must

Kajabi Cons:

  • You are somewhat restricted in the customization
  • You don’t have full control over things like SEO or site speed
  • You will have to make some compromises

WordPress Cons:

  • You have to integrate different tools together
  • The learning curve is a lot steeper
  • It requires more resources to manage and maintain

It’s also important to note here that features and functionality on your WordPress site as a course creator will largely depend on what LMS plugin you use.

See our top WordPress LMS plugin ranking here!

Now that we understand the fundamentals difference between Kajabi and WordPress, let’s break down exactly how each of the main areas compare:

Tools & Feature Comparison

In order to compare apples to apples, we’ll only break down features that are directly comparable between the 2 platforms.

These are also the ones that are the most useful for course creators!

Page & Funnel Building

We’re assuming here that you want to use one of the top page builders in WordPress such as the Thrive Themes suite (our favorite!) or Elementor.

These have a ton of gorgeous pre-designed page templates for any type of page you may need: opt-in, webinar registration, sales page, etc.

thrive templates

Thrive Themes Page Templates

On top of that, these page builders are true front-end, drag & drop tools… which Kajabi isn’t.

There is literally no limit to what you can create with such WordPress page builders and your page can look exactly as you want it.

On the other hand Kajabi’s page builder, although comparing well with other all-in-one platforms, lacks flexibility in our comparison here.

The inability to easily move blocks from one section to another or to truly make the page 100% yours could be a drawback to some course creators.

Kajabi text editor

Kajabi Page Editor

The pre-loaded templates are fairly basic, and although you can buy great ones from 3rd party sellers, if you really want more advanced customization you’ll need some custom coding.

On top of that, WordPress allows for easy dynamic and global content across all pages, which isn’t possible in Kajabi.

Finally from an SEO perspective, WordPress will allow for more flexibility too.

Since you don’t have server-side access with solutions like Kajabi, you can’t really control site speed, XML sitemaps, schema markup or other technical SEO variables.

Checkout & Affiliate System

The main thing to understand with this feature is that WordPress doesn’t inherently have a checkout system, even with our suggested Thrive Themes suite.

This is needed as a course creator because you need an easy way for people to make payments and be given access to the right program.

So you will have to use something like the Woocommerce plugin or an external cart system like SamCart or ThriveCart and hook this up with your LMS plugin.

Kajabi on the other hand already has everything integrated:

Kajabi checkout example

Affiliate systems are often if not always linked to the cart you’re using.

But it wouldn’t be fair to compare Kajabi with a dedicated platform, like the ones previously mentioned, you’d have to get on top of WordPress.

If you want to see our full review of the Kajabi affiliate system, see our article here.

Overall, just understand that, as for most features we’re comparing here, WordPress will necessitate combining different specialized tools that will do an amazing job, whereas Kajabi already has an integrated solution that will do a good job (but not great).

Online Course Delivery

This is where the rubber meets the road for course creators!

And this is the core purpose of comparing these 2 platforms to see which one would be a better fit for you.

Kajabi offers a range of different layout and design options for your courses:

It’s probably one of the best self-hosted platforms in that regard, with a certain flexibility and options for customization most others don’t have.

Built-in tools for your courses include: Assessments to test your students, comment sections, drip content, different content type (video, text, audio,), completion restricted content.

If you have code access (highest Kajabi package), you can customize your course even further.

But out-of-the-box, Kajabi offers a very strong course delivery system.


So how does WordPress compare here?

Again, this will depend on the LMS plugin you use, but let’s assume you’re using Thrive Apprentice, from the Thrive Themes suite.

This will give you complete control over exactly how you want the inside of your program to look and feel.

Thrive Apprentice WordPress LMS - Course Design

So more flexibility for the front-end here, as often if you go for WordPress.

But the main downside is that you will have to pay for a video hosting like Wistia or Vimeo in order to be able to put videos in your program…

So… something else to pay for.

Other than that, the 2 platforms will be relatively similar in terms of managing your course content and back-end.

You’ll just as easily be able to create categories, free courses, automations based on a student's progress (although here again, some integrating will be necessary with WordPress)...

In summary, Kajabi surely offers an easier and more convenient solution for beginners, whereas WordPress will satisfy users that want everything to look exactly how they want.

Other Tools & Features

We’ve reviewed the core features and needs of a course creator so far to compare Kajabi and WordPress.

But each of these 2 platforms have other features the other doesn’t that could be a deal maker for you. So let’s mention these here.

The biggest one for Kajabi is an integrated email system.

Kajabi email editor

This is going to be everything 90% of course creators need to build your list, setup automations, segment your audiences, build autoresponders, etc.

And again, something WordPress does not offer and will necessitate to integrate an external system like ConverKit, Mailchimp, ActiveCampaigns and the like.

Another key feature to highlight for Kajabi, a more recent one, is the ability to host and distribute your Podcast, straight from the platform (see our article on that feature here).

Now, WordPress has nothing to envy Kajabi in terms of other features!

Being the most popular Content Management System, the platform benefit of the largest library of plugins.

Let’s list a few features you could have and that could be a game changer (and that Kajabi doesn’t have):

  • Shortened links: replace tools like bit.ly and make links shorter and prettier
  • Site speed: Controlling hosting and server allows you to optimize site speed
  • Popups and lead generation: Tools like Thrive Leads will allow you to build your list faster.
  • Split Testing: Thrive Optimize allows you to split test different versions of your pages and track results.
  • Custom posts and fields: if you want to have a more advanced type of content on your site than just a few simple pages, you can!

And really a lot more!

Pricing: Comparison Kajabi vs WordPress

Here again, we need to compare apples to apples.

So let’s see an honest comparison of what it would cost to have everything Kajabi does with WordPress:

Feature

WordPress

Kajabi

Hosting

$10/mo

Included

Video Hosting

$20/mo

Included

Checkout & Affiliate System

$30/mo

Included

LMS plugin (Thrive Themes)

$30/mo

Included

Email Marketing

$30/mo

Included

TOTAL

From $120/mo

From $119/mo

This is interesting, if we compare everything you would need as a course creator, the two platform setup cost is about the same.

In other words, cost wouldn’t really be a big factor to take into consideration here when comparing Kajabi and WordPress.

From our review so far, the main decision to make when deciding between the two platforms is between ease of use (Kajabi) and control/customization (WordPress).

Support and Community: Kajabi vs WordPress

The last criteria on which we’ll compare the platform is their respective support and community.

Both Kajabi and WordPress have a large user base and communities.

Now, something to take into account here is that community and support for WordPress will depend on what plugins/tools you use.

If your website is down, you will have to contact your hosting provider support.

If you have an issue with your emails, then you’ll have to message them.

If one tool is not properly connected to another… support from each of these will blame each other for the problem and you’ll be left holding the bags…

Same thing for the different communities you may want to be a part of.

The upside of an all integrated platform like Kajabi here, is that support and communities are in one place.

Furthermore, Kajabi’s community is composed mainly of other course creators, which will come in handy if you want advice on marketing and everything related to selling online courses.

WordPress caters to the needs of a wide range of businesses online and therefore you may not be able to connect as easily with fellow online program creators.

Point taken for Kajabi here!

Kajabi VS WordPress: The Bottom Line

kajabi logo icon

Kajabi would be a better choice if

  • You favor something easy and convenient to use and having everything in one place.
  • You don’t need something too advanced and are ok making some compromises with design in exchange for things to be easy.
  • You value being part of a course creators community that can help you in your journey and provide support and motivation.

WordPress would be a better choice if

  • You don’t mind integrating tools together and are comfortable with tech
  • You need things to look exactly how you want them or want something that can’t come from out-of-the-box platforms.
  • You have other needs than selling online courses and therefore need a solution that enables for more advanced setups.

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