Best Online Learning Site 2020: Treehouse vs Lynda vs Udemy vs PluralSight vs Udacity vs Skillshare & More

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Best For…
Coding and Programming
Treehouse logo
Creative and Artistic People
LinkedIn Learning logo
Learning & Teaching
Udemy logo
Web Development
SitePoint logo

Learn a new skill from an experienced professional anytime, anywhere. From accounting to coding, online courses offer unmatched flexibility and allow you to learn at your own pace.

The best online learning tools can keep your business productive and ahead of the competition by helping to train your staff affordably and easily.

Article Overview

Learn When I Want (For Less)

The average in-state public college cost about $25,290 for the 2017-2018 school year. That’s nearly half as much as the average of $50,900 for a private college. Yikes! Online learning sites are not only more affordable, they’re also convenient because they allow you to learn whenever you have the time.

Instead of having a set schedule (like a typical class) you can take part in a class when it’s convenient for you. Whether that’s after you put the kids to sleep, before work, or on the weekend. You can study and learn on your own time. This is a luxury that many of us would love to have when it comes to advancing our education.

Best Online Learning Sites

Below are our top picks, depending on what you want to learn. We chose our winners based on companies’ subject specialties, price and more.

Best For The Coder Or Programmer: Treehouse Review

Treehouse logoVisit Website

This company is highly focused on tech/computer-centric subjects (HTML, CSS, app building and more), and can help you master skills that will translate into a new career in high-tech. If you are looking for more general subjects, this is not the right site for you.

Treehouse adds new videos almost weekly to stay up to date. If you opt to learn coding and programming skills through Treehouse, you will be able to create and edit your own websites and apps.

Treehouse has more than 50,000 students, and you can take courses on how to create apps, write code and even how to start a business. There are no contracts. So, after you use up your 7-day free trial, you can still sign up for a month and decide if you like Treehouse.

Learn more about treehouse in our interview with Marketer Micah Cooksey.



  • More than 300 courses
  • Hands on practice with Code Challenge Engine
  • Members only forums (not included with Basic)
  • Goal setting and achievement feature
  • Available on Android, iPhone, iPad and computers
  • No contracts
  • Only technical computer-centric courses available like design and development for the web
  • No discounts for long-term commitment/membership in exchange for no contract

Here’s a look at the Treehouse interface:

Treehouse screenshot


The Basic package includes all of the features listed above. The Pro package includes everything included in Basic plus offline viewing, access to beta features and unlimited access. Techdegree includes everything in Pro plus currated curriculum and projects, personalized feedback on your code, flexible scheduling and real-time support. Treehouse offers a 7-day free trial via this link.

  • Basic – $25/month
  • Pro – $49/month
  • Techdegree – $199/month

Coupon Code

There are no Treehouse coupons available.

Group memberships are also available, but you must contact their sales team via their contact form on their website (click on link above).

Read Our In-Depth Team Treehouse Review

Best For The Creative Or Artistic Person: LinkedIn Learning (Formerly Lynda) Review

LinkedIn Learning logoVisit Website

Lynda was founded in 1995, acquired by LinkedIn in 2015, and then rebranded as LinkedIn Learning in 2018. LinkedIn Learning offers courses that teach you how to edit photos and use video software. With access to more than 6,300 courses, you can learn software, business, creative skills and more.

The video tutorials are simple to follow, and the number of tutorials is growing weekly. LinkedIn Learning’s strengths include creative projects like software programs for photography, illustrations, videos and documents. Where they fall short is the lack of cooking courses, which have become more and more popular with today’s population wanting to save money by cooking at home.



  • Easy to follow video tutorials
  • Offline viewing for Premium members
  • App on Windows, Android and iOS devices as well as Apple TV
  • Video streaming can be slow at times
  • Expert teachers, but not always engaging/entertaining videos

Here is an overview of Lynda From LinkedIn interface:

Lynda screenshot


You can try a LinkedIn Learning membership out with a 30-day free trial.

  • $29.99/month (or $24.99/month for annual subscription)
    • 13,000+ expert-led courses to learn from
    • Learn on the go via mobile and computer
    • Assess progress with quizzes
    • Earn certificate at completion
    • Project files to practice
    • Offline viewing

Coupon Code

There are not any active LinkedIn Learning coupons at this time.

Read Our In-Depth LinkedIn Learning Review

Best For Learning It All And Teaching: Udemy Review

Udemy logoVisit Website

If you’re looking for a site that offers a large variety of courses and also lets you share your knowledge with others, Udemy is your best bet. Udemy has it all, from photography to cooking to programming and everything in between.

You’ll be able to expand your skills of all types and levels with the help of Udemy, currently the world’s largest destination for online learning. The best way to explain Udemy is that it is a combination of LinkedIn Learning and Treehouse.

Udemy covers the creative courses, while also covering the more technical career-building courses like web coding, programming, finance and graphic design. You can also learn on the go on your device to watch courses anytime, any place. For those of you who are experts, you can make a little extra money by applying to teach a class too.



  • Some free courses
  • Reviews available for each course, so you can make a more informed decision on a course before you spend the cash
  • Good customer service reputation
  • More than 100,000 courses in more than 80 languages
  • You can create your own course, if you qualify and earn money if your course sells
  • Groups get a discount, so might work well for a corporate training option
  • Available on Android, iOS and computers
  • Large database of classes can be overwhelming
  • Individual classes can add up and be expensive
  • No subscription option or discounts for loyalty (if you take one course, you get no benefit to take the next one from Udemy again)
  • If you decide to create a course, the minimum length is 30 minutes (which may be too long for some topics) and deleting lectures can be difficult

Here is a look at Udemy’s interface:

Udemy screenshot


Udemy has you pay by the course anywhere from $11.99 to $200. There are no subscription plans, contracts or monthly fees for individuals.

Instructors receive a percentage of the profit made by their course. If you decide to create a course and it gets approved, you will get a portion of the profits.

For a group membership:

  • Team Plan (5-20 users): $240/user per year
  • Enterprise Plan (21+ users): price varies by number of users

Coupon Code

Your first course with Udemy is $24 and no promocode is needed. Use this link to take advantage of this offer.

How Does Udemy Work?

Want to teach a course or maybe learn something? Check out how you can through Udemy.

Read Our In-Depth Udemy Review

Best For Web Development: SitePoint Review

SitePoint logoVisit Website

SitePoint Premium, previously known as Learnable, has numerous videos on web development (ranging from HTML to CSS, JavaScript, PHP, Phython and more) your skill level will improve quickly if you stick with it.

SitePoint offers courses for various skill levels to help you jump in at the level you are comfortable with and enhance your knowledge of your chosen subject. SitePoint offers 122 courses and ranging from 30 minutes to 9 hours. You can also download e-books and keep them forever — even after your subscription is over.

There are 170+ ebooks at the time of update and 5,000 Premium Screencasts, which are single video lesson courses. While taking a course, you can ask questions on the discussion thread and the instructor should respond within 24 hours.



  • Free podcast and forums
  • Established learning company for IT, web development and design professionals
  • 122 courses with 30 minutes to 9 hours each
  • 170+ e-books to download and keep forever
  • Each course has a discussion board where classmates and instructors interact with you if you have questions
  • 30-day money back guarantee
  • Talk with Experts is a chat series — not a webinar — so it is not as user-friendly as one might expect
  • Lack of content outside of the web and IT world
  • No mobile app

Here is a screenshot of SitePoint:

SitePoint screenshot


We couldn’t find a page dedicated to SitePoint’s pricing. The best we could find was the Premium $9 monthly membership, which is typically $15. It includes unlimited downloads for books, courses and learning paths.

Coupon Code

There are no Sitepoint coupons available.

More Online Learning Site Reviews

Coursera | CreativeLive | Edureka | edXMasterClass | O’Reilly | Pluralsight | SkillshareUdacity

Coursera Review

Coursera logo

Visit Website

Coursera is the largest MOOC (Massive Open Online Courses) site. It has many college-level online courses from reputable universities like Stanford, John Hopkins and Duke. In each course you take, you can network with other like-minded professionals. You can also proceed through the course at your own pace and develop in your area of interest. Course subjects include:

  • Arts and Humanities
  • Business
  • Sciences
  • Math
  • IT
  • Health
  • Languages
  • And more

After you complete a course, you receive a certificate of official recognition of your work.



  • More than 2,000 courses
  • Millions of learners
  • Available on Android and iPhone
  • Financial assistance available for some courses
  • Pricing not listed

Here is a screenshot of Coursera:

Coursera screen


CreativeLive Review

CreativeLive logo

Visit Website


CreativeLive specializes in providing classes for entrepreneurs. With more than 1,500 classes, more than 10 million students are learning how to run their businesses efficiently.

Class subjects include:

  • Photo and video
  • Art and design
  • Music and audio
  • Craft and maker
  • Money and life

If you want to learn more about a creative product or obtain a new skill, CreativeLive is a good option to consider.



  • Access to live, free videos
  • Option to watch the lecture live or a recorded version
  • More than 1,500 classes
  • Photography is a common topic that users rave about
  • iOS app
  • No contracts
  • Reviews say some courses can be hit or miss
  • No refunds
  • No Android app

Here’s a look at CreativeLive’s interface:

CreativeLive screenshot


CreativeLive is structured so that you pay for each course you take individually. Courses range in price from $5 to $300. You can also pay $299/year for access to 1,500+ courses. View all courses.

Edureka Review

Edureka logo

Visit Website

Edureka doesn’t appear to be as popular as other online learning sites. We couldn’t find as many reviews for them, but the ones we did find, seemed very positive.

Top course categories include:

  • Big data
  • Cloud computing
  • BI and visualization
  • Software testing
  • DevOps
  • Programming & frameworks

Edureka helps make sure you’re understanding the material by offering quizzes and assignments. Each course also has a star rating to help you see how other learners liked the class.

Overall, we get a good feeling from Edureka, but we have some concerns that this company might be “too good to be true.” The lack of other online reviews seems a bit odd. However, if you’re looking to learn Hadoop or big data, this could be a great option for you.



  • Option to watch the lecture live or a recorded version
  • Teaching assistants are available to help you 24/7
  • More than 250,000 hours of courses
  • Discussion forum to talk with other learners
  • Mobile app for Android and iOS
  • No contracts
  • 3-day money back guarantee
  • Teaching assistants may take some time to respond to you or not respond at all

Here is a look at Edureka’s interface:

Edureka screenshot


Edureka charges by the course. Courses average $300 to $400. View all courses.

Coupon Code

Use coupon code LIMITED25 to save 25% OFF On Edureka Live and Self-Paced Courses until December 31st. Use this link to get started.

edX Review

edX logo

Visit Website

edX is the second largest MOOC. It has courses from professors from Harvard, Berkeley and more. edX specializes in the sciences but offers other course subjects as well. You can earn an online degree in your area of interest in subjects like:

  • Architecture
  • Chemistry
  • Design
  • Ethics
  • Music
  • Philanthropy
  • And more

After you complete a course, you receive a certificate of official recognition of your work.



  • Some courses are free
  • More than 2,000 courses
  • Specializes in the sciences
  • App for Android and iPhone
  • Receiving certificates can take a long time
  • Online community isn’t as good as Coursera’s

Here is a screenshot of edX’s interface:

edX screenshot


  • Prices vary for each course but start at $50 if you want a certificate, view all options

MasterClass Review

MasterClass logo

Visit Website

When you sign up for MasterClass, you’ll be learning from the best. Stephen Curry teaches you basketball, Gordon Ramsay teaches cooking, Judy Blume teaches writing, Helen Mirren teaches acting, etc. These are true masters in their craft.

We’re a bit blown away by MasterClass because, for only $180 per year, you have access to all the classes offered. That means you have access to big name professionals in their area of specialty. In our opinion, this is an extremely low price for access to all courses.

MasterClass is geared more towards creative skills, but many courses fall outside of that category. If you want to learn from an expert truly, MasterClass is a good place to start.



  • Very professional looking videos
  • No contracts
  • 30-day refunds
  • Office hours where class instructors answer questions vary by course
  • No app

Review the MasterClass’s interface:

MasterClass screenshot


O’Reilly Review

O'Reilly logo

Visit Website

O’Reilly (formerly Safari Books Online) is a technology and business learning platform. With more than 40,000 books and videos, you can learn anything from IT to photography and art.

O’Reilly has one of the largest coding libraries and course offerings, but this is largely due to some recent acquisitions, which is partly why it’s not our pick for best for coding and programming.

Ultimately, O’Reilly has a lot of resources for you to learn from, but we have read better customer reviews of other online learning platforms.



  • More than 40,000 books and videos
  • iOS and Android app
  • No contract
  • Reports of poor customer service
  • Lacks forums and other help resources
  • No refunds

Here’s a look at O’Reilly’s interface:


O’Reilly has a 10-day free trial.

O'Reilly screenshot

Pluralsight Review

Pluralsight logoVisit Website

Newer to the online learning market, Pluralsight is similar to Udemy in that they have a wide-range of topics to choose from. You can study anything from coding and web development to creative disciplines like graphic design.

Pluralsight also offers classes in architecture, IT and cyber security and manufacturing. Pick a path in a certain skill and measure your progress to see where you have the opportunity to grow. They also offer mentoring programs and a mobile and desktop app for learning on your phone or Apple TV.



  • 5,000+ courses
  • Skill measurement, exercises, learning checks
  • Mobile app available for learning on the go
  • Offline learning on mobile apps
  • Group discount for 2 or more
  • Mobile, desktop and Apple TV app
  • Reports of tutorials having problems loading or content is out of date
  • Not the best customer service

Here’s a look at Pluralsight’s interface:

Pluralsight screenshot


  • $35/month or $299/year
  • $449/year for Premium which includes:
    • certification practice exams
    • interactive courses
    • projects

They also offer a 10-day free trial for both.

Skillshare Review

Skillshare logo

Visit Website

Skillshare has over 26,000 classes with more than 3 million members. The goal is for students to “learn from doing.” What this means is that students will complete a project and share it with the class’ project gallery, similar to a class presentation in a way.

Students can communicate with one another but aren’t able to talk directly with the teacher. We aren’t crazy about this because we feel that the best way to learn is to be able to speak directly with your teacher.

Course topics include:

  • Design
  • Business
  • Technology
  • Photography
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Film
  • Writing



  • Free membership available with access to some classes
  • Over 26,000 classes
  • Offline access for Premium accounts
  • iOS and Android app
  • No contracts
  • You can teach on Skillshare and earn money
  • Some people feel the instructors are not well versed in what they’re teaching
  • No direct teacher-student interaction
  • No refunds

Here’s a look at Skillshare’s interface:

Skillshare screenshot


Skillshare has a one-month free trial.

  • Premium – $15/month or $99/year

Udacity Review

Udacity logoVisit Website

Udacity’s programs or “nanodegrees” are like a mini certification program intended to get you prepared for jobs in the tech and data field. Their longer-term courses focus on mostly high-tech and specialized jobs that require specific skills. From self-driving car engineers to virtual reality programming, they are cutting edge in “ahead of the curve” industries.

Pricing and features vary by program. Udacity is big on the quality of their programs and has top-notch instructors from accredited universities and organizations. They stand by their programs and give a 50% refund if you graduate within 12 months. In addition, the Plus program comes with a 100% money back guarantee if you don’t get a job within 6 months.



  • Help with job placement at high-demand, well-playing companies like Google, AT&T, Intuit and more
  • Accelerate your learning with Udacity Connect in-person classes
  • 100% money back guarantee if you don’t get a job (with Plus program)
  • Scholarships available for some Nanodegrees
  • More competitive and require an application to get in
  • Not as much “learn as you go” classes, intended for long-term students with set times for courses
  • More serious-minded (not intended for leisurely students)

Here’s a look at Udacity’s interface:

Udacity screenshot


Varies based on the Nanodegree program you choose. See a full list here.

College vs Online Learning Sites

More traditional learning in the classroom can be expensive. We aren’t saying that these online learning sites should replace a four-year education or two-year degree. But we are saying that if you’re interested in furthering employees’ skills or having them learn a new one, then an online learning site may help you without breaking the company’s budget.

We also recommend getting a standing desk or treadmill desk to keep you healthy while you learn since some of the classes can be rather lengthy.

What type of class are you looking to take with an online learning site?

About The Author:

Kimberly received her Bachelor of Arts from Simpson College with a major in multimedia journalism and a minor in marketing. She has been writing about business solutions since 2014, covering subjects such as tax software, email marketing, office equipment and more.

In 2015, she started her own business and continues to learn how to run it more efficiently thanks to her work on We Rock Your Web. Her natural curiosity helps her research as she seeks the truth when learning about, comparing and personally testing products and services. With every piece she writes, her goal is to help our readers find the best fit for their unique needs.

Disclaimer: This website contains reviews, opinions and information regarding products and services manufactured or provided by third parties. We are not responsible in any way for such products and services, and nothing contained here should be construed as a guarantee of the functionality, utility, safety or reliability of any product or services reviewed or discussed. Please follow the directions provided by the manufacturer or service provider when using any product or service reviewed or discussed on this website.

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Hey Kimberly, great article! Just in case you’re still updating the post, I’d say that BitDegree should be added as well. I learn on both Udemy and BitDegree and the platforms are really similar. Udemy has a lot more courses, but BitDegree offers better prices.
If you have the need to download videos from Udemy, Lynda etc online learning websites, Allavsoft can do that.
Leighton Cooper
I subscribe to Safari Books online. You are right they don’t have a forum, but recently they seem to be sponsering conferences on new computer programming languages and so much that I am not aware of. Which isn’t necessarily bad. Overall I have subscribed for the last 5 years and plan on keeping my subscription.
Pluralsight is a world-class technology skills platform that has over 6,000+ courses and is tailored to technology professionals. Pluralsight is the technology platform of choice of over 65% of the Fortune 500, and over 80% of the Fortune 1000 Financial Services firms.‎

Pros: Corporate discounts are based on License volume and term length.
Pros: Pluralsight is a multi-product technology platform
Pros: Pluralsight has the highest customer satisfaction rate of ALL technology training content players
Pros: Pluralsight’s customer service is fantastic. Account teams are amazingly responsive.

Pluralsight has amazing philanthropic ties and gives back to communities nationally and globally.

I use Allavsoft to download video courses from Lynda, Udemy, YouTube etc
Leighton Cooper
What about Virtual Training company VTC? as far as I can tell that is the only one you left out. I don’t think you had enough to create feelings for some of these reviews either. Also Questia as a library and Cengage Unlimited would be some other institutions to review. But overall I found your information helpful.
Well, about the pluralsight, this is oldest like Lynda, before was known like Digital Tutors, so it had good videotutorials, majority for 3d field, animation…
Shawn Fumo
FYI, it looks like CreativeLive has rolled out a membership plan where you pay $300 a year for almost all their courses (except a few bound by contract). I’ve been buying their courses on sale but I’m seriously considering paying for the year.

I’ve watched some good photography courses on Lynda but there aren’t reviews and they have a bit more focus on software. The CL courses have usually been high quality and the reviews point out the ones that have issues.

Great comparisons, Kimberly! It’d be nice if you could include other ones like TutsPlus and Plantoost.
Farooq Rasheed
Great article, everything at one place. Keep up thr great work, thanks
@Kimberly Alt
i’m pretty sure you meant “Formerly Lynda” instead of “Formally Lynda”
since LinkedIn just acquired them this year [2018], and the name
LinkedIn Learning sounds formal, where Lynda sounds accessible
aaron ralls
Pluralsight has an offline mode with the mobile app that allows you to download courses.
Hey I have used a few of the sites on this list and id say your views were spot on. I used teamtreamhouse for a year after using Lynda and pluralsite and found it to be better for programming as you said.
I tried a udemy course as well but that site is hit or miss.

Im using safari at the moment and wonder what you think of and its cert courses from various companies and universities

Hello! There is an Android app for Skillshare
Leon Sandler
The good thing about Pluralsight and Lynda is it can be watched on you 4k TV using Apple 4K TV (or 4th gen) for both, or Roku (Ultra 4K or any) for Lynda.. Instead of streaming Netflix shows you could be learning!
this needs more exposure, watching anything on a cheap, huge screen
is more immersive than a phone, tablet, or monitor. good looking out.
[hint: costco grand opening roku flatscreen sales]
Roku no longer supported on LinkedIn Learning…and my company just joined so I’m bummed
Great comparison! Thanks a lot!! I’ve tried only CreativeLive and Lynda and Lynda’s courses were way more moring and dry, I did not finish it. However maybe it is just me. CL is pricey though but some courses which are on sale or live can be worth watching. Do read reviews and watch demo videos before buying.
Damn, Kimberly, you did an excellent job of comparing and contrast the MOCC. I prefer the most of all Udemy, tried Udacity and other courses, but they had no reviews and mainly Udemy I found the best on the price-quality ratio. I’m also using some very best free course online like BitDegree, these guys are kicking-a** and offer interactive, gamified lessons.
I am looking for Azure portal administration and related courses. I have .NET development experience of 5 yrs but more interested admin side rather than development. Please advise which course is better in Azure.
Namra Jain
Should I opt for the courses which are running online or should I do masters from better college/university in canada
Khairul Anam
That’s depend, what is your career aspiration? What is your goal?

Some career path doesn’t really put much important in having a higher education degree and more toward pro cert, some vice versa.

Ernesto E Simbulan
I was looking for udemy vs. I hope to find an objective review for these 2 learning sites.
Have you heard of Skillcrush, it is just for coding/web dev but I’d be curious about your perspective?
what about edureka?
you don’t talk about certification. It seems to me that certification can be very helpful for job seekers.
Is there a chance to get some nice graphs of the above please? It could really help
Pretty sure is 50% refund for people who graduate in 12 months or less. Not for those who don’t graduate.