Thinkific Private Course Overview

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Thinkific allows you to set any course you create to private. However, doing so will stop any potential subscribers from being able to directly purchase or enroll onto the course.

If you choose to set a course as private and want a new student to have access, you must manually enroll them.

Key Takeaways:

  • You can set any course as private on Thinkific and anyone that wishes to have access will need to contact you directly
  • There are a number of scenarios where making a course private could come in useful

What Is a Thinkific Private Course?

Thinkific’s private course feature allows creators to have full control over who can join a course and view its content. When setting a course to private, enrollment is by invite-only.

To make a course private, the minimum subscription plan you must have is the Start plan, which costs $99 per month, or $74 per month when paid annually. 

The Free plan offered by Thinkific does not allow you to set courses as private.

Can I Charge Customers When My Course Is Private?

When a course is set to private, it deactivates the checkout, meaning that it cannot be purchased from your via. However, the course will still appear on your landing page with a default message advising potential customers to email you directly if they are interested in purchasing the product.

So, while a customer would not be able to go through the normal checkout process, you could bill them using a third-party app or invoice as a workaround solution. 

Regardless of whether you choose to charge a customer for access to a private course, you would need to enroll them manually via your Thinkific Admin dashboard.

3 Reasons Why You May Want to Make Your Course Private

Here is a round-up of some of the mains reasons to make a course private:

Being Worked On – If you’re preparing to launch a course and it’s not open, then you can set it to private when working on it. This will allow you to begin marketing the course and also enroll beta members to test and give feedback without publicly launching it. 

No Space Available – Some coaches only wish to run courses at certain times of the year or have a course limited to a certain number of people – for instance, if it includes a webinar or live Q&A sessions. Once a course is full, it can simply be set to private.

Invite Only Course – If you’re selling a specialist course on an advanced topic, it may come with strict entrance requirements. A public course would not allow you to vet students to ensure their suitability before letting them in. 

How to Make a Course Private

Now that you understand what a private course is and why you may want to use the feature, let’s dive into how to make a course private.

  1. Once you’ve logged into your Thinkific account, select Manage Learning Products
  2. Select Courses
  3. Click on the specific course that you’d like to set private
  4. Click on the Settings tab
  5. Under Access, check the Private course box
  6. Click Save

Hidden vs Private Courses

As Thinkific often advertises its private course feature alongside hidden courses, it’s easy to get them mixed up. We’ve created a list of key differences between the two features below.

Access via a Direct Link vs. Manual Enrolment – Students can access a hidden product via a direct link, however, private products can only be accessed by manual enrollment.

Purchase – Even though a product is hidden, once a student has the direct link, they can checkout and purchase the products, whereas, for a private course, students can’t.

Landing Page Visibility – The landing page is still visible for the public to see for private products. Hidden products can only be found with a direct link.

Landing Page Indexing – Hidden courses are not indexed by Google nor appear in search engine results, in contrast, private products are indexed.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Do You Hide a Course on Thinkific?

To set a course as hidden, you have to go to Manage Learning Products on your Admin dashboard > Courses > pick the course you’d like to set as hidden> Settings tab > under Access, check the Hidden course box > Save.

How Do I Set a Course as Private on Thinkific?

To set a course private, you have to go to Manage Learning Products > Courses > pick the course you’d like to set private > Settings tab > under Access, check the Private course box > Save.

Can Students Enroll When a Course Is Private on Thinkific?

Yes, you can enroll a student using the manual enroll feature. However, students cannot be automatically enrolled as they can’t checkout or purchase private courses on Thinkific.

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Samuel Fletcher
Samuel Fletcher is an entrepreneur with over ten years of experience in knowledge commerce, business development, SEO, social media management, and blogging. Sam enjoys researching and experimenting with the latest online marketing trends and tools. Beyond this, Samuel is a blogger, online business coach, and regular contributor to community and volunteering projects. Samuel believes strongly that dedication, perseverance, and commitment are keys to success in any business. He was motivated to start SupplyGem after discovering how difficult it was to find good, honest, unbiased information online about knowledge commerce tools. Sam is a current member of the Association for Talent Development (ATD), the International Society for Performance Improvement (ISPI), ISA (the Association of Learning Providers), The Learning Guild, and the Training Magazine Network.

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