There are pros and cons to each route. However, for the entrepreneurial minded content creator or teacher, the downsides of not self hosting far outweigh the upsides. You simply lose too much control over your eCourse business.
For example, Udemy is a popular platform that allows course sellers to sell their courses online. However, it’s not a self hosted solution. Which in and of itself isn’t a problem. It’s just that course sellers are at the hands of Udemy when it comes to profit sharing, website design, coupon distribution and many more important business decisions. So eCourse sellers get the platform, they need to ask themselves if the platform is worth losing control. If the answer is “no” then they need to consider a self hosted solution.
It’s better to make your decision regarding which direction you want to go early on. It’s something you want to be proactive rather than reactive about. For example, you wouldn’t want to be one of the many Udemy teachers who found themselves scrambling for alternatives when Udemy announced it was going to change its pricing structure from a 70/30 to a 50/50 revenue split overnight. Some teachers lost 20% of their revenue without even being brought to the discussion table. It goes without saying that many of their teachers were furious and started blog topics like this one that explains their frustrations. Or you can read the comments in this post. People were not happy to say the least.
The simple (yet no so simple) solution to the problem is to self host your eCourse online. The reasons that most people don’t is because self hosting requires a degree of technical expertise that is not required for 3rd party solutions. You’ll need to be able to accept payments online, protect your course content, implement a Learning Management System (LMS) capable of handling the technical requirements of your course and much more.
If you want to learn how to set up your own self hosted online course you should listen to the following 40 minute podcast on setting up an LMS with the features your eCourse requires. Hopefully that gets you started on the right track to figuring out if self hosting your online course is a possibility for you.