30 Best Websites for Online Courses You Must Try

Some of them are free!

Reviewed by Chris Leitch

Best Websites for Taking Online Courses

The workplace landscape is constantly reinventing itself. Indeed, with technology dominating most industries, many professionals have had to adapt rapidly to these changes by committing to lifelong learning.

Luckily enough, online courses sites have made this process easier, giving people around the world the opportunity to advance their careers and secure the tools needed to succeed within their chosen professions.

Whether you’re at the beginning of your career, looking to make a change or eyeing a promotion, expanding your skills and knowledge is always a wise move.

Here are 30 online learning sites trusted by thousands of people around the world, to he­lp you get started.

1. Coursera

Free courses, paid courses and membership available ($59/month)

Founded by two computer science professors at Stanford University, Coursera is one of the most prominent online course websites around.

At Coursera, you can pursue a variety of specializations, professional certifications and online degrees offered by world-class academic institutions and organizations from all around the world. Be it a Configuration Management course by Google or a Financial Markets course by Yale University, there’s something for everyone.

With Coursera, you have the option to pay for individual courses or sign up for a monthly membership, while there are also quite a few free courses you can embark on, too.

2. Udemy

Free courses, paid courses and membership available ($20/month)

As far as online courses websites go, Udemy has the largest selection of subjects out there.

With 57 million learners and over 210,000 courses on offer, Udemy is one of the most popular and reliable online learning sites available today. The site is home to a variety of online video courses, delivered by top instructors and experts across numerous industries. You can browse course options through different categories.

What’s great about Udemy is the diversity of options available at your fingertips. You’re afforded the opportunity to develop your career but also pursue other passions, from photography and baking to yoga, arts and crafts and beyond!

3. FutureLearn

Free courses, paid courses and membership available ($20.42/month)

At FutureLearn, you can find anything between short online courses, online degrees and microcredentials. The site partners with renowned universities and institutions to provide its online learners with an impressive course catalog to choose from.

Courses consist of pre-recorded video lectures and sections where you can join online discussions with others undertaking the same course!

Most courses are free to access for a limited time, but if you want unlimited access to the materials as well as your certification, you’ll need to pay for an upgrade.

4. MasterClass

Monthly memberships from $10

MasterClass is a unique product; where else could you take online classes from the likes of Gordon Ramsay, Annie Leibovitz, Serena Williams and Martin Scorsese?

The site gives you exclusive access to online classes by industry giants, sports legends and field experts who share their creative process, skills, industry secrets, and stories on their successes and failures.

You can pick from over 200 classes across 11 categories including arts and entertainment, business, sports, gaming and cooking, with new classes being added every month. Each course comes with a PDF workbook, and there’s also an option to download and watch your classes offline, too.

5. Domestika

Free courses, paid courses and membership available ($6.99/month)

Domestika is focused on developing creative online courses. Each course is instructed by an industry expert who will guide you through the process of learning a new skill or refining an existing one. Whether you want to learn more about calligraphy, 3D animation, sewing or Adobe software, there’s a course for all creative types.

You may choose to try a single course, or you could pick a ready-made bundle which consists of three courses that complement or build up on each other. You can also choose to assemble your own bundle.

There’s also the option of becoming a Domestika Plus member and benefiting from perks like access to thousands of courses at no additional cost, plus personalized certificates of completion. The site also has a featured projects page, where it showcases the finished work of its members.

6. SheCodes

Free and paid courses available

SheCodes has a noble mission: to decrease the gender gap in the tech industry. How? By offering online coding workshops to women.

SheCodes has so far enabled nearly 200,000 women around the world to broaden their skill set. You can enroll in different workshops, depending on how much time (and money!) you want to invest; durations range from three weeks to eight months.

All workshops, however, come with the advantage of live help and the opportunity to interact with instructors and other students in real time through Slack chats.

All courses on offer are for absolute beginners, and you have the option to upgrade to another package later.

7. The Open University

Free and paid courses available

The Open University is a leading distance-learning platform. Its main objective is to open higher education to all, regardless of location or circumstances.

With the OU, you can undertake any type of course, including honors degrees, foundation programs, postgraduate diplomas, open qualifications and short courses.

The OU also offers its students a lot of flexibility, with 70% of its student body being in full-time employment. You can enroll either as a part-time or full-time time student and fit your classes around your own schedule without fuss.

8. edX

Free and paid courses available

edX teams up with leading academic institutions from around the world to bring its users advanced educational courses from every faculty and industry. Its programs range from a few weeks to a few months, depending on the specialty you choose, and you can enroll in most for free. However, if you want to receive a verified certification, you’ll need to pay a fee.

edX also offers microbachelors and micromasters programs that are specifically designed to help with your career advancement or set you on the right career path. There’s also XSeries courses that can help you attain a deeper understanding of a specific topic and executive education courses that are meant to help corporate leaders excel in their roles.

9. Alison

Free courses and monthly membership available ($7.99/month)

Alison is another great platform if you want to upskill yourself. All courses are free, and with over 4,000 courses to choose from, you’ll be spoiled for choice. Once you enroll in a program, you can take as much time as you want to complete it, and you can keep track of your progress on your very own learner dashboard.

You also have the option to go premium, meaning you can pay $7.99 a month to remove all ads from your courses and receive monthly discounts for certificates and diplomas.

10. Upskillist

Monthly subscription required ($34.99/month); free trial available

Upskillist (formerly Shaw Academy) offers a wide range of programs, all of which you can sign up for free for seven days. Afterwards, you’ll need to pay a monthly fee of $34.99 to continue learning post-trial.

You’ll have the flexibility to plan your classes according to your schedule and the ability to stream lessons on your device, be it a laptop, computer, tablet or smartphone. At the end, you’ll have a globally recognized certification which you can use to advance or kickstart your career.

11. Harvard University

Free and paid courses available

Do you want to study at one of the best universities in the world? Harvard University’s online courses give people the opportunity to advance their skills and enrich their knowledge on a variety of subjects.

Course duration ranges from one week to a few months, depending on the course you select, and while some will require you to pay a fee, others are completely free to attend. There are also different levels of difficulty, so you can choose between beginner, intermediate or advanced-level programs.

12. Skillshare

Monthly membership for $32

Skillshare is the perfect place to expand your professional skill set. Online classes are taught by teachers who are experts in their domain, and you can participate in interactive projects with others and gain practical experience while honing your skills. You can also join groups that are relevant to your interests and meet other like-minded individuals through the platform.

While a monthly fee is required, Skillshare gives new users one month’s worth of free access to its courses. You can also apply for Skillshare scholarships which will give you unlimited access to all classes.

13. LinkedIn Learning

Monthly membership for $19.99

LinkedIn is not just a powerful networking tool. Indeed, LinkedIn Learning offers expert-led courses, allowing you to earn professional certificates that will undoubtedly make a great addition to your résumé.

You can join for free for a month, after which you’ll have to pay $19.99 a month to maintain access to courses. There are over 18,000 of them to choose from, with the catalog expanding each week, currently encompassing a wealth of subjects from image editing to management and everything in between.

14. codecademy

Free and paid plans available from $14.99/month

Ever wanted to learn how to code? Coding is increasingly becoming a key skill in the workplace, and something which could give you a certain edge over other candidates.

With codecademy, you can access step-by-step computer programming tutorials for free. Indeed, you can choose from various programming languages, such as Python, Java, HTML and JavaScript, and receive instruction on subjects like front-end development, web design and machine learning. There are even free courses on generative AI and ChatGPT.

If you’re not sure where to start, you can take codecademy’s quiz, which will test your level of knowledge and come up with recommended coding courses for you.

15. Pluralsight

Paid plans available from $29/month

Pluralsight specializes in helping professionals develop the skills of tomorrow through their courses. You can pick between two paid membership plans: Standard and Premium. The former gives you access to a library of 5,000 courses, while the latter lets you view their full selection of 7,000 courses as well as exam preparation material for industry-leading certifications.

Through their technology skills platform, you can assess your current skills and gain the latest in software development, IT, AI, ops, machine learning and security. You’ll even be able to take practice exams and assess your knowledge gaps through skill assessments.

16. iversity

Free and paid courses available

iversity’s courses are placed under four categories: MOOCs (massive open online courses), PRO, Espresso and Sets. The site has a quite diverse range of subjects, too, ranging from architecture to biotechnology and management to data analysis.

Bundle courses are a combination package of a course along with an accompanying eBook on the relevant topic. Meanwhile, the platform offers some courses in different languages, too, mainly German but also French, Italian, Portuguese, Serbian, Russian, Bengali and Spanish.

17. CareerFoundry

Free and paid courses available

CareerFoundry’s courses have been designed to transform complete beginners into job-ready professionals. Their platform enables the development of in-demand tech skills, including how to use AI effectively and ethically, and it’s all available online at a flexible pace.

Their course selection includes digital marketing, UI/UX design, data analytics, web development, product management and product design.

What’s great about this platform is that it also lets recruiters and hiring managers browse CareerFoundry graduates when searching to fill vacancies. Once you complete your course, you can join a network of 7,000 graduates connected to employers!

18. Open Yale Courses

Free courses available

Though learning a new skill on Open Yale Courses doesn’t lead to certification, the online platform still provides access to introductory lessons taught by Ivy League scholars on campus. The courses comprise video, audio and text transcript files, and require no registration for viewing.

Depending on what interests you and what industry you’re hoping to work in, you could choose from courses in engineering, philosophy, political science, psychology, and more. Each course comes with suggested readings, past exams, as well as problem sets.

19. Udacity

Free courses, paid courses and memberships available

Udacity focuses on 10 main areas: programming and development, artificial intelligence, cloud computing, data science, business, executive leadership, product management, cybersecurity, career resources, and autonomous systems.

You can find numerous programs within these categories and enroll in nanodegree programs that take four weeks to five months to complete and earn certification for.

You may also find courses that are completely free, but the drawback here is that you won’t receive a certificate upon completing them. That said, Udacity does offer financial help and discounts for their programs, so keep an eye out for them!

20. Academic Earth

Free and paid courses available

Created with the premise that everyone should have access to world-class education, Academic Earth allows you to join free online courses from top universities around the world.

You can filter your search by school, field of study and degree type, and watch recorded lectures delivered by renowned academics. You can also gain insight when selecting a degree through the site’s degree program directory, which offers essential information about different fields including job prospects, career growth and available degree options.

21. Reed Courses

Free and paid courses available

Reed Courses lets you access thousands of courses online (around 100,000 to be exact), which can quickly be sorted and displayed by price, instruction level and the type of certification you may receive at the end. As far as subjects go, there is a truly wide range of courses to choose from on this platform, from math and sciences to humanities, languages, marketing, and more.

Some of the most popular courses on Reed include Microsoft Office skills, Python programming and data science tutorials.

22. Stanford Online

Free and paid courses available

You’ve heard of Stanford, but what about Stanford Online? The private research university, which ranks third in the US News’ Best National University Rankings, has a dedicated online platform that teaches various subjects, including courses in artificial intelligence, energy and sustainability, engineering, business, and more.

The materials come directly from the university’s departments, such as the Stanford School of Engineering and the Stanford School of Humanities and Sciences. Depending on the course’s focus, you may start learning on a self-paced schedule or be required to stick to a specific plan for the instructor-led programs.

23. Grow with Google

Free and paid courses available

As of 2024, Google offers dozens of products and services that are used by more than a billion people around the world. It’s not surprising, then, to see that the tech giant has also created its own virtual classroom.

Google’s flexible online programs allow you to gain in-demand professional skills. Upon completion, you are awarded a Google career certificate which can be a great addition to your résumé. According to the platform, 75% of Google certificate graduates see a positive outcome within six months, be that landing a new job or getting a raise.

Subjects include project management, UX design and data analytics.

24. HubSpot Academy

Free courses available

HubSpot began as a developer and marketer of software products in 2006. Its Academy, which has so far attracted more than 165,000 professionals from around the world, has been described by TechRadar as “an industry-leading learning center for all things CRM” — though it certainly expands beyond that.

Today, you can find courses and certifications in a wide variety of subjects, like AI for marketers, social media marketing, email marketing, SEO and business analytics.

25. Drawspace

Free and paid courses available

Drawspace is a website offering online courses specifically for individuals that want to build their artistic skills. So, if you’re tired of your 9 to 5 and dream of working as an illustrator or artist instead, this can be a great way to take your first steps towards that much-needed career change.

Of course, building a solid understanding of lighting, color use and textures in images can come in handy when looking to break into graphic design, too.

The learning platform has both free and paid courses, including realistic drawing techniques and portrait drawing.

26. Khan Academy

Free courses available

Khan Academy is a non-profit educational organization created by MIT and HBS alumnus Sal Khan. It began in 2004, when Khan would tutor his cousin in mathematics over the internet. Soon, he started recording videos which he uploaded on YouTube for the rest of his family and friends to see… And seen they were by millions around the world within a few years!

Today, Khan Academy offers courses in multiple areas of study, from math and science to economics, computing, humanities, and even life skills.

27. MOOC.org

Free courses available

MOOC.org is an extension of edX that allows you to browse exclusively massive open online courses. These are open access courses, meaning they are entirely free and can be taken by anyone, anywhere. Some of these courses are even academic credit eligible, despite being accessible at no cost.

So, if you’ve been searching for an online learning platform offering free courses that can help you advance your career and broaden your skill set, MOOC.org can be the ideal place for you to look.

28. MIT OpenCourseWare

Free courses available

MIT’s OpenCourseWare was created to “unlock knowledge and empower minds”. It certainly does so by giving learners access to lecture notes, past exams and videos from MIT — for free.

The online learning library has materials that both aspiring and established tech professionals can occupy themselves with, including courses in machine learning, computer science and data science, just to name a few.

Bear in mind that MIT OpenCourseWare doesn’t offer certificates of completion. If that’s what you’re after, it’s best to check out the university’s online courses on edX.

29. SkillUp

Paid courses available

SkillUp’s mission is to “close the tech skills gap”, enabling professionals and businesses to utilize emerging technologies to grow and thrive. The courses cater to career starters, career switchers and career returners, as SkillUp names them, the latter referring to people who need to upskill following a career break.

The subjects you can study on SkillUp include artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, cloud computing and data science, to give you an indication of what you can expect to learn.

30. Carnegie Mellon Open Learning Initiative

Free and paid courses available

Regarded as one of the top universities in the US for subjects like engineering, computer science and business, Carnegie Mellon University has been around since 1900. Its Open Learning Initiative gives access to free and low-cost courses to both CMU students as well as independent learners.

Its online course catalog comprises language, sciences, mathematics, arts and humanities, programming courses, and more — truly something for everyone, regardless of what industry they work for and what change they’re looking to make professionally.

Final thoughts

Lifelong learning is a crucial factor for professional and personal growth. So, if you’re determined to advance your career and learn something along the way, these trusted online course websites will help you sharpen your existing skills as well as attain new ones.

Have you used any of these learning sites? Leave us your review in the comments section below!

Originally published on June 7, 2017. Updated by Electra Michaelidou.