One Time Purchase vs Subscriptions Guide: Which Should You Choose?

Tables can't be imported directly. Please insert an image of your table which can be found here.


  • Currently, the subscription feature works only on the web.

  • The subscription feature for android and iOS apps is in beta. So, if you have a web+ mobile app-enabled, you may not be able to see the subscriptions.

    • To get subscriptions for your mobile apps, please contact our sales team.

  • The subscription feature in the segment is also in beta.

You can sell courses in 2 ways to your students.

The first, is a One time purchase model.

The second, is the subscription model.

  • So, what are these models?

  • How should you pick them?

Let's cover these points:

One Time Purchase vs Subscriptions: What is the difference?

Tables can't be imported directly. Please insert an image of your table which can be found here.


Subscription Model

One Time Purchase Model


Learners pay for the content library on a recurring basis

Learners can pick and purchase individual courses

Content Strategy

You sell your contents as a package

You sell your contents as individual courses/tests

Content Frequency

You will be creating new content regularly for a specific stream

You create new courses or new subject streams

Pricing Strategy

You will usually price it lower as learners will pay on a recurring basis

Pricing could be higher as learners get longer course access

Market fit

Best for K12 & test-prep segments. You can regularly update content & easily help students prepare for the exam

Best for vocational, skill development, training & lifestyle courses that don't need regular updates

Next, let us see what the pros and cons of each model are.

One Time Payment: Pros & Cons


  1. Set a high sale price:

    • Since your course provides lifetime access to a solution, you can charge a higher price. You can build your income much faster.

  2. Efforts are only upfront:

    • You don't need to constantly rework course creation. Once done, you don't need to come back to it.

  3. Teach targeted topics:

    • People will love a targeted course that helps them learn a niche are like playing the guitar. It is easier to teach a topic that is targeted.

  4. Keep It Short & Simple:

    • You can start with a small niche topic and create a simple 1-2 hour course. You don't need to be an expert

  5. Don’t need constant updates:

    • You don't have to worry about creating new content for your students. As long as a sale happens, you are good to go.

Cons :

  1. Revenue limited to sales:

    • You make revenue only when a student buys your course.

  2. Constant update is hard:

    • An update usually means revamping the entire course

  3. Hard to keep student engagement:

    • As courses are passive in nature, retaining course engagement is hard.

  4. Harder to estimate future revenue:

    • As the revenue you earn is non-recurring, it's difficult to earn a steady income from the course sale without a sales funnel.

Subscriptions: Pros & Cons


  1. Recurring Revenue:

    • You get consistent monthly/yearly revenue from learners subscriptions

  2. More Course Sales:

    • With more value on offer at less cost, you can get more learners and increase sales

  3. Easy To Market:

    • Use subscriptions to market targeted exam courses or tests. Students will find it easy to buy

  4. Grow Your Brand:

    • You can keep creating new content, sell multiple subscriptions & grow as a brand

  5. Build and retain learners:

    • Use free subscriptions to build your students. Retain learners by giving them more courses over time.


  1. Building income takes time:

    • As subscriptions are priced low, it takes a longer time to consistently build your income.

  2. The constant effort required:

    • You need to constantly create new content to keep your students engaged & not cancel the subscriptions.

  3. You need an authority to sell subscriptions:

    • Students look for a proven track record of success before they can buy the subscription.

One time purchase vs Subscriptions: Which one should you choose?

Both models have their own plus and minuses. You can make profits by using either of these models. Here is a short criterion you can use to decide.

Tables can't be imported directly. Please insert an image of your table which can be found here.

One time Purchase


You are a beginner, new to content creation or marketing

You are an expert, have sold courses & have a good student base

You are teaching a specific evergreen topic that doesn't change much

You have a broad topic where contents need to be updated regularly

You don't want to add new content or rapidly expand your business fast.

You are committed to providing constant value to students every month

You are doing this as a part-time gig than as a full-time job

You are looking to make a more stable full-time income from course sales.

You are not looking to build a huge following of students

You want to stamp your authority by building your own student following

Things To Know

  1. If you are an existing user and want to switch to subscriptions, please read this first, before switching.

  2. It's a best practice to create the subscription plan and add it within a relevant segment. Refer to this article to add subscription plans within segments


1. Who can use Subscriptions?

  • Subscriptions work well for test prep institutes and for institutes that keep adding content for a particular stream of study.

2. How many subscriptions can I create?

3. Can I switch between one-time purchases and subscriptions?

4. What will be the validity of subscriptions?

5. Is my content secure in subscriptions or one-time payment?

  • Don't worry. Your contents will be secured with DRM encryption irrespective of subscription mode or one-time purchase mode. You can activate the anti-piracy pack features to prevent credentials sharing, screen-recording & so on.

Did this answer your question? Thanks for the feedback There was a problem submitting your feedback. Please try again later.Yes No No results found