a course creator working on laptop for building online course

You’ve set out to build an online course, but are you going over the budget? Or have you underestimated your expenses by overlooking an important aspect?

Calculating the total cost of online course development is a vital step in determining both the appropriate pricing for your course and the level of profitability you should strive for.

So without further ado, let's delve into the various expenses that come with creating and selling an online course.

The various elements of creating an online course

1. Hardware Equipment

The hardware includes all the equipment that you’ll deploy for your online course.

The first and foremost will be a computer, but let’s consider you already have this with you.


All the latest computer models come equipped with a good quality camera that can shoot in at least 720p which should be sufficient to shoot a decent video of yourself instructing into the camera.

If you use an older computer and/or you are not satisfied with the recording quality, you will have to consider purchasing a webcam that’s compatible with your computer.

A webcam would cost you anywhere between $30 - $70 for a really effective 1080p recording.


If you thought you’ll make do with the built-in microphone in your laptop or the webcam, think again.

If your course includes you speaking and explaining concepts, you must definitely consider buying an external mic.

Microphones can easily cost hundreds of dollars. However, choose the one that serves your purpose for recording in a quiet room. Such a mic will cost you between $50 - $100.

The other accessories you may consider purchasing along with the microphone are:

  • A mic stand (to place the mic in a place convenient to you)
  • Pop Filter (to prevent distortion)


a female course creator recording video using different equipment's

Bad lighting can seriously impact the way your course looks and feels. Getting this wrong can significantly affect your course from growing. Yes, it is that important.

You may decide to use your laptop camera but we really insist to use an external light along with it.

If you prefer to shoot a production-quality video, again the choices are limitless.

The various lighting you can use are:

  • Soft Lighting
  • Key Lighting.
  • Fill Lighting.
  • Back Lighting.

But most of these are overkill if you are simply aiming for a video that is good to look at and does the job.

Settle for a bright ring light that brings you in focus and makes you stand out of the background.

Such a lighting system should cost you between $20 - $35.

Graphic Tablets

With a graphic tablet, you write on the digital pad, and the same work is visible on the laptop screen.

You need graphic tablets primarily if you are a teacher of design, or you need to show a work that is handwritten or drawn. For example a mathematical calculation.

Graphic tablets can be immensely useful even during a live class when you are trying to explain a concept and you’d like to write to drive home the point.

Look for pressure sensitivity and resolution offered when choosing the most suitable tablet.

A graphic tablet would cost between $50 - $200 dollars.

2. Software

Let’s talk about all the software tools that you might need for creating online courses.

Video Editor

Most course creators do need a video editor to overlay an image inside a video or snip out embarrassing outtakes.

You can also stitch in separate videos, add animation, etc., to make your course more engaging, using a video Editor.

You can get a list of several free video editors online, but most either put a cap on the length of the video or the video quality.

Video recording software can drive up expenses by hundreds of dollars if you opt for a subscription model. Instead, we recommend a one-time payment model like Nero Video or Movavi video editor.

Alternate to a video editing software

Video editing can be an additional skill for you to learn when you are already quite caught up in creating your online course.

Therefore, we recommend outsourcing the video editing to a professional.

One can find several video editors or course designers on freelance platforms like Upwork or Fiverr from $25 - $50.

Fiverr results for the search of “online course editor"

Screen Recorder

If much of your course lesson involves teaching a specific software, you essentially have to use a screen recorder to capture the process.

Again, there are various factors to look at while choosing a screen recorder. These include the resolution, mouse cursor highlighter, and also the length of each video.

Loom is a free online screen and video recording software that allows you to record the screen as well as yourself speaking into the camera simultaneously.

The paid version starts at $8 per month.

Intellectual Property

By this, we mean the various stock photos or videos that you may use in your course both to teach a concept, as well as to improve the aesthetics of your course.

On a platform like Shutterstock, you’ll get almost every type of image/illustration/video that you can purchase and use with a license

This prevents you from any copyright troubles that you may face by using an unauthorized image.

If you wish to use completely copyright-free images, check out websites like Unsplash and Pexels.

pexels stock photo home page

3. Course Hosting Platforms

Now, even after you’ve created your course, you would need a place to host it. Think of it as a place where people can actually visit and take your course.

You have two options for this:

  • A course marketplace - These are platforms like Udemy, where you can upload your course and make it available to a large audience. The marketplaces handle the marketing and promotion of your course, and they take a percentage of the revenue generated from your course sales.
    While Udemy can be a great way to reach a large audience, keep in mind that you will have less control over the pricing and presentation of your course.
  • LMS platform - An Learning Management System is a software application designed specifically for the creation and delivery of online courses.
    Unlike a marketplace, an LMS platform gives you complete control over the content, pricing, and presentation of your course. Some popular LMS platforms include Miho, Thinkific, and Kajabi.
create professional looking online course with Miho

With Miho, you can create your own personal website that you can customize with brandable features like logos, fonts, and colors.

With Miho’s starter pack, you get the features of live chat and email communication with your students, along with a mammoth 30GB of storage.

Sign up today and get a 14-day free trial.

So what is the cost of creating an online course?

We hope that we were able to give you an idea of the various costs that you are likely to incur while creating an online course. The final cost to develop an online course can still depend on the time that you take, the quality of skilled experts you are likely to engage, and so on.

But to give you a picture here’s the least and a significantly higher range that you can spend on your course.

Lower Range
Higher Range
Free (in-built)
Graphic Tablet
Video editing software
Video Editor
Screen Recorder
Intellectual Properties
Course Hosting
$24 (with Miho)

As you can see, you can create a very high-quality impactful course for just about $145. You can choose to spend more if you are employing graphic designers or video editors, or using high-end software and hardware products to produce a cinematographic online course. In such a case, you can easily end up spending close to $1000.

Next Steps

While there is no limit to the amount of money you can spend on your course to make it more effective and ‘pretty’, the ultimate test of your course will come with the student outcomes that you have set out to achieve. And to get you off the ground hassle-free, we are there to help.

Miho is an all-in-one place for course creation and selling. With Miho, you can not only create your course with an easy drag-and-drop builder but you can also use the dynamic platform to connect payment tools and marketing software to maximize the potential of your courses.

Try Miho today and get a 14-day free trial.