Build your own Udemy clone using WordPress and Lunchbox

Udemy is a very enticing website for content creators to host and sell their video courses. When you choose Udemy, you get to leverage their built-in video tools, view your students in their creator dashboard, and take advantage of the traffic that they have built up over time.

There are, however, important drawbacks to using Udemy that may make you want to look elsewhere.

  • You do not have any access to your students’ information or email address, which makes it difficult to segment out your customers or sell them other products.
  • You do not have much control over your course pricing and have to pay Udemy a cut. Usually, your profit margin is incredibly low for a course that you’ve spent a lot of time creating.
  • You cannot easily tie in your online store or customize their site to fit your branding.

These drawbacks are arguably big enough to make you think twice about setting up your online course with Udemy.

What if you could create your own Udemy using a simple WordPress plugin without paying thousands of dollars to design, develop, and launch your site?

I bet you can guess where I’m going with this.

Using WordPress to create your own Udemy clone

We’ve been working on a video course plugin for WordPress for about a year now, and the objective is to allow you to create your own video course and host it on your own site without any of the drawbacks listed above.

By following the steps below, you’ll have your video course software set up on your self-hosted WordPress website. Then, you’ll be ready to start posting your video course and accepting orders from your customers.

Note: If you already have a WordPress site set up, you can skip the following instructions and get going on installing Lunchbox (see the next section).

Step 1. Create a DigitalOcean account

DigitalOcean is a website hosting company that allows you to set up a WordPress site with one click for $10 a month. There may be cheaper options available, but none of them will give you the same flexibility and speed that you’ll find with DigitalOcean. You can sign up easily by visiting their account page.

Once you’ve signed up, you’ll want to create a new Droplet by clicking on the green Create button and then choosing Droplets from the menu that appears.

Next, under the Choose an image section, select the One-click apps tab and select the entry that says WordPress 4.8 on 16.04 (it should be near the bottom right.)

Next, under the Choose a size section, select the entry that says $10/mo

You can now scroll all the way to the bottom to find the Choose a hostname section. In this box, you’ll want to enter the name of your website domain name (for example, maybe it would look something like

Now you’re all ready to spin up your website, so click the big green Create button and DigitalOcean will set up a new WordPress site in your account. Sweet!

DigitalOcean will also email you some instructions on how to activate your WordPress site by logging in with your root password. Simply follow the instructions in the email that they sent to you so you can get logged in to your WordPress site.

There are also some good instructions available on how to hook up your domain name with your new DigitalOcean droplet so that your new WordPress site loads when you go to visit your domain name. Here’s a link to a good tutorial that explains this process by modifying the DNS for your domain name.

Now that you have a new WordPress site all set up, you’re all ready to install the Lunchbox WordPress plugin.

Installing and Activating the Lunchbox WordPress plugin

Lunchbox is the name of the plugin which is going to provide all of the Udemy functionality on your own website. You can purchase it from (don’t forget to use the discount code MEATLOAF to get 10% off of your purchase)

You’ll receive an email containing all of your plugin license details and a link to download the plugin. Click on the link in your email to download the plugin and then follow the standard process for uploading a custom WordPress plugin to your new WordPress website.

Creating your first online video course

With the Lunchbox WordPress plugin installed, you’re now ready to start creating your own video course. Lunchbox gives you tools to make this super easy. Let’s learn how to do this below.

When you are logged in to your WordPress admin dashboard, you will see a new entry for Courses in the left menu sidebar. Click on that, and you’ll see an option appear to add a new course.

You will be presented with an admin editor screen with a bunch of form fields to name your course, provide a description of your course contents, and more. When you’ve entered some of these basic details, click Save Draft to gain access to the Lunchbox course editor.

The Lunchbox course editor is where all of the power lies. You’ll use this tool to add your course lessons and assign your videos to each lesson. Lunchbox supports YouTube, Vimeo, and Amazon S3 for video hosting provider options, so there is something for everyone depending on where you wish to host your videos.

Wrapping up and next steps

You’re now all set up to start adding lessons to your course using the Lunchbox course editor. There’s a bunch of really good documentation available to learn more about all of the options and settings available in Lunchbox. You can check them out by visiting the documentation page.

Questions or comments? We’re always looking for feedback on how to improve our instructional articles. Feel free to leave us a message by emailing or getting ahold of us on Twitter @wplunchbox.