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Martin Barrett
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How Many Students Can LearnDash Handle

How Many Students Can LearnDash Handle?

One of the most commonly asked questions by LearnDash users regarding the capacity of the plugin.

This may be because they are a large business that wants to onboard a lot of users at once, and sometimes this question is posed by users whose online courses are growing and they want to be prepared for an influx of students. 

So how many students can LearnDash handle?

Well, this is what we’ll be exploring in our article today, as well as providing the answers to some frequently asked questions and finding out how you can speed up your site with LearnDash LMS (learning management system).

Let’s get into it!

How Many Students Can LearnDash Handle?

Finding out how many students LearnDash can handle is important for two reasons.

One, it’s good to know if you’re going to be limited to how many students can sign up for your course, and two, it’s good to know how many users can take your course at one time. 

There are pretty much zero limits to how many students can sign up for your course.

There are some platforms that have pricing plans that limit the number of students who can take a course at once, LearnDash is not one of them.

This is crucial because there is always a high number of students who will create a user account and never use it, and those who complete your course but remain in your system. 

Still, when it comes to students simultaneously taking a course at once, this will mainly depend on your hosting setup.

LearnDash does function for any amount of concurrent users, but only if the right infrastructure is in place.

What Type Of Hosting Is Needed To Scale Your Course?

Hosting is the most crucial factor that will impact your ability to scale to a large number of concurrent students. If you’re still using a budget-friendly hosting option – for example, you’re sharing a server – then it might be time to upgrade if you’re in a position to do so.

Still, when you’re choosing a host for your site, it’s important to pay attention to the server specifications – it’s not just about bandwidth!

Processing power and RAM will also have an impact on how many students can take your course at the same time. 

A lot of performance issues are also linked to slow database services or memory configuration, and having a speedy database system is crucial. (Check out ‘Where Is Learndash Data Stored?‘)

When you’re able to upgrade, the first port of call is to transfer to a Content Delivery Network (CDN), a dedicated server, and a Virtual Private Server (VPS).

Content Delivery Network (CDN)

CDNs have been used in a variety of ways throughout the internet, and have often been used alongside hosting, rather than acting as a host themselves.

Still, hosting sites like Pantheon use CDNs as well as dynamic scaling architecture to quickly expand a website’s resources if traffic spokes unexpectedly. (See also ‘How To Install LearnDash On Website [Ultimate Guide 2023]‘)

The CDN prevents latency by setting up servers all over the world, to make sure that no matter where in the world your students are, they’ll still have access to your course.

This is a very appealing and flexible solution for businesses that may be unsure of the resources they require but want to be prepared.

Dedicated Server

Dedicated server environments tend to perform better than Virtual Private Servers (more on those later) because they keep all the server resources for you, the client.

However, this makes them more expensive but it’s worth it for the amount of control you have over the hosting environment.

You can also buy multiple dedicated servers and utilize a load balancer to evenly distribute traffic, and this is what is offered by Liquid Web and their Performance Hosting.

While it is a costly solution, it does give your website all the resources available to handle large amounts of traffic.

Virtual Private Server (VPS)

A VPS is an upgrade from a shared server, without committing to a server totally dedicated to your website.

They work by dividing a server and giving greater control over the software and OS that is used to run the site.

What makes a VPS appealing is that it’s a lot more affordable than a dedicated server, while sharing some resources with other VPSs on the same server because they share the hardware.

This makes it a great option for educators expecting moderate growth, but it won’t be suitable for those who are anticipating significant growth. 

So you know which option is the best one for you, you need to have a good idea of how many people visit your site during your peak traffic hours, as well as set yourself a growth target.

This information is easy to find out by browsing your Google Analytics.

This will show you how many visitors are on your site when your site traffic is at its peak.

If you would like to learn more about how your website will withstand large amounts of traffic, it’s a good idea to run a load test.

There are several sites such as Blaze Meter and Loader, that will let you test thousands of simultaneous users at once, and you can then use this data to see how your site is performing.

If the results are underwhelming, you can carry out a lead test as a diagnostic measure to see where the possible bottleneck is.

How Can You Speed Up Your Site?

While load testing lets you know how your website will manage when it’s under the pressure of heavy traffic, this is different from site load times.

Slow-loading sites lead to low user satisfaction, higher exit rate, and decreased page views. Nobody wants that!

There are some factors out of your control, of course.

If a user is logging into your site with a poor connection, or their network is experiencing high volumes of traffic, then any website they visit will be slow – not just yours.

Still, how your website is designed can also lead to extended load times, no matter the quality of someone’s internet connection.

You can begin testing your load time with Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool, and this should also give you some ideas for how to boost your performance.

Let’s take a look at the usual culprits that contribute to slow load times.

Poor Plugins

Unfortunately, there are many plugins out there that are poorly written and let down by excessive code that can really bring down your website’s speed.

If you’re only using one plugin, uninstall it and find a better one. If you use multiple plugins and you’re unable to pinpoint which one is dragging your site down, carry out a conflict test to find the answer. 

Bloated Theme

Choosing the right theme is just as important as choosing the right plugin. If your theme has a lot of built-in features and you can’t disable them, then all this additional script can seriously slow down your site.

How Many Students Can LearnDash Handle (1)

If you want to scale your course to cater to thousands of students, choose a lightweight theme or a theme that lets you disable unnecessary features.

Your Files Are Too Large

If your course has a lot of images there is nothing necessarily wrong with that, as long as the formatting is web-friendly.

A lot of site owners upload files that are much larger than is needed for their website, and this leads to longer loading times. 

So before you upload an image, make sure to save it in a web-friendly format. In other words, your image files should be in the KBs, not MBs. 

The Length Of Your Course Pages

If your course page is pretty long then this can also contribute to loading issues and can be less beneficial for your students.

Rather than writing dozens of steps on a single page, it’s better to break down the course content over a couple of pages.

You could also add some small review quizzes to pages to help multiple students remember the content. 

If you implement these tips and notice no difference, there are some more technical steps you can implement such as reducing your CSS, HTML, and Javascript code, optimizing your caching, and decreasing the number of redirects. 

Provide Answers Ahead Of Time And Automate Responses

If you run a small website and can’t take on pricey human resources to manage your students, then you should implement software that automates as many of these tasks as possible.

Let’s take a look at a couple of ways you can outsource some minor, time-consuming tasks to software. 

Create FAQs

Create and maintain an FAQ section you can direct students so they can get answers to their questions quickly without having to wait for a reply.

Answering questions can take up a lot of time for both parties, so providing the answers to frequently asked questions is beneficial. 

Include FAQs from the technology providers your students are interacting with when possible.

When a student asks a question that isn’t provided in your FAQ section, add it later to help future students who might have a similar query.

Create Tutorials

For more complicated questions that are not suitable for an FAQ section, create a tutorial instead. Simple steps that all students will go through can be demonstrated easily in a text or video tutorial. 

Quiz Grading

When you can, automatically grade your quizzes. Reduce or eliminate short answer or essay questions and go for multiple choice questions or true or false questions that don’t need a human to grade them.

Automatic Email Responses

When students attempt to contact you with questions, implement an automatic response to instantly provide links to appropriate tutorials and FAQs, and indicate if the resources didn’t provide an answer to their question.

You should also provide a link that they can click to be able to speak to you directly.

This should reduce how much time you spend answering questions, and any good email service will provide automatic response technology. 

Explore the details in our Review of LearnDash.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Are The Best Web Hosts For LearnDash? 

Luckily, the LearnDash site has many resources that help you pick the best web host for your website.

The most budget-friendly web host recommended by LearnDash is SiteGround, which is definitely value for money.

In their mid-range pricing tier, they recommend Kinsta and WPEngine. This site is often recommended as an upgrade for the WordPress site. LiquidWeb and Pantheon, meanwhile, are the high-end web hosts recommended by LearnDash.

Is LearnDash A Strategic Option?

This is a tricky question, as it all depends on what you want to achieve, how much control you would like over your site, and how confident you are with handling the technical side of course selling and delivery.

If course creation is new to you and you don’t want to stress out about all these factors, then a simple-to-use solution such as Teachable might be the best option for you.

Handling technical issues might make getting your course to market trickier and more arduous.

Plus, you don’t have to use complex LearnDash sites straight away, you can sign up to LearnDash later if it feels like the best option.

Final Thoughts

LearnDash is able to handle large amounts of traffic from students, as long as the appropriate support infrastructure is in place.

LearnDash is able to scale to handle your site traffic, but only if the proper backing framework has been invested in, and this goes for any website that operates at scale.

If you don’t dedicate resources to LearnDash hosting and additional optimizations, then your site will slow down and stagnate before timing out.

LearnDash is dedicated to creating a LearnDash plugin that can handle pressure from the heavy course website traffic and wants to enable course growth rather than slow it down.

We hope our article today has given you an insight into what LearnDash is capable of when it comes to scaling up your site, and what tweaks you can make to ensure that when the time comes for you to scale up, your website can handle it! 

As long as you do your research on what plugins and hosts are available to you, you can’t go wrong.

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