How to Get an E-Learning Course Online

If you want learners to access your e-learning course via the internet or an intranet, you will need to host your published course files on a web server. If this sounds a bit intimidating, don’t worry. In this article, we’ll show you how to get your course up and running in 3 simple steps:

  1. Find a Web Server
  2. Upload Your Course onto Your Web Server
  3. Share Your Course with Learners

Find a Web Server

A web server is a computer specifically configured to deliver web content (text, images, audio, video, and animations) via a web browser. It’s different from a file server, which corporate networks use to provide additional shared storage space similar to your local hard drive. If you try to run a course from your local hard drive or a network, security restrictions from the computer, web browser, Flash Player, and network will cause various elements of your content to fail.

If your organization has a learning management system (LMS), contact your LMS administrator to find out where you should host your course. Usually an LMS will provide a web server that’s specifically configured for hosting e-learning courses. You can learn more about using an LMS and other methods for tracking e-learning activity below.

Note: In order to function properly, courses running in an LMS must be published in a specific format (SCORM, AICC, or Tin Can API). Contact your LMS administrator for specific publishing requirements.  

If you don’t have access to an LMS for distributing your content, contact your IT department or whoever is in charge of your organization’s technical infrastructure to ask about hosting your course on an available web server. If you don’t have an IT department or there isn’t a web server available for you to use, that’s ok—there are a lot of good web hosting options available, including some free ones, such as:

  • Tempshare: This is a free service provided by Articulate for testing Storyline and Studio content. Uploaded files are deleted after 10 days, so it’s not a permanent hosting solution. Note: You must include Flash output when you publish, but it doesn’t have to be the default format.
  • Amazon S3: Offers free hosting with generous usage limits. If you go over your limit, you’ll be charged a graduated fee. Here’s an article that explains in detail how to use this service to host your course: How to Share E-Learning Courses Using Amazon S3.

There are many other free and fee-based hosting providers that can host your course for you. A good way to narrow down the field is to focus on the ones that are equipped to offer learners the best viewer experience. Look for a web server hosting provider that:

1. Is Accessible to Learners

If the web server hosting your course is only available from within your organizational network, customers and people who are out of the office will not have access to it. So you should find out ahead of time how learners will access your course.

2. Has Adequate Bandwidth

Bandwidth is the capacity of the web server to deliver course content to your learners. If the course has large multimedia files or you expect a high volume of users, you’ll need more bandwidth. Insufficient bandwidth can cause errors that prevent your course from running properly.

3. Provides Adequate Storage Space

Be sure to choose a web host that provides enough storage space for all your course files. The more courses you have, the more storage space you will need.

4. Supports the Required File Types

Although these file types are used by most web servers, you should confirm that your server is configured to handle web pages (.html), JavaScript (.js), XML files (.xml), and Flash files (.swf and .flv).

Upload Your Course Onto Your Web Server

Once you have a web server to host your course, the next step is uploading the course files to it. This is usually done using a file transfer protocol (FTP) application.

Articulate Storyline and Studio have integrated FTP functionality, so you don’t need a separate FTP program. If you’re using another Articulate tool or prefer not to use the built-in FTP client, you can upload your published content to your web server using a third-party FTP client, such as FileZilla.

When you’re ready to upload your course via FTP, consult your web server administrator or web hosting company to find out how. You’ll need to know:

  • Server name: It should look something like:
  • Port number: The default port is 21, but you may change this if your web administrator requires a different port number
  • Username
  • Password
  • Directory (or path) where you would like to upload your presentation on the server; for example: articulate/content  

Regardless of how you upload course files, always be sure to upload the complete set of files as generated by your authoring tool. Courses will not work properly if files are moved or missing.

Share Your Course with Learners

When you’re ready to share your uploaded course, use the link to the HTML page that launches your course. You’ll find the HTML file at the root of the published folder.

For example, the link to view a Storyline course looks something like this:

The name of the launch file depends on the authoring tool you used for publishing. This table lists the file that launches each published project and links to the publishing tutorials for each authoring app.

Authoring App

Launch File



Storyline 360


Storyline 3


Storyline 2


Presenter 360


Presenter ‘13


Quizmaker 360


Quizmaker ‘13


Engage 360


Engage ‘13


Remember, distributing your e-learning course online isn’t nearly as hard as it sounds. Simply follow these steps and you’ll have learners connected with your course in no time.

If you have any questions, your fellow community members in E-Learning Heroes are eager to help. You just have to ask!

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