Disclosure: Class Central is learner-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Class Central

3 Million Sign-Ups, 100,000+ Courses: Class Central’s 2022 Year in Review

In 2022, we reached 3M learners, expanded to over 100K courses, and published more than 300 articles.

Last year around this time, Class Central hit rock bottom, so to speak. Our monthly traffic had dropped by more than half due to Google’s algorithm changes (we weren’t the only ones impacted).

After the 2020 peak caused by the pandemic, we expected a drop in the number of users in 2021. But the pullback turned out to be bigger than we had imagined.

Something had to change. In 2022, we focused on things we were good at: expanding our catalog and our content (The Report). And with the help of an unexpected ally, TikTok, we crawled our way back up: in November 2022, we reached 100% year-over-year growth.

As Class Central turns 11, I reflect on our 2022. This site started out as a side project that I built for myself and launched over Thanksgiving weekend back in 2011.

In 2022, Class Central touched 3 million registered users, expanded its catalog to over 100,000 courses, and published more than 300 articles. Keep reading to learn more about how our year went.

Catalog Expansion

In our 11th year, we added as many courses to our catalog as we had in the entire prior decade since founding Class Central. We made major strides in our catalog expansion project in 2021, and it further accelerated in 2022.

Before that, we were focused mostly on free or free-to-audit courses taught by universities. The pandemic provided us with additional resources, allowing us to expand our team and really live up to our tagline: “Find the best courses, wherever they exist”.

Our refreshed subjects page makes it easier to find the topics relevant to you

At the end of 2020, we had 15,000 courses indexed in our catalog. Now, we have 110,000 courses from close to 100 platforms broken down into nearly 1000 subjects.

Something interesting is that the number of learners who search directly on Class Central doubled in 2022. It went from 5% to 10%.

The Report

Some of our BCGs

In 2021, we published 2–3 articles a week. Unfortunately, the Google algorithm doesn’t reward quality enough. That said, it does reward quantity.

We knew we had to increase our publication volume, but we also knew that as a team of learners ourselves, we do our best work when we do it for learners and not algorithms. We’re proud of the quality of The Report, and we didn’t want to compromise that.

That’s how we came up with our Best Courses Guides or BCGs. These are well-researched course recommendations for topics such as web development, Figma, JavaScript, creative writing, and Instagram Marketing, to name a few. Our recent catalog expansion helps us do research quickly and efficiently.

So far, we’ve published 70 BCGs, and they’ve received 400,000+ views. They also help enhance our subject pages, where we highlight our top picks — for instance, here’s the web development subject page.

Our web development subject page, with a BCG at the top

With BCGs, regular article updates, and other strategies, we’ve increased our publication volume to 5–6 articles per week. This has resulted in The Report going from 3 million views in 2021 to 5 million views in 2022.

Class Central Classroom

Class Central Classroom for CrashCourse’ Black American History course

In 2021, we began curating YouTube playlists and encapsulated them into a “Classroom” experience: learners can now watch videos directly on Class Central, automatically tracking and saving their progress.

In Class Central lingo, we call them YTCs or YouTube Courses. In 2022, we reached almost 11,000 YTCs. Tens of thousands of learners use Classroom every month.

As I mentioned before, in 2022 we focused our efforts on our catalog and content. So Classroom didn’t get much attention. But I think that with improvements in Classroom features and further YTC curation, we can hope to see over 100,000 learners use Classroom every month.

TikTok Virality

An global rise in engagement, sustained by regular traffic spikes driven by social media

On January 10, 2022 a TikTok creator published a video telling people about our most popular article: our massive and growing compilation of free certificates. In the video, he asked his users to search “class central certificates” on Google to find the article.

That video led other creators to make similar videos, resulting in a consistent stream of branded searches on Google. By “branded searches” I mean searches for “class central” or a variation of it. We’ve reached almost 100,000 such searches every month, which represents 320% year-over-year increase.

We’re no strangers to virality. But usually, it comes in short bursts and dies down quickly. I think our efforts over the last couple of years improving product, content, and catalog has created a word-of-mouth effect.

More people are familiar with Class Central, and more people are willing to recommend it. And it spilled over from TikTok to Instagram, Reddit, Twitter, Medium, and probably others we don’t even know.

This makes us less susceptible to the whims of the Algorithm, encouraging us to further focus on improving our core product.

DDos Attack

In 2022, we were a victim of a targeted DDoS attack

An attacker sent Class Central 200M fake users, taking the site offline for 36 hours. They wanted $5000 in Bitcoin for a “solution file to all the problems caused.” 

For us, it was a scary moment, but also an opportunity to learn and grow. I wrote about this experience in detail here.

Homepage Mascot?

Class Central homepage character, dressing for the occasion!

We added a hand-drawn sketch made by @kiri to our homepage. It’s a person sitting with their laptop, learning online, I like to think. They kinda look like me around the time I launched Class Central, though Kiri disagrees.

For Diwali and Halloween, we dressed up the character. Not sure if this is/will be our mascot. But we like Duolingo’s friendly owl, and we’ve been looking for our own character. You can expect more experiments like these in 2023!



As the catalog size increases over the last year, the percentage of learners who use the site’s search feature has doubled — from 5% to over 10%. This resulted in over 1 million searches in 2022.

Here are the top 25 search keywords:

python, digital marketing, english, java, excel,
marketing, hacking, c, data science, psychology,
sql, law, javascript, finance, computer science,
project management, harvard, graphic design,
web development, machine learning, French,
cyber security, trading, html, flutter 

Most Popular Courses

In 2022, courses on Class Central were bookmarked 1.6 million times. These are the 25 most-bookmarked courses. The top bookmarked course got 7.8K bookmarks, while #25 got 3.6K.

  1. Python for Everybody – Exploring Information ★★★★★(104)
  2. Improving Your Study Techniques from University of Groningen ★★★★★(147)
  3. An Introduction to Interactive Programming in Python (Part 1) from Rice University ★★★★★(3343)
  4. Marketing Digital: Content & Community Manager from Galileo University ★★★★★(239)
  5. Product Management Fundamentals from University System of Maryland ★★★★★(198)
  6. Psychology of Personal Growth from The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology ★★★★★(65)
  7. Programming for Everybody (Getting Started with Python) from University of Michigan ★★★★★(9)
  8. Mindfulness for Wellbeing and Peak Performance from Monash University ★★★★★(211)
  9. HTML, CSS, and Javascript for Web Developers from Johns Hopkins University ★★★★★(19)
  10. Marketing Innovative Products and Services from University System of Maryland ★★★★★(59)
  11. Learn Like a Pro: Science-Based Tools to Become Better at Anything
  12. Learn to Program: The Fundamentals from University of Toronto ★★★★★(109)
  13. Artificial Intelligence for Robotics from Stanford University ★★★★★(23)
  14. Maintaining a Mindful Life from Monash University ★★★★★(212)
  15. An Introduction to Interactive Programming in Python (Part 2) from Rice University ★★★★★(58)
  16. Academic Writing Made Easy from Technische Universität München (Technical University of Munich) ★★★★★(42)
  17. Data Science and Agile Systems for Product Management from University System of Maryland ★★★★★(60)
  18. Elements of AI from University of Helsinki ★★★★★(712)
  19. Financing Innovative Ventures from University System of Maryland ★★★★★(40)
  20. Marketing in a Digital World from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign ★★★★★(422)
  21. Python Data Structures from University of Michigan ★★★★★(7)
  22. SQL for Data Analysis ★★★★★(5)
  23. The Digital Marketing Revolution from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign ★★★★★(238)
  24. CS50’s Web Programming with Python and JavaScript from Harvard University ★★★★★(21)
  25. Programming for Everybody (Getting Started with Python) from University of Michigan ★★★★★(38315)

Most Followed

Class Central’s Follow button enables learners to customize their experience by following universities, subjects, and course providers.

In 2022, our users followed 1.9 million items. Below are the 25 most followed items. The top item got 9K follows, while #25 got 6K.

Dhawal Shah Profile Image

Dhawal Shah

Dhawal is the CEO of Class Central, the most popular search engine and review site for online courses and MOOCs. He has completed over a dozen MOOCs and has written over 200 articles about the MOOC space, including contributions to TechCrunch, EdSurge, Quartz, and VentureBeat.

Comments 4

  1. Jim

    Happy birthday Class Central! The first three of your achievements are very promising. But you should continue developing these achievements!

  2. Calvin Gifford

    Happy Birthday Class Central! May you and those that experience you be prosperous!!

  3. sahar ibrahim

    Happy Birthday Class Central! May you and those that experience you be prosperous!!

  4. Em.Prof.Arthur.H de O.Bamunuarachchi

    Happy Birthday and glad to bigin interacting with your team.


Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. All comments go through moderation, so your comment won't display immediately.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Browse our catalog

Discover thousands of free online courses from top universities around the world like MIT, Stanford, and Harvard.

Browse all subjects