Best Networking Courses for Beginners: Top 15 Picks in 2024

Best Networking Courses for Beginners

Ready to learn networking? That’s great! We know there are so many courses available to choose from. That’s why we’ve created this list of the top 15 best networking courses for beginners looking to build skills in networking. 

Before we showcase the courses, we will explain the difference between home and enterprise networking and what skills you’ll need to succeed.  

Next, we will list our top courses and break them down into five logically progressing sections, from networking fundamentals, concepts, and labs, to building and securing your network. 

Are you ready? Let’s dive in. 

Home Networking vs Enterprise Networking

Before we begin showcasing the different courses, you must understand the difference between home computer networking and enterprise networking. 

While home networking typically involves connecting less than 25 devices with basic routing, WiFi, and limited security measures, enterprise networks are much more involved and complex, sometimes including thousands of devices. 

These can range from workstations, servers, and printers to more advanced network devices like network-attached storage, VoIP equipment, and IoT devices. 

The scale, complexity, and stakes are much higher, and these networks require more advanced skills such as:

  • Understanding VLANs and redundancy concepts
  • Configuring switches, routers, firewalls, and VPNs
  • Using subnetting to create more manageable networks
  • Managing user authentication and access controls
  • Monitoring performance and troubleshooting issues
  • Maintaining 24/7 reliability with failover/redundancy
  • Advanced network security

If you want to gain the skills needed in enterprise networking, you can seek beginner certifications to help prove your knowledge. This may include CompTIA Network+ or Microsoft Certified: Azure Network Engineer Associate.

Interested in other networking certifications? See our Top 8 Networking Certifications for Your Success.

Learning Networking Fundamentals

Our first set of courses sets the groundwork for a successful networking or cyber security career by teaching you networking fundamentals.

1. CCST Networking

The CCST networking course is designed to prepare you for the Cisco Certified Support Technician (CCST) Networking exam. CCST leads you to other Cisco certifications, such as CyberOps Associate or CCNA.

This course is excellent for beginners interested in Cisco networking, individuals entering the IT field, IT professionals seeking their first Cisco certification, those looking to learn foundational networking support techniques, and those pursuing Cisco's CCST Networking certification.

The course covers every topic on the CCST exam blueprint, and you’ll learn networking skills like:

  • How to use the iPerf utility
  • Network models and protocols
  • Cloud computing basics
  • IPv4 addressing
  • IPv4 subnetting
  • IPv6 addressing
  • Network cable types
  • Wireless networks
  • Ethernet switching
  • Routing
  • Cisco IOS
  • Diagnosing network issues
  • Using Wireshark
  • Network security
  • Exam preparation strategies

Cisco instructors Kevin Wallace and Charles Judd will guide you through the course, utilizing animations, demonstrations, memory aids, and real-life examples to explain concepts. 

For those looking to break into IT and networking or validate core skills through an industry-recognized Cisco certification, we highly recommend the CCST Networking course. 

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2. CompTIA Network+ Cert. (N10-008): The Total Course

Designed to provide students with the knowledge and skills necessary to pass the CompTIA Network+ Certification exam, this course also covers nearly all the foundational knowledge expected of a networking professional in an easy-to-digest and often fun way. 

While the course material is at a high conceptual level rather than hands-on, Mike Meyers and Joe Ramm break down essential topics like:

  • Network architecture
  • Cabling and topology
  • Ethernet basics
  • Network Installation
  • TCP/IP applications and network protocols
  • Routing
  • Network naming
  • Advanced networking devices
  • IPv6
  • Remote connectivity
  • Wireless networking
  • Virtualization and cloud computing
  • Network operations
  • Managing risk

This course lays a foundation of knowledge upon which you can build a practical skill set and career, understanding how all network elements come together, how the technology functions, what different hardware is for, and troubleshooting methodologies. 

Whether you are planning to pursue the CompTIA Network+ certification or just want to dive into networking concepts in a fun and engaging way, we highly recommend this course.

3. Cisco CCNA (200-301) Master Class

The CCNA 200-301 master class course covers various networking technologies and essential concepts. Taught by instructors Kevin Wallace and Charles Judd, the course prepares you for the Cisco CCNA exam and helps enhance your networking skills.

The course provides over 280 videos and exercises, with easy-to-digest modules, totaling more than 16 hours of instruction. Hands-on packet tracer labs will teach you the concepts and their practical applications. 

In this CCNA course, you’ll gain expertise in:

  • Common network components, architectures, and designs
  • Network cabling techniques
  • IPv4 and IPv6 address structure, assignment, and verification
  • Basic and advanced subnetting
  • Ethernet switching fundamentals and VLANs
  • Routing fundamentals, including static routing and OSPFv2
  • Wireless network installation and configuration
  • Network Address Translation (NAT) and Network Time Protocol (NTP)
  • Quality of Service (QoS) and network security concepts

The course is ideal if you plan on taking the Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) certification or if you are seeking to acquire intermediate networking skills.

Networking Concepts In-Depth

Now that you have the foundational skills down, it’s time to move on to more in-depth networking concepts, and we have two courses we know you’ll enjoy.

4. The Only IP Course You Will Ever Need!

This course provides comprehensive training for those seeking to master IP addressing concepts in IPv4 and IPv6. 

Instructor Lazaro Diaz draws from his extensive real-world experience to explain IP fundamentals in an accessible, engaging format using demonstrations and clear explanations. 

The course is designed to supplement his book “The Only IP Book You Will Ever Need” with over five hours of learning content, including hands-on labs such as creating VLANs, summarizing, configuring routing protocols, and more.

In this course, you'll learn about:

  • IPv4 Addressing
  • Subnet Masking
  • Classes of IPv4
  • Subnetting
  • CLASS-FULL
  • Wildcard Masking
  • IPv6 Addressing
  • Using EUI-64

Lazaro brings the complex topic of IPv4 and IPv6 addressing to life through visual and engaging explanations that simplify rather than overwhelm.

We recommend this course if you want a more in-depth understanding of how IP addressing works in the real world. 

5. Switching for Network Engineers

This hands-on, lab-focused course aims to build strong switching skills for networking roles. Instructor Lazaro Diaz demonstrates switching fundamentals like STP, VTP, EtherChannel, security, and more using easy-to-understand explanations. 

You’ll create switching environments from the ground up, gaining practical knowledge in topology design, port roles, VLAN segmentation, redundancy protocols, and troubleshooting. 

The course suits all levels, helping you master switching concepts like routing redistribution and preparing for certifications like CCNA or CCNP. Upon completion, you’ll feel ready to configure enterprise-grade switches confidently.

You’ll learn concepts such as:

  • Switching Services
  • Spanning-Tree Protocols
  • VTP, VLAN, and Switch Management
  • Layer 3 Switching
  • Troubleshooting Switches

We recommend this course if you want to become a network engineer or progress from basic switching knowledge to advanced fluency in enterprise environments. This course bridges the gap between textbook concepts and real-world applications. 

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Networking Labs

This next section includes three hands-on practice labs where you can take the knowledge you’ve learned and apply it to a simulated real-world environment. 

You’ll need a network simulator such as Cisco Packet Tracer or GNS3 to take full advantage of the labs.

For instructions on obtaining these simulators, see our article The 10 Best Cyber Security Labs for You.

6. Cisco CCNA Multiple Practice Labs + BGP

This practice lab course provides hands-on Cisco configuration experience across a broad range of critical CCNA and real-world routing and switching topics. 

You’ll learn the following:

  • Switchport Security
  • Creating & Assigning Vlans
  • Spanning-tree
  • Administrative Commands
  • SSH Configurations
  • Trunking Ports
  • Verifying & Configuring IP addresses
  • Named ACCESS-List
  • Configuring BGP

By providing multiple lab scenarios, you can repeat and reinforce practical skills to build confidence in using commands, troubleshooting issues, and understanding Cisco router and switch behaviors. 

We recommend this course if you plan on taking CCNA or want to cement core Cisco configuration skills through extensive hands-on practice.

7. EIGRP Comprehensive Labs Course

This practical lab-based course aims to develop your skills for implementing and managing EIGRP (Enhanced Interior Gateway Routing Protocol) in Cisco network environments.

Instructor Lazaro Diaz leads you through a comprehensive hands-on practice focused on real-world application while cementing the EIGRP knowledge needed for CCNA.

The course provides opportunities to configure EIGRP in complex topologies, evaluate path selection, troubleshoot issues, and gain experience with advanced tuning and redistribution methods. 

Concepts and skills include:

  • Basic EIGRP
  • Configuring EIGRP for IPv6
  • Dual Stack
  • EIGRP Configuration
  • EIGRP Using Wildcard Mask
  • Load Balancing
  • Redistribution of EIGRP
  • EIGRP into OSPF

Once you finish the course, you’ll have confidence in architecting, deploying, and supporting EIGRP.

This course is a good choice if you want to gain a deep understanding of the EIGRP routing protocol through extensive hands-on practice. 

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8. Cisco Networking LABS Crash Course for the CCNA

This Cisco networking labs course gives you the critical hands-on practice you must master to prepare for CCNA and real-world network deployment. 

Lazaro Diaz focuses on giving you job-ready skills through the labs that teach core routing, switching, security, and troubleshooting. You’ll configure VLANs, DHCP, ACLs, and NAT. 

Labs include:

  • Configuring IP Addressing on your Network
  • Creating, Naming, and Assigning VLANs
  • Inter-VLAN Connectivity
  • Routing across your network using EIGRP
  • Securing our Network
  • Using the NAT Overload or PAT Protocol
  • Verification of your Configurations

Upon completing the labs, you’ll have the practical knowledge to discuss Cisco infrastructure and create a network.

We highly recommend this course if you want to develop practical Cisco configuration skills not only to help prepare you for certifications but also for real-world scenarios. 

Building Your Network

Now that you’ve practiced hands-on skills with labs, it’s time to build your network, and the following courses will help you progress from networking fundamentals to designing and implementing.

9. Network From Scratch to Advanced Implementation

This course, taught by Mohamed Atef, an experienced Information Security Consultant, provides comprehensive training on networking, covering topics ranging from basics to advanced implementation.

The course starts with networking fundamentals. It then covers setting up a lab environment and building basic workgroups and more advanced server-client networks with Active Directory for centralized management.

Other topics include:

  • Configuring DHCP, DNS, and file servers
  • Utilizing Group Policy 
  • Ensuring high availability with RAID configurations and clustering
  • Routing and switching with Cisco devices and managing VLANs
  • Building VOIP networks for efficient communication
  • Implementing and managing wireless networking solutions
  • Leveraging network monitoring tools like Wireshark 
  • Understanding and mitigating network security issues

We recommend this course if you want to learn how to install, configure, and troubleshoot networks from small workgroups to large server environments and you want hands-on practice building networks through virtual labs.

10. Linux Network Administration

This Linux network administration course teaches you all aspects of managing networking in Linux environments through a mix of theory and hands-on virtual labs.

The course covers core concepts such as:

  • Networking components
  • Network files and commands
  • NIC bonding
  • Curl and ping commands
  • File transfer command
  • SCP
  • Rsync
  • SSH and telnet
  • NTP and chronyd
  • Tracing traffic

The course is taught by Imran Afzal, who brings over 20 years of real-world Linux and infrastructure experience.

The course develops the well-rounded Linux networking skills needed to handle administration and troubleshooting tasks in Linux server environments efficiently. These skills can boost your abilities to deploy, maintain, and optimize Linux-based infrastructure.

We highly recommend the course for Linux system administrators, network engineers supporting Linux servers, or anyone pursuing a career working with Linux systems.

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11. Linux Server Administration Made Easy With Hands-on Training

This course teaches you how to install, configure, and maintain a Linux Fedora server through a combination of short video tutorials and hands-on labs. 

Key topics covered include:

  • Linux command line basics 
  • BASH scripting
  • Installing web interfaces 
  • Configuring web services with Apache web server
  • Network services - configuring NICs, DHCP server
  • File services with Samba and NFS
  • Logging and monitoring for troubleshooting

The course is designed for anyone looking to learn Linux system administration, like network admins, IT auditors, Windows admins moving to Linux, or students. 

The instructor, Professor K, brings solid credentials with a Master's in Cyber Security and Information Technology and decades of real-world tech experience.

This course is a good choice if you have some Linux experience and need to improve your system administration abilities or if you work with infrastructure running on Linux servers and need to expand your practical skills.

12. Microsoft Windows Server 2019 - Hands-on Training Part I

This course, the first part of a two-part course, provides hands-on training for installing, configuring, and managing Windows Server 2019. Professor K has designed it for those seeking practical skills for real-world server administration.

The course is broken down into bite-sized videos, most less than five minutes, and hands-on labs to apply the concepts. You’ll build out a Server 2019 Active Directory domain through the course.

Key skills covered include:

  • Installing Windows Server 2019
  • Configuring Active Directory 
  • Implementing critical infrastructure like DNS and DHCP
  • Administration tasks like creating users, managing file shares
  • Using tools like Group Policy to configure servers
  • Troubleshooting connectivity and usage issues
  • Monitoring performance with included Windows tools

We recommend this course if you want hands-on skills to help manage Windows Server environments, emphasizing Active Directory configuration and administration.

13. Microsoft Windows Server 2019 - Hands-on Training Part II

In Part 2 of this course, Professor K builds on the foundational administration skills covered in Part 1 to provide hands-on training in advanced Windows Server technologies and infrastructure management.

While Part 1 focuses mainly on OS installation, core networking services like DNS/DHCP, Active Directory configuration, security policies, etc., Part 2 goes deeper into:

  • Operations Master Roles
  • High Availability and Disaster Recovery
  • Certificate Services
  • Advanced Administration
  • Monitoring and Troubleshooting

We recommend this course if you want to take your Windows Server skills to an advanced level. This course provides hands-on experience that is especially valuable for network architects, senior admin, web admin, and other roles managing complex enterprise Windows environments.

Securing Your Network

You’ve set up your network and configured everything appropriately, now it's time to learn how to secure it. The next two courses will give you the tools to fortify your network against potential threats.

14. pfSense Fundamentals - Secure Your Network With pfSense

This course provides hands-on training using the pfSense firewall to secure networks. pfSense is an enterprise-grade, open-source firewall that can be installed for free on your own hardware or through virtualization.

pfSense Fundamentals is taught by Ted LeRoy, an Enterprise Security Architect with over 20 years of relevant IT and security experience. Hands-on lab exercises allow you to directly apply concepts for configuring real-world firewall policies and access controls.

Some of the skills you’ll learn include:

  • Adding DNS Servers to DHCP
  • Enabling SSH
  • Disabling IPv6
  • Firewall Considerations
  • Whitelisting vs. Blacklisting
  • Adding Aliases
  • pfBlockerNG
  • Snort/Suricata IDS/IPS
  • Configuring a DMZ
  • pfSense Troubleshooting
  • Backing Up and Restoring Your Firewall
  • Updating Your Firewall

With its mix of firewall fundamentals and advanced pfSense configuration, this course can benefit anyone seeking practical skills to protect home or business networks. 

We also recommend this course for network and system administrators who may want to implement pfSense into their networks.

15. The Complete Cyber Security Course! Volume 2 : Network Security

This is Volume 2 of a comprehensive 4-volume Complete Cyber Security Course focused on providing advanced practical skills for network security

This course is taught by Nathan House, the CEO and founder of StationX, who has over 25 years of real-world cyber security experience advising major global corporations. 

The material focuses on methods and tools for network security and the comprehensive end-to-end coverage of different aspects of locking down network security.

After completing this course, you’ll have learned much more than the average IT professional defending networks from cyber threats.

With over 12.5 hours of on-demand video, lessons cover:

  • How to discover security vulnerabilities across networks.
  • How to configure firewalls on Windows, Mac, and Linux systems. 
  • Configure and architect a small network with physical and wireless security.
  • How to monitor networks to identify potential hackers and malware threats.
  • How users are tracked online and methods to mitigate tracking and improve privacy.
  • Search engine privacy issues and alternative private search engines.
  • Browser security issues and hardening browsers for improved security and privacy.
  • Password security, best practices, and multi-factor authentication methods.

We recommend this course for anyone interested in significantly strengthening the security of their personal or business networks. 

Conclusion

These are the best networking courses for beginners, and with our top 15 picks, you have everything you need to learn networking, from the fundamentals and concepts to building a network and, finally, learning how to keep a network secure.

Consider joining the StationX Accelerator program if you want more courses, labs, or guidance on career and certification paths. 

As a member, you'll benefit from mentorship, mastermind groups, and a supportive community to enhance your learning experience and career prospects.

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  • Richard Dezso

    Richard is a cyber security enthusiast, eJPT, and ICCA who loves discovering new topics and never stops learning. In his home lab, he's always working on sharpening his offensive cyber security skills. He shares helpful advice through easy-to-understand blog posts that offer practical support for everyone. Additionally, Richard is dedicated to raising awareness for mental health. You can find Richard on LinkedIn, or to see his other projects, visit his Linktree.

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