Start Your Online Store for Free with These 12 Ecommerce Platforms

Start Your Online Store for Free with These 12 Ecommerce Platforms

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Shift4 Shop
  3. Ecwid
  4. Wix
  5. WooCommerce
  6. Pinnacle Cart
  7. Big Cartel
  8. Square Online
  9. Weebly
  10. Mozello
  11. Free Web Store
  12. Strikingly
  13. OpenCart
  14. Conclusion

Free E-commerce Platforms: A Comparison Guide


Starting an online store can be a daunting task, especially when considering the cost of e-commerce platforms. However, there are several free options available that can help budget-minded entrepreneurs kickstart their online businesses. In this article, we will compare twelve different free e-commerce platforms based on various criteria such as cost, extensibility, third-party support, control, and ease of use. We will analyze the pros and cons of each platform to help you make an informed decision for your online store.

1. Shift4 Shop

Shift4 Shop is a fully hosted e-commerce platform that rivals the likes of Shopify and BigCommerce. While it is 100% free to use for store owners in the United States, there is a catch. Shift4 Shop requires you to use their payment processing, which comes at a cost of 2.9% plus 30 cents per transaction. This is how Shift4 Shop monetizes its platform. While it may not be as easy to use as Shopify and lacks a strong developer community, Shift4 Shop is a powerful option for US-based budget-minded entrepreneurs.


  • Fully hosted platform
  • Powerful features comparable to Shopify and BigCommerce


  • Must use their payment processing
  • Not as user-friendly as Shopify
  • Limited third-party support

2. Ecwid

Ecwid is a versatile e-commerce platform that allows you to embed your online store on any website or social media platform. It is fully hosted and offers a 100% free plan for sellers with less than 10 products. The primary advantage of Ecwid is its headless nature, allowing you to easily sync and sell across multiple platforms simultaneously. While it may not have robust third-party support compared to other platforms, Ecwid is easy to use and offers most of the essential features for starting an online store.


  • Embeddable on any website or social media platform
  • Headless platform for seamless multi-platform selling
  • Ease of use and no limitations on features or support


  • Limited third-party support
  • Less feature-rich compared to some alternatives

3. Wix

Wix is a drag-and-drop website builder that offers e-commerce functionality. While it is known for its simplicity and intuitive user interface, its e-commerce feature set is limited, making it more suitable for small hobbyist sellers. While Wix is 100% free to use, the free plan has limitations such as no custom domain, limited storage and bandwidth, and displaying ads on your site. It is ideal for beginners who prioritize a visually appealing website over comprehensive e-commerce functionality.


  • User-friendly drag-and-drop interface
  • Quick and easy website creation
  • Great for small hobbyist sellers


  • Limited e-commerce feature set
  • Limited third-party support
  • Free plan has significant limitations

4. WooCommerce

WooCommerce is an open-source e-commerce platform built on the popular WordPress platform. It is widely used and offers powerful features comparable to Shopify and BigCommerce. However, WooCommerce requires some technical knowledge as it is self-hosted, meaning you need to maintain your own server. The advantage of WooCommerce is its full control and access to a large third-party developer community. While the base shopping cart is free, additional functionalities come as paid plugins.


  • Full control over your website and source code
  • Active third-party developer community
  • Powerful features comparable to paid solutions


  • Requires technical knowledge to maintain your own server
  • Additional functionalities require paid plugins

5. Pinnacle Cart

Pinnacle Cart is a shopping cart software solution that allows you to create and manage your online store. It offers features such as customizable product pages, inventory management, and secure payment processing. While Pinnacle Cart offers a fully hosted option with free source code access, it lacks a point-of-sale system and has a limited number of themes and apps. Pinnacle Cart is suitable for those looking for a free platform with basic e-commerce functionalities.


  • Customizable product pages and inventory management
  • Fully hosted option with source code access


  • Lack of a point-of-sale system
  • Limited number of themes and apps

6. Big Cartel

Big Cartel is a fully hosted e-commerce platform primarily serving artists and crafters. It offers a free plan that allows sellers to list up to five products with zero fees. However, the free plan comes with limitations such as no custom domain, limited storage and bandwidth, and no inventory tracking. Big Cartel is suitable for casual sellers and artists but lacks advanced e-commerce functionality required for fully featured online stores.


  • Free plan for casual sellers and artists
  • Simple and easy-to-use interface


  • Limited e-commerce functionality
  • Poor SEO features and third-party support

7. Square Online

Square Online is a fully hosted e-commerce platform that originated as a payment processing and point-of-sale solution. It now offers e-commerce functionality, making it easy to sell your physical and digital products online. While Square Online is free and user-friendly, it lacks advanced features and customization options compared to other platforms. It is more suitable for beginners and casual sellers rather than serious e-commerce businesses.


  • Free and easy-to-use platform
  • Seamless integration with Square's payment processing


  • Limited features and customization options
  • Not suitable for advanced or enterprise users

8. Weebly

Weebly is a website building platform that also offers e-commerce functionality. It provides an intuitive drag-and-drop interface and customizable templates for creating a visually appealing website. However, Weebly has limited e-commerce functionality and poor third-party developer support. It is suitable for beginners who prioritize website design but lack the comprehensive features required for a fully featured online store.


  • Intuitive drag-and-drop interface
  • Great pricing and user experience


  • Limited e-commerce functionality
  • Poor third-party developer support

9. Mozello

Mozello is a fully hosted e-commerce platform designed for small international sellers. It allows easy translation of your site into multiple languages and supports wire transfers as a payment option. While Mozello offers a 100% free plan, it has limitations such as selling up to five products, limited storage and payment options, and no custom domain. Mozello is suitable for casual international sellers but lacks advanced e-commerce features.


  • Easy translation into multiple languages
  • Wire transfer payment option
  • Free plan available


  • Limited features and payment options
  • No custom domain

10. Free Web Store

Free Web Store is an e-commerce platform that offers users the ability to create and manage their own stores for free. It is a decent option for those with a low budget, but it comes with limitations such as a cap on revenue, displayed ads on your site, limited payment processing options, and limited design and blogging support. Free Web Store is suitable for small casual shops but lacks advanced features and third-party developer support.


  • No contracts and no upfront costs
  • Adequate feature set for creating an online store


  • Limited revenue cap and payment processing options
  • Limited design and blogging support

11. Strikingly

Strikingly is a website building platform that allows users to create simple and modern-looking websites, including online stores. While it offers a free plan, it is best suited for websites with a single page. Strikingly has limited e-commerce functionality and poor third-party support. It is ideal for beginners and individuals who prioritize ease of use and simplicity over advanced e-commerce features.


  • Intuitive and user-friendly interface
  • Great for simple websites with a single page


  • Limited e-commerce functionality
  • Poor third-party support

12. OpenCart

OpenCart is an open-source e-commerce platform known for its speed, robust support, and affordability. It requires hosting on your own server and offers a large plugin library for additional functionality. However, OpenCart is less popular compared to platforms like WooCommerce and Shopify, which carries a risk of potential obsolescence. It is suitable for those seeking full control over their website and source code.


  • Fast, well-supported, and affordable
  • Large plugin library for additional functionality


  • Requires hosting on your own server
  • Less popular and potential risk of obsolescence


Choosing the right e-commerce platform depends on your specific needs and preferences. While free platforms offer cost-saving benefits, they often come with limitations in features, support, and customization options. If you prioritize control and flexibility, open-source platforms like WooCommerce and OpenCart can be excellent choices. Fully hosted platforms like Shopify and BigCommerce offer maximum convenience but at a higher cost. Consider the pros and cons of each platform and choose the one that aligns with your business goals and budget.


  • Shift4 Shop is a fully hosted platform rivaling Shopify and BigCommerce
  • Ecwid offers headless flexibility for multi-platform selling
  • WooCommerce provides full control and a large developer community
  • Pinnacle Cart is suitable for customizable product pages and inventory management
  • Big Cartel is popular among artists but lacks advanced functionality
  • Square Online is user-friendly but lacks advanced features
  • Weebly offers intuitive drag-and-drop design but limited e-commerce functionality
  • Mozello is ideal for small international sellers with multilingual support
  • Free Web Store is a budget-friendly choice with limited features
  • Strikingly is suitable for simple websites with basic e-commerce needs
  • OpenCart provides speed and affordability but carries a risk of obsolescence


Q: Can I customize the design of my online store on these free platforms? A: The level of customization available depends on the platform. Platforms like Shift4 Shop, Ecwid, and WooCommerce offer more flexibility in design customization compared to simpler platforms like Wix and Weebly.

Q: Are there any transaction fees on these free platforms? A: Transaction fees vary depending on the platform. Shift4 Shop charges a payment processing fee, while platforms like Ecwid, WooCommerce, and Pinnacle Cart do not charge additional transaction fees.

Q: Can I migrate my store to a different platform in the future? A: Most platforms offer migration options to transfer your store to a different platform if needed. However, the ease of migration varies between platforms, and you may encounter some challenges during the process.

Q: Are these free platforms suitable for large-scale e-commerce businesses? A: Free platforms are generally better suited for small to medium-sized businesses. Larger-scale e-commerce businesses with more advanced needs and higher volumes of sales may benefit from the additional features and support provided by paid platforms like Shopify or BigCommerce.

I am a shopify merchant, I am opening several shopify stores. I use ppspy to find Shopify stores and track competitor stores. PPSPY really helped me a lot, I also subscribe to PPSPY's service, I hope more people can like PPSPY! — Ecomvy

Join PPSPY to find the shopify store & products

To make it happen in 3 seconds.

Sign Up
App rating
Shopify Store
Trusted Customers
No complicated
No difficulty
Free trial