Are you comparing Shopify alternatives to weigh their pros and cons?
You might have thought about using Shopify to create an online store. While it’s a popular option, it may not be the best fit for your eCommerce business.
In this article, we’ll compare the best Shopify alternatives along with their pros and cons, so you can choose the best platform to build an online store.
Why Look for Shopify Alternatives?
This makes Shopify a popular choice among business owners.
However, it doesn’t offer the same flexibility and freedoms that many other top eCommerce platforms offer. It is also more expensive than many alternatives on the market with their basic plan starting from $29/month.
As a business owner, you should always compare all options to see if a Shopify alternative is cheaper and better in terms of features, so you can make the right decision for your needs.
Over the years, Shopify has received criticism for restricting partner programs and not allowing as much customization options which is why many small business owners choose to avoid Shopify and chose a Shopify competitor instead.
That being said, let’s take a look at some of the best Shopify alternatives with the pros and cons, so you can see what they do better than Shopify.
It is beginner-friendly and incredibly easy to use. WooCommerce comes with hundreds of professionally designed website templates, and many of them are available for free including the popular Storefront theme.
You can also add just about any feature imaginable to your eCommerce store using WooCommerce extensions (many of them are free as well). This include eCommerce features like dropshipping, inventory management, multiple-currency support, custom shipping rates, and more.
WooCommerce also has add-ons for marketing features like real-time Google Analytics, SEO tools, conversion optimization tools including popups, spin a wheel, checkout customization, A/B testing, social media integrations, live chat, CRM, and more.
You can even use WooCommerce to create your own multi-vendor marketplace like eBay.
Unlike Shopify Payments, WooCommerce does not lock you into using their payment processor, and they also do not charge any additional transaction fees. This means that you have the freedom to use any payment processing provider that’s supported in your targeted regions, and you can even offer multiple payment options to customers.
The best part about WooCommerce is that it’s built on top of WordPress which powers over 43% of all websites on the internet. This means that you automatically get access to all the advanced features that comes with the WordPress website builder, most notably the content marketing tools to help you improve your eCommerce website rankings in search engines.
You can also use the web design features that comes with WordPress including the drag & drop page builder plugins like SeedProd. It offers a user-friendly store builder that you can use to create custom eCommerce site designs without any HTML or CSS knowledge (no coding needed).
There is also a ton of free online help and WooCommerce tutorials which makes it easier for you to learn and grow your online eCommerce business.
Since WooCommerce is used globally, there are also more payment gateways extensions for WooCommerce available than any other platform.
The only downside to using WooCommerce is that you will need to pay for web hosting and a domain. This is a requirement for creating any website on the internet. Shopify is a hosted platform and it offers hosting as part of the cost whereas WooCommerce is a self-hosted eCommerce software.
They are offering our readers over 73% off their Startup plan, free SSL certificate, security & performance tools, and hosting for $3.99 per month.
WooCommerce plugin itself is free, and there are tons of free themes available as well.
However, you will need to pay the usual costs of running a WordPress website. This includes web hosting, your domain name, and any paid plugins you want to use for your online store.
We believe that WooCommerce is the best eCommerce platform for entrepreneurs and online businesses, and that’s why it’s at the top of our list of Shopify competitors.
For a full comparison, see our Shopify vs. WooCommerce guide.
MemberPress is our top pick for creating a membership site or online courses. It’s a great option if you want to offer digital content to customers. It lets you take subscription payments, or just charge one-time fee for digital downloads.
MemberPress is easy to set up, and you can use it to protect premium content on your site in lots of different ways.
For instance, it’s easy to protect all pages with a specific parent page, so only registered users can see them. MemberPress also lets you ‘drip’ content so that members don’t receive it all at once.
You can even set up different payment levels if you want to sell several different memberships or online products.
There is a small learning curve with the setup because MemberPress is very powerful, but once you familiarize yourself with the backend, it’s fairly straightforward.
MemberPress costs from $15/month for the basic plan when you use our MemberPress coupon code.
As with any WordPress plugin, you’ll need a domain name and WordPress hosting in order to use MemberPress. It’s not a standalone solution and does not have a free plan.
Easy Digital Downloads lets you sell virtual (downloadable) products from your WordPress site. It’s specifically designed for selling digital products, so it’s not a good alternative to Shopify if you sell physical goods.
The Easy Digital Downloads plugin automatically protects your files. You can restrict how many times a customer can download a file.
You can also let the download link expire after a set period of time. These methods prevent customers from sharing their purchased files with other people.
They also have an Amazon integration that lets you serve all protected files from AWS to save bandwidth and offer faster download speeds.
Easy Digital Downloads works well even if you have multiple digital products to sell. There’s a built-in shopping cart system where customers can buy several products at once.
It’s also easy to make a customer account page so that people can easily view all the products they’ve bought.
There’s lots of help available through the support forums, videos, and tutorials. If you pay for the Easy Digital Downloads’ premium version, you’ll get priority support through email.
As with any WordPress plugin, you’ll need a domain name and WordPress hosting in order to use Easy Digital Downloads. It’s not a standalone solution.
Luckily, SiteGround’s managed Easy Digital Downloads hosting helps you quickly get started with selling digital products on WordPress.
Moreover, it comes with the Easy Digital Downloads (EDD) plugin pre-installed.
And the best part is that SiteGround offers WPBeginner users a free WordPress installation, a free SSL certificate, and up to 73% off on managed WordPress hosting.
This means you can get started for just $3.99/month.
After choosing a web hosting plan, the next thing you need to do is to register a domain name.
If you already have a domain name, you can use it and proceed to buy SiteGround’s Managed EDD Hosting.
Easy Digital Downloads itself is free. There are a number of extensions available, some also free and some paid. Pricing plans start from $99/year, and these give access to email support and certain extensions.
Web.com is a popular website builder among small businesses. They offer easy-to-use website building tools at a very affordable price, so anyone can build a website and start selling online without any coding knowledge.
Their eCommerce tools let you add up to 500 products, securely accept credit card payments online, track & manage orders, offer discounts, and more.
They also have hundreds of pre-made website templates that you can use to get started. After that, you can easily customize the layout to match your needs with a simple drag & drop interface.
Web.com also offers 24/7 customer support through phone and live chat, and they even offer an affordable custom website design service.
Web.com website builder costs just $1.95 per month for the first month. Getting the eCommerce plan, costs $3.95 per month (for the first month) and it also includes a free domain name.
This deal is exclusive for WPBeginner users when you use our Web.com coupon or click on the link above.
Wix is another popular website builder, and it’s often a top Shopify alternative among small businesses due to its ease of use.
They allow you to quickly get started and set up an online store. You can choose from their hundreds of pre-designed website templates and then customize your website design using an easy-to-use drag & drop website builder interface.
Wix also offers additional tools like artificial design intelligence, a free logo maker, and dozens of other apps to help you set up an online store.
Their eCommerce plan has all the features you need to securely accept online payments, set up one-time or recurring payment plans, add unlimited products, manage shipping, subscriptions, sales tax, and more.
Wix pricing plan starts at $17 per month for the Business Basic eCommerce plan which offers everything you need to start an online store.
BigCommerce is a fully hosted all-in-one eCommerce platform. The hosting, SEO, payment features and more are all provided for you by BigCommerce. You don’t need to set anything up separately.
There’s also a BigCommerce WordPress plugin that lets you run a full BigCommerce store on your WordPress website. You can log in to BigCommerce to manage your store and use WordPress to add/edit website content as normal.
There are hundreds of third-party apps and integrations that can be added to BigCommerce. They have both free and paid apps available in their app marketplace. This gives you plenty of ways to add features like product popups with OptinMonster, cart abandonment, and more to your store as your business grows.
BigCommerce is a particularly good option if you’re not very confident with technology. The support team is available 24/7, and you can get phone, live chat, and email support. BigCommerce will handle things like backups, updates, and security for your store.
BigCommerce costs from $29.95/month. If you make more than $50,000 in sales per year, then you’ll need to upgrade to a more expensive plan.
You can use the community edition of Magento with any web host that supports it. We recommend SiteGround’s Magento hosting for this.
There’s also Magento Commerce, which is a paid platform. This includes lots of features and support, but you need to ask for an enterprise quote to get pricing.
Magento has a healthy extensions ecosystem that lets you add new functionality. Many of these are free, but a lot of them are premium extensions.
Magento is a powerful platform with lots of flexibility, but it can be tricky to get started with if you’re a beginner. It’s a good fit if you’re running a business and have developers on hand, or if you want to hire a developer to set things up.
The open source version of Magento is free. However, you’ll need to pay for web hosting that’s powerful enough to run a fully-featured online store.
Weebly is an all-in-one website builder and eCommerce platform, so you don’t need to buy hosting separately. It comes with dozens of website designs that you can edit using drag and drop tools.
Weebly lets you easily create an online store. Their platform gives you the ability to sell digital items as well as physical ones. There are also options for selling services and taking donations.
With Weebly, you also get extra features like a mobile app to manage your store, automated abandoned cart emails, and more.
There are over 300 Weebly apps that you can add to your site to give it new features. Many of these are free, but some cost extra.
However, Weebly doesn’t have the full range of customization options that other eCommerce platforms like WooCommerce can offer.
Weebly’s business plan is $25/month. This removes the 3% transaction fee that Weebly would otherwise charge on all your sales.
There’s also a free version of Weebly, but this doesn’t include eCommerce tools.
Squarespace is a popular website builder and blogging platform. They have also added eCommerce functionality to their website platform.
Often small business owners and online creators use Squarespace eCommerce as a Shopify alternative, so all things related to their website are hosted on a single platform.
Squarespace comes with a free domain, SSL security, a fully integrated eCommerce plan, 0% transaction fees, the ability to sell unlimited products, an in-person point of sale system, eCommerce analytics, and shipping management.
Squarespace basic eCommerce plan starts at $26 per month (when billed annually), and the advanced eCommerce plan costs $40 per month (when billed annually).
Which is the Best Shopify Alternative for Your Online Store?
For most people, WooCommerce is the best Shopify alternative. It’s easy to use, and fairly quick to get started with. Best of all, it has lots of flexibility since WooCommerce offers the largest extension ecosystem and pre-made template library.
MemberPress is the best Shopify alternative for selling online courses or digital memberships that people can subscribe to. It’s easy to use and again offers lots of power and flexibility.
Easy Digital Downloads is the best Shopify alternative for selling digital products like eBooks, music, software, and other digital files online.
Web.com is the best cheap Shopify alternative that lets you set up a simple store at a very affordable cost.
We also looked at other eCommerce solutions like 3dcart, Big Cartel, Prestashop, Volusion, etc but chose not to include them here to avoid choice paralysis.
We hope this article helped you learn about the best Shopify alternatives to create an online store. You might also like our beginner’s guide on how to choose the best products to sell online, and our comparison of the best business phone services for online stores.