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Best Free Ecommerce Website Builders

It is possible to build an ecommerce website for free— if you are okay with some tradeoffs.

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Updated May 5 2021 Steve Benjamins Steve Benjamins

Is it possible to build a functional ecommerce website for free? Yes, it is. Or at least, it’s possible so long as you accept a few tradeoffs.

The tradeoffs are pretty consistent among website builders. For example: most will often include an ad on a free websites, restrict advanced features or place limits on the amount of products you can create.

Best Rated

Square Online

  • Unlimited products.
  • No transaction fees.
  • Plenty of features in free plan: curbside pickup, POS, digital products and discounts.
  • Small ad on footer of website.
Try Square Online

Big Cartel

  • No ad.
  • No transaction fees.
  • Limited to 5 products.
  • One image per product.
Try Big Cartel

Ecwid

  • No ad.
  • No transaction fees.
  • Limited to 10 products
  • For adding ecommerce to an existing website.
Try Ecwid
  • Feature Limitation
    Products Unlimited
    Website Ads Yes
    Transaction Fees None
    Free Domain yoursite.weeblysite.com

    Square Online is one of the best free ecommerce plans.

    There are no extra transaction fees other than the credit card fee (which is standard— you’d expect to pay credit card fees on paid plans as well).

    Square Online places branding in the footer of your website that cannot be removed— though it is not very intrusive. They also allow you change the color of the branding.

    Square includes their logo in your footer. The only way to remove it is to upgrade.

    Square includes their logo in your footer. The only way to remove it is to upgrade.

    Otherwise Square Online includes lots of features that competitors don’t include in their free plan:

    • Integration with their point of sale system
    • Curbside pickup
    • Digital products
    • Discounts

    So why go for a Square Online paid plan? You can add a domain name, remove the Square logo from the footer and unlock lower credit card transaction fees and a fee advanced features (around shipping and abandoned cart recovery).

  • Feature Limitation
    Product Limit 5
    Website Ads No
    Transaction Fees No
    Free Domain yoursite.bigcartel.com

    Big Cartel offers an excellent free plan. It includes a good subdomain yoursite.bigcartel.com and supports up to five products. Plus, Big Cartel doesn’t place ads on free stores or charge transaction fees— two huge benefits.

    What really puts Big Cartel over the top is the fact that they allow free users to add a custom domain name. That’s huge.

    Big Cartel limits free plans by not giving access to some features. For example, free users miss out on inventory management and can only upload one image per product.

    Adding a product in Big Cartel.

    Adding a product in Big Cartel.

    The thing to know about Big Cartel is that it is quite simple. If you ever upgrade to a paid plan be aware that it has some big limitations: no digital products, no gift cards, no curbside pickup, no email receipt customization and even at it’s most expensive plan, there’s a limit on the amount of products you can have.

  • Feature Limitation
    Product Limit 10
    Website Ads No
    Bandwidth Unlimited
    Transaction Fees No
    Free Domain yoursite.ecwid.com

    Ecwid has a good free plan of any ecommerce website builder — It lets you add up to 10 products and most importantly has no transaction fees and places no ads on your website. That’s excellent.

    Ecwid is often used as a tool to embed online stores within an existing website (more info here). But for the free plan I’d suggest you use Ecwid’s Starter Site feature which lets you host your online store on an Ecwid subdomain (example: yoursite.ecwid.com). You can always upgrade this to a domain name later on with a paid plan.

    Ecwid is simple and easy to use.

    Ecwid is simple and easy to use.

    The main way Ecwid limits you is with sales channels (example: you can’t integrate with Facebook Shop) and features (example: no discount codes) but as you’ll see in the rest of this article, these limitations are pretty typical among free ecommerce builders.

Honorable Mentions

Strikingly

* Ad sticks to bottom of screen. * No transaction fees. * Limited to 1 product. Try Strikingly
  • Feature Limitation
    Product Limit 1
    Website Ads Yes
    Transaction Fees No
    Free Domain yoursite.strikingly.com

    Strikingly is the best website for a certain type of website: one page websites. It has a unique sections-based editor that’s perfect for it. You can have multiple pages but you will have to upgrade to a paid plan for that.

    The biggest limitation on Strikingly’s free plan is that you can only have a single product.

    The free plan comes with 5GB of monthly bandwidth.

    Strikingly includes an ad that appears on free websites once a visitor starts scrolling. It’s a bit intrusive but if you can live with it, Strikingly’s free plan is solid:

    Strikingly includes an ad on free plans that shows once the visitor starts scrolling.

What About ___ ?

WooCommerce

WooCommerce is free but it does not include hosting— which you’ll have to pay for. The thing to know about WooCommerce is that it isn’t a standalone website builder. Instead, it’s a plugin that can be added to an existing WordPress website to turn it into an ecommerce store.

Wordpress needs to be installed on a web host. So you’ll need to pay for a web host— which is why I haven’t included WooCommerce in this list.

WooCommerce is a Wordpress plugin.

WooCommerce is a Wordpress plugin.

Jimdo

Jimdo lets you build an online store on free plans but it doesn’t allow you to make any sales. For example, you can create inventory but can’t set it as “in stock” and you can’t add a payment method unless you upgrade to the Unlimited or Ecommerce plans.

Wix

Like Jimdo, Wix lets you add an online store to your free website but you need a paid plan in order to accept payments. So you really can’t do ecommerce on it.

MyOnlineStore

MyOnlineStore’s free plan is called MyOnlineStore GO. It supports up to 25 products and includes limited free customer support— which no other free ecommerce builder providers (they require you to upgrade to a paid plan for support).

Here’s the thing though: you must log in to your MyOnlineStore account once every two weeks or your free store will go offline. What a bizarre and frustrating limitation. For this reason, I wouldn’t recommend MyOnlineStore.

Imagine missing sales because you forgot to login!

Imagine missing sales because you forgot to login!

Mozello

I have not had a chance to give Mozello a try yet— but their free plan lets you add up to 10 products and includes a solid free subdomain (yoursite.mozello.com). It doesn’t include an ad on free websites, but it’s quite small.

Tip: Custom Domain Name

This is a hack to add a custom domain name to your free website builder— even if it doesn’t allow them. It doesn’t work perfectly but it gets you some of the way there.

Let’s say you built a free website on Weebly at yourgiftologist.weebly.com.

You can actually register yourgiftologist.com with a domain name provider such as Namecheap and set it to redirect to yourgiftologist.weebly.com:

Setting yourgiftologist.com to redirect to yourgiftologist.weebly.com in Namecheap.

Setting yourgiftologist.com to redirect to yourgiftologist.weebly.com in Namecheap.

Now when visitors type in yourgiftologist.com they are automatically forwarded to yourgiftologist.weebly.com.

This isn’t a perfect solution— observant visitors will definitely notice the URL change in their browser— but it would let you put a domain name on your business card.