4 Best Free Ecommerce Platforms 2024 | Save and Sell Today

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They say you have to spend money to make money, and while this article won’t completely disavow that saying, many ecommerce website builders do in fact offer some flexibility for those on a budget. Creating a new business is an expensive endeavor, even online – so how are you able to start an online store for free in 2024?

The truth is there is only one platform that lets you sell completely for free: Square Online. You can build a store and start selling for free, albeit with some limitations. The other providers on this list will let you build for free or give you a free trial, but all will soon require an upgrade to a pricing plan.

But which of these ecommerce platforms has the best sales features, or more importantly, which is best equipped for the type of online store you want to create? We’ve researched and collected the four best candidates for your free ecommerce platform of choice, so without further ado, let’s jump in.

The 4 Best Free Ecommerce Platforms

  1. Square Online (free plan) – For food businesses selling online and offline
  2. Shopify (free trial) – For selling manufactured products online
  3. Wix (free to build, not sell) – For selling hand-crafted products online
  4. WooCommerce (free to install) – For international sellers

Compare the Best Free Ecommerce Website Builders

Need to see the provider side-by-side? Look through our helpful comparison table:

Swipe right to see more
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Square Online




Overall rating
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Starting Price


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Starting Price
Starting Price

Depends on web host

Transaction Fees

2.9% + $0.30

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2.9% + $0.30

Transaction Fees

2.9% plus $0.30

Transaction Fees

2.9% + $0.30 (+1% for non-US customers)

Free plan or free trial

Free plan

Free plan or free trial
Free plan or free trial

Free plan

Free plan or free trial

Free to install

Sales features
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Visit Square Visit Shopify Visit Wix View WooCommerce

You can also see where each platform falls in terms of the amount of sales features you get versus the average price. Take a look at the quadrant graph below for a quick comparison; the top left part of the graph is the ideal location!

Quadrant graph showing how Square Online, WooCommerce, Wix, and Shopify compare for sales features vs average price
Here we can see where each provider falls. The top left quadrant is the ideal location. Source: Website Builder Expert

Or try our handy quiz!

What type of online store do you want to create?

Find Your Store Builder

Can You Sell for Free?

Short answer: Yes! 

Long answer: It’s not that simple… while Square Online does indeed have a free plan which you can sell on, you will have to pay a fee of 2.9% + 30¢ on every transaction. There are also limited features to deal with, as you’ll have no access to vital ecommerce features like taking PayPal payments or abandoned cart recovery unless you upgrade to a paid plan.

All the builders on this list give you some kind of free access, but to sell and reach each provider’s true ecommerce potential will require paying. There are four different variations of what can be described as a ‘free ecommerce platform’:

Selling for Free

With Square Online, you can sell on its free plan.

Free Trial

Shopify, our best-rated ecommerce provider, offers a 3-day free trial in which you can test out all its features and build your store – but you won’t be able to actually sell till you choose a plan. Shopify also offers a 3-month paid trial of only $1 per month for new customers which you will be able to sell.

Free To Build

Wix allows you to build your online store for free for as long as you want, but cannot accept any payments till you upgrade to a plan.

Free To Install

WooCommerce is an ecommerce plugin for WordPress, which means you can download and install it for free – however, you will have to be responsible for things like hosting and integration of any third-party features you need, all of which have subscription fees.

Sell for Free – Square Online

For food businesses selling online and offline

Upgrade Cost: $29 per month

Square Online

Best for food-related online stores

Very Good


out of 5
  • Quick setup
  • Easy to use
  • Not very scalable
dollar icon svg

Free plan available

Paid Plans: $12 - $79 / month


  • icon yes svg Easy to track sales and abandoned carts
  • icon yes svg Responsive help and support
  • icon yes svg Seamless payments system


  • icon no svg Limited design freedom
  • icon no svg Few payment processing options
  • icon no svg Not great for large volume selling
Square Online Review

Square Online is the only ecommerce platform on this list that actually lets you sell for free. This is a major advantage for those starting a new online business or wanting a fresh start, as the money saved on start-up costs can now be put wherever else they may be needed.

What also sets Square Online apart is its range of POS systems, providing seamless synchronization between online and offline sales. For this reason, Square Online is perfect for food-related businesses, allowing you to sell your products in person in a store or market stall while still advertising your website.

homepage for cocktail website featuring cut oranges and spices
This is what a finished Square Online site can look like. Key West Cocktail Company uses large, professional images which is great for enforcing your brand image.

While Square Online does indeed let you sell for free, it’s not as strong a platform as Shopify and Wix, only scoring 3.6 out of 5 overall in our research. Its design flexibility is very limited, not letting you choose a store theme till you upgrade. While you do get unlimited items to sell on the free plan, you have transaction fees to pay on each sale – 2.9% + $0.30 on each card payment. Though the plan is advertised as free, there’s always some cost.

Featured items section to add to Square Online website in the editor
Once I uploaded a handful of products, I could then add sections for featured items or categories to the page.


  • Ads – Large, unmovable footer at the bottom of your website.
  • No custom domain – On the free plan, your site’s URL will have a .square.site/ following your website’s name.
  • No website themes
  • No PayPal integration
  • No abandoned cart recovery
  • No product reviews
Square Online site footer showing a Square advertisement
All free plan Square Online users will have to contend with a large Square Online-branded footer for their website.

Upgrade Cost: $29 per month

Square Online’s pricing has two paid plans available:

  • Plus – $29 per month billed annually
  • Premium – $79 per month billed annually

The Plus plan gives you everything the free plan lacks, like PayPal access and the removal of ads, as well as a custom domain name (free for one year). It also includes important sales features like product reviews, subscriptions, item badges, and gifting options – making it ideal for small businesses.

The Premium plan is meant for larger stores and has all the features the Plus plan offers but with additional customer support, real-time shipping rates, and a lower transaction fee of 2.6% + 30¢.

Read our full Square Online Review for more.

More Information

Let us walk you through How to Customize a Square Online Website so you can your online store up and running

Free Trial – Shopify

For selling manufactured products online

Trial Length: 3 Days (free), 1 Month (paid)

Upgrade Cost: $29 per month


Best for fast-growing stores



out of 5
  • Built for large stores
  • Great inventory tools
  • Recommended by real users
dollar icon svg

Free trial available

Paid Plans: $29 - $299 / month


  • icon yes svg Sell across many social media channels
  • icon yes svg Abandoned cart recovery on all plans
  • icon yes svg Easily track stock levels and orders


  • icon no svg Some features come separately as apps
  • icon no svg Transaction fees for most payment tools
  • icon no svg Switching themes is a hassle
Shopify Review

Shopify has the highest sales feature score in our research with 4.7 out of 5. If you are looking for the ultimate ecommerce solution – Shopify may well be it. While it does not have a free plan, Shopify does have two trials new customers can use: one free and one paid.

The free trial lasts for three days, and users will get access to all of Shopify’s store-building features, but you won’t be able to sell till you upgrade. The other trial is paid, costing only $1 for your first month. With this trial, you’ll get full Shopify access and be able to sell, which in our recommendation makes it the better of the two – but you won’t have to choose, as you can use one trial after the other.

a holiday card website homepage
Shopify is truly the full package. The aesthetic for this website, Lucky Dog Design, totally suits the product, plus owners can advertise deals with banners.

When you’re on the trial, you’ll get to choose a well-designed and ecommerce-optimized Shopify template. Be warned that most of them cost a one-off payment of between $170 – $320 – but there are 15 free themes.

Shopify’s internal sales and product features are some of the best we’ve tested, with unlimited products, abandoned cart recovery, discount codes, currency conversions, POS systems, marketing automation, and many, many more. If that’s not enough, you will also get access to over 8,000 Shopify apps to add to your store to cover any blind spots you may have.

In summary, Shopify is a one-stop platform for all online stores, though can sometimes be overkill if your store isn’t big enough.

Website sections library pop up in Shopify's editor
When designing my test website, I added a range of elements to make my products pop on the homepage. Source: Website Builder Expert


  • Free on trial only – Free trial ends after three days and paid after one month
  • No selling for free – You cannot sell on Shopify’s free trial and must choose the paid trial or upgrade
  • No custom domain – Your free trial store will have a .myshopify.com at the end of it
Shopify dashboard showing the domain name settings on the free trial
The domain name automatically created for my trial store was pretty clunky and unprofessional, and ends in .myshopify.com. Source: Website Builder Expert

Upgrade Cost: $29 per month

Shopify’s pricing has three paid plans, plus the social media-only Starter plan:

  • Starter – $5 per month billed annually
  • Shopify Basic – $29 per month billed annually
  • Shopify – $79 per month billed annually
  • Shopify Advanced – $299 per month billed annually

While the Starter is the cheapest option, you do not get a full store, just a link you can attach to a social media page. If you want an online store to design and run your business out of, we recommend the Basic plan as it offers all the essential quality features you get to use during the trial.

The Basic plan is perfect for small businesses, and if you find your store getting larger, the Shopify and Shopify Advanced plans await, bringing further support and stronger features.

Read our full Shopify Review for more.

Shopify pricing page deal
Shopify wasn't shy about showcasing its $1 for first month scheme. It’s a great way to dip your toes into this ecommerce platform if you’re not sure. Source: Website Builder Expert

More Information

  • Wix and Shopify both score similarly in our research, but which is truly better? Find out in our Wix vs Shopify article
  • See which ecommerce platform comes on top with our Square Online vs Shopify article
  • Got your store but don’t know how to ship? Read our Shopify Dropshipping guide for a full breakdown

Free to Build – Wix

For selling hand-crafted products online

Free forever plan for building but not selling

Upgrade Cost: $27 per month (or $24.30 with our TAKE10 code at checkout)


Best for smaller stores



out of 5
  • Plenty of design freedom
  • Powerful features
  • Easy to use
dollar icon svg

Free trial available

Paid Plans: $16 - $159 / month


  • icon yes svg Can sell Wix products on Instagram
  • icon yes svg Product videos add credibility
  • icon yes svg Mobile editor for on-the-go changes


  • icon no svg No automated low stock alerts
  • icon no svg Not the best for very large stores
  • icon no svg Can’t change templates once site is live
Wix Review

Like Shopify, you cannot sell on Wix without upgrading to a paid plan. However, Wix differs in that it allows you to have a free website for an indefinite period of time. The Wix free plan will let you create and design an online store for as long as you want, which is great for really hammering out those final branding choices.

You can choose from over 800 free templates across a range of industries, or use Wix’s ADI to let its AI website builder design a template for you. In our research, Wix scored the highest for design functionality for online stores with 4.3 out of 5.

an eco website homepage with dirt feature
Wix has great design capabilities across a whole host of templates, even eco-based ones like this website, WasteX.

However, while you can have a free website with Wix, the free plan is beset with limitations. Your site will have Wix ads and a Wix domain, plus a 500MB storage limit – not to mention no selling till you upgrade.

Once you do upgrade, Wix has a solid range of sales features, and you’ll be able to sell up to 50,000 products, send abandoned cart recovery emails, send out branded gift cards, and dropship up to 25 items thanks to Wix’s integration with Modalyst.

Checklist of steps to start building a website with Wix
I could work my way through Wix's checklist of steps to help set up my online store. Source: Website Builder Expert


  • Ads – On the free plan, Wix places a banner ad at the top of your website, which is quite distracting and looks unprofessional
Demo free website on Wix showing a Wix banner ad along the top of the site
A banner ad on our Wix demo site. As you can see, it takes up a lot of space and distracts away from your website’s design. Source: Website Builder Expert
  • No custom domain – You can’t have a personal domain unless you upgrade. Your site’s URL will follow a yourusername.wixsite.com/yoursite domain instead
  • No selling for free – You can’t sell on Wix unless you upgrade to one of its ecommerce plans
  • Limited storage – Wix only gives you 500MB of storage on its free plan, reducing the amount of images you can have. This is especially a problem for online stores that need many product photos.

Upgrade Cost: $27 per month

Wix’s pricing has three commerce plans to choose from:

  • Core – $27 per month billed annually
  • Business – $32 per month billed annually
  • Business Elite – $159 per month billed annually

Upgrading to a Wix plan will let you sell, as well as remove ads, use a custom domain, and raise your storage allowance to 50GB on the Core plan. Each plan increases in size and support to accommodate larger and larger businesses, so we recommend the Core plan to begin with if you are starting a new business.

If you just can’t wait to try out the premium plans, then Wix does offer a 14-day money-back guarantee, meaning you can test out some of the ecommerce features, but you can only receive payments once you upgrade. Additionally, if Wix’s plans seem too expensive, then we’re proud to reveal that you can get 10% off Wix if you use our exclusive code TAKE10 at checkout.

Read our full Wix Ecommerce Review to find out more.

More Information

Free to Install – WooCommerce

For international sellers

Upgrade Cost: $6.99 per month for hosting, plugins cost an estimated $50 per month and annual $10-$15 for a domain name


Best for large online businesses

Very Good


out of 5
  • Very WordPress-compatible
  • Extremely scalable
  • Helpful setup wizard
dollar icon svg

Free plan available

Paid Plans: $12.95 / month


  • icon yes svg Huge variety of plugins
  • icon yes svg Lots of payment options
  • icon yes svg Tools for selling internationally


  • icon no svg Have to install most features yourself
  • icon no svg Cost of plugins and tools can add up
  • icon no svg Only works with WordPress
WooCommerce Review

WooCommerce is an ecommerce plugin for WordPress, meaning you will need to download WordPress in order to use it. Like WordPress, it is free to download and use…theoretically. The truth is that you will have to be in charge of finding a hosting provider, obtaining security licenses, and downloading whatever themes and features you will need for your website – WooCommerce doesn’t even come with abandoned cart recovery.

In regards to a hosting provider, we (and WordPress) recommend Bluehost for any WooCommerce online stores, as it has WooCommerce-specific hosting plans that take care of a lot of site management, making it perfect for beginners.

a yellow and flame detailed grill wesbsite homepage
This website, Grill Party BBQ, uses WooCommerce for its store. WooCommerce is a WordPress plugin, meaning you will have to use code to design your site, but you have more freedom than with other platforms. Source: Website Builder Expert

Online store-wise, WooCommerce can be both a blessing and a curse. On one hand, it is the most versatile builder on this list. If you know a bit of code you can endlessly edit and add specific features you want to your store down to the finest detail. This makes it especially good for selling internationally, as you get access to tools like automatic currency calculators and multilingual options.

On the other hand, many beginners have found WordPress and WooCommerce to be too complicated to use confidently, with many of the features and plugins used to create your store needing subscriptions. On average, you could be spending $79-$299 per year for a website.

Form to add products on WooCommerce
I could quickly fill out basic product details to start building my store inventory. Source: Website Builder Expert


  • No built-in hosting – You will have to provide your own hosting for your online store from a hosting provider like Bluehost
Two Bluehost hosting plans for WooCommerce sites
Bluehost is the number one recommended hosting provider for WooCommerce and WordPress by WordPress itself. Source: Website Builder Expert
  • No security – Most website builders include an SSL certificate in their plans. For WooCommerce, you may have to buy it yourself
  • No storage – When choosing a hosting provider, you will have to decide how much storage to allocate to your store
  • No help and support – WordPress doesn’t have a formal help center like Shopify or Wix. You will have to rely on third-party guides or forums for help
  • Complicated editor – WordPress is not a drag-and-drop builder like Wix or Shopify. Users must use code to edit their site

Upgrade Cost: $6.99 per month

Bluehost’s pricing has two plans for WooCommerce-specific plans:

  • Online Store: $6.99 per month billed annually
  • Online Store + Marketplace: $12.95 per month billed annually

The Online Store plan comes with WooCommerce, analytics, 40GB storage, a free domain, a free SSL certificate plus Yoast SEO. With the +Marketplace plan, users get 100GB of storage and multichannel selling.

While both these plans seem great value, remember that a WooCommerce store is not only more work to make but more work to upkeep than a regular website builder.

There’s also the cost of securing your own domain name and all the plugins you’ll need. While a domain can be relatively cheap, only costing $10 – $15 per year, some domains can cost up to the thousands if they’re highly sought after. Plugins can be free to use, but if you are looking for quality then a monthly subscription of around $10 – $20 will be expected, and that’s just for one. In total, your WordPress store could cost nearly $200 per month.

Read our full WooCommerce Review for more.

More Information

How To Choose the Best Free Ecommerce Platform

Before we summarize this list and you can make your verdict, let’s go over what the most important factors are for picking a free commerce platform. We’ve condensed all the factors to look for into three vital questions you need to ask yourself before making your decision:

  • Can I sell for free?
  • Do its limitations outweigh its benefits?
  • Is it suited for the products I want to sell?

While these questions can help inform your choice of a free ecommerce website builder, a free ecommerce plan is not really sustainable for long-term growth or profit. Most of the builders on this list don’t even let you sell till you’ve upgraded your plan. And if you are committed to only selling for free, you’ll find the limitations will start to cause frustration as your business picks up.

Most users would benefit from choosing the platform that best suits their products and then upgrading to a paid plan. Selling for free is a great tagline, but in actuality, it tends to not work out as intended.

Is It Worth Upgrading?

Upgrading to a paid plan will upgrade your business. Like any subscription, if you pay more, you get more. Below, we’ve listed five of the best features you can get on a paid plan:

1. No Ads

You may have a really small or totally new business, but customers don’t have to know you’re on a budget. They’ll only suspect you’re a newbie if you’re using a free plan as your site will be plastered with ads. There’s an element of ‘fake it till you make it’ as a new business, and an unprofessional website isn’t going to give off the right signals.

2. Better Sales Tools

A paid plan won’t just make you a website that looks more professional – it will make you a website that acts more professional, too. Ecommerce platforms withhold premium features, like the ability to send abandoned cart recovery emails, for paying members – and with good reason. In fact, 70% of online carts are abandoned (i.e. the customer leaves the site without paying for the items they have collected in their cart). Emails sent to these customers can have an impressive open rate of 45% and are hugely effective in re-engaging these customers.

3. Sell More Products

Most free ecommerce plans put a cap on the number of items you can sell. By opting for a paid plan, you’re giving yourself more freedom, and offering your customers more choice.

4. Get Better Support

Paying customers tend to be able to access support in more ways, such as over the phone. Even if you get the same help and support options as premium customers, you better believe you’re not going to be on top of the priority queue when you need help. Don’t wait until your site is down, or until you can’t get an answer to something that’s driving you nuts before you upgrade – do it now, and your future self (and site) will thank you!

5. Increase Payment Methods

Paid plans typically allow you to connect more payment methods. This, in turn, makes for an easier shopping experience for your customers, increasing the likelihood that they’ll come back.

4 Best Free Ecommerce Platforms: Summary

While free plans make perfect sense for money-conscious business owners, they do have their limitations. Square Online provides the best deal by letting you sell for free, but you are cut off from a lot of essential features and have to feature ads with no custom domain. This will make your site look unprofessional to consumers.

With other platforms like Wix or Shopify, you can only build your store for free, but to actually make money through your online store, you’ll need to spend some money. Overall, we recommend signing up for a free ecommerce plan today – or testing a free trial – to really get the most out of selling your products online.

That’s all from us! We wish you well on your ecommerce journey!


Yes, you can! Wix doesn’t charge transaction fees, and Shopify doesn’t if you choose its in-house payment gateway Shopify Payments.

Payment processing fees are unavoidable though, and are charged each time a customer uses a credit or debit card to make a purchase.

WooCommerce is not the only ecommerce software option available. OpenCart is a powerful platform with a ton of scope for customization and additional features, but keep in mind that it is very light on built-in features, so you’ll need to make use of these add-ons. And, unlike WooCommerce, you probably won’t be able to ‘muddle through’ without any developer experience.

There is also PrestaShop, an open-source software that pitches itself as more of a website builder, though in our opinion kind of misses the mark on both fronts.

While free ecommerce platforms typically prioritize security, some may not offer the same level of protection as paid options. It’s essential to inquire about the security measures implemented by the platform, such as SSL encryption for data transmission, PCI compliance for handling payment information, and regular security updates.

Additionally, consider using additional security measures like two-factor authentication and strong password policies to further safeguard your online store and customer data.

Written by:
headshot of Sam Jagger
Being a Writer for Website Builder Expert isn’t just typing words on a laptop. Each day, I’m finding new and innovative ways to help you get online in a mode you feel comfortable with. And it’s a task I do with enthusiasm and gusto. Not only do I have experience building with all the providers we talk about - creating websites such as this Strikingly demo - but we also have our wonderful, constantly updated research fielded by our researchers, so you can be reassured that what we say is an honest reflection of our professional opinions. I’ve written articles and featured guest posts for apps like UXPin on web design in the modern age, as well as answered over 100 user comments on the site and delved into the world of choosing a domain name and adding Bitcoin payments to your site in my own pitched articles. All of this is to say that when I want to get you online - I mean it! Outside the office, I have attended the eCommerce Expo and built up a ton of industry knowledge through talks, workshops, and guided learning sessions with noted experts. The internet is made for everyone, so come online and let us help you get there.
Researched by:
I love to understand human behavior and the cognitive biases that drive us to do what we do. For over nine years I have worked as a mixed method researcher – research using a mix of numerical data and personal experiences – across a range of sectors, from insurance and policy development to finally arriving at Website Builder Expert five years ago. Fascinated by consumer decision-making, I meticulously built our leading ranking methodology to explore where providers like Wix sit within a competitive industry and what value they truly bring to our audience.
As a member of the Market Research Society, I’m an advocate for high ethical, commercial, and methodological best practices. All of this combines to give you the most ethical recommendations based on real data.


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