Finding free ecommerce software is tricky. You want an online store that looks professional and includes important features like inventory management and marketing integrations. However, you don’t want to spend hours setting up your store, only to realize it will be covered in pesky ads unless you pay for a $15/month “upgrade.”
We took a close look at all the free ecommerce systems on the market and picked out five that truly offer a great set of tools for free. The best free ecommerce website builders for 2020 are:
- Square Online: Best overall free ecommerce website builder
- Big Cartel: Best for artists and for using custom domains
- WooCommerce: Best for WordPress users
- Ecwid: Best for Wix, Weebly, and Squarespace users
- Mozello: Best for international sellers
While all of the above are free to use, you will have to pay a credit card processing fee, which is typically 2.9% + 30 cents, when you make a sale. Besides that, none of these charge commission or have any hidden fees. There are optional paid upgrades, but we’ll cover those in more detail below.
Top Free Ecommerce Platforms Compared
Sell digital items?
Connect a custom domain?
Create coupon codes?
Supports multiple languages?
Free shipping calculator?
Yes; USPS, FedEx, and UPS
Built-in payment processing
Stripe or PayPal
Stripe, PayPal, and 100+ others
Stripe, PayPal, and 60+ others
Not sure which free ecommerce system is best for you? Take this 4-question quiz for our recommendation:
Need a few more features? Check out our top overall picks for ecommerce platforms.
Square Online: Best Free Ecommerce Website Builder for Small Businesses
Finding ecommerce software that’s truly free often requires making certain compromises. You might be missing obvious features, allowed to sell only so many products, or forced to display ads on your webpages. What we like about Square is that it has shockingly few limitations. It’s the closest you can get to creating a complete and professional web store without even needing to enter a credit card.
Square lets you list an unlimited number of products (physical or digital), track inventory, manage SEO, and integrate marketing software like Mailchimp—things you might not need right away but are very good to have as you grow. The main downside to Square is that you cannot connect a custom domain with a free account. However, the yourstore.square.site subdomain that’s provided for free is still more professional than most.
No shipping integrations without upgrade
Unlimited products with variants
Square branding on footer
Includes POS software for in-person sales
Multiple languages not supported
What’s Included in Square Online’s Free Plan
- Unlimited products: You can list an unlimited number of products, including physical and digital goods (like e-books and videos). There’s no limit on website storage or the number of photos you can upload.
- Full website: Create multiple pages with contact forms, an email sign-up, and much more. Your website can be custom branded with your logo and colors. However, you cannot fully edit the layout or add integrations as you can with WooCommerce.
- Coupon codes: Create coupon codes that visitors can enter to receive a percentage discount, dollar-amount discount, or free shipping. Coupons can be valid for all orders, orders over a certain amount, or for specific items.
- Subdomain: Free websites come with a customizable square.site subdomain, so your website will appear as yourstore.square.site on the address bar.
- Square branded footer: Free websites also display “Powered by Square” on the footer of each page. It’s subtle and doesn’t look too bad compared to other free websites. However, to remove it, you’ll need to upgrade to at least the Professional edition ($12 per month).
- Support: Support for Square Online is a little tricky to reach. You have to chat with its support robot and request to speak with a representative. Phone and live chat support are available weekdays from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Eastern time and weekends from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Eastern time. During my evaluation, it took about 30 minutes to get connected to a live support agent and one business day to get a response through email.
When To Upgrade Square Online
- Use a custom domain: One of the main reasons to upgrade from the free plan is to use your own domain name www.yourstore.com instead of yourstore.square.site. To do this, you’ll need to upgrade to Square’s Professional plan ($12 per month), which includes a free custom domain that’s good for one year.
- Shipping tools: With a Performance account ($26 per month) and higher, you can purchase discounted shipping labels for FedEx, UPS, USPS, and DHL straight from Square. With a Premium account ($72 per month), you can use a shipping calculator that charges customers real-time shipping rates based on their location and the order weight. With WooCommerce and Ecwid, you can access some of these shipping tools for free.
- Customer reviews: If you want to give customers the ability to leave reviews of your products, then you’ll need to upgrade to at least the Performance plan ($26 per month).
Big Cartel: Best for Artists (& To Use a Custom Domain)
When it comes to free ecommerce websites, Big Cartel is as classy as it gets. Its templates are stylish and modern and, unlike many competitors, don’t include pesky ads. There’s typically just a subtle Big Cartel logo on the footer, which you can remove using code. Big Cartel is also one of the only free ecommerce platforms that lets you connect a custom domain.
Big Cartel was originally designed for artists and craftsmen and, as a result, it works best for businesses that have a relatively small inventory. There’s no SKU management, and the free plan only supports up to five products with no inventory tracking. That said, if you only need to sell a few products at a time, Big Cartel is tough to beat.
Big Cartel Advantages
Big Cartel Disadvantages
Use a real .com domain
Limited to only five products
Stylish themes with no ads or branding
No inventory tracking without upgrade
Lots of design controls
Limited SEO tools
What’s Included in Big Cartel’s Free Plan
- Use a custom domain: Besides WooCommerce, Big Cartel is the only free ecommerce website builder we’re aware of that lets you connect a custom domain, such as www.yourstore.com. If you don’t own a custom domain, then you can use a Big Cartel subdomain, like yourstore.bigcartel.com, for free.
- Up to five products: Free plans list up to five unique products at a time, with one photo per item. Customers can check out using a credit card, which is processed through PayPal or Stripe. Free users cannot sell digital items, like e-books and videos.
- Full website: Create a full website with multiple pages and a contact form. Big Cartel lets you choose from many stylish themes that you can customize with your own logo and colors. Big Cartel gives you a surprising amount of control over the layout of your website and also lets you integrate a small but solid set of apps, including Mailchimp, ShipStation, and live chat apps.
- Support: Big Cartel has email support available 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Eastern time, including weekends. During my evaluation, I submitted a question after-hours and received a helpful response first thing in the morning.
When To Upgrade Big Cartel
- More products and photos: The biggest reason to upgrade Big Cartel is the ability to add more than five products and to upload more than one photo per item. The $10 per month edition lets you sell up to 50 products, the $20 per month edition lets you sell 250 and the $30 per month up to 500. All paid versions of Big Cartel also let you sell digital items.
- Coupons: All paid versions of Big Cartel allow you to create digital coupons for customers. This can be for a percentage discount, a dollar-amount discount, or for free shipping.
- More SEO options: Neither free nor paid versions of Big Cartel allow you to edit the SEO title and description of products. For most users, this won’t be an issue, since Big Cartel simply generates them automatically. However, those looking for more SEO control should consider Square or WooCommerce instead.
WooCommerce: Best for WordPress Users
WooCommerce is stacked with features. It’s the only free ecommerce system we’re aware of that lets you sell unlimited digital and physical products, manage inventory, set up coupons, handle customer reviews, and use a USPS shipping calculator—and that’s just scratching the surface.
WooCommerce requires you to use WordPress, which is free, but can be complicated to set up and requires hosting. If you’re looking for something you can set up quickly, then Square and Big Cartel are much simpler options. However, for tech-oriented people that don’t mind getting their hands dirty, WooCommerce offers unparalleled options.
Most feature-packed free ecommerce platform
Hosting not included
Charge real-time USPS shipping rates
Lengthy setup time
Vast design control and variety
No free customer support
What’s Included in WooCommerce’s Free Plan
- Unlimited products: You can list an unlimited number of products, including physical and digital goods (like e-books and videos). WooCommerce also includes tools to manage your inventory, such as low-stock alerts.
- USPS integration: Calculate the shipping price in real time when a customer checks out, then print discounted USPS postage straight from WooCommerce with the customer’s name and address already filled in. Other carriers like UPS and FedEx can be integrated for an additional fee.
- Coupon codes: WooCommerce lets you create coupon codes for discounts on the customer’s order. You can also create special rules such as requiring a minimum spend and excluding certain items.
- Product reviews: Allow customers to rate and submit reviews of your products.
- Support: WooCommerce does not have customer support available to free users, although there is a forum where you can ask other users questions.
When To Upgrade WooCommerce
- SEO: WooCommerce does not include great SEO tools out-of-the-box, so many users will install an SEO plugin like Yoast to help them edit search engine titles and descriptions for their products and pages.
- Multi Language: An extension is required to display your site in multiple languages, and this can cost around $200 per year.
- Marketing: Another common way users upgrade WooCommerce is by installing one of the dozens of marketing extensions. You can sell on Facebook, start an affiliate program, or create targeted email campaigns with special offers based on a customer’s previous purchases. Prices range from $0 to hundreds of dollars per year.
For more information, read our full WooCommerce review.
Ecwid: Best Free Ecommerce Website Builder for Wix, Squarespace, and Blogger Users
If you already have a Wix or Squarespace website and want to start selling products, then Ecwid is an excellent free option. While Wix and Squarespace have their own ecommerce plans, they can get expensive and often lack features that Ecwid provides for free, like a shipping calculator and a related products section.
Ecwid can be integrated with both these platforms and any other website builders where you can inject code. Ecwid can also be used as a free standalone website, although this is less common.
No ads shown on free sites
Limited to 10 products
Free USPS, UPS, and FedEx shipping calculator
No coupon codes
Works on Wix, Squarespace, Blogger, Tumblr, WordPress, and more
No inventory tracking in free plan
What’s Included in Ecwid’s Free Plan
- Up to 10 products: Free users can list up to 10 unique products at a time. Customers can pay with a credit card, which can be processed through PayPal, Stripe, Square, and more than 60 other payment gateways. Free users cannot sell digital items like e-books and videos.
- Link to website: While Ecwid can be set up as a free standalone site, most users integrate it with their existing website. Ecwid has official integrations with Wix, Weebly, and WordPress, allowing you to add your free Ecwid store with just a few clicks. For other website builders like Squarespace, you can integrate Ecwid by copy/pasting HTML code.
- Shipping calculators: Ecwid is the only free ecommerce website builder we’re aware of that has free shipping calculators for all the major US carriers, as well as Canada Post, Royal Mail, and more. This means you can charge customers actual shipping rates based on their location and the package weight. However, you cannot purchase shipping labels straight from Ecwid unless you integrate an app like ShipStation.
- Support: For free users, there is only email support available. Live chat and phone support are available to paying customers.
When To Upgrade Ecwid
- List more products: A Venture plan ($12.50 per month) lets you list up to 100 products at a time, whereas a Business plan ($29.17 per month) allows you up to 2,500. Meanwhile, an Unlimited plan ($83.30 per month) enables you to post unlimited products.
- Custom domain: If you’re using Ecwid to host your website, then you can use a custom domain (e.g., www.yourstore.com) instead of the storename.company.site domain that’s included for free.
- Multi-channel selling: One of the big perks to using Ecwid is that you can integrate your online store with more than one website—and you can do that even with a free account. However, with a Business level account ($29.17 per month), you can also list your products on Amazon, eBay, Etsy, Facebook, and Instagram. Some additional fees may apply.
- Multi Language: Ecwid offers a multi-language functionality for users on the Business plan ($29.17 per month).
- Coupon codes: Another perk for paid users is the ability to create promotional coupons for customers to use at their store. Ecwid gives you a lot of control over coupons, as you can specify the number of times a coupon is allowed to be used, require a minimum order amount, only allow it for certain customers, or only allow it for certain items/item categories.
To learn more, read our full Ecwid review.
Mozello: Best for International Sellers (& Those Needing Multiple Languages)
Mozello is one of the few free ecommerce platforms that lets you display your website in multiple languages. Choose from over 60 languages from around the world, and let your customers change the language by clicking a link at the top of your site.
Beyond that, Mozello is a slim but solid website builder, allowing you to list up to five products for free. It’s very easy to use but clearly in its early stages of development, as many of the more advanced ecommerce features, like related products and marketing integrations, are not available.
Create a multi-language site
Limited to only five products
Extremely easy to use
No coupon codes
No SSL (except during checkout)
What’s Included in Mozello’s Free Plan
- Up to five products: Free users can list up to five unique products at a time. Unlike Big Cartel, you aren’t limited by how many photos you can upload, but there is an overall storage limit of 500MB for free accounts.
- Full website: Mozello makes it very easy to create a full website with multiple pages and a contact form. Along with Square and Big Cartel, it’s easily the fastest ecommerce website to get up and running. That said, its design options are considerably more limited, and it has very few integrations.
- Multi Language: Mozello is the only free ecommerce website builder on our list that supports multi-language sites, and it’s the only one we’re aware of that covers more than 60 languages worldwide. Simply choose which languages you want to support, and write your website content (like product titles and descriptions) for each language. At the top of your site, visitors will be able to click which language they want to see.
- Subdomain: Free websites come with a customizable mozello.com subdomain, so your website will appear as yourstore.mozello.com on the address bar.
- Mozello footer: Free websites also display a small message on the footer that reads “Created with Mozello – the world’s easiest to use website builder.” While it doesn’t stand out too bad, it makes the website a bit less classy compared to the others on this list—particularly Big Cartel, Ecwid, and WooCommerce.
- Support: Mozello has free email support in English. I sent a few questions during my evaluation and received a very detailed and personalized response three hours later. While there is a phone support line, the office is based in Eastern Europe, so you will have to call early in the morning to reach them and may incur international charges.
When To Upgrade Mozello
- More products and storage: One of the main reasons to upgrade is to add more products and increase your storage for photos, videos, and other types of files. The $7 per month plan allows up to 15 items and 50GB of storage, while the $14 per month plan allows unlimited items and unlimited storage.
- Custom domain: Another key reason to upgrade is to use a custom domain instead of the yourstore.mozello.com subdomain, which is provided free of charge. All paid users can do this (starting at $7 per month), and a custom domain is even provided for free for one year. However, you can also connect a domain purchased from an outside registrar.
- SSL certificate: Paid users (starting at $7 per month) can enable SSL encryption, making your website more secure and changing your URL from HTTP to HTTPS. This makes your website more appealing to search engines and can help you rank higher in the results. Free accounts automatically get HTTPS during checkout to secure credit card information, but the rest of the site is HTTP.
- Coupon codes: Last but not least, paid users can create promotional coupons for customers to use at their store.
All free website builders come with certain limitations. You may only be allowed to sell a certain number of products, or you may find that certain features are “locked” until you upgrade. While these limitations might not be too much of a concern right now, they can present a major problem later as your store grows and needs changes.
This is why we recommend using Square for your free ecommerce website. It has the fewest limitations while also being completely free with no hosting fees or commission. To start setting up your own Square store, click the button below. There’s no credit card required.