Top 20 Open Source eCommerce Platforms in 2021

Updated: October 25, 2021 | Marina Vorontsova, Technical Author

A lot of different ecommerce web store owners, from small to large, are trying to work with free open source ecommerce platforms. It is true that selling things online is not cheap. Open source ensures that even if you pay, the fees incurred don’t break the bank.

So — What are the advantages and disadvantages of using free ecommerce platforms?

What are the top 20 open source ecommerce platforms you should check out now? 

After hours of research, we’ve hand-picked the following 20 most popular open source ecommerce solutions on the market.

What Is an Open Source eCommerce Platform?

An open source ecommerce platform is an ecommerce solution where users have full access to source code, and, depending on their business needs, can adapt and customize the platform. As might be expected, platform customization implies that users have sufficient developer resources or coding knowledge to perform modifications.

Below we’ll look at what the use of free ecommerce platforms might entail and what to expect.

Advantages of Open Source eCommerce Platform

– Full control

Having access to source code implies full control over the solution. It also means greater flexibility: even if an out of the box solution doesn’t have a particular feature, your developer team can add it by altering existing or writing additional code.

Open source works very well for businesses that need to accommodate specific logic into an ecommerce solution and have sufficient developer resources to build a customizable platform that suits a specific business agenda.


– Community support

Open source is a collaborative effort with communities built around open source code solutions. It means that every developer who works with the platform can contribute their ideas as well as seek answers to problems they can’t solve on their own.

Disadvantages of Open Source Ecommerce Platforms

– Complicated

The more modifications your developers make to the platform, the more complicated it becomes, meaning that any updates to the system become more time consuming and difficult to accomplish.


– Costs

Even though open source platforms are free, you’ll most certainly incur additional expenses, such as licensing and hosting provider fees, developer wages, security and PCI DSS compliance expenses, and any other costs associated with running and maintaining the platform.


– Security concerns

Because the open source platform’s code is open to anyone and ecommerce, in general, is a treasure trove of financial data, the code can be used by bad actors who might look for ways to exploit any potential vulnerabilities in the system.

Top 20 eCommerce Open Source Platforms

Here’s our rundown of the most popular ecommerce platforms on the market that are also open source!

WooCommerce

Recent stats from WordPress show that WooCommerce has been downloaded more than 123 million times; on November 25, 2020, alone — 700 thousand times. This makes WooCommerce the most popular open source ecommerce solution available on the market.

WooCommerce was created by WooThemes to help users turn their WordPress site into an ecommerce store.

WooCommerce’s popularity, however, comes at a price. Most of the more complex features don’t come in a free package and need to be paid for. The same goes for store support. That said, WooCommerce is still a great solution that is easily scalable with little to no issues. That is why it is often chosen as the main platform by small to medium size businesses.

 

woocommerce

Benefits of WooCommerce

  • Flexibility: With WooCommerce, you can sell any product — physical or digital.
  • An abundance of customization options: There are hundreds of free and paid plugins that allow you to customize your ecommerce site however you want. With a bit of coding knowledge, you can tinker with WooCommerce further and adapt it to suit your agenda. 
  • Large and active community: WooCommerce community caters to more than four and a half million WordPress users, which ensures that everyone finds an answer to their question and that the WooCommerce platform doesn’t unexpectedly fold up in the nearest future.


Downsides of WooCommerce

  • WordPress specific: No matter how sophisticated it might appear, WooCommerce is still a plugin that cannot be used in sites not hosted on WordPress.
  • Entails additional expenses: Although it’s free to download, you’re bound to incur additional expenses through apps and extensions that you need to pay for if you require specific features not included with the free package.

Magento Community Edition: Magento Open Source

Although Magento Community Edition is not as popular as WooCommerce, it is still a well-known open source ecommerce platform that’s preferred by over 270,000 merchants. Compared to Shopify, Magento CE has 24.8% of the ecommerce market share while Shopify caters to only 9%. While Magento CE lacks some features of its paid counterparts, such as Magento Enterprise Edition (aka Magento Commerce) and Magento Marketplace, it is still a good choice for anyone looking for a free open source platform.

 

magento

Benefits of Magento

  • High flexibility and unlimited customization options: Magento can be easily tailored to your specific business requirements by tinkering with the open source code and integrating third party applications. Thanks to its API-driven nature, Magento allows you to go headless and customize multiple front ends while maintaining one back office. 
  • Extensive feature list: Magento is a powerful solution when it comes to user experience, marketing, and operational efficiency. It has an intuitive admin panel, multi-language and multi-currency support, SEO friendly features, an option to ship to multiple addresses, analytics, and reporting.
  • Huge community: Magento community has over 360,000 members with nearly 6,000 contributors and 8,000 certified developers.


Downsides of Magento

  • Development costs: Even though the entry cost of Magento is nil, you need to have a decent budget to develop the platform you want. Magento custom development, along with Magento extensions, can cost you a pretty penny, amounting to thousands of dollars. With Magento Commerce, expenses pile up even higher.
  • Hosting requirements & associated costs: Magento clearly articulates its hosting requirements, which include hosting the platform on VPS (Virtual Private Server), cloud, or a dedicated server. Plus, as with other open source platforms, you’ll need to think of domain registration, web hosting, SSL certification, and so on.

OpenCart

One of OpenCart’s catchphrases might as well be “looks do matter” as it offers more than 15,000 modules and eCommerce themes. There are currently more than 150,000 live ecommerce stores running on OpenCart open source ecommerce platform, with the number of online stores growing at 5,8% in the third quarter of 2021.

 

opencart

Benefits of OpenCart

  • Large and active community: OpenCart’s active and welcoming community is one of its main advantages. Apart from its open source community, OpenCart also features commercial support. 
  • Customizable themes, modules, and extensions: the versatility and abundance of ecommerce modules and themes make OpenCart a desirable choice for those with little technical knowledge.
  • Powerful store management: OpenCart offers product and order management, promotional and marketing features. The platform is also multilingual and works with multiple currencies, shipping provides, and popular payment methods. 

Downsides of OpenCart

  • Limited scalability: If you plan to scale up your shop, then OpenCart might not be an ideal solution.
  • SEO issues: Unfortunately OpenCart can create canonization issues for SEO.
  • Slow checkout experience: If cart abandonment rate is something you might be struggling with, then give OpenCart a pass.

Drupal Commerce

Drupal is a free open source web content management system written in PHP. Drupal provides a back end framework for at least 13% of the top 10,000 websites worldwide – from personal blogs to government portals. Drupal Commerce is one of the most sophisticated open source ecommerce software that augments Drupal CMS.

 

Drupal commerce

Benefits of Drupal Commerce

  • Powerful CMS: Drupal Commerce is one of the few ecommerce platforms built on CMS, which makes it an ideal candidate for those who need a powerful content marketing strategy right at the start.
  • Customization options: Drupal is highly customizable and can be integrated with a multitude of third party applications. It also supports multiple languages and currencies. 
  • Development resources: Drupal has been in the business for more than 20 years, meaning that the company had enough time to become top-notch in the developer documentation.

Downsides of Drupal Commerce

  • Complex: Unlike other ecommerce software, Drupal was created as a framework that is focused on what you can build as opposed to what you can do, which means that besides basic features out of the box, you’ll be expected to create everything else and compose your own solution either out of the available modules or modules you develop yourself. 
  • Pricey: Besides web hosting, SSL certification, and whatnot, you can purchase professional support from the Commerce Guys that run Drupal Commerce; however, it’s expensive as it starts from 3,000 dollars for a setup and almost 600 dollars in monthly fees.

X-Cart Open Source eCommerce Platform

X-Cart is a fine open source ecommerce platform that, unlike other free platforms, offers a lifetime license. As a PHP-based ecommerce software built on solid source code and a user base of 30,000 merchants, X-Cart offers multiple fine features. While the list and number of features are impressive, the cost of upgrading to get the most out of this list is expensive. 

X-Cart shopping cart software comes in a cloud-based hosted version or downloadable software that you install on your site.

 

Xcart

Benefits of X-Cart

  • Plenty of features: X-Cart features good functionality with a dozen free and responsive CSS-based themes, built-in SEO and marketing tools, as well as solid inventory management. The shopping cart is compatible with multiple payment gateways, and X-Payments integration is PA DSS certified and PCI compliant.

Downsides of X-Cart

  • Complex and pricey: Setup requires manual coding, and technical support will cost you extra.

PrestaShop

More than 300,000 ecommerce websites worldwide run on PrestaShop open source ecommerce platform. According to the company, PrestaShop particularly leads the charts in Europe and Latin America. The platform is indeed popular among merchants in more than 200 countries, which explains why it was translated into nearly 70 languages.

 

prestashop

Benefits of PrestaShop

  • A high degree of customizability: PrestaShop Add ons Marketplace features more than 2,400 free and paid PrestaShop templates. Besides, the platform supports more than 500 built-in features, some of which are unique, such as Intelligent Merchant KPI and Forecasting, among others.  

Downsides of PrestaShop

  • Development issues: There have been reported problems with a correlation of PrestaShop ecommerce modules.
  • Scaling and performance issues: PrestaShop might not be an ideal solution for handling spikes in traffic.
  • Costs: As with other open source solutions, PrestaShop might be free to run but requires investments whenever you want to add more features.

Spree Commerce

Spree Commerce is popular among small to medium-size companies, with 10 to 50 employees on average and no more than ten million dollars in revenue. The Spree Commerce open source ecommerce platform was created back in 2007 and has since had nearly 800 contributors and over one million downloads from RubyGems. The platform runs on Ruby on Rails, and it’s something to keep in mind if you plan to tinker with the code as you might have a hard time figuring your way around it.

 

spree

Benefits of Spree

  • Might be an ideal solution for small online businesses: Spree Commerce features a streamlined set of core functions that can be quickly customized to suit your particular business needs.
  • Decent community: As of now, Spree Commerce has more than 9,500 stars, 4,000 forks, 18,300 commits, 4,000 slack members, and nearly 800 contributors, all willing to work together or help you solve Spree-specific issues.

Downsides of Spree

  • Lack of comprehensive customer service: Outside its Slack Channel and developer community, Spree doesn’t offer customer service or technical assistance.
  • Complex: Spree runs on Ruby and is pretty complex in general for anyone who is not familiar with the language. 
  • A limited number of extensions: Compared to Magento or Shopify, Spree has way fewer extensions and add ons. Moreover, there are also restrictions on whom you’re able to integrate with.

VirtueMart

VirtueMart is a Joomla!-based open source ecommerce platform with an impressive number of features, a number of active ecommerce stores globally, and an active developer community. The platform’s official user count is well over 300,000.

With that said, it’s worth noting that even though the company was founded back in 2004, its development team is still small, there are only 3 to 5 people actively engaged in the project. 

Despite having limited manpower, the VirtueMart developers are always happy to help and are grateful for any kind of input from their thriving community. 

VirtueMart might not be an ideal solution for those with limited coding skills or a tight budget, as you can easily spend a small fortune buying all kinds of add-ons and plug-ins for your site.

 

virtuemart

Benefits of VirtueMart

  • A high degree of customizability: You can virtually create any store you want as long as you have some coding knowledge and patience.

Downsides of VirtueMart

  • Limited support options and development complexities make VirtueMart hard to recommend for anyone with little technical skills.

WP ecommerce

WP ecommerce is an original WordPress e commerce plugin with a download count of over 3M and an active developer community. With WP ecommerce, all you require is some basic CSS and HTML knowledge. 

 

WP ecommerce

Benefits of WP ecommerce

  • Popular, has a large developer community, constantly improving: Because WP is used by a large number of people and has an active developer community, improvements are a part of a continuous delivery process with regular updates and everything else it entails.
  • Ease of use: WP ecommerce is easy to install, set up, and use. It works well with other plugins and extensions as long as they are WP-specific.

Downsides of WP ecommerce

  • Limited functionality for larger online stores: Since WP APIs have limitations, you may find that you cannot add some advanced features.
  • Security concerns: WordPress’s popularity comes at a cost, making it a constant target of cybercriminals. 
  • WordPress specific: WP ecommerce is nothing more than a plugin and cannot be used in ecommerce websites that are not hosted on WordPress.

CubeCart

CubeCart is a feature rich open source ecommerce software that has a decent developer community.

 

cubecart

Benefits of CubeCart

  • A decent number of different features: CuebCart is easy to set up, supports an unlimited number of products, categories, and users, offers sales reporting and analytics, supports multiple currencies, has plenty of marketing features, and provides decent inventory management and stock control options.

Downsides of CubeCart

  • Still not as feature rich as other platforms: Compared to other platforms, CubeCart is not as advanced as it might sound.
  • The website looks outdated: Although CubeCart software is regularly updated, the company’s website looks as though it was designed back in the naughties, which makes you question the platform’s capabilities.

Virto Commerce: Best eCommerce Platform

Virto Commerce is a professional enterprise grade ecommerce solution that, just like Magento, has an open source free version. Virto Commerce’s unique features include its complex catalog, inventory and order management systems, a custom made CMS, among other advanced ecommerce features. For example, Virto Commerce’s flexible pricing management module allows you to control each segment of your pricing logic with ease. Being a headless API-driven ecommerce platform, Virto Commerce supports multiple sales channels and can easily integrate with third-party systems.

 

Virto commerce

Benefits of Virto Commerce

  • Provides superior ecommerce functionality: Virto Commerce is a fantastic solution for both medium size and large companies as it has an extensive list of advanced ecommerce features that can be further customized to suit your online business requirements. Moreover, the solution can be further adapted per your specific business model, be it B2B, B2C, D2C, or marketplace. Virto Commerce architecture is atomic, cloud-native, API-driven, and headless.
  • Constantly updated: Virto Commerce is constantly improving to stay ahead of the market and provide its customers with unparalleled technical support services. Virto’s updates are released as often as once or twice a month.

Downsides of Virto Commerce

  • Costly: although you can download Virto Commerce free of charge, you’ll require sufficient developer resources to make the solution work for your online business. Alternatively, you can pay the Virto Commerce developer team to work alongside your team or build a solution for you. 

Square Online

Square Online is built on open source. That said, you won’t be able to download the whole platform package as open source but a few internally developed libraries that you can later use to build something of your own. Square Online ready made platform, however, might be an ideal option for those selling on social media. The platform is specifically tailored for Facebook and Instagram merchants as it allows for easy integration of Facebook marketing campaigns or transformation of an Instagram feed into a one page shopping site.

 

square online

Benefits of Square Online

  • Flexible payment plans: Although not entirely open sourced, the Square online store builder comes as a part of several payment plans, including a free version that includes unlimited products, seamless integrations with Facebook and Instagram, self serve ordering, pick up and shipping, syncing with Square POS, and SEO tools. Square Online includes a free SSL certificate and lets you accept online payments from major credit card companies. Using Square Online open source code you can customize the platform to suit your particular needs.
  • A fine set of features: Square Online readymade platform has templates, tools, and features that won’t only help your store stand out amongst the competition but will also allow you to run your online business operations as smoothly as ever. For example, Square Online allows you to integrate tools like real-time rate calculator, label printing, and premium shipping rate discounts. 

Downsides of Square Online

  • Not entirely open source: Square Online provides only a few internal libraries that can be used to build a store of your own.
  • Transaction fees: Even if you’re going for a free version of Square Online, you’ll incur transaction fees on every sale, 2.9% + 30¢.

Ecwid

Ecwid is an ecommerce plugin in the likes of WooCommerce that can be added to an existing website on WordPress, Joomla, or Drupal. Ecwid also offers a single-page website that the company calls the Starter Site or Instant Site, which is quite limited in functionality and hence, not suitable as a long-term solution.

 

ecwid

Benefits of Ecwid

  • Free customizable website: Ecwid provides a free customizable and responsive instant site with a built-in online store, which is the only solution hosted on Ecwid. Although limited in functionality, it might work well short term. 
  • Works as a plugin to any website or blog: With Ecwid you can choose whether you want to add a fully-fledged storefront, market a certain category of products, or sell individual products with Buy buttons. All you need to do is copy a corresponding code from your store admin and paste it to a relevant website page.

Downsides of Ecwid

  • Not entirely open sourced: There’s however an Ecwid open source library that you can use to extend the existing functionality.
  • A free version has very limited functionality: Although the Ecwid Instant website is free, it has very limited functionality, so you’ll need to subscribe to paid plans to take advantage of other Ecwid ecommerce features.

CS-Cart

CS-Cart is a decent open source ecommerce platform with a fine set of features and customization capabilities. The marketplace version of the software, CS-Cart Multi Vendor, allows you to add different merchants to your store. 

 

cs cart

Benefits of CS-Cart

  • Feature-rich: CS-Cart has multiple important features that are included with the CS-Cart license, such as a built-in layouts editor and CMS, 200+ storefront themes, integration with multiple payment and shipping providers, SEO tools, and CDN support.

Downsides of CS-Cart

  • Has hidden fees: Although CS-Cart is open source, you’re expected to buy a license to get lifetime access to code and software. Moreover, expect to pay more if you want multiple storefronts and vendors, as well as for any updates after a year of use. 
  • Marketplace for add-ons has multiple issues: Unfortunately, some of the add-ons represented on the CS Cart Application Marketplace might not even work with CS Cart.

nopCommerce Free eCommerce Platform

nopCommerce is a free open source ASP.NET shopping cart based on Microsoft technologies. nopCommerce open source ecommerce platform has been on the market for 12 years: during its market tenure, the company has partnered with more than 150 partners across 40 countries and helped to launch more than 60,000 live online stores.

 

nopcommerce

Benefits of nopCommerce

  • Large open source community: During its 12 years on the market, nopCommerce has gathered quite a following — its worldwide community boasts more than 250,000 members and more than three million downloads. 
  • Updated regularly: nopCommerce is constantly upgraded with updates coming out every six to seven months on average
  • Free: It’s absolutely free with no hidden transaction/subscription fees.
  • Unlimited customizability, rich built-in functionality, integration with multiple payment and shipment services, marketing tools, warehouse management, and so on.

Downsides of nopCommerce

  • Basic CMS: Because nopCommerce offers only basic CMS functionality, it might not be ideal if you need to manage a lot of robust content pages.
  • Lack of templates: nopCommerce offers only a handful of free templates.
  • Microsoft technologies: Since nopCommerce is based on Microsoft technologies, it best works with a Windows server infrastructure environment. If you’re working with, say Java or PHP,  give this platform a miss.
  • Complex: nopCommerce has a steep learning curve if you need to do a lot of customizations, so if your coding knowledge is just above average, you might want to consider other solutions.

Solidus Open Source eCommerce Solution

Solidus is a free, open source ecommerce framework with a complete suite of essential e commerce features in a fully modular package. It’s professionally developed by open source community experts with popular ecommerce software like Ruby, PostgreSQL, MySQL, RESTful API, and GraphQL.

 

solidus

Benefits of Solidus

  • Customizability: Although Solidus is highly customizable, there are some features that it provides out of the box and that can be used as-is, including product catalog management, integrations with multiple payment providers, multi-carrier shipping, accounting for returns and exchanges.
  • Flexibility: Because of its API-powered nature, Solidus provides greater flexibility in terms of customization of both back and front ends.

Downsides of Soludis

  • Complex and requires investment: Although the platform is open source and built on modern technologies, it will require some developer resources for full setup and customization.
  • Complexity around inventory and stock management makes Solidus a difficult option to recommend for smaller businesses as they would hardly require even half of those sophisticated features.

MailChimp Open Commerce

MailChimp Open Commerce [previously known as Reaction Commerce] is an open source API-driven modular commerce stack that’s primarily catered for online retailers.

 

mailchimp

Benefits of MailChimp Open Commerce

  • Built on modern technologies: API built on modern frameworks like Node, React, and GraphQL.
  • Flexibility and customizability: You can use MailChimp Open Commerce alongside or instead of your existing stack; implement only the services you need; customize any part of the platform with any new technologies, channels, models, and so on. 
  • Has great extensive documentation and a large open source community which will be appreciated by any developer.

Downsides of MailChimp Open Commerce

  • Complex, thus requires developer resources and additional investment.
  • Provides only a handful of templates.
  • Still has inferior automation features.

Broadleaf Commerce

Broadleaf Commerce is both a commercial and open source ecommerce solution. Broadleaf comes in two versions, one is for community and another one for enterprises. The solution also comes in several commercially available editions, such as Marketplace Edition, B2B Edition, B2C Edition, and Multi-Tenant Edition.

 

broadleaf

Benefits of Broadleaf

  • Fully extensible and customizable: Broadleaf Commerce is built with complexity in mind, meaning that it’s suitable for enterprise-level business logic and hence, might be a good solution for both medium and large organizations. 
  • Microservices architecture, cloud-native, scalable by default, built with modern front end technologies (React, Jest, NodeJS, Babel/Webpack).

Downsides of Broadleaf

  • Complex and therefore not suitable for small businesses with a tight budget or individuals with average development skills
  • Even though the community version is free, the paid version comes with a heavy price tag (and we’re talking thousands of dollars).

Odoo eCommerce Open Source Software

Odoo Commerce is a modern open source ecommerce application that is specifically created for small business owners and less experienced users: the solution features an intuitive interface and a very user friendly experience overall.

 

odoo

Benefits of Odoo eCommerce

  • All the essential features out of the box: Odoo has all the basic e commerce and marketing features neatly packed in a standard package along with third party integrations (multiple payment and shipping options), so you can start selling asap.

Downsides of Odoo eCommerce

  • Out of the box user interface might be better. However, since code is open sourced, you can tinker with it as long as you have enough coding knowledge to do so.
  • Lack of customer service, which is not surprising because all open source platforms are built collaboratively and, most often than not, voluntarily.

Bagisto Free eCommerce Framework

Bagisto is a custom-tailored open source ecommerce framework built on open source technologies such as Laravel and Vue.js.

 

bagisto

Benefits of Bagisto

  • A solid PHP framework with multiple features that can be further extended to meet your business requirements. Bagisto includes support for multiple channels, locations, currencies, multistore inventory and order management systems.

Downsides of Bagisto

  • Complex: Although Bagisto has documentation, it might have been a bit more comprehensive. Users report issues with integrations and installation of new modules, as well as UX/Ui issues. To use Bagisto you need to have solid coding knowledge.

Is Open Source eCommerce Actually Free?

Yes and no. The source code might be free but everything you do with it will most certainly come at a cost.

One of the first steps in choosing a specific open source ecommerce platform is being honest about your coding skills and budget. 

One of the most significant benefits of any open source ecommerce platform is the worldwide community of web developers and other people working on improving specific software; but even then, these people have daytime jobs and won’t be there for you whenever you need them. 

If there’s no technical assistance available and no budget to hire developers, chances are – you’ll struggle with open source. 

On the other hand, if you’re confident in your coding skills and have experience working with open source technologies, then go for it!

FAQ

How Long Does It Take To Build an eCommerce Website?

It depends on many factors, including a company’s industry, business model, corporate and individual needs/wants, available budget, time constraints, and so on. Most estimates range from a few weeks to a year. For example, if you want to build a simple online store with the available open source technology, it might take as little as two weeks to get it up and running, provided you use all the features out of the box without any advanced customizations. At the same time, if you want to develop custom functionality for your e commerce site, then it might take a while, say up to six months, depending on the complexity of the required features and modifications to existing code.

What Is the Difference Between Open Source and Free Software?

Open source license focuses on the availability of source code and possibility to modify and share it. Free software usually focuses on the user’s ability to use the product free of charge, aiming, perhaps at the product’s possible monetization in the future.

Why Are Open Source eCommerce Platforms Better?

Open source is better as long as you can work with the source code and have enough tech skills to customize the platform to suit your particular business needs. Suppose you have the technical knowledge and coding skills required to modify the code. In that case, open source provides unlimited opportunities to become as creative as you want – both in design and functionality of your online store.

Which Framework Is Best for eCommerce Website?

Speaking of front end frameworks, you might want to consider JavaScript-based frameworks, such as React or Vue, which are reputed for their excellency when it comes to user experience development and interactivity. For backend, consider Laravel, an open source PHP framework, Node.js, a JavaScript framework, or ASP.NET, a Net-based framework from Microsoft.

What Is the Most Effective eCommerce Platform?

It’s safe to say that Virto Commerce is the best open source ecommerce platform when it comes to business and operational efficiency. It’s open source, API-driven, and headless. Virto Commerce platform is built on modern technologies and has modular, flexible architecture that runs on microservices. Virto offers superior UX/UI experience, features a user friendly admin panel, and has plenty of marketing-specific tools and SEO friendly features.

What Is the Cheapest eCommerce Platform?

If we’re talking about readymade platforms, then Square Online and Big Cartel both have free plans. If you’re working on WordPress, then go for WooCommerce, a free ecommerce plugin. 

What Is an Open-Source Shopping Cart?

An open source shopping cart is an ecommerce software which source code is readily available for use and modification free of charge.

How Do I Start an eCommerce Website for Free?

To sell online, without incurring much initial costs, you may want to download an open source ecommerce platform and tinker with its code on your own. Otherwise, download a readymade platform and subscribe to a free plan.

What Is the Best Free Online Store Builder?

Most free online store builders are not really free — they might have free plans, but they are oftentimes very limited in functionality. Those website builders also have paid plans, sometimes called enterprise versions, that can cost a pretty penny but have plenty of features and often provide premium support services. 

Do I Need a CMS for eCommerce?

Yes, you do. CMS, which stands for Content Management System, is a software application for creating, editing, collaborating on, publishing, and storing digital content. Typically, CMS comes as a part of the ecommerce platform’s suite.

What Is the Best Free eCommerce Website Development Tool?

You might want to consider downloading any of the above-featured open source ecommerce solutions or otherwise, download a readymade platform, such as those featured in our previous Glossary entry on Shopify Alternatives.

What Is Multi Store eCommerce?

Multi store ecommerce allows you to launch several stores under a single ecommerce platform.

What Are the Best eCommerce Platforms?

Among the best ecommerce platforms are Magento, Virto Commerce, and Drupal Commerce. All three are also the best open source ecommerce platforms.

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Marina Vorontsova
Technical author and eCommerce advocate