The 6 Best Free Ecommerce Website Builders

Our site is reader-supported – by clicking our links, we can match you with a potential supplier, and we may earn a small commission for this referral.

Our top recommendation for a free ecommerce website builder is Wix, following our extensive research examining the best website builders on the market. We focused on the quality of various providers' free plans and free trial periods and their sales tools, website features, design functions, and customer support.

Wix scored highly for its intuitive design and a generous 14-day free trial period. If you're looking for a more sales-ready platform, you may consider Squarespace as a worthy alternative.

Below you'll find a full breakdown of the six top free e-commerce website builders as well as guidance on how to choose the right provider.

What are the top 6 free ecommerce website builders for 2024?

These are the providers we recommend based on our research. Clicking on these links will take you to the provider's website.

  1. Wix – Best overall
  2. Shopify – Best for sales-specific features
  3. Square Online – Best value for money
  4. Squarespace – Best for design
  5. GoDaddy – Best for building a website quickly
  6. Big Cartel – Best for artists

The Six Best Free Ecommerce Website Builders:

Swipe right to see more
0 out of 0

Wix

Shopify

Square Online

Squarespace

GoDaddy

Big Cartel

Score
4.7
Score
4.3
Score
4.4
Score
4.7
Score
4.5
Score
3.1
Price Range
Paying for one year upfront

£14-£119/month

£12.60-£107.10 with code “GET10!”

(Enterprise pricing available)

Price Range
Paying for one year upfront

£5-£344/month

Deal: First three months for £1 each

(Enterprise pricing available)

Price Range
Paying for one year upfront

£0-64/month

(Enterprise pricing available)

Price Range
Paying for one year upfront
Price Range
Paying for one year upfront

£12.99 – £19.99/month

Price Range
Paying for one year upfront

$0 – $19.99

Free Plan
Free Plan
Free Plan
Free Plan
Free Plan
Free Plan
Free Trial
Free Trial
Free Trial
Free Trial
Free Trial
Free Trial
Try Wix Try Shopify Try Square Try Squarespace Try GoDaddy Try Now

What is an ecommerce website builder?

An ecommerce website builder is a tool to create and manage an online store without needing to manually code. Some key features of ecommerce website builders include:

  • Drag and drop interface to build pages and add products, images, text etc. This makes building a store much easier compared to coding it from scratch.
  • Pre-set templates and themes to choose from to get your store up and running quickly.
  • Integration with payment gateways to accept payments.
  • Inventory management system to track product quantities, sales and orders.
  • SEO tools to help your site’s rankings.
  • Built-in analytics to view traffic sources, sales reports and other stats.

1. Wix – Best overall free ecommerce website builder

Wix
Wix
4.9
Pricing £12.60-£107.10 with code “GET10!”
Pros

Makes it really easy to build your brand image with its intuitive design interface

Add product videos (but only on the ecommerce plans, starting from £13 per month)

14-day free trial and affordable premium plans

Cons

The amount of creative freedom can feel overwhelming at first

Only offers multi-channel integration with Instagram as an in-built feature, unlike Square which offers more in-built integrations

Jumping up from 4.3/5 to 4.9/5 in our research, Wix has massively improved its sales features. For instance, you can now sell via Facebook and use drop shipping services.

You can build a full Wix ecommerce website at no cost with no limited trial, with access to its templates, intuitive design tools, and some customer support.

However, to actually start selling products and taking payments, you’ll need to sign up to at least the Core plan (£14 per month).  Its price plans are still very affordable, though, making it one of the best platforms for small businesses.

Don’t be put off, though – you can first enjoy a free trial of your ecommerce store for 14 days to see if you like the platform. We were certainly impressed by Wix’s ecommerce features, value for money, and help and support.

What's New For Wix?

As of November 2023, you can reduce the frequency of abandoned carts at checkout with a new integration with Google Pay, which allows shoppers to pay in just two clicks.

Wix is one of the most popular and user-friendly ecommerce platforms in the world

Get 10% off when you sign up for Wix today with code ‘GET10!'


2. Shopify – Best for sales-specific features

Shopify
4.7
Pricing £19-£344/month
Pros

Sell on all the big social media channels, plus Amazon, eBay, and Buzzfeed

Offers most sales-specific features of any platform we tested

Very easy to customise your features and online store

Cons

You’ll need to reformat your entire site if you decide to switch templates

It imposes transaction fees if you don’t use its own payment processor

Shopify is one of the leading ecommerce platforms, offering a 3-day free trial period in which you can test its powerful sales features.

Those features are powerful and plentiful in equal measure, with Shopify scoring 4.7/5 for sales features (the highest of any platform). You’ll also have access to 1,200+ apps.

With plans starting at £5 per month, once the free trial ends, it’s not the cheapest platform we tested, which puts it against platforms like Woocommerce (as discussed in-depth in our Woocommerce vs. Shopify comparison). It also enforces transaction fees if you don’t use Shopify Payments, but it remains great value for money overall thanks to its range of tools and generous free trial period.

What's New For Shopify?

As of November 2023, all sellers can now choose between one-page or three-page checkout templates, regardless of their plan: Basic, Shopify, or Advanced.

Shopify has the most sales-specific features of any platform we tested

Get you first three months for £1 each!


3. Square Online – Best value for money

Square Online
4.4
Pricing £0-64/month
Strengths

Generous free plan offering multi-channel integration

Access to even more features for just £20 per month on the Plus plan

Quick and easy to set up your free ecommerce website

Weaknesses

Free plan comes with Square ads on every page

Very limited creative freedom when designing your site

Lacks the helpful prompts and support found on Wix when setting up your site

Square Online provides everything you need to start selling products – for free! Well, you do pay 1.9% per transaction instead, but it’s still your best option for creating a free ecommerce website.

It has the most generous free plan of any platform we tested, offering multi-channel integration with Instagram and Pinterest, the ability to sell unlimited products (most other platforms allow you to sell three to five products on their free plans), and automatic inventory syncing.

As with all free website builder plans, the only slight catch is that you have the platform’s branding on each of your web pages, plus a subdomain on your URL. These risk your site appearing unprofessional (or worse, untrustworthy), which can lead to lost sales.

What's New For Square Online?

As of November 2023, you can now upgrade your web design with Square thanks to the roll-out of brand new templates, pre-loaded with “layouts, pages, and sections built specifically to help you drive conversions and inspire your creativity.”

Square Online offers the best value for money of any ecommerce builder we tested

4. Squarespace – Best for design features

Squarespace
4.3
Pricing £12-£35
Strengths

Best-designed templates of any platform we tested, helping your products stand out

14-day free trial and great value for money premium plans

Impressive ecommerce features, including multi-channel integration

Weaknesses

Harder to use than Wix

Supports very few payment processors (only PayPal and Stripe)

During your 14-day free trial period, you can use Squarespace’s stunning templates and powerful design tools to build a free ecommerce website that truly stands out. It now scores 4.3/5 (up from 4.1/5 in our previous research period), thanks to its improved app store, ease of use, and customer support. What's more, it now supports five payment processors, rather than just two.

We’re sure you’ll be impressed by Squarespace (we definitely were), so you’ll need to then sign up to an ecommerce price plan if you’d like to continue selling products online through its platform. Starting from £23 per month, it’s more expensive than Square Online and Wix – however, you’re paying for superb features, and a beautiful website that can truly stand out from the competition.

Using Squarespace is the closest you can get to a professionally designed ecommerce website, which will help boost your brand image and attract more sales. Lastly, don't forget Expert Market readers can save 10% on Squarespace by entering EM10 at the checkout.

What's New For Squarespace?

As of November 2023:

  • Squarespace Icons: Limited edition web templates designed in collaboration with “cultural visionaries,” such as Bjork.
  • Fluid Engine: An all-new, drag-and-drop editor tool that brings intuitive control to the process of designing your site.

Squarespace has the templates and design tools to help your online store truly stand out

Get 10% off with code ‘EM10'


5. GoDaddy – Best for building a website quickly

GoDaddy
3.9
Pricing £12.99 - £19.99
Strengths

Fastest and easiest-to-use platform we tested

Create up to five backup copies of your online store

Flat-fee price after the free trial to help you organise your budget

Weaknesses

Very limited creative control due to the ADI function building everything for you

Scored 2.5/5 for website features

Cannot sell digital products

With a free trial of 7 days, GoDaddy is also the quickest ecommerce platform out there.

It uses ADI (artificial design intelligence) to create a website for you in a matter of minutes, first asking you a few questions about what you’d like.

Speed isn’t everything, though – GoDaddy scored poorly during our research, gaining 3.5/5 for sales features and 2.7/5 for design functionalities. 

However, if you’re looking to get a website up and running within an hour, and a decent free trial period, then GoDaddy should suffice.

What's New For GoDaddy?

As of November 2023, there is added support for Google Analytics 4 to see how websites are performing and track marketing efforts.

GoDaddy offers the quickest way to build a free ecommerce website

6. Big Cartel – Best for artists

Big Cartel
3.1
Pricing $0 - $19.99
Strengths

Generous free plan, enabling you to sell up to five products

Lots of user-friendly prompts to help you navigate the interface

One of the best free ecommerce website builders for artists

Weaknesses

Very basic template designs with little creative flexibility

Coding is required for building a beautiful Big Cartel website (unlike on Squarespace)

Big Cartel’s biggest draw is its generous free plan, which enables you to sell up to five products.

Also offering the ability to promote your products through Facebook and Instagram, Big Cartel is well suited to artists selling prints or individual items that don’t require different colour or size variants.

Like most other platforms, though, its free plan is very limited in terms of features. It also comes with a subdomain (‘.bigcartel.com’ in this case) rather than your own personalised URL, which can make your website look unprofessional. To avoid these problems, you can sign up for its Platinum plan for just $9.99 (USD) per month.

You’ll also need to know how to code – assuming you want to grow your Big Cartel store into something more than just a basic, forgettable website.


Buying Guide: How to choose an ecommerce web builder

Learning how to build a free commerce website is simple enough, as long as you know which platforms to use. A few platforms such as Square Online and BigCartel offer free plans which allow you to build a free ecommerce website and sell a limited number of products, at no cost.

However, these plans are limited in terms of features, and usually offer underwhelming templates – which can make it hard for your business to stand out online.

That's why we strongly recommend opting for an affordable paid plan instead – they come with premium features to help take your website to the next level. Platforms such as Wix and Squarespace (which scored highly in our research) offer a free trial period rather than a free plan. This means you can build an entire online store and test the platform’s tools at no cost.

If you enjoy using it, you’ll then need to sign up to a monthly subscription. When billed annually, Wix’s ecommerce plans start from just £14 per month and Squarespace’s start from £23 per month – the price as one takeaway pizza per month.

How We Test Ecommerce Website Builders for Businesses

We tested eight market-leading ecommerce website builders to evaluate them in terms of functionality, usability, accuracy, and aesthetics so we can make the most useful recommendations to UK businesses.

Our rigorous testing process means these products have been scored and rated in seven main categories of investigation and 47 subcategories – in fact, we covered 341 areas of investigation in total. We then gave each category score a ‘relevance weighting' to ensure the product's final score perfectly reflects the needs and requirements of Expert Market readers – and that's our product testing algorithm in a nutshell!

Our main testing categories for ecommerce website builders are:

Website Features: the capabilities and functionalities offered by an ecommerce website builder, e.g. blog functionality, SEO capability, and marketing capacity.

Sales Features: the sales capabilities and sales functionalities offered by an ecommerce website builder, including shipping, inventory capacity, and payment options.

Design: the aesthetic appeal and visual layout of a website created using the website builder. It encompasses aspects such as page templates and customisable themes.

Customer Score: external customer opinion; the feedback and ratings given by customers who have used a particular ecommerce builder – the market position and reputation a builder holds.

Ease of Use: how user-friendly and intuitive an ecommerce website builder is for people with varying levels of technical expertise.

Value for Money: the balance between the cost of an ecommerce website builder and the benefits it provides. It considers factors such as pricing plans, subscription models, and available features.

Help and Support: the assistance and resources available to users when they encounter issues or need guidance while using an ecommerce website builder. This can include tutorials, knowledge bases, and email or chat support.


Expert verdict

Based on our revisited research, Wix is now our top rated free ecommerce website builder thanks to its improved user-experience and stronger sales features.

We understand the free plans are an excellent way to cut costs, but they do make it difficult for your business to stand out online and grow due to their lack of features.

That’s why we’d recommend signing up for a more premium plan, on platforms like Wix or Shopify, in order to start selling more products through a website that stands out from the competition. Thankfully, the website builder plans are still very affordable.

Written by:
Dan’s a Senior Writer at Expert Market, specialising in digital marketing, web design, and photocopiers, amongst other topics.
Reviewed by:
A head shot of Natasha Willett - a blonde woman in a work shirt with a blue background
For over 9 years Natasha has worked as a mixed method researcher working across a range of sectors from insurance and policy development, to business services and software. As a member of the Market Research Society, Natasha is an advocate for high ethical, commercial and methodological best practices.