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How To Build A Free Website With Payment Options In 2024

Finding a website platform that's free and easy may be a lot easier than you think. Check out our top picks and get your website up and running quickly.

    Nicolette Kier
  • Last updated onUpdated

  • Shannon Vissers
  • REVIEWED BY

    Shannon Vissers

    Lead Staff Writer: Payment Processing

Advertiser Disclosure: Our unbiased reviews and content are supported in part by affiliate partnerships, and we adhere to strict guidelines to preserve editorial integrity.

To build a free website with payment options, you’ll need to use a free eCommerce platform. The best free online store builders allow business owners to easily create an online presence, list products, and use marketing tools to generate more sales.

We evaluated 15 different eCommerce store builders with completely free plans to help you find and compare the best free eCommerce platforms for your business.

Learn More About Our Top Picks

CompanyBest ForNext StepsBest For
Square Online

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  • Best overall for retail, restaurant, and service businesses
  • $0-$79/month
  • Annual contracts on paid plans
  • Best overall for retail, restaurant, and service businesses
  • $0-$79/month
  • Annual contracts on paid plans

Start Trial

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Shift4Shop

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  • Best for midsize and B2B sellers
  • $0-$29/month
  • Custom contracts and payment processing fees
  • Best for midsize and B2B sellers
  • $0-$29/month
  • Custom contracts and payment processing fees

Start Trial

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WooCommerce

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  • Best third-party integrations
  • $0-$70+/month
  • No contract required for software download
  • Best third-party integrations
  • $0-$70+/month
  • No contract required for software download

Visit Site

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Odoo Website

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  • Most customizable all-in-one platform
  • $0-$46.80/user/month
  • No contract required
  • Most customizable all-in-one platform
  • $0-$46.80/user/month
  • No contract required

Visit Site

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Freewebstore

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  • Best marketing and international sales features
  • $0-$250/month
  • Monthly/annual contracts
  • Best marketing and international sales features
  • $0-$250/month
  • Monthly/annual contracts

Visit Site

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Read more below to learn why we chose these options.

Table of Contents

5 Best Free eCommerce Platforms

The best free eCommerce platforms are secure and easy to use, have nice templates, and allow you to manage inventory or service offerings.

Our top choices include:

Compare The Best Free eCommerce Platforms

Supported Business Types Free Web Domain Free Web Hosting Inventory Management Payment Methods
Square Retail, restaurant, service Good Square Payments
Shift4Shop B2C/B2B retail For the first year Excellent Shift4 Payments
WooCommerce Retail, service Good Stripe, PayPal, Venmo, Amazon Pay, Klarna, Affirm, cash-on-delivery
Odoo Retail, service Average Stripe
Freewebstore Domestic and international retail Average PayPal

Square Online: Best Overall For Small Business

Square Online


Start Trial

Cost

Free to $79/month

Contract

None

Equipment Cost

$0-$799

Pros

  • Retail, restaurant, and service-based business software available
  • In-person sales with affordable card reader
  • Strong inventory/appointment management
  • Social media marketing and selling

Cons

  • Limited customization options

Example Square Online store builder for home goods online store

Example Square Online store builder for home goods online store.

Why We Chose Square Online For Most Small Businesses

We believe that Square Online is the overall best choice for most small business owners. This is because Square offers specific free plans for retail, service, and restaurant businesses. Plus, the Square Online web builder integrates with Square's in-person point of sale (POS) software, one of the best free POS systems, which allows you to take debit, credit, and mobile wallet payments in person.

The platform also allows you to sell on social media channels, manage shipping and delivery, and run marketing campaigns for free.

Related: Read our Square For Retail review for more on physical inventory management, social media selling, and domestic/international shipping features.

Square Online Pricing

While Square’s free plan is very generous, small business owners may need to upgrade to a paid plan as their business grows.

Square Online has the following pricing plans:

  • Free: $0/month
  • Performance: $29/month, billed annually
  • Premium: $79/month, billed annually

The pricing above is for Square Online stores. You can integrate a Square Online store with free Square POS software, including Square For Retail, Square For Restaurants, and Square Appointments.

To sell in-person with a card reader (which will lower your payment processing fees), you’ll need the $49 Square card reader.

Related: Read our Square For Restaurants review to learn how to set up online ordering for your restaurants.

Square Online Features

You’ll find the following features on the Square Online free plan:

  • Free website builder with Square subdomain
  • In-person selling capabilities with affordable Square POS hardware
  • Online ordering for shipping, delivery, or in-store pickup
  • Marketing and social media sales, including selling on TikTok and making shoppable Instagram posts
  • Built-in inventory and shipping management
  • Physical, digital, and subscription product sales
  • Sales and coupon codes to run marketing campaigns
  • Online forms so customers can fill out requests and contact your business
  • Online appointment booking page (great for stylists, consultants, etc.)

Related: Read our Square Appointments review for more information on free appointment booking pages and other service-based business management features.

How To Take Payments With Square Online

To accept payments, you must use Square Payments, the company’s in-house payment processor. You can accept debit/card cards, Google Pay, Apple Pay, Afterpay, and CashApp with Square.

You can accept payments in person with a card reader. Read our Square card reader review for more on how you can incorporate in-person selling into your eCommerce business.

Contract Requirements/Warnings

Square contracts are straightforward and month-to-month, with a discount on annual contracts. There are no early termination fees, penalties, or hidden fees.

Note: There is a 30-day free trial on free plans, no credit card is required.

Get Started With Square Online

Read our in-depth review

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Shift4Shop: Best For Midsize & B2B Sellers

Shift4Shop


Start Trial


Pros

  • No Shift4Shop ads or storage limits on free plan
  • Free domain name (for the first year)
  • Enterprise-level eCommerce sales features
  • Websites thoroughly optimized for search engines

Cons

  • Must use Shift4 Payments as payment processor on free plan
  • Not great for in-person sales
  • Users report poor customer service
  • Must process at least $500/month to qualify for free plan

Example online store built using free Shift4Shop eCommerce store builder

Example online store built using the free Shift4Shop eCommerce store builder.

Why We Chose Shift4Shop For Larger Volume & B2B Sellers

We believe that Shift4Shop is mostly for midsize sellers because you must process at least $500/month to qualify for the free plan and the eCommerce platform builder has many features that midsize businesses will appreciate.

We like Shift4Shop for B2B sellers because of the strong customer management, inventory, pricing, and shipping features.

Shift4Shop Pricing

Shift4Shop offers a completely free plan for businesses that process at least $500/month through Shift4 Payments. If you process less than this amount, you’ll pay $29/month to use the Shift4Shop web builder.

Shift4 Payments offers custom payment processing fees for companies, and this payment processing model tends to be more expensive than flat-rate payment processing for smaller, newer businesses.

If you do not want to use Shift4 Payments, you can pay $29/month to use PayPal for accepting online payments.

Shift4Shop Features

Shift4Shop offers enterprise-level eCommerce store builder features, including the following:

  • Free customizable website builder (with no Shift4Shop ads)
  • Websites are SEO-driven, which means your site is more likely to get found in search results
  • Free domain name (for the first year, then you are billed annually)
  • One-page checkout, which makes checkout faster (and increases online sales)
  • Physical item, digital download, subscription, print-on-demand, dropshipping, and gift certificate sales
  • In-store pickup and delivery (with real-time delivery tracking)
  • Sync products with sales channels like Amazon, eBay, Google, and Facebook
  • Coupons, discounts, and reward points program
  • Email marketing capabilities

Shift4, the company that owns Shift4Shop, also offers merchant services (Shift4 Payments) and hardware from Harbortouch. You can contact Shift4 for pricing on hardware purchases and leasing information (although Merchant Maverick typically does not recommend leasing, as you’ll end up paying more over time than if you purchase your POS equipment outright).

If you can’t afford to purchase point of sale equipment outright, read our post on equipment financing.

How To Take Payments With Shift4Shop

To take payments with Shift4Shop, you must sign up for a merchant account for at least a year and use the company’s built-in payment processor, which does not offer transparent flat-rate payment processing like Square does. Instead, the company offers interchange-plus payment processing and tiered payment processing. Neither payment processing model is suited for businesses with lower sales volumes (under $5000/month.)

Read our Shift4 Payments review to decide if this merchant services provider is right for your small business.

Contract Requirements/Warnings

However, it is important to note that you must process at least $500/month with Shift4 Payments, the company’s in-house payment processor, to qualify for the free plan. Shift4 does not offer the most transparent payment processing fees, and unlike providers like Square, you get locked into long-term contracts with early termination fees.

Shift4Shop offers the End-to-End eCommerce plan, complete with enterprise-level eCommerce website builder features, on the condition that you process at least $500/month using Shift4 Payments, the company’s in-house payment processor.

Square also requires you to use its in-house payment processor, but Shift4 Payments doesn’t have the good reputation that Square has. Some Shift4 Payments customers have reported lengthy contracts, unexpected fees, and poor customer service, so make sure to read any contracts and test out the customer service for yourself before building an eCommerce site with Shift4Shop.

Get Started With Shift4Shop

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WooCommerce: Best Third-Party Integrations

WooCommerce


Visit Site


Pros

  • Hundreds of free add-on apps available
  • Several web themes available
  • Embed custom code in web pages
  • Lots of documentation available to help with site building

Cons

  • Must buy web hosting and domain name
  • Can be difficult to work with

Example food eCommerce store built using WooCommerce

Example food eCommerce store built using WooCommerce.

Why We Chose WooCommerce For Third-Party Integrations

We believe that WooCommerce has the best third-party integrations because the software is built to work with WordPress, the most popular and versatile open-source website builder in the world. The WordPress platform is so popular that an entire community of developers is constantly working on new website themes, blocks, and integrations (also called plugins) to add more functions to websites.

WooCommerce itself has several free integrations (also called extensions) available and WooCommerce stores are typically compatible with other WordPress-specific integrations.

Note: WooCommerce now offers Woo Express, a paid product that allows you to build a store quickly using only WooCommerce core software and built-in WooCommerce extensions. The free version of WooCommerce is a WordPress plugin that requires you to build a WordPress site, and then download the WooCommerce plugin from the WordPress.org plugin page.

WooCommerce Pricing

WordPress and WooCommerce are completely free to download and start working with. To get your website online, though, you’ll have to pay for web hosting. This can cost as little as $2/month or as much as $20/month, depending on your web hosting provider and the features you’re looking for. You may also need to pay for a custom domain.

There are free and paid WordPress plugins and WooCommerce extensions. Watch out for “free to install” integrations, as many of these integrations are free to download but cost money to start using with your WooCommerce store.

Note: The new Woo Express product costs $39-$70/month and may be worth it for an easier site installation and management process if you’re not very tech-savvy.

WooCommerce Features

WooCommerce offers the following best free features:

  • Drag-and-drop website builder with customizable CSS features
  • Custom HTML and Javascript code embed
  • Customizable product page blocks
  • Several payment methods are supported, including in-person payments and buy-now-pay-later apps
  • Social media sales integrations (TikTok, Pinterest, Facebook, etc.)
  • Free shipping management suite (with the option to pay to show customers real-time shipping calculations at checkout)
  • Free custom inventory management and item tracking

Many free WordPress plugins are compatible with the WooCommerce eCommerce platform, but you should check to make sure different plugins work together before installing anything. With a WooCommerce-compatible plugin, you can start a blog, display an event calendar, show popups, start an email newsletter, and more.

How To Take Payments With WooCommerce

To take payments with WooCommerce, you can integrate the software with WooCommerce Payments, which is backed by Stripe, a popular payment services provider. You can accept debit/credit cards, Google Pay, and Apple Pay.

From within the WooCommerce payments method dashboard, you can also enable payments by direct bank transfer, check, cash-on-delivery, and PayPal.

There are several free WooCommerce extensions available for payment methods such as Venmo, buy-now-pay-later apps such as Klarna and Affirm, Amazon Pay, and even cryptocurrency payment platforms.

Contract Requirements/Warnings

WooCommerce software itself is free, but you must connect it to an existing WordPress site, and you will need to pay to host your WordPress site and for your domain.

Some WooCommerce and WordPress plugins are completely free, while others are “free to install” but then require a paid subscription. Read the fine print of add-ons before installing anything.

If you run into a problem with your WordPress site, we recommend uninstalling plugins until you find the one that is causing the problem.

Get Started With WooCommerce

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Odoo: Most Customizable All-In-One Platform

Odoo Website


Visit Site


Pros

  • Product ratings and reviews on product pages
  • Free subdomain and web hosting
  • Very customizable
  • Affordable paid plan includes all business management apps

Cons

  • Very few pre-built templates available
  • Free inventory management is very basic

Odoo eCommerce platform webpage editor

Odoo eCommerce platform webpage editor.

Why We Chose Odoo As The Most Customizable All-In-One Platform

We chose Odoo as the most customizable free eCommerce platform because the company offers a very customizable online store builder for free plus features that normally only come on paid plans, like product ratings, customer reviews, one-page checkout buttons, and personalized product suggestions based on a user's previous searches.

While the free eCommerce app has everything you need to sell a small product catalog and services, we often recommend that business owners sign up for the paid Odoo plan to get access to all 1000+ Odoo apps. It costs under $50/month to build an enterprise-level business management solution with any of Odoo's 1,000+ apps.

Our favorite Odoo apps for eCommerce businesses include shipping management with real-time shipping calculations, advanced inventory management, customer communications channels, and the POS app for omnichannel sellers.

Odoo Pricing

With Odoo, you get one app for free, so you can get your eCommerce app without spending any money.

The paid plans are as follows:

  • Standard: $31.10/user/month ($24.90/user/month with annual billing)
  • Custom: $46.80/user/month ($37.40/user/month with annual billing)

With paid plans, you get access to all Odoo apps.

Odoo Features

The best free Odoo features include:

  • Free “.odoo” subdomain name and web hosting
  • Create multiple free websites under one account
  • Add product star ratings, customer reviews, and one-click buy buttons on single product pages
  • Add related products under products based on a user’s previously viewed items or recently
  • Built-in blog, social media profile connector, share button, donate button, and contact forms
  • Popup page to display discounts, coupons, and upcoming events
  • Service and recurring subscription sales capabilities
  • No huge Odoo branding on web pages
  • Create custom orders and invoices

With the extremely affordable paid Odoo subscription, there are over 1,000 Odoo add-on apps available to you. Some of the most useful apps for small business owners include:

  • Real-time shipping calculations from UPS, USPS, FedEx, DHL Express, and more
  • In-person point of sale app
  • Extensive inventory management, from manufacturing to delivery
  • Odoo SMS and email marketing modules (with no contact limitations)
  • Accounting, including invoice, vendor billing, and financial reports

Once your business grows, you may need employee management features like time clocks and HR management, which are also available within the huge library of Odoo apps.

How To Take Payments With Odoo

To take payments with Odoo, you can directly connect to Stripe, PayPal, Adyen, Authorize.net, Amazon Payment Services, and some international payment providers.

Contract Requirements/Warnings

Odoo is extremely flexible. There are no contract requirements or early termination fees if you use only one Odoo cloud app. You only need your name and email address to sign up for one app.

However, once you install more than one app or use advanced functions that you need another app for, you’ll have to get a paid subscription.

Note: There is a free 15-day trial on paid subscriptions with no credit card required, so you can try adding extra apps within the trial period. If you don’t remove extra apps/paid features before your trial period is up, your website will be locked and you will be prompted to subscribe to get that information back.

Finally, since Odoo is so customizable, some users may find it a little overwhelming to set up at first.

Get Started With Odoo Website

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Freewebstore: Best Marketing & International Sales Features

Freewebstore


Visit Site


Pros

  • Excellent built-in email marketing
  • Automated webstore language and currency converter
  • Great customer and website analytics tools
  • Strong shipping management

Cons

  • Only one payment gateway allowed on free plan
  • No auto-discounts on free plan

Freewebstore example international online store

Freewebstore example of an international online store.

Why We Chose Freewebstore For Marketing & International Sales Features

We like that Freewebstore offers many email marketing and customer analytics tools within the free plan. We also like that customers can create their own accounts, leave reviews for products, and save items in a wishlist to come back to later.

Freewebstore is also great for international selling because your website can automatically be translated into different languages, customers will always see their local currency at checkout, and you can set up detailed international shipping features.

Freewebstore Pricing

Freewebstore offers the following pricing plans:

  • Community: $0/month
  • Startup: $20/month
  • Pro: $65/month
  • Ridge: $250/month

If you make a sale through an abandoned cart email, you’ll pay 2%-5% of the order value to Freewebstore.

You’ll have to pay for a domain on the Community plan, but you’ll get a free domain with paid plans. Freewebstore will host your website for free.

Freewebstore Features

These are the best free Freewebstore features:

  • Abandoned cart saver emails (Freewebstore takes a cut of successful sales if customers buy through the cart saver email)
  • 10 free automated review email invites per month
  • Customizable order completion and order dispatch emails
  • Google Analytics, Google Shopping, Facebook Shop, Facebook Pixel, and social media profile integrations
  • Allow customers to choose which language and currency they’ll see your website in
  • Custom domestic and international shipping rules
  • Order status notifications and tracking codes from shipping carriers

The affordable paid plans include social media selling on places like TikTok and Pinterest, plus multiple payment gateway integrations so customers have their choice of payment method.

How To Take Payments With Freewebstore

On the free plan, you can integrate your eCommerce store with one payment gateway to accept payments. Freewebstore integrates with several, including PayPal and Stripe.

On paid plans, you can integrate with 45+ payment gateways.

Contract Requirements/Warnings

Freewebstore has no early termination fees and even offers refunds if you cancel a paid plan early.

Get Started With Freewebstore

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How To Build A Free Website With Payment Options In 7 Steps

Step 1: Consider Your Product Offering & Inventory Management Needs

If you have a lot of products to sell, you can’t choose a free website builder that has inventory restrictions. You also want to have good inventory management features if you have a larger item catalog.

However, if you’re only selling a few items, digital downloads, subscription services, or one-off services, then you most likely won’t run into problems with inventory restrictions.

Step 2: Consider How You Want Your Website To Look & Function

With free website builders, you often have to choose between a website that’s very easy to navigate, but looks boring and lacks some important functions, or a highly customizable website builder that’s hard to work with.

If you have a very specific idea of how your website is going to look, then you should choose a more flexible website builder and be ready for a little challenge.

Above all, though, your website must load quickly and be easy for users to navigate. If your website does not meet these requirements, buyers will bounce from your site and Google won’t show it in search results when people are looking up an item or service related to what you’re selling.

Most popular free eCommerce platforms do run fast and well, but the more add-ons or custom code you integrate with your website, the slower your website may run.

Use free tools like Google Lighthouse to check the quality of your pages, from page load speed to page stability. All you have to do is paste a webpage URL into the tool and you’ll get all kinds of information on what’s interfering with a good user experience, plus tips on how to improve your website.

Step 3: Choose Your Website Builder & Customize Your Website

Most website builders offer free and paid templates with pre-built web pages including a single product page, product catalog page, homepage, and an “about us” page.

You can typically change your website’s brand colors, text, fonts, images, and item positions. Add more pages when you need to and incorporate new elements using integrations or custom code.

Step 4: Add Products & Shipping Settings

Next, add your products, any product variations (small, medium, large, etc.), and your inventory levels. Ideally, your eCommerce platform can track your inventory levels and send you low-stock alerts so you never run out of product.

Next, set up shipping settings, including pricing, shipping carrier information, product label printing, local delivery options if applicable, and shipping discounts if applicable.

Note: If you sell subscriptions, services, or digital downloads, your product and shipping settings will be different. You should find a website builder that’s made for these types of sales.

Step 5: Create Store Policies

Store policies such as exchange and refund requirements, privacy policies, shipping expectations, and limitations of liability should be included on your site.

Create a “Terms & Conditions” page with all of this information. Consider including shipping, exchange, return, and (if applicable) warranty information in order confirmation emails.

Step 6: Connect A Payment Method

Next, you’ll need to connect your store to a payment method. Some eCommerce platforms have built-in payment processing providers, while others allow you to choose your payment gateways.

Choose your payment methods, add your banking information, and connect to your online store so users can make payments.

Also, consider connecting your eCommerce platform with one of these best POS systems for small businesses if you plan on selling in person.

Step 7: Connect To A Domain & Web Hosting

Some free eCommerce platforms offer a free domain name (that usually includes the platform provider’s brand name) and web hosting, so you can skip this step.

However, if you choose a website builder such as Freewebstore, which does not offer a free domain name, you’ll need to register a domain. You can do this through a domain registrar such as Namecheap or Bluehost so people can find your unique website name in search results.

If you use a website builder like WooCommerce and don’t have web hosting, most domain name registrars typically also offer web hosting, plus site security features, which are also very important for maintaining a credible website.

Note: Getting a domain name and web hosting set up can be tricky. If you don’t want the hassle of setting everything up correctly, sign up for an eCommerce platform like Square or Shift4Shop that offers built-in domain name registration, web hosting, and site security guarantees.

Our Methodology For Choosing The Best Free eCommerce Platform

To find the best free eCommerce platform, we evaluated 15 popular and lesser-known online store builders based on ease of use, design elements, storage space, online sales capabilities, and extra features like marketing options.

We relied on our own eCommerce store-building experience, extensive use of product demos and free trials, and recent unincentivized reviews from real users on sites like G2, Capterra, and Software Advice when choosing the best software to make a website for free.

Read about how we rate eCommerce software at Merchant Maverick.

What Is The Best Free eCommerce Platform For You?

The best free eCommerce platform for you has the right product editing settings, well-functioning templates that match your business aesthetic, and balances ease of use with customization capabilities. It also includes several payment options so customers can pay how they want.

Before you decide on a free website builder, consider how long you plan on maintaining this website and whether you’ll need to pay for features down the line. Nothing is more irritating than migrating your website to a new website builder platform or web hosting provider, so take your time when choosing between free eCommerce platforms.

Finally, if you want to expand to in-person sales, check out the best POS systems with eCommerce features.

FAQs: How To Build A Free Website With Payment Options

Can I build a free website for my restaurant?

To build a free website for your restaurant, we recommend Square for Restaurants. With the Square for Restaurants eCommerce platform builder, you can easily sync your online, in-person, and third-party delivery orders together.

Can I create a Shopify store for free?

You can create a Shopify store for free using the free trial, but you can’t take payments or run your Shopify store for free.

Can you sell products on Wix for free?

You can’t sell products on Wix with the free plan. You must upgrade to the $27/month Core plan.

Can you make a website without paying for a domain?

Website builders like Square and Odoo allow you to make a website without paying for a domain. You’ll just have to have the website builder’s name in your domain and branding on your website pages.

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Nicolette Kier

Nicolette Kier

Senior Staff Writer
Nicolette began writing on small business topics in 2020. After hundreds of hours researching, testing, and assisting small business owners with web building and point of sale software, she is now an expert on all things eCommerce and point of sale. She has a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Pittsburgh and resides in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Nicolette Kier
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