PrestaShop Review

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Date Established
2007
Location
France

Overview

Launched in 2007, PrestaShop is an international shopping cart solution. The company’s 100+ employees are based out of Paris, Miami, San Francisco, Berlin, Brussels, Milan, and Barcelona and operate in many different languages. With over 270,000 stores worldwide, they have to.

An open source shopping cart, PrestaShop is totally free to download and use. However, that does not mean that PrestaShop is a zero expense eCommerce solution. If you choose to download the software, you’ll have to pay for web-hosting. You’ll also likely have to purchase several (often expensive) modules to integrate different software with your site. If you have limited tech knowledge, you might consider investing in a web developer to help you through the rough spots.

PrestaShop may be free at first, but if you aren’t careful, it can end up being more expensive than some fully-hosted options.

Stick around for a full, independent review of PrestaShop.

Pricing

While PrestaShop does not offer a free trial (why would they when their software is already free?), they do have a demo available. This demo gives you a chance to explore the admin and storefront on many devices. Everything’s already filled in with sample information, so you really get a good feel for how the software works on a daily basis.

Setup costs for PrestaShop are as low as can be. However, you can expect some extra expenses for hosting (though they shouldn’t be too bad). PrestaShop recommends using 1&1 hosting.

Ongoing expenses vary depending on a number of factors. PrestaShop is not the easiest software to use; it can be difficult to set up, and modules often interfere with one another, leading to an overall glitchy site. If you don’t know how to resolve technical issues on your own, you’ll probably have to hire web developers, IT personnel, and web designers to do the work for you.

Furthermore, modules and add-ons often come at a steep price (after all, that’s how PrestaShop makes their money). If you want to integrate your site with Quickbooks, Amazon, eBay, Facebook, and/or TaxJar, you may end up paying a pretty penny.

Web-Hosted or Licensed

Licensed. PrestaShop is available as free, open-source, downloadable software.

Specific Size of Business

Mid-size to large businesses.

Although it’s possible for smaller businesses to use PrestaShop, I don’t recommend it. If you don’t have a lot of tech experience and need multiple add-ons, PrestaShop can get expensive quickly. If you’re practiced in coding for websites, go ahead and give it a try. If not, I recommend starting out with a fully hosted, easy-to-use option like Shopify or 3dcart.

Hardware and Software Requirements

In order to use PrestaShop’s downloadable software, you’ll need an FTP client and a registered domain on top of a third-party hosting service. Read more on supported operating systems and web services on PrestaShop’s system requirements page.

Ease of Use

Because PrestaShop is free to download, there’s no free trial available. However, like I mentioned above, there is a demo online so you can try it out without going through all the hassle of downloading and implementing the software.

Setting up PrestaShop takes a bit of time. You’ll need to download PrestaShop, create a database, upload the software to your server using an FTP client, and then install. You can take a look at PrestaShop’s Getting Started page for more information.

Here’s the dashboard you’ll be able to access once you’ve implemented the software.

At this point, you’ll have to start considering which modules you need to run your business. If you have limited tech experience, it would be wise to hire a professional to take care of integrations for you. Things can get a little complicated.

Fortunately, once you’ve got your site up and running, daily operations are fairly simple. You can list a product’s description, categories, quantities, and SEO features at the same time you add the product to your store. It’s all available in the toolbar under the product title.

Order management is also easy. You can add orders, edit orders, and apply discounts from the admin. You can also contact customers via email from the orders page.

If you can make it through the initial setup of your store (integrations and modules included), you should be all right handling the rest.

I suggest you try the platform for yourself. All you have to do is direct your browser to this fully functional demo. That’s it. You don’t have to sign up for a trial, and you don’t have to go through any setup wizards or tutorials. Best of all, you won’t get any calls from sales reps.

Features

PrestaShop comes with 600+ features already built-in, and they include all the basics most merchants need to start out. Take a look at some of my favorite features below.

General Features

  • Unlimited listings:  List unlimited products, categories, attributes, images, and product features.
  • Sell digital products:  Include a download expiration date for time-sensitive products.
  • Bulk import/export: Use a CSV file to facilitate migration.
  • Inventory features: Manage your inventory and take advantage of inventory tracking and restocking alerts.
  • SEO features: Take advantage of URL rewrites, a Google sitemap, an auto-generated XML sitemap, and canonical URLs and redirects.

Checkout Features

  • Estimated shipping: Don’t let shipping charges be an unwanted surprise at checkout.
  • Unlimited shipping carriers: Sync your admin with the shipping carrier of your choice. You will, of course, have to use an add-on in many cases.
  • Gift packaging: Set your site to charge extra for gift packaging.
  • Payment options: Allow your customers to pay via check, wire, or COD. Or, you can integrate with a third-party payment processor.
  • Tax: Configure your admin to include tax rules for your region.
  • Sell internationally: Set your storefront to translate into 65 different languages and accept multiple currencies.

Customer Relationship Management

  • Real-time analytics: Or you can integrate with Google Analytics.
  • Abandoned cart information: Analyze why your customers aren’t completing transactions. Email customers to remind them of the products they’ve left.
  • Customized promotions: Set promotions to apply to specific customer groups, products, and orders.
  • Automated follow-up emails: Give customers a sense of security by sending them an automated email post-transaction.

There are lots more features available (a surprising amount, really, for free software). This is just my summation.

Web Design

The PrestaShop store hosts over 2,000 mobile responsive web templates created by third-party designers. The only free option is the default theme that comes with the every platform. The rest are priced between $69.99 and $399.99, and quality varies theme by theme.

Here’s what the cheapest themes look like..

Cheap themes

And here are some of the most expensive themes…

Expensive themes

Because PrestaShop is open source, you have full access to the code that was used to build your site. You (or your hired developers and designers) can get up to your ears in code and customize the site to look and work exactly the way you want it to.

If you don’t have access to tech talent, however, there’s a WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) editor available to make changes to your default theme. Using the WYSIWYG editor, you can add your own logo and change fonts, banners, and colors without touching any code at all. You can also use the WYSIWYG editor to update your pages’ content.

Integrations and Add-Ons

With thousands of integrations available in PrestaShop’s Add-ons Marketplace, you’re sure to find what your site needs. Those integrations are available as one-time purchases.

While many add-ons are priced between $20–$50, others cost much more. Here are some examples of available add-ons and their prices:

It’s true that adding these integrations to your platform can get expensive, especially when you consider your alternatives. Many of these modules come already integrated into other fully hosted shopping carts. And those carts often charge small to midsize merchants around $300 per year for everything (including hosting and customer support). So, for some merchants, these fully hosted solutions may be cheaper than purchasing handfuls of modules from PrestaShop. On the other hand, if you’re selling high volume, you may come out on top with PrestaShop. It all depends.

Besides the price, there is another disadvantage to these third-party modules; since they were made by hundreds of different developers, they are not guaranteed to all work together. Adding on multiple modules can lead to a glitchy site, and because PrestaShop did not create the modules, they can’t always help if something goes wrong.

Payment Processing

You’ll need a merchant account or a third-party payment processor in order to start accepting payments.

Here are PrestaShop’s payment partners for American merchants:

Additionally, you can choose from the 250+ payment providers available as add-ons.

Customer Service and Technical Support

Support is complicated with open-source software. Because multiple programmers develop the modules and templates available for the platform, no one fully understands all the ins and outs of PrestaShop platforms. Support can’t be uniform; with limitless combinations of modules available, each store is unique in its makeup.

On the other hand, open source software does have its benefits. PrestaShop hosts a diverse user community that comes together to solve problems via forums and services. Here’s the type of support you can access with PrestaShop.

  • General Support Portal: Find links to most support options.
  • General Contact Page: Get in touch with a PrestaShop representative.
  • FAQ and User Guides: Find answers to common questions and setup concerns here.
  • User Forums: This is the user community I’ve been talking about. Bonus: forums are listed in multiple languages.
  • PrestaShop Training: Includes webinars and courses to help you understand the platform.
  • Services: Hire web designers and developers to integrate modules for you, take care of migration, monitor and adjust your SEO, or create a new theme for your store.
  • Web Ticket: Send your questions to a PrestaShop expert.
  • Social Media: You can also try to contact PrestaShop via Facebook or Twitter, but you should probably try other contact methods first.
  • Migration Services: Get help switching over to PrestaShop.
  • Support Plans: You can purchase support plans to get in touch with PrestaShop’s expert support team. Unfortunately, these support plans are overpriced for the amount of support they provide. Excluding the one month $279.99 “Support Easy Plan,” plans require you to sign up for a one-year subscription. At the minimum plan ($399/year), you get six hours of support for the whole year. Yikes.

Negative Reviews and Complaints

I’ve spent a significant amount of time researching what PrestaShop users say about the platform. As always, there are customers who love the platform and others who can’t leave PrestaShop fast enough. We’ve already discussed most of the things customers list as negatives about PrestaShop, but for the sake of clarity, I’ll list them again below.

  • Bugs and glitches: Modules don’t always work with each other and upgrades don’t always go smoothly. You can expect to do some problem-solving.
  • Additional expenses: There really is no such thing as free. You’ll have to pay for integrations that are typically offered for free on other platforms, and you’ll have to pay for web design and web hosting. You’ll also probably have to hire a developer.
  • Not for the technologically illiterate: If you dive in with little understanding of code, you’re going to have a rough time.

Here are some less common complaints.

  • Support is expensive.
  • Some themes and modules are outdated.
  • Platform takes lots of work to set up.

Positive Reviews and Testimonials

On the other hand, lots of merchants use PrestaShop for their online businesses and love it. You can take a look at a few of those stores on PrestaShop’s Showcase page. This is what PrestaShop customers like most.

  • Free: Isn’t “free” the sweetest word?
  • Elegant themes: There are some truly beautiful themes available in PrestaShop’s store. With over 2,000 options, you’re bound to find one you like.
  • SEO: Many customers report an increase in organic Google visits when they switched to PrestaShop.
  • Modules: There are lots of modules available. You’ll find what you need.

Others positive reviews mention:

  • Mobile compatible: This goes for both the storefront and the admin.
  • Quick setup: Tech-savvy users report that you can get online in just a day.
  • Documentation and guides: Resources are comprehensive.
  • Quick loading: Some merchants say that their sites load faster on PrestaShop.
  • Good forum/community.

Security

PrestaShop is PCI Compliance Ready. Emphasis on the word “ready.” Your PrestaShop store will not be PCI Compliant all on its own. You’ll have to ensure that yourself. In order to do so, you’ll need to purchase an SSL certificate (Read more on SSL certificates.)

Final Verdict

PrestaShop is not for the beginner. But, if you’re reasonably familiar with HTML, CSS, and PHP (or can afford to hire a developer) you might find that PrestaShop fits your business’s needs. As open source software, it’s highly customizable. It comes with a vast feature set right out of the box, and there’s an ever-expanding selection of add-ons to choose from.

Plus, it’s free.

Get Started with PrestaShop

Liz Hull

Liz Hull

Liz is a recent college graduate living in Washington state. As of late, she can often be found haunting eCommerce forums and waiting on hold with customer service representatives. When she's free, Liz loves to rock climb, watch Spanish dramas, and read poorly-written young adult novels.
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25 Comments

    James

    As a merchant, I have a love/hate relationship with Prestashop. I’ve been using it for 3+ years across 2 sites…While I think some of the 1-star reviews here are too harsh, I definitely agree that Prestashop is “buggy” when it comes to modules. Modules often conflict with each other and when you contact support there’s an “ownership gap” between: Prestashop – The Module Author – Deleloper/Client. If there’s a problem, generally they all blame each other.But to be fair, there are advantages also. I have found it to be good SEO – I rank better than similar quality competitors on Shopify etc.. I believe this is related to it being a self-hosted solution as opposed to Shopify etc.. where you have less control. Don’t underestimate the value of this to a small business – after some basic SEO work, you get a steady stream of free traffic and sales – something you won’t find as easy with hosted solutions. It is also infinitely customisable which is great.Unless you’re a developer, you will need to hire one – but the good news is that that can be found cheaply in places like India via outsourcing platforms. And once you have found one and done the work, it is generally stable and easy to use for day to day transactions. But be prepared you’ll need to spend a bit from time to time on fixing minor bugs, updating modules etc..On balance, I would say I’m not entirely happy with Prestashop, and considering other options. That said – I have not yet found a platform that “ticks all the boxes”. So for now I am stuck with Prestashop, but we’ll see. It’s actually a great shame – if they sorted out the bugs it could truly be the best self-hosted solution for SMEs.. Though from reading about the management at Prestashop I don’t have great confidence in that happening.

    3
    Mircea silviu Rusu

    Bought a theme and didn’t worked with the last version. Asked refund. Developer accept refund but prestashop doesn’t refund my money. That’s why I quick understand that are ripping people off because after I bought the theme I was interested in another one and told them to keep the money and pay them the difference and give me the other theme. They say don’t want because they work different. Yes they do. They are a fraud. Opened the dispute to PayPal and now I’m waiting… avoid them.

    1
    Jamie

    I’ve used prestashop for a few years for 10+ clients websites and found it incredibly frustrating and temperamental. It’s the most fragile program I’ve ever used especially when upgrading, unless you;’re an experienced programmer stay away from this software. You’re constantly backing up and restoring websites which is acerbating. Even the contact enquiry form on the prestashop website had errors last time I tried it. I would highly recommend trying a different system such as woo commerce as more solidly built and benefits for having the wordpress integration also.

    1
    emilio

    What a shame! If you buy a module you have to wait long time for the payment validation. The backoffice crushes very often. Sometimes the modules you installed simply disappear because of some problems they have at the moment and you just have to wait till they solved the problems. Very bad! I’m very disappointed.

    1

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Bearings Direct.Com

    Hello everyone out there, as I am looking at these reviews it seems like this company should have been out of business or fix the issues to satisfy their clients, but after 3 years I don’t see real positive comments in here. So in other words, you’ll be stuck with presta like you are in Spider Web not in website platform!
    The platform they made is not for professional use and has no flexibility, users and buyers should acknowledge how to use scripts/shopping carts, all world has to update browsers and devices to be able to use and place orders. !
    People can find shopping cart platforms with easy install and use back/front end and design, we find CS-Cart and experienced a professional engineered platform with perfect script and very flexible but high secured programing, also when we come across any issue or customizing it is done within 3-4 days and not much to explain.
    lets just get to conclusion, if you’d like to use presta then accept a lot of hassles, frustrations and business loss within long period of time! they never do what you need ! they give you Spider Web and you should survive until you get out of it ! but they make money for the web…
    Good luck
    Regards,
    Martin

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Ricardas Bauza

    All-in-one Rewards: loyalty sponsorship affiliation FBSTAY AWAY FROM THIS PLUGIN. THEY ARE THIEFS YOU WILL PAY YOUR MONEY AND NEVER GET ANY SUPPORT AS THE MODULE IS NOT WORKING

    1

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Ricardas Bauza

    BIGGEST SCAM OUT THERE!I am going to talk shortly because I don’t see any point spending too much time on negative.Prestashop customer service is the worst of all the world. The customer service always disconect if I ask them something not purchase related. And then they block the IP address for at least few hours so that the same customer wouldn’t bother them with his questions for example how to or where to. Secondly I purchase the plugin for Abs Nutrition website from Prestashop marketplace. We paid for the plugin All in One reward system £250.00 and it says in case any errors get in touch. However now been three weeks since we got in touch and they only managed to ask as the details of our website, no further email or action by them.. STAY AWAY FROM PRESTASHOP my experience

    1

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Destiny Vaughan

    If you use PrestaShop, you better be good enough to never have an issue. Support is absolutely useless. I bought a domain and asked for help setting it up. They closed my ticket without even fixing anything. I’ve asked them for a refund. It’s been 5 days; no answer. I enjoy the free interface, but I’ll never spend my money on them again. I’m currently searching for a better place to host my products; any suggestions would be nice.

    1

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    warren

    how do I contact them

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Chloe Bahal

    Hi Warren,

    You can contact PrestaShop here.

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    @ndy

    I moved to Prestashop in 2014 and my sales plummeted. (I was also heavily pregnant) It’s only now my toddler is 2 I’m looking into it more. It’s quite easy to add items, but like other reviewers have said its very buggy. Support is in the forum of a forum were problems rarely get resolved. I currently have issues with guest check out being broken, and Paypal check out button working on a single item. I’m reluctant to pay money for expensive apps that may or may not work so am looking for a new cart solution. I would not recommend it.

    2

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    chawang

    We have just updated to version 1.6.1.4, after many painful months of struggling with bugs from previous version, with virtually zero support. Mind you that’s a live shop. We are extremely unhappy. We had been using v.1.4.5 for a couple of years and it was stable, though not a lot of support anyway. SEO sucked. We examine v.1.6.1.0 and thought the structure was much improved for SEO and with a lot more tempting features. So we upgraded. Disasters followed.User interface is improved. Many great promising features. Instant results in SEO.Slow load time. System overload errors. Errors in displaying prices fro different product combinations. Errors in displaying discount percentage. Wrong product display in comments…Tried to find fixes in their forum? Most concluded that we should go to their freelancers for ultra high price fixes. Post bugs in their “forge”? Bugs even in their site so we could never make a single posting, with any browsers or browser setting. Their forum is densely populated with questions that users like myself posted and other users responding to ask for the same help, but no solutions. There are many items with one voice, one posting. A strange community.We struggled a couple of weeks then came an upgrade that fix one problem, then a few weeks later another, then another.Prestashop Addons? Ultra expensive compared to other plugins for different platforms. NO real support. Some even no response. I am still waiting for a reply about a discount coupon that converts a discount percentage as if it were a dollar amount following the user’s currency choice. It has been almost two weeks since the last contact. That simple piece of script was almost US$70.We have spent countless hours and weeks of late nights to try to make this shop run smoothly, on top of the 200+ that we paid for all the add ons. To be fair, if you are setting up for the first time, have straight forward products, sell them in one currency, not picky on shop appearance, and a simple shop structure, Prestashop is not too difficult to set up and run, with a lot of basic functions already built in.Growing, upgrading and maintaining are different stories.We are exploring alternatives and a safe transition, hopefully soon. Sign

    2

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Jamie

    You will not get a refund from PayPal if your prestashop plugin doesn’t work.I purchased a genuine prestashop plugin, which didn’t work… just caused errors,I then purchased another one which did a similar thing and assumed I could get a refund through PayPal buyers protection for the initial one. So, I opened a case when prestashop didn’t respond to several emails.I lost the case bizarrely and PayPal awarded prestashop £47.99 of my hard earned money for a plugin which didnt work.This is a total injustice, which i’m pursuing.Jamie

    1

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Jadzia

    Spent over a thousand dollars and four months setting up PrestaShop with multi-store on version 1.6.0.14. One month was the time to setup the shops, the next three months I spent trying to fix bugs, get simple features to work, and now I’m giving up. PrestaShop is great in theory but if you’re a US merchant avoid this e-commerce system, it’s a waste of time and money (no refunds from modules even if they don’t work!). Forum questions are usually not answered either.

    1

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    nick smith

    We have been on prestashop for 2 years and are about to leave it, customer service is poor just poor, there is an issue with security patch that we need, and we was told to upgrade by prestashop via email, o we upgraded costing us £300 with developer, but the new prestashop upgrade is very slow and has loads of bugs, we have emailed prestashop 3 times in 5 weeks and not one reply. Just not one!!!!They only like helping if you pay them £1500 a year, if you are starting new ecommerce website don’t use prestashop as the customer service is appalling. the platform has issues and without there help whats the point!the need a big kick up the back-side nick

    1

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Chris

    I have used Prestashop platform for 2 Years now. First when i started using it i like the layout of the back office and the set up. In my 2 years with it i have spent major amount of money to developers to fix problems after updates to the platform. They are so many bugs in this software it is not even funny. The developers for prestashop spend all their time trying to make new features but they need to spend more time on fixing what they have now. I do not recommend them at all.

    1

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Martin

    Spend more than $15K to use it and make business, but we could not fix the issues and problems with best presta developers in US to get it normal business after hell of 12 months… we will never ever recommend it to any one to have these much of hassles!It is worth less cart!Hope they will be bankrupt soon and close doors for ever…

    1

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Dawn Sandberg

    I spent about $4k getting coders in the USA, Indian and Vietnam to make basic usability changes to the platform and layout (like their cart’s ship to and bill to are reversed and nonsensical) as well as used vps server and modules like Amazon. I could not make changes myself, even though I have developed many Woocommece/ Shopsite, and Joomla sites. The French developers make these modules and their videos are in often French, and were very rude, as well as the Prestashop add ons team. The template looked great with all the bells and whistles which I loved, responsive modern, but plagued with incessant bugs with which I gather was poor coding or module compatibility. When we were all said and done after 4 months, I was about to publish before mobilgeddon, and the site was painfully slow and we ran many tests through pingdom. We decided, even with the time and money that it would be dangerous to switch to such a slow platform. We were on a rad server with VPS and it was still slow for an essential ecomm site. I’m keeping my existing platform, and older cart called Shopsite, hosted with Lexiconn, redesigned it to make it responsive and we could not be happier! I also have a Woocommerce site, which we tested as much faster and easier to create without coding than Pretashop. It cost me so much,and was way too, unusably slow, don’t get “hooked” in there, unless you know my sql, php and have the very best servers,a nd even then, I have heard business plummet. I say choose Woocommerce or Shopsite. http://www.lexiconn.com/

    1

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Martin

    Great free basic platform, but the paid support and technical know how required to make the advanced features work requires to collaborate with professionals in order to have fully working e-shop.

    3

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Cecilia

    Excellent review! We love Prestashop 1.6. It is easy to use. The only problem is that, we get locked out of the back office after about 4 to 5 minutes of use. Otherwise, no complaints here!

    5

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Cecilia

    We love Prestashop. The only issue we are seeing thus far is slow load speed. Which we assume is coming from our server end. We also wish Prestashop will offer more free templates

    5

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Alex Stantee

    PrestaShop used to have the greatest customer service and used to really care. Since about November 2013, it has gone to $#@. There is no manager to talk to, employees are rude, and frankly, they don’t know how to do business in the US.

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Lynn

    I couldn’t disagree with this review article more. This is a dangerous storefront and it doesn’t take long to find this out. Yes it looks pretty on the outside, but this is not so open source as you are led to believe. In fact, tech support alone costs more money than paid-for storefront. Sales tax can not manually be input, you must select the tax for your state that Prestashop has prepared and they didn’t do their homework. For my state, their tax rate was 50% lower than it should have been. When you consider the fines you can get for bad tax keeping, that’s a pretty dangerous option. Do a simple Internet search and you’ll find nothing but unanswered questions. I spent weeks, not just an hour getting into this storefront. I even uninstalled it and reinstalled it for a second chance to see if I wasn’t being too harsh on it. This is not a wise site to use. The most basic of features that come with sales have been overlooked. This storefront will cost you more time and energy on your part than any other site out there and I’m familiar with some of the most difficult to use ones there are. Presta sounds nice and has some great features, but those features mean squat if you can’t even get to using them.

    1

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Luis Garcia

    Nice review Tim. I’ve been using prestashop for 3 years now and I’m pretty happy with the results. Biggest drawback is the updates and contants bugs that make you waste a lot of time, but overall the front end and functionalities are high end for a very reasonable price (cms is free, you pay for anything else tho)

    4

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Tim

    Prestashop is famous for its ease of use. I’m using it now 🙂

    5

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

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