The Best eCommerce Website Builders for Every Niche (Top 12)

Whether you’re starting the next great American coffee chain or yet another online dating site, the web host and site-building tools you choose make all the difference. I have a friend who recently decided she wanted to create a site to promote and sell her custom-painted canvases. Her art had made a name for itself in our small, college town community, and everyone was encouraging her to get online (not just social media).

My friend is insanely talented with acrylics, but she’ll be the first to tell you she knows nothing about web design or development. She frustratingly fumbled with a few online web builders that promised her the world and proved to be remarkably underwhelming before asking for help.

Hers is just one of many stories I’ve heard of folks who want to build an online store but immediately become overwhelmed by the abundance of unhelpful options out there. I decided to cut through the gimmicks and marketing mumbo jumbo and compile a list of the eCommerce website builders I trust and would recommend to a friend.

Best Free eCommerce Website Builder

Who doesn’t love free stuff? No matter the product or service you’re searching, it’s human nature to turn to Google for the free option first before ponying up to the paid route. The problem with free when it comes to website creation: It’s typically too good to be true. Either the quality is about as low as the price tag, or it’s not free forever, or all of the above.

Then there are services like Wix — defying the odds by delivering a free site-building platform that protects both your aesthetic goals for your site and your budget. You only need an email or Facebook account to get started, and with that, you get access to thousands of templates, conveniently categorized by industry. You can extend your site’s functionality with add-ons available in the App Market, too. It’s one of our favorite starter hosting plans and an esteemed site builder choice industry-wide.

WEBSITE BUILDER RATING
★★★★★ 4.9/5.0
  • No coding skills needed with drag-and-drop website builder
  • 100s of templates with industry-specific designs
  • Add features via the App Market
(read more)
Starting Price/Mo. $5.00
Money Back Guarantee 14 days
Disk Space 500 MB - 20 GB
Domain Name Transfer
Website Builder Hosting Plans www.wix.com/site-builder

Our Expert's Wix Review

Website building is where Wix shines. The thousands of templates, the intuitive editor, the industry-leading designs that cater to a variety of specific fields and use cases — all these facets represent a platform that... read more +

Website building is where Wix shines. The thousands of templates, the intuitive editor, the industry-leading designs that cater to a variety of specific fields and use cases — all these facets represent a platform that excels at facilitating easy web design for the non-tech-savvy user. Sign up with your Facebook account or email address and get started for free.

I'll admit, the Wix Editor may appear daunting when you first meet it, but get to know the interface. Once you familiarize yourself with the environment, you'll realize that what first comes across as overwhelming is actually empowering — the customization functionalities to be had are many, and they're awesome. There's no need for coding of any kind. Just drag and drop elements of your new site and BAM: What You See Is What You Get (i.e., Wix is a WYSIWYG website builder!).

You don't have to design your website from scratch with Wix, though blank templates are available. There are thousands of templates, each one categorized by design need and further classified into industry niches, and the site's look can be molded to match your brand or personality very easily. Layout and design options include parallax themes (where the viewer scrolls down the screen and one page rolls seamlessly into the next), custom sliders, multiple columns, mobile-specific and mobile-responsive displays, and tons of button and menu navigation tricks.

While Wix isn't our favorite host in terms of expert support or top-of-the-line hardware, it's an industry-leading platform for website building. It's popular for many reasons: the simple startup process, the ease of use, the array of customization options, and the WYSIWYG results, as examples. Its reputation precedes it, and we can totally see where the rave reviews are coming from.

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More free web hosts and builders »

Best eCommerce Website Builder for Beginners

User-friendliness — specifically, beginner-friendliness — is a key indicator of a quality website builder. Period. They didn’t invent the concepts of what you see is what you get (WYSIWYG) or drag-and-drop simplicity for the seasoned developer extraordinaire. The idea of these platforms is to make site-building accessible to the non-coder. Still, some platforms do this better than others.

My take on this: The best beginner builders are those that keep the setup short and clear the path to customizing the content. If you can jump right in and start playing around in a super intuitive interface, familiarizing yourself with the concept of setting up a website while becoming attached to your soon-to-be end result, you’ve found the ideal beginner-friendly platform.

The best companies for the job give you all the tools to create a high-functioning website without bogging you down with technical jargon or administrative tasks — a complimentary domain name with signup is a great example of this. Typically, ready-to-go options, such as a wealth of industry-specific themes and premade site templates, are preferred; however, there’s a fine line between beginner-friendly and overwhelming. Our favorite hosts for novices offer free website builders, free domains, and tons of beginner-friendly tools to launch and grow an online store:

WEBSITE BUILDER RATING
★★★★★ 4.9/5.0
  • No coding skills needed with drag-and-drop website builder
  • 100s of templates with industry-specific designs
  • Add features via the App Market
(read more)
Starting Price/Mo. $5.00
Money Back Guarantee 14 days
Disk Space 500 MB - 20 GB
Domain Name Transfer
Website Builder Hosting Plans www.wix.com/site-builder

Our Expert's Wix Review

Website building is where Wix shines. The thousands of templates, the intuitive editor, the industry-leading designs that cater to a variety of specific fields and use cases — all these facets represent a platform that... read more +

Website building is where Wix shines. The thousands of templates, the intuitive editor, the industry-leading designs that cater to a variety of specific fields and use cases — all these facets represent a platform that excels at facilitating easy web design for the non-tech-savvy user. Sign up with your Facebook account or email address and get started for free.

I'll admit, the Wix Editor may appear daunting when you first meet it, but get to know the interface. Once you familiarize yourself with the environment, you'll realize that what first comes across as overwhelming is actually empowering — the customization functionalities to be had are many, and they're awesome. There's no need for coding of any kind. Just drag and drop elements of your new site and BAM: What You See Is What You Get (i.e., Wix is a WYSIWYG website builder!).

You don't have to design your website from scratch with Wix, though blank templates are available. There are thousands of templates, each one categorized by design need and further classified into industry niches, and the site's look can be molded to match your brand or personality very easily. Layout and design options include parallax themes (where the viewer scrolls down the screen and one page rolls seamlessly into the next), custom sliders, multiple columns, mobile-specific and mobile-responsive displays, and tons of button and menu navigation tricks.

While Wix isn't our favorite host in terms of expert support or top-of-the-line hardware, it's an industry-leading platform for website building. It's popular for many reasons: the simple startup process, the ease of use, the array of customization options, and the WYSIWYG results, as examples. Its reputation precedes it, and we can totally see where the rave reviews are coming from.

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WEBSITE BUILDER RATING
★★★★★ 4.9/5.0
  • Choice of Weebly or WebsiteBuilder by iPage
  • #1 Pick for WYSIWYG site building with FREE domain
  • 100s of professionally designed, customizable themes
(read more)
Starting Price/Mo. $1.99
Money Back Guarantee 30 days
Disk Space 100 GB - Unlimited
Domain Name FREE (1 year)
Website Builder Hosting Plans www.ipage.com/site-builder

Our Expert's iPage Review

Do you want your website built today? If you answered "yes," you should look no further than iPage. In fact, it's possible for you to be online before you even finish reading this article. Thanks... read more +

Do you want your website built today? If you answered "yes," you should look no further than iPage. In fact, it's possible for you to be online before you even finish reading this article. Thanks to iPage's user-friendly interface, instant provisioning, and free domain name, you can have a live, attractive website in mere minutes.

For those that have been around the Web for a while, you may remember when it took a day to get your server online; thankfully those days are gone. Your site is live the second you complete your order with iPage. A domain name is also included, so the ordeal of purchasing a domain name, setting name servers, and waiting for them to propagate is also extinct. Once that's completed, you are taken to the incredibly user-friendly interface, where you can begin your site creation process.

Powered by their own proprietary builder, iPage's WebsiteBuilder makes it easy to have a professional-looking site created in minutes. It all starts with your choice of template — with hundreds of options available. From there, you can customize color schemes, fonts, and sizes, and add your own pictures and videos. Adding forms for comments, RSVPs, or business contacts is just as simple. Before you know it, you have an attractive, functional website.

From the ease of use to the speed at which you are able to get a site live, iPage leaves us with little doubt as to why we've ranked them #1 on our list of web hosts with site builder functionality. An already incredible value, their 30-day money-back guarantee means that you can feel at ease knowing that iPage stands behind its product, and they're confident that you will be happy with their service.

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WEBSITE BUILDER RATING
★★★★★ 4.9/5.0
  • Integration with Fotolia and Flickr image databases
  • Pre-built and customizable content with GridBlocks
  • Responsive themes with tablet and mobile editing views
(read more)
Starting Price/Mo. $3.49
Money Back Guarantee 90 days
Disk Space Unlimited
Domain Name FREE (1 year)
Website Builder Hosting Plans www.inmotionhosting.com/boldgrid

Our Expert's BoldGrid Review

After taking the BoldGrid suite of plugins for a test drive, we experienced how they make WordPress more accessible for beginners and much more efficient for professional developers. Because BoldGrid requires a separate hosting account... read more +

After taking the BoldGrid suite of plugins for a test drive, we experienced how they make WordPress more accessible for beginners and much more efficient for professional developers.

Because BoldGrid requires a separate hosting account and WordPress installation, it is a little more challenging for wide-eyed beginners to get started than it is for other website builders. However, by signing up with a reputable host — we recommend BoldGrid partner InMotion Hosting — you'll be equipped with a helpful support staff to lead you through the setup process.

BoldGrid themes are beautiful, modern, responsive, and come with usable content out of the box. Choose from pre-made page layouts or create your own using GridBlocks, which create clean, modular designs without any coding. Simply drag and drop each element to adjust its position and size. Unlike most other site builders, BoldGrid generates pristine code that is friendly to SEO and developers who want more control.

The two features most appealing to us, however, are the staging environment and editing capabilities for mobile and tablet views. The lack of a staging area has long been one of the few complaints about WordPress, and BoldGrid has solved that issue with aplomb. Use it to test new looks, plugins, or updates before you deploy them to the active site.

Although many other site builder themes boast mobile-optimized responsiveness, BoldGrid is one of the few platforms that give you control over exactly how your site will look in tablet or mobile modes.

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More beginner-friendly website builders »

Best eCommerce Website Builder for Small Business

Now, let’s say you’re launching an online store — maybe turning your trade or hobby into a secondary income stream, or perhaps developing an online presence for your brick-and-mortar shop that offers vintage tees and trendy collectibles. Online store owners are like beginner website owners in that they typically don’t want to fuss with the details of domains, SEO, or custom CSS. They want to focus on their craft, their inventory, and of course, their profits!

The best eCommerce website builder services are up to the challenge of streamlining the development process for small business owners:

ECOMMERCE RATING
★★★★★ 5.0/5.0
  • 1-click installs for eCommerce tools like WooCommerce
  • FREE eCommerce plugin for WordPress
  • Daily backups, a CDN, and FREE Weebly site builder
(read more)
Starting Price/Mo. $3.95
Money Back Guarantee 30 days
Disk Space 10 GB - 30 GB
Domain Name New or Transfer
eCommerce Hosting Plans www.siteground.com/ecommerce

Our Expert's SiteGround Review

SiteGround’s shared hosting plans tout eCommerce necessities: 1-click installations of Magento, PrestaShop, WooComerce, or WordPress with the WP eCommerce plugin. If you opt for WP eCommerce, your server will be custom configured to fit your site’s... read more + SiteGround’s shared hosting plans tout eCommerce necessities: 1-click installations of Magento, PrestaShop, WooComerce, or WordPress with the WP eCommerce plugin. If you opt for WP eCommerce, your server will be custom configured to fit your site’s needs, and if you have an existing site, the SiteGround team will help you migrate to their services… collapse info -
ECOMMERCE RATING
★★★★★ 4.9/5.0
  • Build online stores quickly and easily
  • Choose from 100s of industry-specific themes
  • Drag-and-drop builder lets you customize without coding
(read more)
Starting Price/Mo. $5.00
Money Back Guarantee 14 days
Disk Space 500 MB - 20 GB
Domain Name Transfer
eCommerce Hosting Plans www.wix.com/ecommerce

Our Expert's Wix Review

Wix is one of the foremost names in website building and the company’s industry-specific theme collection sets the brand apart when it comes to building online stores. With the team’s drag-and-drop builder tool, you don’t need any programming... read more + Wix is one of the foremost names in website building and the company’s industry-specific theme collection sets the brand apart when it comes to building online stores. With the team’s drag-and-drop builder tool, you don’t need any programming skills to customize your online brand to your liking… collapse info -
ECOMMERCE RATING
★★★★★ 4.9/5.0
  • $200-worth of ad credits with Google, Bing, and Yahoo!
  • FREE domain, email, and online store with cPanel
  • Blog and photo gallery setup wizards
(read more)
Starting Price/Mo. $1.99
Money Back Guarantee 30 days
Disk Space Unlimited
Domain Name FREE (1 year)
eCommerce Hosting Plans www.ipage.com/ecommerce

Our Expert's iPage Review

If you’re looking to sell online, iPage is one of the best hosts you can trust to help you do it. They offer all the essentials, plus marketing guides, SEO tools, advertising credits, and more. They mesh top-tier support with affordable features… read more + If you’re looking to sell online, iPage is one of the best hosts you can trust to help you do it. They offer all the essentials, plus marketing guides, SEO tools, advertising credits, and more. They mesh top-tier support with affordable features… collapse info -

More eCommerce website builders »

Best eCommerce Website Builder and Hosting for Enterprise

For those in the enterprise arena, the site-building needs increase across the board. You need more storage, more pages, possibly more product inventory options and eCommerce tools, and definitely more bandwidth and support. Typically, the WYSIWYG builders loved by beginners are not quite up to snuff, but CMS platforms like Magento are more than up to the task.

Enterprise website owners may look to dedicated servers or VPS providers to meet their site-building needs, and in either case, chances are your host will make it easy to download and install your choice of eCommerce platform (e.g., Magento, PrestaShop, or WordPress/Woocommerce).

We feature some of the most popular and reliable hosts for enterprise clients below, specifically highlighting the top dedicated plans; however, keep in mind most of these dedicated hosts offer VPS services as well.

DEDICATED RATING
★★★★★ 4.9/5.0
  • FREE incoming bandwidth and choice of operating system
  • Custom configurations with SSDs and instant provisioning
  • Auto-migrations, backups, and 24/7 Sonar Monitoring™
(read more)
Starting Price/Mo. $79.00
Money Back Guarantee N/A
Disk Space 211 GB - 1,775 GB SSD
Domain Name New or Transfer
Dedicated Hosting Plans www.liquidweb.com/dedicated

Our Expert's Liquid Web Review

Liquid Web's strong suit is their managed dedicated server hosting. They own and operate three state-of-the-art datacenters in the US and have over 50 developers working tirelessly to build and maintain custom solutions for added... read more +

Liquid Web's strong suit is their managed dedicated server hosting. They own and operate three state-of-the-art datacenters in the US and have over 50 developers working tirelessly to build and maintain custom solutions for added performance and security.

Fully, Core-, or Self-Managed — Plus Storm® Servers

Liquid Web offers single, dual, and quad processor servers with fully, core-, or self-managed plans. All dedicated server customers reap the benefits and support of the Heroic Support® team and the 24/7 protection of the Sonar Monitoring™ team.

Redundantly Built, Multi-Tiered Network

Featuring top-of-the-line Cisco equipment, the Liquid Web N+1 network is redundantly built to allow routing devices to quickly self-heal. They're designed to bounce back and correct system failures without interrupting the customer's connection. With the integration of premier providers, Level 3, Verizon, Comcast, Cogent, and Equinix, the Liquid Web network is optimized for rapid and fault-resistant performance.

Highly Available Sites with the Tech of 50+ Developers

Liquid Web boasted an incredible 99.995% uptime rate in 2014, a bragging right that's helped shape their reputation for performance. With the maintenance of 50+ developers, the Liquid Web infrastructure is engineered to evade and survive typical site disasters.

24/7 Proactive Protection from the Sonar Monitoring™ & Heroic Support® Teams

Should disaster strike, the Sonar Monitoring™ team is trained to catch the issue first, performing system-level health checks and patches 24/7, so they can hopefully have it handled before you're even aware of the situation. Meanwhile, the Heroic Support® team of 300+ experts is available anytime to help with any troubleshooting need.

Storm® Servers & Add-Ons

For the dev nerds out there, one of our favorite facets of Liquid Web as a hosting provider is the commitment to in-house-built technology. All of their team members' experience and expertise becomes very evident once you check out their custom Storm® Platform.

All the Power Plus All the Flexibility

If you're in need of dedicated resources, drawn to the customization of the Cloud, and know you need screaming fast performance, the Storm® Dedicated Server may be your solution. These custom server systems allow for cloud-like flexibility that traditional dedicated servers aren't capable of, like instant provisioning and automatic migrations.

Added Extras Make the Dedicated Cost a Done Deal

The Liquid Web development team is constantly coming up with new Storm® Add-Ons, like Load Balancers, Block Storage, Object Storage, and a VPN. Think you can't afford such full-featured and flexible hardware? Think again. With pricing starting around $110/month, the Storm® Platform is great for the cost-conscious dedicated server shopper.

Liquid Web Dedicated Servers in Review

If you want feature-rich dedicated resources and relentlessly reliable technical support, Liquid Web should be on your short list. They're known for strong managed service offerings, but the drawback to managed hosting is usually the cost. Liquid Web doesn't leave you hanging there though — in-house solutions like the Storm® Dedicated Server keep the cloud-level flexibility and performance up and the cost down.

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DEDICATED RATING
★★★★★ 4.9/5.0
  • Rebootless kernel updates
  • 1-click installs and FREE SSDs
  • cPanel/WHM licences with FREE SSL
(read more)
Starting Price/Mo. $99.99
Money Back Guarantee 30 days
Disk Space 500 GB - 1.2 TB SSD
Domain Name FREE (1 year)
Dedicated Hosting Plans www.inmotionhosting.com/dedicated

Our Expert's InMotion Review

InMotion offers amazingly fast, reliable dedicated hosting on market-leading hardware — making it an easy choice for anyone seeking a premium dedicated host. From free SSDs to a fanatical support team, InMotion has all the... read more +

InMotion offers amazingly fast, reliable dedicated hosting on market-leading hardware — making it an easy choice for anyone seeking a premium dedicated host. From free SSDs to a fanatical support team, InMotion has all the bases covered for both small-scale and large-scale operations, featuring a truly reliable dedicated host.

Unlike some hosts, InMotion gives SSH and Root access to their servers. Each plan is managed and comes with between two and four hours of SysAdmin time at launch, which is an excellent help in getting your site configured to meet your needs. Each server also is set up with cPanel and WHM for easy management.

Plenty of CPU power, RAM, and storage, plus lots of IP addresses, come with each plan. Perhaps our favorite feature of InMotion is their zero-downtime, rebootless kernel updates, which are partially the reason for their superb 99.999% uptime.

InMotion has a 30-day money-back guarantee on their dedicated plans, which is fairly rare and just another reason you can’t go wrong selecting them as your dedicated host.

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DEDICATED RATING
★★★★★ 4.9/5.0
  • RAID 1 mirrored storage
  • Minimum 3 IP addresses per plan
  • Modern hardware, spec'd and maintained in house
(read more)
Starting Price/Mo. $79.99
Money Back Guarantee 30 days
Disk Space 1 TB
Domain Name FREE (1 year)
Dedicated Hosting Plans www.bluehost.com/dedicated

Our Expert's Bluehost Review

Built on OpenStack technology, with a minimum of four cores per server, Bluehost offers reliable and flexible dedicated hosting options at an extremely reasonable price. We continually praise their shared hosting options for having fantastic... read more +

Built on OpenStack technology, with a minimum of four cores per server, Bluehost offers reliable and flexible dedicated hosting options at an extremely reasonable price. We continually praise their shared hosting options for having fantastic hardware and a great management console, and their dedicated offerings are no different.

Designed and maintained in house, Bluehost uses only the latest technologies on their dedicated servers. Their most recent upgrade moved all CPUs to four cores, 1TB of RAID storage, and between four and 16 gigs of available RAM. Each server is provisioned instantly and can be upgraded at any time with essentially just a few mouse clicks.

One reason we’ll always consider Bluehost for our hosting needs is their fantastic 24/7 support team. They do have a premium team of engineers for their dedicated servers. The expert technicians are incredibly helpful and available at a moment’s notice.
Already one of our favorite hosting companies, when you combine their fanatical support and the value offered in their dedicated hosting plans, Bluehost is hard to pass up.

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More plans for enterprise eCommerce »

Honorable Mentions: 2 Other Noteworthy Site Builders for eCommerce

And now, for the runners up! The eCommerce hosting niche is competitive, and it’s hard to argue with the low price points and rich feature sets of the popular hosts we’ve discussed here today. Nevertheless, we’d be remiss if we didn’t give a nod to a few widely recognized names.

Shopify and Volusion are not for everyone. Their pricing alone is enough to make store owners think long and hard before signing up. Performance is not their specialty. One doesn’t choose to partner with either of these providers for the hardware specs. It’s the eCommerce-specific features that have built the brand reputations.

While Shopify’s claim to fame is certainly the easy integration with social media platforms and the iconic BUY NOW button, Volusion is a leading platform when it comes to merchant services like payment processing and inventory tracking. Check out our experts’ reviews of each below.

BEST OVERALL RATING
★★★★★ 4.6/5.0
  • Sell via social media or fully hosted commerce platform
  • FREE website builder and hundreds of elegant themes
  • Showcase unlimited products
(read more)
Starting Price/Mo. $0.00
Money Back Guarantee 14-Day FREE Trial
Disk Space Unlimited
Domain Name FREE (MyShopify.com)
Best Overall Hosting Plans www.shopify.com

Our Expert's Shopify Review

Shopify is easily one of the more well-known eCommerce web builder platforms in the hosting industry. Plans are fully hosted, include a free site builder tool, and allow you to boast an unlimited number of... read more +

Shopify is easily one of the more well-known eCommerce web builder platforms in the hosting industry. Plans are fully hosted, include a free site builder tool, and allow you to boast an unlimited number of products with unlimited file storage as well. Compared to other web hosts, Shopify's not going to offer you the same level of robustness in their technological offerings, but their eCommerce features are on point. Online store building is their bread-and-butter of services, and they're darn good at it.

First of all, the Shopify Theme Store features hundreds of free and premium theme options that are relatively easy for end-users to manipulate; plus, dev-savvy folks can customize their eStores and themes via the Shopify API. You can actually start building your online marketplace today — for free for 14 days — and select your plan later. The Shopify experts are on call and ready to help 24/7.

Once you've built your online store with Shopify, build your business by processing product transactions through a myriad of payment methods. Shopify users can sell via social media, by integrating a BUY NOW button, or using the Shopify POS system. Serious eCommerce folks may opt to purchase the Retail Package add-on as well, which includes a cash register, receipt printer, and barcode scanner.

All in all, Shopify offers everything you need to run an efficient and lucrative online business. The commerce-oriented features are many, and they only advance with each upgrade in service package — from the "Basic" to the "Unlimited" plans. Also, you can buy or transfer your domain name, or park your online store at a free MyShopify.com subdomain. If you're eCommerce-focused, trust Shopify for your online store building.

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Well, I think we’ve made a case for every friend in the market for an eCommerce website builder — from my incredibly talented artist buddy to the next wannabe-Amazon. My final piece of advice: Treat your web host as your friend and partner in building your business. Find a team you can trust, with servers you can count on. Best of luck!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Alexandra Leslie

Alexandra Leslie serves as Tech Vertical Manager of Digital Brands Inc, spearheading the charge to deliver technical expertise and thought leadership to our rapidly growing audience of developers, engineers, and website owners here at HostingAdvice. You'll find her engaging with leaders in web hosting and tangentially related industries, enjoying honest discussions of their cutting-edge technologies. She loves getting her hands dirty with comprehensive reviews of popular hosting platforms and services, and she's a die-hard WordPress fan. Alexandra leads the HostingAdvice team with a passion for translating technical jargon into digestible action items anyone can use to build, monetize, and scale a web presence.