PrestaShop has plenty of tools to create a customized ecommerce site for your business. It requires a little more legwork than other platforms like Shopify and Squarespace, but if you don’t mind putting in the extra time, PrestaShop can offer a unique platform for your products.
Comparing PrestaShop to the Best Ecommerce Platforms
PrestaShop didn’t make the cut for our top picks, but it’s not a bad platform. It does lack the ease of use that boosts other options to the top, and even though it’s free to start, it costs more in the long run. Still, PrestaShop’s customization features make it worth looking into if having a one-of-a-kind look and feel to your web store is important to you.
We tested 20 ecommerce platforms and compared several key factors to make it easy for you to choose the right solution. Explore our reviews so you can start your purchasing decision with confidence. See our top picks for the best ecommerce platforms.
PrestaShop: The Good and the Bad
Full customization: As an open-source platform, PrestaShop lets you access all of their themes’ code and, thus, change anything you want. That customizability helps set your shop apart from all others, letting you give it a truly unique layout and UX. Even with so much freedom, PrestaShop offers over 3,000 templates that you can use as a starting point and adjust based on your shop’s needs, if you’re not super comfortable with editing the code.
Free to use: PrestaShop is 100% free to download, and you can technically use it without add-ons and integrations. If you never want to pay to use it, you’ll be limited to PrestaShop’s default theme. But since it’s open-source, you can still make your own changes to the default theme’s code and you still get the features to list products, market, and sell.
Unlimited product listings: A lot of platforms limit your listings, especially when they’re free to use. With PrestaShop, no matter what, you are allowed unlimited product listings. This makes the platform work for shops of any size, whether you’ve only got a few items or you want to list hundreds of options.
Payment options and security: PrestaShop supports several major payment gateways, including PayPal and Amazon Pay. It also lets you choose from over 200 other providers through add-ons. Plus, with PrestaShop Checkout as the platform’s own direct payment option, customers don’t have to get redirected to another site for payment, which helps build trust with your customers.PrestaShop also comes with a free SSL certificate that is PCI-compliant, further helping your customers browse and shop your site securely.
Built-in marketing tools: PrestaShop has many marketing features built-in, including discounts and coupon codes, email marketing, limited-time offers, and free shipping. Having these benefits at your fingertips can help you build a good reputation for your online business and bring in customers.
Some coding required: On the plus side, PrestaShop is open-source. The downside to that is you should have some coding capability to truly customize and maximize your site. For businesses that want to create a quick and easy ecommerce site, PrestaShop isn’t for you.
Lengthy setup: PrestaShop takes a while to set up, even though the platform has a demo you can follow. It’s not as simple as builders like Shopify that set your shop up for you in a few minutes. This makes it inconvenient and impractical for some shop owners who can’t spend that much time creating their site or who may not have as much website-building knowledge.
Expensive integrations: PrestaShop has a lot of integrations, but they aren’t free. You may need to utilize add-ons for marketing, payments, inventory management, and other features so you can use the platform to its fullest potential. Your costs can add up fast, even if you initially got the free version of the platform. This also applies to templates since PrestaShop only offers its default one for free. Those can get quite expensive on their own, with some costing nearly $200.
Hidden expenses: Beyond paying for integrations and templates, you also have to be mindful of paying for other aspects to get your web store up and running, such as hosting (more on that in a bit) and PrestaShop support. Before you commit to PrestaShop, look at the costs for the features and complementary tools you need to make sure it won’t be out of your price range once you get everything in place.
Customer support limits: Not only do you have to pay for an add-on that enables 24/7 support, plans limit the amount of time Prestashop reps can spend helping you. These range from $279.99 for three hours of support allowed per month to $1399 for 20 hours for the whole year.
PrestaShop Hosting Options
PrestaShop doesn’t include web hosting, so you’ll need to purchase it separately. Fortunately, you can secure PrestaShop hosting with Bluehost, which happens to be our top pick for web hosting services.
Bluehost has its own online store builder, but it also supports PrestaShop. This gives you lots of flexibility when you’re selling online.
Here’s a quick overview of Bluehost’s plans and pricing:
- Basic: Starts at $2.95 per month
- Choice Plus: $5.45 per month
- Online Store: $9.95 per month
- Pro: $13.95 per month
These are promotional rates based on a 12-month contract, and they’ll automatically renew at the standard price after your first term expires.
Basic and Choice Plus are both solid entry-level options. The Online Store package is built for ecommerce shops and comes with specific tools for sellers. If you’re planning to use PrestaShop, then you technically don’t need those features. You can get the same amount of storage on the Choice Plus plan.
Consider starting at the Pro tier if you’re expecting a lot of traffic from day one. Otherwise, you can always upgrade down the road.
All Bluehost plans have a 30-day money-back guarantee.
PrestaShop Platform is a package that includes the base software on which you build your site and sell your products while including web hosting, so you don’t have to acquire that from a third party elsewhere. It also delivers some additional features depending on the plan you choose.
The entry-level Size M plan gives you servers that sport 24 GB of RAM and a 24-core CPU. You also get Git integration, daily backups, and email support.
Size L boosts you to a 36-core CPU and 36 GB of RAM. Size XL comes with a custom CPU and RAM arrangement, plus priority support and access to professional services, migration, and hourly backups.
You’ll need to reach out to PrestaShop for a quote for any of these options.
PrestaShop Essentials is a free add-on that includes several different modules to help you boost your online shop. The Essentials package comes with four modules:
- PrestaShop Facebook
- PrestaShop Metrics
- PrestaShop Marketing with Google
- PrestaShop Checkout with PayPal
With these tools, you can optimize your marketing campaigns, show free listings in the Shopping tab on Google, and sync your products with Google, Facebook, and Instagram to make them more easily accessible to your audience. You can create targeted ads for social media, too.
Its payment modules help you process payments fast both locally and internationally, allow you to use PayPal’s secure technology for transactions, and accept more currencies from more countries. Plus, you can view and manage data in one place with PrestaShop’s intuitive dashboard and learn how to improve your marketing and products based on insights.
PrestaShop Starter Pack
While PrestaShop can be totally free to download and use, they offer paid packages that can get you started more easily on the right foot with a pre-arranged set of add-ons.
PrestaShop starts with its Starter Pack which costs $204.99 and gives you 11 key features, including Google Anayltics, Mailchimp, PrestaShop Checkout, and more, plus a responsive theme and a guide to walk you through building your site.
It’s an easy way to get the essentials for building out your new web store in one package.
There is also a Click & Collect version of the Starter Pack for $488.99 that adds the titular Click & Collect feature that enables customers to pick up online orders from your store or physical location. It also adds tools for tracking sales and calculating and declaring taxes.
For the expense, not everyone is going to find these Starter Packs worth it. Some of these features come for free on other platforms, but you’re not likely to get the same depth of customization with them as you do with PrestaShop.
PrestaShop has its own marketplace of add-ons to enhance your ecommerce site. These were developed by PrestaShop to serve as tools to boost your sales, improve conversions, increase productivity, optimize your site, and help you design the best possible ecommerce site, among other uses.
You can also buy themes and templates designed for different types of shops, so you can create one that suits your style, brand, and products. While the modules are useful and the themes are totally customizable and optimized, they’re also expensive.
The cheapest themes are priced at $95 and can go up over $300. Plus, you can spend hundreds on a single add-on which, if you’re looking for a free platform, quickly defeats the purpose.
PrestaShop Experts gives you access to the expertise of people and companies around the world. These agencies can help with your business needs, from ecommerce consulting to graphic design and so much more.
With almost 200 agencies to choose from, PrestaShop lets you select which skills you’re looking for. Then, it narrows the options to the ones best able to help you. PrestaShop also includes a helpful scoring system to let you know the scope of capabilities these partners can offer:
- Bronze: New or regional PrestaShop partners with local specialties
- Silver: Agencies that have been with PrestaShop as regional companies for a while and have committed to the PrestaShop community
- Gold: Regional and international partners that have made valuable contributions to PrestaShop
- Platinum: International agencies that have experience and proven expertise within PrestaShop
Using PrestaShop Experts gives your shop a huge leg up when starting out or aiming to grow. By collaborating with these agencies, you get much more help than you would through DIY resources, demos, and onboarding.
How PrestaShop Ranks
PrestaShop doesn’t rank on our top list of ecommerce platforms largely because it takes a lot of time to set up and the need to spend a good deal to unlock themes or key features.
Despite being a free platform, PrestaShop has several features and tools you may need to pay for if you want more than the bare bones. However, the trade-off is that it gives you plenty of freedom for customization. You just have to know how to code. With other platforms, like Shopify, Wix, and Squarespace, you can do that to some degree without needing any coding knowledge.
PrestaShop does have an advantage with its expert partnerships. But, otherwise, there are too many hurdles for it to make our top picks.
See other great options for ecommerce platforms and software in our list of the best ones on the market today.
- Bluehost – Best for automatic WooCommerce store setup
- Shopify – Best all-in-one ecommerce platform
- Wix – Best ecommerce platform for beginners
- Squarespace – Best portfolio-based ecommerce builder
- BigCommerce – Best for multichannel sales
- Shift4Shop – Best ecommerce platform for developers
- Ecwid – Best free shopping cart extension
- WooCommerce – Best ecommerce plugin for WordPress
- Easy Digital Downloads – Best WordPress plugin for digital products
- Volusion – Best ecommerce platform for large stores
- Magento – Best enterprise ecommerce platform
We only recommend PrestaShop for a very specific subset of users, namely ones that are comfortable with coding elements themselves who could maximize this free, open-source platform. The platform can feel overwhelming for many people and it may not work well for small business owners who are trying to save on costs, since the add-ons can get quite expensive.