Shopify vs. PrestaShop: A thorough comparison

If you want to start up your own online store or give your current online store a makeover, the question often arises as to which store system is best suited. We’ll compare two possible options with Shopify and PrestaShop, which differ from each other not only in terms of their underlying licensing model, but their user-friendliness and customizability, too.

First, we’ll look at the biggest pros and cons of both Shopify and PrestaShop separately. Then, we’ll show the biggest differences in categories like beginner-friendliness, security, or SEO. In the end, you’ll have a good picture of whether Shopify or PrestaShop is a good choice for starting or redesigning your online store.

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Pros and cons of PrestaShop and Shopify compared

In June 2006, the Canadian company Shopify Inc. released its in-house solution for creating and maintaining an online store. The software, which is based on the framework Ruby on Rails, took around two months to develop and was named Shopify. The open-source solution PrestaShop is a year older; as early as 2005 the first version was released as part of a student project at the EPITECH IT School in Paris, although the platform was initially still called phpOpenStore. It was only when the company of the same name (2007) was founded that PrestaShop got its name. The application is based on the PHP frameworkSymfony.

Before we go into detail about the specific similarities and differences in the direct “Shopify vs. PrestaShop” comparison, we will first look at the strengths and weaknesses of the two store systems.

What are the pros and cons of PrestaShop?

PrestaShop is a modular open-source solution for the creation and management of online stores, whose core files are under the OSL-3.0 license (native modules and the Classic theme: AFL-3.0 license). The great advantage of the modular system is the resulting flexible adaptability and extensibility. Users individually determine which functions they need and which they do not. However, this requires a lot of initiative and time, because the software must not only be installed and set up by the user, but also hosted and regularly updated.

Tip

Get a strong partner like IONOS at your side for the installation and hosting of PrestaShop if needed. With PrestaShop hosting, we offer you the perfect service for your own store with the open-source system – including desired domain and SSL/TLS certificate!

The following table shows what other advantages and disadvantages PrestaShop has:

PrestaShop Pros PrestaShop Cons
More than 70 localization packages (translations, currencies, units of measurement, etc.) available Many extensions cost money
Huge community and many active developers who are constantly developing and optimizing the open-source code Basic technical know-how required
Almost 4,000 modules and over 2,000 design templates in the official marketplace High learning curve
Extensive data analysis on aspects such as marketing success, sales, and products No hosting service by the PrestaShop team itself
First-class features for customer management Official support only via paid ticket system (Monday to Friday)

What are the pros and cons of Shopify?

Shopify excels as an e-commerce all-in-one solution, which is aimed in particular at users who want to focus on the content design of their own online store. Those who opt for Shopify gain access to a cloud-based platform whose setup is a mere formality. Factors such as hosting or security management can be completely omitted - the Shopify team takes care of the technical support of your store. Of course, this service comes at a price. If you want to use the platform for your own web store, you pay between $29 and $299 per month. There is also a slimmed-down “Buy Button” variant that costs $9 per month. There is no free edition of the platform.

Tip

To find out more, read our article on the best Shopify alternatives or our guide “Shopify vs. WooCommerce” to learn how Shopify differs from other applications on the market!

Other strengths and weaknesses of Shopify are summarized in the following table:

Shopify Pros Shopify Cons
Excellent POS system as a center for all online sales Many themes cost extra
Space for unlimited number of products in the store Additional fees for all third-party payment methods (only Shopify Payments are without additional fee)
Over 100 official responsive designs available Localization is only possible with the help of extensions
High reliability and performance guaranteed Separate landing page for checkout process in basic version
Expandable with over 2,000 apps and tools Design options are limited

Shopify vs. PrestaShop: Comparison in the most important categories

The pros and cons listed so far make one thing clear: Whether Shopify or PrestaShop is more suitable as a store platform depends primarily on the goals and experience of the user. While the all-round support that comes with a Shopify webstore is likely to come in handy for many, other users enjoy the freedoms that come with PrestaShop’s open-source code. In the following, we will take a closer look at this and many other evaluation points in the “Shopify vs. PrestaShop” comparison – among other things, we will look at the categories SEO suitability, security, product management and support.

Shopify or PrestaShop: Which one is best for beginners?

A native drag-and-drop system and an intuitive dashboard as well as an uncomplicated store setup including help make it clear that the developers of Shopify focused on user-friendliness. Those who want to create their first web store or migrate an existing store without much effort will find a strong ally in the paid platform in any case. Getting started with PrestaShop is much more difficult. The CMS style can be a big challenge for newcomers at the beginning, because without a longer training period it is difficult to find the many different functions in the backend. Moreover, many features for a higher user comfort like a drag-and-drop edition are only available in PrestaShop after you have added a corresponding module.

Tip

You can also find beginner-friendly solutions for setting up your own online store with IONOS. As a customer of our powerful store packages, you can quickly and easily create your own online store and also receive your own domain and mail address as well as an SSL/TLS certificate for your online business.

The basic set up in terms of hosting also makes Shopify ideal for beginners. While users of PrestaShop first have to look for a suitable provider, the hardware setup for your online store is included with Shopify right from the start.

Summary

Shopify or PrestaShop? In terms of beginner-friendliness, Shopify might just take it. With the paid e-commerce solution, you have everything you need for your store at your fingertips right from the start – a convenience that takes time to work out when using PrestaShop.

Which one is best in terms of extensions?

If you are not satisfied with the standard features of Shopify or PrestaShop, both have a wide range of extension options. For Shopify, there are over 5,000 official apps that you can use to add additional features to the platform or customize existing Shopify features. For PrestaShop, there are almost 4,000 extensions, which in the case of the open-source application are also referred to as “modules”. In both systems, you will find both free and paid add-ons – a special feature of Shopify is the trial period offered in some cases for paid apps.

If you look at the options for visual customization of the store, PrestaShop clearly outshines the competition: Nearly 70 design templates in the Shopify App Store are opposed by over 2,000 themes in the official PrestaShop Marketplace – for a wide variety of industries, such as fashion, electronics, food, or health. In both cases, with a few exceptions, the templates are responsive.

Summary

In the “Extensibility” category, there isn’t a clear winner between “Shopify vs. PrestaShop” when it comes to adding or customizing features. If you include the themes factor PrestaShop is far ahead.

Which one is better for product management?

Whether goods, downloads, vouchers, or services – regardless of what kind of products you offer, an e-commerce platform must optimally support you in managing them. Fortunately, both representatives in the “Shopify vs. PrestaShop” comparison show their best side in this point. Thus, both platforms allow you to create any number of items and update them in real time if needed. By assigning created store items to individually defined categories and subcategories, you can structure the store navigation with just a few clicks. Prices as well as order and shipping information are also created and assigned quickly and easily with both solutions.

Summary

If you are looking for a store software that allows you to create and manage an unlimited number of products, both Shopify and PrestaShop are a good choice.

Shopify vs. PrestaShop: Which payment methods are available?

Both Shopify and PrestaShop offer pre-installed payment processing features:

  • The open source PrestaShop has been using the PrestaShop Checkout module developed by PayPal for quite some time, which combines popular online payment methods such as giropay or PayPal and the possibility of credit card payments with Mastercard, etc. in a single interface. Payments from over 190 countries are supported with the help of the module, and you decide which methods you want to offer and which you don’t. However, as a central intermediary, PayPal reserves the right to retain an individual fee per transaction (depending on the location of your company). Alternatively, you will find various other modules in the Marketplace to set up the offline and online payment methods of your choice.
Tip

In our article “Online payment services” you will learn everything about the most important online payment methods!

  • Shopify also supports a diverse selection of payment methods, which can be expanded as needed with the help of the corresponding apps. However, for online payment services such as PayPal, Amazon Pay, or Apple Pay, Shopify retains between 0.5 (Advanced Shopify) and 2.0 percent (Basic Shopify) of the transaction value, depending on the plan selected. Those who want to avoid these additional fees must use Shopify Payments, the platform’s native online payment method, which does not charge additional fees per transaction.
Summary

If you want to offer your store customers a variety of payment methods, it hardly matters whether you choose Shopify or PrestaShop. Both platforms support a wide range of payment methods and offer the option to add more methods via apps or modules.

Which system is more secure and easier to maintain?

Customer trust in the security of an online store is one of the most important success factors. The developers of Shopify and PrestaShop are aware of this fact, although the two store solutions differ fundamentally in this category:

Shopify webstores are hosted directly by the provider, which is why customers are provided with a comprehensive security package right from the start. Among other things, a free SSL/TLS certificate is available to every user, which can be used to encrypt data transmission in their own store at any time. Furthermore, Shopify ensures PCI-DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard) compliance for all card payments in order to optimally protect all your clients’ data. The Shopify team also takes care of updating the platform and maintaining the server structures, so you can focus all your energy on managing your store.

Note

It is just as important to ensure that your own online store is legally secure as it is to protect it against unauthorized access. In our guide on online store legal security, you will find all the important information on this topic.

Features such as SSL/TLS certification or PCI-DSS compliance are also available for PrestaShop users – however, you must first download the corresponding modules and set them up on your own or, in the case of SSL/TLS certification, purchase a certificate. Self-initiative is also required in terms of PrestaShop updates and server maintenance, although it should be noted that this is actively supported by hosting providers (updates) or taken over entirely (maintenance of the server infrastructure).

Summary

In terms of security and maintenance, Shopify performs slightly better. Customers are well positioned with the platform. PrestaShop users are required to be much more proactive in order to keep the store secure and up to date.

Which one has better options for good SEO?

If you want to optimize your online store for search engines, you will find the standard SEO tool in both Shopify and PrestaShop: With both solutions, you can create and subsequently revise title tags and meta descriptions for your product and category pages, as well as define search engine-friendly URLs. Alternative texts for the product images can also be added with both solutions – so you offer your customers an alternative if an image cannot be loaded and make it easier for search engines to rank your image material.

Tip

Optimize the image material of your online store right from the start to increase your chances of a good ranking in image searches. In the article on image SEO, we tell you what is important and how you benefit from a good SEO.

Shopify also automatically takes care of several other SEO steps, such as generating canonical tags that prevent pages with highly similar content from being picked up twice by Google and other search engines. In addition, the paid store solution generates an XML sitemap by default, which clearly summarizes all pages of your store. The latter features you can also enjoy as a user of PrestaShop, but for this you must first download and install the appropriate modules, some of which are subject to a fee.

Summary

Shopify has a few more SEO features than PrestaShop initially. However, if you include available extensions that you can install, both options perform well in our “Shopify vs. PrestaShop” comparison.

Is Shopify or PrestaShop better in terms of customer support?

Those who opt for Shopify also opt for the award-winning 24/7 support. Customers of all available packages can contact the Shopify team around the clock for technical problems and general questions, with email, phone, or live chat. An FAQ section that answers common questions and a small community forum on the official website round off the support package.

For PrestaShop users, the support is different. The developers offer free support for technical questions and problems exclusively in the form of an online form. In it, you specify your store version as well as brief information about your concern and then receive feedback within 48 hours. Alternatively, you can purchase one of the available PrestaShop support packages. For example, there is an analysis service that checks your store for general problems, or a typical ticket system that lets you create a ticket when you encounter a problem. Support services for installing and migrating your store are also available. However, all support services are only available Monday through Friday.

Summary

Shopify stands for professional support like hardly any other store platform. Even in the Shopify vs. PrestaShop comparison, the Canadian software Shopify is ahead of the game.

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Shopify or PrestaShop? The most important points summarized

The comparison between two store systems here makes it clear that there isn’t an outright winner. Due to their different natures in terms of their licensing model, factors such as your own tech experience and know-how, or your available budget or time also play a role in the choice between PrestaShop and Shopify.

When using Shopify, you will have to consider monthly costs that go beyond basic hosting, but in return you will enjoy a high level of ease – from easy beginnings to award-winning support. PrestaShop is basically free of charge and better suited for customizing your store, but it is also much more demanding in terms of setup and maintenance.

Finally, in the table below, we’ve summarized the most important key points in the “Shopify vs. PrestaShop” direct comparison.

  Shopify PrestaShop
User-friendliness No installation required; straightforward store setup via wizard; drag-and-drop builder integrated by default Installation required; setup required; drag-and-drop only via add-on module
Hosting Included as standard in all packages In your own hands
Extensibility Customize your store functionally and visually as needed; over 5,000 extensions and 70 design templates available Your own store can be customized both functionally and visually; over 4,000 extensions and 2,000 design templates available
Product management Creation of individual categories and subcategories possible; unlimited number of items; uncomplicated presentation of prices, order and shipping information Creation of individual categories and subcategories possible; unlimited number of articles; uncomplicated presentation of prices, order and shipping information
Payment methods All major offline and online payment methods supported; additional fees for all third-party payment services Common online payment methods supported by default; offline payment methods can be added via module; standard interface subject to fees
Security and maintenance Vendor has full control over source code and extensions; store security and maintenance are Shopify’s responsibility Store security and maintenance are the responsibility of the user or hosting provider
SEO features Good base set of features that can be expanded with over 120 apps if needed; some automated features Basic features that can be extended with over 180 apps if required
Support Award-winning 24/7 support via email, phone (phone not available in the “Lite” package) and live chat; FAQs and small community forum Support form with up to 48 hours turnaround time; paid “premium” support; available Monday through Friday only
Cost Between $9 and $299 per month free of charge

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