nopCommerce was created in 2008 by founder and CEO Andrei Mazulnitsyn with the goal of providing a free, open-source eCommerce platform without the limitations present within other platforms — limitations that prevented businesses from following the processes and workflow that they needed. Recognition from Microsoft helped nopCommerce continue to develop into a comprehensive platform for eCommerce developers knowledgeable in ASP.NET and SQL. nopCommerce is based in Yaroslavl, Russia.
Shift4Shop is a feature-rich eCommerce platform serving businesses of all sizes in a wide range of industries across the globe. Offering an unmatched free eCommerce solution, the company provides everything you need to start — and grow — your business. This turnkey eCommerce experience includes powerful tools to help businesses succeed — a robust website builder, product and order management, customer marketing tools, and more. Customers can choose from dozens of professionally designed, industry-specific templates, all of which are mobile-friendly, SEO optimized, and highly customizable.
When you're getting ready to build your eCommerce website, you're sure to find yourself overwhelmed by options. This means coming up with a solution that fits your budget can be difficult. Many online entrepreneurs spend their time looking for free software, hoping to launch their websites at minimal cost. One such solution is nopCommerce, which can be attractive due to its promised features and free, open-source model.
However, open-source software can be more expensive than expected, and more trouble than it's worth. While you do get the software itself for free, you're in charge of everything else, including hosting and security, each of which has its own costs. You'll also need to handle the software updates yourself, which in many cases can cause problems on your website if you make the slightest mistake. Additionally, open-source software is by nature targeted at developers with the knowledge to write and edit code themselves, so it's much more complicated to learn. Many eCommerce entrepreneurs start out trying to use free, open-source software and later feel as if they've only wasted their time and money.
Shift4Shop is here to solve all these problems. As a free hosted eCommerce solution, Shift4Shop provides you with everything you need to build your online store and grow your business without the technical details getting in the way. If you have an internet connection and a web browser, you're ready to use Shift4Shop.
As an open-source platform, nopCommerce must be downloaded and installed onto a web host that meets its software requirements and can handle the traffic you plan to earn. Your host must also be able to meet the security requirements of eCommerce, which includes an SSL certificate and other steps to become PCI compliant. These mean extra expenses, extra work, and more places for something to go wrong. With Shift4Shop, however, everything's included — hosting, security, and more. Simply create your account and start building your website.
While nopCommerce does have a large community willing to help with various issues, community-based support is known to be inconsistent, and it's much better to be able to get help directly from the creators of the software. Unfortunately, nopCommerce charges for support, starting at $299 for 3 months. Shift4Shop, however, includes free 24/7/365 US-based support with all plans.
"I tried nopCommerce for my online business because I was impressed with the features, but it was a hassle from day one. Sure, there's a lot you can do with it, and maybe it's great if you have a developer on staff, but I could barely use the addons I paid for without needing to frequently ask for help from the community. I switched to Shift4Shop and, surprise, it's actually cheaper than nopCommerce in the long run even though there's a monthly fee, not to mention saving me tons of time by being easier to use."
- Former nopCommerce user
nopCommerce is a feature-rich platform, but it's cited as being difficult to use, with development skills required to keep it running smoothly as you'll need to install software updates, addons, and otherwise ensure everything keeps working. Plus, while the software itself is free, many of the best addons come with a hefty price tag. Shift4Shop, on the other hand, requires no development skills and handles all updates for you — and with more built-in features, you'll find your need for addons reduced. If you do take a trip to the app store, you'll also see much more reasonable pricing.
Your online store's design is crucial for establishing your brand and giving customers the shopping experience they want. Let's compare and contrast free nopCommerce themes with those offered by Shift4Shop.
While nopCommerce has a variety of free themes available, they vary significantly in quality, with many only being compatible with older versions of the software. Many suffer from poor mobile compatibility, relying on the old-fashioned "mobile version" of a store rather than the modern responsive method. Plus, nopCommerce themes require knowledge of coding to customize. A theme editor plugin is available, but only if you buy it for $49 — and it may not work with your theme or let you make the specific changes you want.
Shift4Shop offers over 100 free themes, all of which are built to modern standards including responsive design and integrated SEO. Several different layouts and color schemes are available, and you can easily customize your store as desired via the Theme Editor and the HTML Page Builder. With Shift4Shop, it's much easier to create your online store exactly as you envision and ensure every page matches your ideal branding.
Shift4Shop is built to allow anyone to create an online store of their own, even without any knowledge of web development or coding. Even a single entrepreneur with basic understanding of the internet can start selling online.
It's not recommended to use nopCommerce unless you have development knowledge or your business can afford to keep a developer on staff. Numerous situations arise in which you need custom work done, and this gets pricey.
Shift4Shop operates on the SaaS (Software as a Service) model, meaning everything's included: the software itself, your hosting, SSL, and more. You won't have to worry about a single technical detail — instead, simply create your free Shift4Shop account and start building your online store. No expensive headaches will get in between you and your perfect eCommerce website.
Since nopCommerce is an open-source eCommerce platform, you'll need to find your own web host and install the software yourself. Furthermore, nopCommerce has some very specific system requirements that need to be met in order for your hosting to be usable. You may find your options limited in which web hosting you can use, and can end up shelling out a lot more cash than you expected to get your "free" online store up and running. Plus, you'll still need to supply your own SSL certificate for security.