List of The Best Hosted Ecommerce Platforms

Guide to choosing the right ecommerce software for your online business

What is an eCommerce Platform?

An ecommerce platform, or ecommerce software, is a solution for websites to run an online store including all the necessary features for a customer to buy products online. The best eCommerce software comes with expanded features to help run an online business and build a full website, like extra content pages for company information and other content, a blogging platform, and essential marketing features. Several types of eCommerce automation tools are also included in the best shopping cart software, some to make it easier for the store owner to process customer orders, and others for creating promotions. For example, scheduled email newsletters have shown results indicating that they're among the best marketing automation for eCommerce, so the most powerful online shopping cart software will include this feature.

ecommerce-software

Hosted eCommerce software, or Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) is the most convenient and cost-effective type to use, as it brings everything you need to run your online store together: shopping cart software, web hosting, security, and often support. This means you won't have to find solutions on your own and pay for them separately — which saves money even over free ecommerce solutions.

Hosted eCommerce Platforms Comparison

    • Name
    • Shopping Cart
    • Product Pages
    • Ease of Use
    • Learning Curve
    • Responsive Sites
    • Data Export
    • Price
    • Ongoing Costs
    • Number of Users
    • check
    • check
    • Easy
    • Minimal
    • check
    • check
    • Monthly plans from $19/mo. – $229/mo. or save with annual plan
    • No fees other than your plan, unless you purchase apps or other services.
    • 22,615
    • check
    • check
    • Easy
    • Minimal
    • Extra Cost
    • Some
    • Monthly plans from $14.99/mo. – $69.99/mo.
    • Users report significant problems canceling their services.
    • Unknown
    • check
    • check
    • Easy
    • Minimal
    • check
    • Some
    • Monthly plans from $59/mo. – $249/mo.
    • Support charges. Transaction fees from 0.75% – 1.25% depending on plan. Plans are billed on 4-week cycle, not by month, resulting in shifting billing date and 13 charges per year.
    • 5,436
    • Addon
    • Addon
    • Hard
    • Moderate
    • Very poor "Mobile Store"
    • check
    • Monthly plans from £99/mo. – £1,999/mo.
    • Very weak SEO means paying more for marketing
    • 4,554
    • check
    • check
    • Vary Hard
    • Very Steep
    • Custom Design Only
    • check
    • By quote only
    • Nearly all tasks impossible without hiring an expert, and training is needed to manage an Aptos store.
    • 34
    • check
    • check
    • Easy
    • Minimal
    • check
    • check
    • Monthly plans from $25/mo. – $249/mo. or save with annual plan
    • No integrations without paid Zapier account. Mobile themes unavailable on Starter plan, forcing you to upgrade.
    • Unknown
    • check
    • check
    • Easy
    • Minimal
    • Separate Mobile Templates
    • Extra Cost
    • Monthly plans from $9.99/mo. – $29.99/mo. with free plan available
    • No fees other than your plan, unless you purchase apps or other services.
    • 23,081
    • check
    • check
    • Easy
    • Minimal
    • check
    • check
    • Monthly plans from $29.95/mo. – $249.95/mo. or save with annual plan
    • Your plan will be increased when you reach sales thresholds, causing surprise fees.
    • 40,401
    • check
    • check
    • Moderate
    • Moderate
    • check
    • check
    • Monthly plans from $19/mo. – $600/mo. or save with annual plan
    • Your plan is determined for you based on sales, plus bandwidth and storage are not truly unlimited and can result in overage fees.
    • 635
    • check
    • check
    • Easy
    • Moderate
    • check
    • check
    • Monthly plans from £29.99/mo. – £499.99/mo. plus VAT
    • Your plan will be increased when you reach sales thresholds, causing surprise fees.
    • 9,203
    • check
    • check
    • Hard
    • Steep
    • Custom Design Only
    • Monthly plans from $9.95/mo. – $159.95/mo. with $50 setup fee on 2 highest plans
    • 1% transaction fee if you use any payment processor other than "fortune3 credit card services with an approved discount rate equal to or higher than 2.9%."
    • 136
    • check
    • check
    • Easy
    • Minimal
    • check
    • Only one eCommerce plan at $19.99/mo.
    • None besides your monthly plan.
    • 13,238
    • check
    • check
    • Moderate
    • Moderate
    • check
    • check
    • 2 monthly plans at $1,000/mo. and $1,600/mo. (quote-based; may vary)
    • Charges for support, which are not listed on website. Need for custom development and design is likely.
    • 129
    • check
    • check
    • Hard
    • Steep
    • X
    • X
    • Dependent on eCommerce platform choice
    • HostGator has no built-in eCommerce software, so all costs and features depend on which you install and which hosting package you use.
    • Unknown
    • check
    • check
    • Moderate
    • Moderate
    • check
    • check
    • Monthly plans from $79.95/mo. – $1,495/mo. and your plan is chosen for you based on revenue
    • Free SSL expires after 1 year and must be paid to renew ($49+ depending on plan). Limited storage and bandwidth can result in overage charges.
    • 66,828 (Including hosted and licensed verions)
    • check
    • check
    • Moderate
    • Steep
    • Separate Mobile templates
    • check
    • Monthly plans from $29.95/mo. – $99.95/mo. with discounted first month
    • Transaction fees from 0.75% – 1.25% depending on plan. Plans are billed on 4-week cycle, not by month, resulting in shifting billing date and 13 charges per year.
    • 4,961
    • check
    • check
    • Hard
    • Steep
    • Separate Mobile templates
    • check
    • By quote only
    • Apps and other services.
    • 1,118
    • check
    • check
    • Moderate
    • Moderate
    • check
    • check
    • Monthly plans from $44.95/mo. – $199.95/mo. and your plan is chosen for you based on traffic
    • Likely to need custom design due to limited template selection. Limited payment integrations may make custom development necessary to serve your customers.
    • 2,855
    • check
    • check
    • Easy
    • Minimal
    • check
    • check
    • Monthly plans from $29/mo. – $299/mo. or limited social media-only plan for $9/mo.
    • Transaction fees from 0.5% – 2% depending on plan if using a payment processor other than Shopify Payments. Missing features require apps that rack up charges quickly.
    • 831,629
    • check
    • check
    • Easy
    • Minimal
    • check
    • check
    • Monthly plans from $5.99/mo. – $59.99/mo. with free version available
    • Hosting and security sold separately through partners, for variable prices with potential for overage limits.
    • 81,007
    • check
    • check
    • Easy
    • Moderate
    • check
    • check
    • Single annual plan available at $59/yr.
    • None besides the annual plan, but outdated technology and heavy limitations will have you starting over elsewhere soon.
    • Unknown
    • check
    • check
    • Hard
    • Steep
    • check
    • check
    • Monthly plans from $29.95/mo. – $249.95/mo.
    • You will be raised to the next plan if you exceed product or storage limits.
    • 305
    • check
    • check
    • Easy
    • Minimal
    • check
    • check
    • Monthly plans from $29/mo. – $299/mo. and your plan will be increased based on revenue
    • Transaction fees from 0.5% – 2% depending on plan. Few integrations, requiring a paid Zapier account to access many needed tools. Volusion has a long reputation of hidden fees.
    • 25,288
*Information accurate as of 11/27/18

Understanding Hosted Ecommerce Features

Shopping Cart

A shopping cart allows visitors to make purchases. It provides a way to create a temporary list of items via an "add to cart" function, and then to complete the purchase of the items through a virtual checkout in which the customer enters their payment and shipping information. Payment is collected through an integrated payment processor and the order is sent to the online store owner for fulfillment.

Product Pages

Product pages provide a unique website page for every product on an eCommerce website. Product pages include photos of the product, information, pricing, and a button for adding the product to the shopping cart. Some eCommerce software allows additional content on product pages such as product reviews and a customer Q&A section.

Ease of Use

Ease of use refers to how easy the eCommerce software is to use and understand. Ease of use affects the level of difficulty an online store owner will face when they perform various tasks with the software, such as adding products, managing orders, and customizing their website. Difficult software often results in additional expenses such as hiring developers or training employees.

Learning Curve

The learning curve represents how easy it is to learn how to use the software effectively. A minimal learning curve means the software is friendly to beginners. A steep learning curve means a new user may find themselves lost and struggle to understand how to accomplish what they want to do with the software.

Responsive Sites

Responsive design refers to a website that is designed to be friendly to all mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones, and work equally well on all of these systems. "Responsive" in this context means a website "responds" to a device by adapting its design to fit the screen. Responsive websites are ranked higher by search engines because today's internet users prefer to visit responsive sites.

Data Export

Data export provides a quick way of creating a spreadsheet or CSV file that lists a large amount of the online store's data in an organized manner. Exports can include customer information lists, product information lists, order lists, and more. Data export is often needed for backing up information, for accounting purposes, and for import into a new or rebuilt version of the online store.

Price

How much the eCommerce software costs. Setup fees, initial licensing fees, and other beginning fees are represented here, but not your initial hosting fee or similar fees. Your own startup costs may vary if you decide to hire a developer to perform any setup for you. Some eCommerce software has multiple plans available and these are shown with an approximate range.

Ongoing Costs

These are the costs an eCommerce merchant will need to continue to pay in order to use the eCommerce software. These costs can take the form of monthly or annual fees for the software itself or other components needed for the software to run, like web hosting. Costs for upgrades and support are also included in ongoing costs.

Number of Users

This is the approximate count of currently live websites using this platform. An eCommerce platform's popularity can be influenced by ease of use, low costs, ease of obtaining the software, relation to another popular platform, or effectiveness of its marketing and should not be assumed to represent the overall quality of the software for running an online store.

Still not sure which hosted solution
is the best for your business?

hosted-solution
3dcart

3dcart is an all-inclusive hosted eCommerce solution that includes everything you need to run a successful online store, including advanced PCI-compliant security, 24/7/365 free support, and a full-featured eCommerce website builder. With 3dcart you can create a complete eCommerce website and include as many products, categories, and extra pages you need. A full set of marketing and SEO tools are included to help you reach your customers, and you'll also have access to a powerful order management and reporting system. 3dcart offers a 15-day free trial and a choice of low-priced plans that offer much more than competing hosted shopping cart platforms.

3dcart offers a 15-day free trial and a choice of low-priced plans that will let you unlock the potential of your business.

shopify

While Shopify is one of the most popular online store platforms today, it's not the best solution for a growing business. Transaction fees will hold you back, and Shopify is known for keeping many of the most important eCommerce features locked behind paid apps. Between your monthly plan and app charges, you'll end up paying over three times the cost of 3dcart to get a similar feature set. Other important tools are restricted to higher-tier plans, but even after upgrading you'll still need to pay for the same apps. Shopify also has a limited selection of free themes, making it harder for a new business to brand their store, and the themes are written in a proprietary language called Liquid so customization is a task to learn.

shopsite-logo

ShopSite is a bit different from other hosted eCommerce platforms because it outsources its web hosting to partners. Unfortunately, this makes their pricing structure inconsistent and their support spotty. You'll have to put a lot of time into choosing a web host, and since your hosting won't be managed by the same company as the ShopSite software, you may have trouble getting the help you need. ShopSite's eCommerce tools are also lacking, with no built-in reporting and weak SEO and marketing features. ShopSite's basic level of eCommerce functionality will slow your growth until you upgrade to a plan that includes better tools, and even then, it will not scale with your business.

miva-logo

Miva Merchant offers both a hosted and licensed eCommerce platform, and both versions fall under the same limitations: extremely high price, time-consuming setup, and difficult customization. Regardless of whether you're looking at the hosted or licensed version of Miva Merchant, it's easy to see this is an eCommerce platform intended for large businesses. A software license only comes with a year's worth of updates and costs just under $20k, and you'll need to pay full price again to access updates after your year is up. Even Miva's cheapest option, a hosted "starter" online store, costs $79.95/mo. and you can be boosted to a higher plan without your knowledge if your store starts doing well — plus, be charged for bandwidth and storage overages.

bigcommerce-logo

BigCommerce is a popular online store platform because it's easy to use and has no transaction fees. However, BigCommerce merchants often find themselves suffering financially in other ways: your plan pricing is based on your sales, and many BigCommerce users report an unexpected boost to a higher-tier plan that they couldn’t afford. The platform is also missing some key features and integrations that you'll need to pay for separately through apps. Successful, growing business often outpace the tools BigCommerce can offer and end up leaving for a more advanced (and affordable) platform like 3dcart.

volusion-logo

Volusion is known as a user-friendly shopping cart platform, but that also means it's very basic. It lacks the tools for long-term success and many successful online store owners reach a point where they need a more powerful platform. Volusion also charges a transaction fee on every one of your sales, which cuts into your profits, and your plan will be increased automatically if your revenue goes above a certain amount. Volusion also lacks many integrations, meaning you'll need a paid account with Zapier to access some of your favorite tools. And while Volusion has recently cut down on their added fees, they have a longstanding reputation of surprising their customers with extra charges.

bigcartel-logo

Big Cartel is a very limited eCommerce platform aimed specifically at artists and other creators. It's easy to use and very inexpensive, and there is even a Big Cartel free plan, so it's a natural choice for many new creators with a small inventory. However, Big Cartel has few choices for a serious eCommerce entrepreneur and is not scalable at all. Even the highest-priced plan only allows a maximum of 300 products, and there are limitations that affect both customers and merchants. There's no search feature, so customers can't search for products, and Big Cartel doesn't have built-in shipping calculations and only very minimal tax calculations. The simple fact is that you can get a Basic tier $29/mo. 3dcart plan and immediately access more features, more integrations, more payment methods, and more selling potential than you get with Big Cartel's $29.99/mo. plan.

godaddy-logo

GoDaddy is well-known as a domain name registrar, and secondly as a web host. GoDaddy also offers a rudimentary eCommerce plan that has become popular due to brand recognition and quick setup. However, GoDaddy online stores are only suitable for beginners, and provide neither the features nor the functionality to grow and support a successful business. You can add up to 1,500 products, but your store will start slowing down noticeably before you reach this limit, to the point that GoDaddy makes note of this in its own disclaimer. Serious online merchants will soon find GoDaddy short on options, since it has few integrations and only three payment gateways. Customization of your online store also falls short, as you can only make minor changes, which causes problems for branding and for building your eCommerce website the way you want.

aptos-logo

There’s no denying Aptos Retail is huge, and has some impressive clients under their wing. But is it really the right choice for your business? If you’re ready to step into Enterprise eCommerce, you’re aware of the importance of smooth operations for all aspects of selling, whether online or in-store. The simple fact is that Aptos Retail tries to collect so many features, in such a huge platform, that your business could collapse under its own weight without constant help or vast technical knowledge of your own. And with the extra costs typically incurred by Aptos Retail clients, you’ll find the price skyrocketing quickly.

ashop-logo

Ashop is a simplistic eCommerce platform with too many limitations. Every plan has storage caps, limiting the number of images you can add to your site and product pages, and there are no integrations with any other apps or software — you'll need an account with a third-party service like Zapier to connect Ashop to crucial business apps like QuickBooks or marketing services like MailChimp. And while Ashop may work for a brand new small business, many important features are locked behind the Professional plan tier which may not be affordable for a startup. Large businesses run into the opposite problem, as even the Enterprise plan is lacking many important features and capabilities. You simply get more for your money with 3dcart, regardless of business size.

fortune3-logo

If you're looking for a top-of-the-line eCommerce platform to give your online store all the advantages, fortune3 will not serve your needs. Everything from their admin dashboard to their store themes are lagging behind the times, and customers report a poor experience on mobile devices. Low product limits plague their pricing models, and business owners who want to switch away from fortune3 often have a hard time canceling their account. Not to mention fortune3 splits its admin across two separate dashboards, the "Store Builder" and "Administration Panel," and you can manage your inventory from both — but your edits don't carry over from one to the other. If you make a mistake and add a product through the wrong dashboard, this can become a hopeless mess very quickly. Support is also known to go dark for long periods of time.

goecart-logo

GoECart targets merchants seeking a quick way to build an omnichannel online store at Enterprise levels, but their customers often report poor and frustrating results. GoECart tends to overpromise and underdeliver, according to numerous customers who discovered that promised features would actually take expensive custom development. And that's not all that's expensive: GoECart offers two plans at quote-only prices that usually come out around $1,000/mo. and $1,600/mo. and charges extra for support beyond a basic level. None of their prices are visible on their website, and they do not provide clear information regarding the full features and capabilities of their platform. GoECart is simply too uncertain, too expensive, and too limited for a business when there are better, cost-effective, and more transparent options out there.

sitecube-logo

SiteCube is a website builder with included hosting for a low price of $59 per year. However, it's just not made for eCommerce. You're limited to 100 pages total, and can sell no more than 1,250 products in 25 categories. And while this might be enough for a brand new small business, SiteCube's infrastructure will hold you back. There's no dedicated product page or shopping cart functionality, no order management, and no method for interacting with customers. The SEO is also outdated and will make it hard for customers to find your store. Overall, SiteCube offers only minimal eCommerce features and will make it difficult to run and grow your business. Even the newest, most financially-limited startup has better options.

3dcart is the all-in-one eCommerce platform you need

Installation Setup
  • All-inclusive website, blog, and more
  • No need to understand programming
  • Images scaled automatically
  • Free support, all day, every day
  • Domain transfer and registration included
  • Large selection of free store themes
  • Migrate your existing website
  • Import and export products in bulk
  • Take any form of payment
  • No graphic design knowledge necessary
  • Bulk image uploads available
  • Data import for products and customers
Marketing

The most advanced marketing tools in eCommerce

Every facet of 3dcart's platform is built to give you an edge, including our complete set of free marketing tools. You'll have access to features that let you implement all the marketing strategies the pros use, like special promotional events, coupons and gift cards, an affiliate program, a loyalty program with reward points, and more. Reach customers with the proven method of timed, optimized emails to build relationships and improve satisfaction.

Expand your audience further with 3dcart's advanced SEO tools, built right into the platform to make the technical aspects simple. Our social media integration lets you sell on Facebook, get pinned on Pinterest, and encourage customers to share your products with others.

At 3dcart, we can confidently say we offer a more complete set of marketing and SEO tools out of the box than any other platform, and they're built to help you make your mark.

Store Design

Beautiful storefronts from professional designers

It's not easy to convert a visitor into a shopper, especially today. Internet users only give a website about 5 seconds to make an impression on them before they decide to leave and look somewhere else.

But with 3dcart, you have a selection of attractive and compelling responsive themes that let you create a website built to convert - no programming necessary. No matter what "look" your brand requires, you'll find it in 3dcart's vast theme selection: just pick a design that works for your products and industry, and off you go.

Need further customizations to make your brand really shine? You'll have full access to the HTML and CSS used in your online store's design, giving you complete creative control over every pixel on every page. Make changes directly in your browser or do it through FTP, and enjoy absolute freedom of design.

Go a step further and add great features like a gorgeous Homepage Carousel, Recently Viewed Items, Quick View for products, and the Single Page Checkout that online shoppers love. Plus much, much more.

Reporting

All the data at your fingertips

3dcart's in-depth reporting features allow you to identify your strengths and weaknesses, so you can learn what to improve, and what works best.

Access detailed reports generated from the data automatically gathered and compiled by the 3dcart platform. In your Online Store Manager, you'll find reports relating to:

  • Business
  • Customers
  • Inventory
  • Marketing
  • Payment & Shipping
  • Products
  • Sales
  • Statistics

As a 3dcart store owner, you’ll always have the data you need to understand where your business is thriving, and learn what you can do better.

Products

Full-featured product management system

3dcart makes store and product management easy with our intuitive web-based Online Store Manager. Log in from anywhere to create, edit, and manage your products however is needed, and organize them in as many categories as the situation requires.

You'll be equipped with a robust selection of features and tools built to make selling online easy — and fun, too. Upsell and cross-sell to boost sales, implement waiting lists for new products, let customers create shareable wish lists, and encourage interaction with product reviews and Q∓As. Sell physical products, digital downloads, or both.

Build attention-grabbing product pages with multiple images, dynamic zoom, and video. Selling products with lots of variants like color or size? Include them all with 3dcart's unlimited Product Options feature!

At 3dcart, we're always watching out for the next vital eCommerce feature so we can make it available to you right in your Online Store Manager.

Orders

Fast and easy order processing

Dealing with customer orders is easy with 3dcart. Quickly process, print, edit, and update customer orders from your easy-to-use Online Store Manager. Print shipping labels, process returns, take phone orders, and create customer groups for customized pricing levels.

Want to expand via dropshipping and reach the next level? 3dcart's built-in dropshipping feature makes setup easy. Smooth your operations out further by using our QuickBooks integration, which lets you instantly and automatically synchronize all your 3dcart orders and inventory with QuickBooks desktop.

From the smallest startup to the largest enterprise, 3dcart's order management system is designed to help you grow and hit all your targets. Built-in advanced reporting keeps you apprised of successful strategies, while other powerful tools like FraudWatch and eBay and Amazon Order Integration keep your online store on the cutting edge.

Shipping

A full set of tools for fast and easy shipping

As a 3dcart store owner, you'll have access to a complete set of shipping features to help you get orders out the door without difficulty.

Connect your store to major shipping carriers through 3dcart's powerful integrations. Keep customers informed of shipping costs with real-time rates from carriers like USPS, FedEx, UPS, DHL and Canada Post, for no extra charge.

If flat-rate shipping is right for your business, you can set it up quickly with 3dcart. Offer rates based on order weight, item quantity, ZIP code, or total order value. 3dcart makes it easy to customize your shipping for your exact business needs.

Need additional Information?

Conversion optimized checkout

Contact our eCommerce specialists at 1800.828.6650 ext1 or send an email to [email protected]