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Shopify and Prestashop, how to choose?

When launching a sales activity, the question quickly comes up: which ecommerce tool to use? And even if the success of your e-commerce project depends more on your ability to trade than on a choice of software, the choice you are going to make is still of paramount importance in the evolution of your business in the short and medium term. .

This article does not aim to promote one solution more than another, but simply to provide keys to understanding highlighting the differences between the 2 solutions and allowing everyone to make up their own mind and their own choices.

SaaS and open source

The first thing to understand is that the 2 solutions have 2 different philosophies: Prestashop is an Open-Source software while Shopify is a SaaS (Software as a Service) solution.

Open-Source software is software whose source code is open and freely accessible to everyone. It evolves thanks to a community of users and can be freely downloaded, installed and used by anyone. The business model is based on the provision of paid services (specific developments, web design, etc.) by the company that carries the software or by contributors who work with Prestashop (developers, web agencies, etc.).

SaaS software is software developed by a company that ensures its development and evolution. The economic model of SaaS solutions is based on monthly subscription systems allowing the use of the tool. You pay a subscription to the publishing company to be able to use the proposed solution.

Open-source solutions are therefore often presented as "free" solutions and make this a strong argument against SaaS solutions. We will see that this promise of free is far from obvious.

Here is a comparison table

Economic model SaaS with monthly subscription Open Source
Access to the solution Opening an account via a form on the Shopify site Free download from Prestashop website
Accommodation Provided by Shopify and included in the monthly cost. Accommodation to be subscribed with the service provider of your choice.
Facility Once your site is open, your solution is functional. The installation must be done by you (with a minimum of technical knowledge) or by a service provider (developer / web agency) who will accompany you in this task.
Configuration and settings At your expense, alone or accompanied by a Shopify Expert. At your expense, alone or accompanied by a Prestashop service provider.
Technical maintenance

Technical maintenance of Shopify is provided and included in the monthly subscription. You don't care about anything.

Cost of technical maintenance: 0 euros

The technical maintenance of your Prestashop will be ensured for your site. You will therefore need to regularly update Prestashop and the plugins you have installed. Technical knowledge will be required.

Cost of technical maintenance:
- the time you will spend there if you have the necessary technical knowledge
OR the cost of your web provider if you delegate this work.

Security management​ The security of your store is provided by Shopify for all sites using the platform. The security of your site will be your responsibility. You will need to keep your Prestashop installation up to date to ensure an optimal level of security.
Added features Via APPS (free or paid) or specific developments. Via plugins (free or paid) or specific developments.

As you will have understood, the fundamental differences in approach and economic models of solutions such as Prestashop (Open-Source) and Shopify (SaaS) will have a real impact on the real costs, the technical knowledge required and/or the support required. ...

The real costs of using Prestashop and Shopify

Real cost of use Monthly subscription + commission

+ Technical maintenance cost
+ Cost of adding features

Hosted vs Hostable Solution

A fundamental difference that stems from the difference in economic model is that in the case of an open-source solution like Prestashop, you will need to have web hosting to be able to install your e-commerce solution on your own.

Conversely, a solution offered in SaaS such as Shopify is a hosted solution. This concretely means that in the monthly cost which is invoiced to you, the lodging of your site is included.


It is here that the differences begin to be more marked. In the case of Shopify, to start working in your online store, you just need to create your store in seconds by filling out a simple creation form on the Shopify site.

To start using Prestashop, you must first install it on the hosting space to which you have previously subscribed (and paid for because hosting is not free). To install Prestashop, it is better to have some technical knowledge in web hosting and web programming.

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