We help IT Professionals succeed at work.

Shopping carts: What's wrong with the 'free' shopping carts offered by web hosts?

MyersA asked
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2013-11-29
I've been trying to find an answer for this question for some time, but I haven't been able to.
I have a client with a small store (i.e 5-10 employees) that wants me to develop a shopping cart. I'm thinking of hosting her website using my webhost4life account. We met recently but I didn't mention these free shopping carts because I assumed they were poorly made and very limited. But I saw a site that user webhost4life's shopping cart and it looked great. If many webhosts have a shopping cart for $10/month or less, why is there a shopping cart market for small business clients?
Theoretically speaking, why would any potential client with a need for a general shopping cart (nothing special) buy a custom-made or
off-the-shelf shopping cart if the host offers them for free? I asked several web developers on the costs for building a shopping cart (locally and in the US), and the cheapest one that I found was $800. But why would I pay $800 for something if web hosts only charge $10/month while others have them for free? That's even better for me because I can cancel it if business isn't what I thought it'd be.


Watch Question

quite often you cannot use the same ruler for all clients, they WILL have different demands and requirements and free shopping carts will provide flexebility only to some extend. that's probably the main reason. the same reason as paying tens of thousands for custom made applications when you can get one of the shelf for a few hundreds. If your client doesn't have any demands that you wouldn't do with the free carts, that's better for you...

good luck,

Not the solution you were looking for? Getting a personalized solution is easy.

Ask the Experts
As technology improves and becoms more widespread, it is more and more efficient to use off-the-shelf products, such as the free shopping carts bundled with hosting deals. In fact, if the company has a good reputation, and it is easy for a non-computer literate person (assuming your client who needs a shopping cart on their site is one of those) to use, then it fits your requirements and you should go ahead. If you need more flexibility, then you should go with a custom-built one instead.

although it might not take alot of work to get a free cart up and running, you are tied down to that cart, to maximise tco, if you want to move web hosts throughout
the year you will have to rebuild the cart again, and if that webhost account doesnt have a free cart then you will end up buying a cart or making one down the line. this post is in c# - but I assume that the free cart is hosted on linux with mysql? if it is on windows and the account supports .net 2.0 then it is a good deal,
you need to check the functionality of the cart as well, i think a good cart will not only handle purchases, by order processing/tracking as well. try and think of your system 6 months ahead, will the current solution be sufficent to support your current and possible future requirements.


Thanks for the info.

Should I tell my client that my webhost (where the client's site will be set up) has free shopping carts? Even will all its limitations, it may just be good enough for her. Or is that the client's responsibiliy? As a software developer, I'd rather sell her my shopping cart.

What do you think?


you can explain her the concept as it was mentioned here and of course you can be biased to have your shopping cart, but if you don't mention free shopping carts and just sell yours, and then she finds out that she could have a free one, even with all the limitations, it would not put you in a good position.

I think as a developer you must take into consideration the time invloved to develop something that is out there already, and for free. if you need to tweak it and you cant with the free cart then take that into consideration.

I think suffient help was provided.

Access more of Experts Exchange with a free account
Thanks for using Experts Exchange.

Create a free account to continue.

Limited access with a free account allows you to:

  • View three pieces of content (articles, solutions, posts, and videos)
  • Ask the experts questions (counted toward content limit)
  • Customize your dashboard and profile

*This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.


Please enter a first name

Please enter a last name

8+ characters (letters, numbers, and a symbol)

By clicking, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.