Payhip Vs Shopify: What To Choose, & When?

Wondering if Payhip or Shopify is right for your eCommerce venture?

Payhip thrives for digital products, offering a free, accessible platform. Shopify dominates in physical product sales, providing scalability and diverse features. [Hint: Shopify is also great for digital products, if you know what you are doing]

Consider your business model and needs for the ideal choice.

The battle between Payhip and Shopify disrupts the notion that all platforms are created equal. Tailored for distinct purposes, choosing between them hinges on your product type. Payhip, a nimble contender, suits small businesses and content creators. Shopify, a colossal force, excels in physical product sales.

Tailored for distinct purposes, choosing between them hinges on your product type. Payhip, a nimble contender, suits small businesses and content creators. Shopify, a colossal force, excels in physical product sales.

The comparison between Payhip Vs Shopify is important. It ought to jolt you out of the common perception that “any eCommerce platform is an eCommerce platform”. 

Not every eCommerce platform is the same. You don’t go around thinking like that.

Each of the platforms — Payhip and Shopify are built for different reasons. Your choice will depend on a host of factors and it starts with what you’ll sell. 

Payhip has its advantages and disadvantages, and so does Shopify — the former is a viable upstart while the latter is a venerable giant. 

Regardless, here’s what you should know to help make the right decision as far as choosing eCommerce platforms go, which platform is right for you, and what you need to take into account before writing away your soul. 

TL;DR: Shopify is best for selling physical products (nothing comes close). If you’d like to use Shopify to sell digital products or online courses, you’d have to use other apps from the Shopify App store.

Costs of using Shopify: Your Shopify Plan + Price of Apps + Others

Payhip is best for selling digital products (like music, notion templates, Canva templates, art, single-file audio clips, videos, live streams). Or you could use Payhip for selling online courses, memberships, selling services, and for selling membership sites.

Costs of using Payhip: Free plan or other Payhip plans + others

What is Payhip? 

Payhip is the proverbial David — or at least, it represents the best eCommerce platform for the likes of David who are small business owners, content creators, indie artists, upcoming musicians, or those who want to easily sell both physical or digital products without the need for anything complicated.

Payhip — as a platform — is clean, easy-to-use, and does not need any skills or extra plugins or apps.

You’d login, add your products, and start selling (along with payment processing, VAT compliance, tax compliance, upsells, cross selling, coupons, email marketing, and integration with anything (thanks to Zapier).


Payhip Review: Sell Digital Products for Free


Payhip Pricing

To be clear, Payhip is a full-fledged and free eCommerce platform to sell all sorts of products, starting with (but not limited to): 

  • Physical products
  • Digital one-time consumable products (such as digital art, illustrations, notion templates, printables, music, and software)
  • Digital products like memberships
  • Recurring services and subscriptions 
  • Online courses 
  • Regular services (such as graphic design services, blogging services, SEO services, and so on).

Payhip Pros and Cons 

Payhip isn’t perfect. Like most platforms, there are some awesome things about Payhip and it also has its own share of issues. Here are some of them:


  • Easy to use platform and a full-fledged eCommerce store front builder (whether you sell physical products, digital products, memberships, coaching programs, or services).
  • Certainly cheaper (and by a whole lot) than Gumroad — it’s actual competitor
  • Payhip is free to start, and doesn’t require too much when you upgrade.
  • Provides you with everything you need to succeed: full-fledged store fronts, dedicated landing pages, complete design freedom, and more.


  • Requires a small $5 per month for access to Payhip online course player.
  • Integration with some marketing apps will require the use of Zapier.

More below:

Payhip Advantages: 

  • You get everything you need to get started with selling physical and digital products, services, memberships, online courses, and so on — completely for free. Upgrade only when you need to (and if the need comes calling). 
  • Payhip has several marketing related features such as coupons, Social coupons, individual landing pages for each product/service, upsells, cross-selling, referral marketing, email marketing integrations (plus, connect with Zapier). 
  • Unlike Shopify which only comes with a free trial, Payhip is free to start and you are free to keep it free until you are ready to upgrade to any of Payhip’s premium plans. 
  • Payhip doesn’t require you to learn about anything like Liquid — the underlying code that Shopify uses. It also doesn’t require you to think about anything like Shopify themes or Shopify apps. With Payhip, it’s all about starting out, customizing your store, and to sell. That’s it. 
  • Payhip — despite the lack of choice of themes and apps (like Shopify) — allows you to completely customize your storefront. 
  • Payhip is cheaper than its direct competition like Gumroad, and practically becomes viable after you cross a certain sales threshold. Learn more about Payhip Vs Gumroad pricing and also the differences in features between Payhip and Gumroad (if you want to).
  • Without using specific apps (like you’d need to use Shopify Apps for different things and also like WordPress requires plugins), you get to do everything you need — design, marketing, promotions, integrations, payments, VAT and Tax compliance, digital product delivery, and more. 

Payhip Disadvantages: 

Like I said, Payhip has a lot going for it. But depending on what you need, you’d find a few things missing from the platform completely (and might need you to use other pieces of software, apps, and workarounds to make those things work). For instance: 

  • If you need a way to handle appointments and bookings, you’d have to work with the likes of Calendly (and several others available) and use buttons with links to make this work. If this is what you specifically need, consider Strikingly
  • Payhip’s “product embed” feature — which lets you showcase products (physical or digital), courses, memberships, or anything else that you sell on Payhip — comes with a few basic default options. If you need a customized way to do product embeds, you’d have to know a wee bit of code and similar workaround to make this look pretty on your site. Alternatively, if you use WordPress as your main website, you can also use GeneratePress theme with Gutenberg blocks to make custom calls-to-action. 

Note: If you are looking to sell online courses for free (with complete access to all the features such as marketing, coupons, affiliates, and full-store editing), watch this video:

What Is Shopify? 

Shopify is the Goliath in the story — a venerable behemoth when it comes to eCommerce. Popular among regular and small eCommerce merchants, slightly larger (or mid-sized) eCommerce businesses.

Shopify is also perfect for large eCommerce businesses (on Shopify Plus plans), and is hard to beat with their promise of secure, easy-to-use eCommerce platform. 


Shopify Review: Stop Futzing Around and Switch to Shopify Now

Shopify Pricing 

Unlike Payhip, Shopify is not “free to use for as long as you want”. It starts with a free trial and it has clear packages such as Shopify Lite (starting at US $9 per month), Shopify Basic (US $29 per month), Shopify Plan (US $79 per month), and Advanced Shopify Plan (US $299 per month).  

Plus, Shopify also as Shopify Plus that starts at US $2000 per month (for large businesses that do serious volume in eCommerce business). 

All plans come with unlimited bandwidth, of course. 

Advantages of Shopify 

  • Battle-hardened, well-executed, and relatively simpler eCommerce platform (compared to Shopify’s own competition such as BigCommerce, WooCommerce, or using Magento).
  • Shopify best fits the pure eCommerce business model (have products? Will Sell). Shopify is also great for other business models selling physical products in other ways — such as dropshipping, Print-on-demand, etc. 
  • The above business models (such as dropshipping and Print-on-Demand are also easily achieved thanks to several apps, vendors, and businesses such as Oberlo and others). 
  • At the basic level (without the need for excessive customization), you can practically start with a free Shopify theme, upload products, and sell. No brains or wizardry needed. 
  • When you use Shopify — and you have a business to run — you don’t need to worry about security, hacking, platform upkeep or maintenance (like you’d need to if you choose WooCommerce or Magento). 
  • Shopify provides you with various free tools that you can use (and save money) — no need to pay for anything that these free tools do. 

Disadvantages of Shopify 

  • Beyond the free trial, you’d have to pay to use Shopify (even for the smallest of the plans such as the Shopify Lite plan). 
  • For anything beyond basics, you’d have to learn how to customize Shopify themes. For most business owners, it usually calls for help from Shopify experts. This requires additional hours (or days, or months) and additional costs, just to get started. 
  • Some Shopify themes are free. Most of the other Shopify themes cost you money. You’d need to factor this into your startup cost. 
  • While it’s considered that you can “sell anything” with Shopify, the memo you didn’t get is that you’d need to use specific apps, design your store in a specific way, and play with various workarounds to make it work. For instance, you practically can’t sell online courses with Shopify (and that’s why you have platforms like Payhip, Podia, Thinkific, and others). You can still manage to sell digital products (such as eBooks, digital art, music, prints, files, and music) — as long as it’s a simple “Buy once, delivered once” type of a business. 

Payhip Vs Shopify: Best Use case Scenarios For Each 

Payhip is best for eCommerce businesses operated by solo merchants, selling any volume of products (physical or digital). 

If you want to start selling for free or to use a full-featured eCommerce platform for free, Payhip is what you should grab and go. 

If you are a content creator, service provider, running an eCommerce as a side hustle (but primarily with a low volume of products), Payhip is a no-brainer.  

Payhip is built for you if you sell digital products or any kind (including selling digital products, online courses, memberships, recurring services, one-time services, coaching, and so on).  

Shopify is best used for selling physical products. That’s it. Anything beyond trying to sell physical products requires bench pressing 800 tons off of your chest — or the work equivalent of something monstrous of that sort. 

Shopify plans you’d choose will depend on the inventory volume, size of business, expected volume of business turnaround, and so on — you decide. 

Payhip Vs Shopify: What to Choose Between the two? 

The Payhip Vs Shopify choice comes down to you — budget, type of eCommerce business you run, the business model itself, whether (or not) you’d need advanced features, apps, integrations, marketing-specific requirements, size of your business (and teams, if any). 

Small eCommerce businesses, businesses selling digital products, and for creators, Choose Payhip. 

Physical products? If it’s really low-inventory (1-5 products), Payhip still works great (and for free) 

If you need advanced functionalities, complete customization, world-class themes (for store design), a huge range of apps to help you with various functionalities for eCommerce stores, or if you just have a large eCommerce business, go with Shopify

Success, however, is much less about the eCommerce platform you choose and more about the effort, sustenance, and focus you have. 

What are you going to pick? Between Payhip Vs Shopify, what’s your choice?

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