Revisiting Shopify

Revisiting Shopify

I’m deeply undecided about Shopify for digital products.

Update: Not undecided any more! The day after posting this I got a truly shocking email from Shopify support which explains a *lot* about my relative sales between Ko-Fi and Shopify and I gotta rethink everything. Avoid Shopify, though. And if you’ve used Shopify Lite with Digital Downloads, please email me at we need to talk.

Shopify has a Lite product, which I’ve covered previously, and which I use because hey, I have had a dedicated website for a long time. (Since February 2003, according to whois, which sounds about right.) It’s considerably cheaper than their “basic” plan, but lately I’ve run up against things that don’t work with it. Which I expect… but I also expect things that are supposed to work with it to work right.

I ran into issues awhile back when I sent out a revision to a (free!) design. I covered this previously too. Sometimes silverseams dot myshopify dot com links work, like the cart itself. But not always in the Digital Downloads official-Shopify-but-still-an-“app.” The same is true with the email receipts, apparently: if you don’t download the links from the cart confirmation page, you’re out of luck. (I mean, not entirely, I will of course email you files directly.)

Given that most of my business these days is digital, that’s a problem. I guess I need to run the numbers: upgrading to the basic Shopify is four times the cost. Gumroad takes a very high percentage, that admittedly goes down as your sales go up. Patreon’s are even higher and they don’t do downloads, per se. Ko-Fi is still a little half-baked, tbh, and I’d have to duplicate all my entries because there’s no “this is free for tier members but non-members can buy it” within a single entry.

Alternatively, I can finish setting up Huginn to update whenever there’s a Shopify or Ko-Fi sale, and email a working local link to buyers. But dangit, I’m paying Shopify to be able to one-click send out updates to things, I shouldn’t have to work around it. Although this has the bonus of being more permanent - even if I shut down one of those shops, I can continue to guarantee people have access to their files.

This isn’t, by the way, something you should ever count on, especially with indie designers’ sites. You’re paying to download the file, not have it permanently hosted for you. I’m enough of a nerd to be able to manage this kind of thing, but not everyone is. And I could get hit by a bus!

Anyway, since I’ve been looking at all of them, here’s all the pricing links in no particular order.

Note that Etsy is nowhere on this list, because they just keep getting worse and I’m not going back there.