Is Shopify Truly an Open Source Platform?

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Are you considering Shopify for your online business? You may have heard that it is an open source platform, but is that really the case? In this blog post, we will explore what it means to be an open source platform and determine whether or not Shopify truly fits the bill. Get ready to discover the truth about Shopify’s code and what makes a platform truly open source!

What is an Open Source Platform?

An open source platform is a software whose source code is freely available and can be modified by anyone. This means that developers are able to access, modify, and share the underlying code of the software without any restrictions. Open source platforms allow for greater customization, collaboration and innovation as it encourages community involvement.

The term “open source” was first coined in 1998 by a group of developers who wanted to create free software that could be shared with others. Since then, the open-source movement has grown significantly and now encompasses a wide range of industries including eCommerce platforms like Shopify.

One major benefit of an open source platform is its flexibility to meet specific business needs. Companies can customize their online stores with unique features or integrations that may not otherwise be available through closed-source solutions. Additionally, because open-source platforms are often built on established frameworks like PHP or Ruby on Rails, they offer solid foundations for developers to build upon.

However, being labeled as “open source” does not necessarily mean that all aspects of a platform’s code are publicly accessible. In fact, many so-called “open source” platforms have proprietary components such as plugins or modules which cannot be modified by users without purchasing licenses from third-party vendors.

Understanding what defines an open-source platform is crucial when evaluating potential eCommerce solutions for your business requirements.

Is Shopify truly an open source platform?

Shopify is a popular e-commerce platform that has gained significant traction in recent years. While many people consider Shopify an open source platform, the truth is that it isn’t. In fact, Shopify falls short when it comes to being truly open source.

One of the main reasons why Shopify isn’t considered an open source platform is that its codebase can only be accessed by their own team of developers. This means third-party developers cannot access or modify any part of the core software unless they work for Shopify itself.

Another reason why Shopify doesn’t qualify as an open-source platform is because it lacks transparency and community involvement in development. Unlike other widely used platforms like WordPress, Drupal or Magento where users have full control over the code, with Shopify you are limited to what the company approves as extensions which makes customizing your store more difficult.

Additionally, since all themes and apps must go through a rigorous review process before they can become available on their marketplace this limits innovation potential from third-party companies and individuals who want to contribute to the growth of their ecosystem without having such limitations.

While Shopify may seem like an easy choice for those wanting to start selling online quickly, its lack of openness could limit future customization options and hinder long term growth potential.

The Lack of Open Source Code on Shopify

Shopify may have its strengths, but being an open source platform is not one of them. While some people may argue that Shopify has open APIs and allows developers to create custom apps for their clients’ stores, this does not make it a truly open source platform.

One of the key features of an open source platform is that users can access the source code and modify it as needed. Unfortunately, this is not possible with Shopify. Users are limited to using the pre-made themes and templates provided by Shopify or purchasing third-party themes from the Shopify Theme Store.

Furthermore, while developers can create custom apps for their clients’ stores on Shopify, these apps are still subject to strict guidelines set by Shopify. This means that even if a developer creates an app that adds new functionality to a store, they cannot change core features of the platform itself.

This lack of access to the underlying code also makes it difficult for independent developers and freelancers to provide support services for merchants on Shopify. Since they cannot diagnose issues directly in the codebase, they must rely on workarounds or contacting Shopify’s support team themselves.

While there are certainly benefits to using Shopify as an ecommerce solution – such as ease-of-use and reliable hosting – those looking for a truly customizable and flexible ecommerce solution should look elsewhere than this closed-source giant.


To conclude, Shopify is a popular e-commerce platform with numerous features that make it stand out in the market. However, it’s not an open-source platform as claimed by some individuals. Despite allowing access to its APIs and SDKs for developers to create apps and customizations on top of their platform, Shopify still owns and controls every aspect of the core code. Thus making it difficult for users who require full control over their website’s technical aspects.

While using Shopify can be beneficial due to its ease-of-use and support system, businesses looking for complete freedom in customization may need to consider other options like Magento or WooCommerce which are truly open source platforms. Ultimately, the decision should be based on your business needs and what you hope to achieve from your online store.