The modern e-commerce platform market is saturated with a plethora of options. Whether you are a newbie or an experienced e-commerce entrepreneur you have a critical decision to make the software that suits your needs. Buying the best e-commerce platform can be confusing and intimidating especially if you are dipping your toe into the arena for the first time. Unless you arm yourself with the right information, you will not get a solution with the right functionality to meet your initial needs.
Among the numerous options rests OpenCart and OsCommerce. These platforms are accepted and acknowledged by many webmasters, and for this reason, they are high on demand. The comparison between these solutions is one debatable topic that shows no signs of ending any soon. If you have narrowed down your options to these two platforms and can’t make a concrete choice, worry not. We have compiled this insightful comparison to help you make the right decision.
OsCommerce is a German-based open source e-commerce solution acclaimed as one of the pioneers PHP based carts. Since its launch 13 years ago, the platform has been used by thousands of entrepreneurs across the globe to build online stores. OsCommerce offers unprecedented perks including an active online developer forum and over 7000 free integrations. However, this software is not free from controversy as it has been hacked severally. The platform has managed to patch those holes, but it would be wise to invest in extra security features if you settle for osCommerce.
On the other hand, OpenCart is reliable Hong Kong-based opensource platform that utilizes add-ons to perform advanced functions. The software is also based on PHP which makes it perfect for anyone with a background in PHP programming. Like its competitor, this platform has its own drawback which must be taken into account before investing in it. OpenCart support is limited, and it requires a lot of effort to maintain a high technical online store on your own.
Open source in nature
As aforementioned, both OpenCart and osCommerce are open source platforms which means they are free to download, own, use, and upgrade. This is a big plus in terms of the price since no upfront fee is required to start using them.
However, before you jump into the excitement mode, just know “free” is a complex word in the e-commerce arena. You will be required to fork out a good amount of money before your online store is up and running. For instance, if you are not well versed in programming you will be required to hire a professional developer. In addition, you will have to pay for your site security, hosting services, and acquire a merchant account for credit card order processing.
Ease of use
While it’s free to download and use the OpenCart platform, it can be daunting to try it out. However, the platform has taken care of the trouble by providing a demo that gives you a glimpse of the storefront and the admin panel. Accessing the demo is incredibly easy, and no information is required. This makes it easy to install and use OpenCart, especially if you have a background in PHP software development language.
Oscommerce is not as easy to install and use as OpenCart. Some users find it pretty easy but other developers report to have struggled with a number of its aspects. A chunk of professional developers experience some peculiar hurdles along the way.
Although OsCommerce admin panel is not as intuitive and elegant as that of its competitor, it is superbly light. It offers helpful, basic features without getting cluttered. On the downside, most of osCommerce tools are dated, and its different versions are not compatible. This means upgrading your platform is pretty hard and in some cases, you will be required to build from scratch.
Both OpenCart and osCommerce doesn’t provide specific design template. However, when you install each platform, you get a basic store design. OpenCart has the edge over osCommerce since its basic design is modern looking, mobile responsive, and quite nice. If you require anything, custom made you will have to design it yourself or hire a professional website designer. Alternatively, you can buy a theme from a renowned site like ThemeForest and Template Monster.
OsCommerce provides a very basic store template that offers nothing out of the norm. This standard design is quite dated, and merchants rarely use it. If you want a better-looking store design you will have to either;
- Buy a premium theme from sites like ThemeForest, or
- Get one for free from osCommerce community add-ons section
OpenCart doesn’t provide a wide array of features, but there are enough tools to help you to get your store running. In case you need an advanced functionality you will obtain it from customizations, applications, and developments. Some of the features that are provided out the box include; multi-language, multi-currency, multi-store, reports, SEO, modules, backup & restore tools, discount coupon system, shipping calculations, downloadable products, product reviews & ratings, filters, guest checkout, and recurring payments.
OsCommerce is a bare skeleton that requires a lot of customization before you start running the store. You will have to add plenty of plugins and extensions through sweat and tears for your store to operate smoothly. Some of its basic features include; special offers, product management catalog, customer management, tax handling, order processing, and other advanced tools like cache control, security checks, banner control, database backups and more. It’s difficult to support thousands of products and managing inventory can also be unfriendly. Also, osCommerce makes optimization complex because it generates uber long URLs and doesn’t produce unique Meta titles. However, the platform gives you the freedom to add any feature to your online store which is a big plus.
The configuration of OpenCart common settings is essentially easy to understand and handle. However, some basic system requirements must be met for your store to run successfully. Its installation necessitates a minimum of MySQL 5, PHP 5.2, and Apache web server.
On the other osCommerce offer two online merchant versions; v2.3.x and v3.0.x. Both versions require a minimum of MySQL 4.1.13 or 5.0.7, PHP 4+, PHP 5.3, or MySQL 3. The first online merchant version is highly recommended for online stores because the new version is still not very refined.
OpenCart provides 35 built-in payment methods which include; PayPal, Skrill, FirstData, etc. In addition, OpenCart integrates with many other payments gateways, but most of the integrations are paid for. Areto Systems provides a downloadable free payment gateway plugin for OpenCart when you sign up and also for Oscommerce. Sign up with Areto Systems and we will provide you with the best processing rate and free marketing tools.
On the other hand, osCommerce supports a number of payment processors which include PayPal and SagePay. Besides, there are plenty of payment gateways integrations which include Checkout and Dwolla.
Integration and add-ons
OpenCart provides an abundance of integrations which are supplied by third-party developers. You will easily find extensions for language, currency, payment processing, marketing, and site-building. The list of its plugins is endless, and with over 14000 extensions available, it’s correct to say OpenCart has virtually any extension you need.
On the other hand, osCommerce provides over 7000 extensions for payment, reporting, and shipping modules.
Customer service and support
OpenCart provides limited support which is a norm with many open source platform. OpenCart users get help from documentation and forums. Fortunately, the forums are active, and it’s easy to find a developer who will address all your concern promptly. In addition, OpenCart promotes third-party developer on their website. By checking the listing by country, you will easily find a developer to help you. Besides, users can submit a web ticket or make a call to get technical support. Other forms of support include; Video tutorials, Bug tracker, and blog. Besides, OpenCart has a premium support plans that offer two options; a one-time fee (with varying pricing) and a premium monthly plan (for $99). The premium plan provides support to resolve issues like installations and bug fixes. However, the support is limited to 5 installation issues and 3 bug fixes in a month.
OsCommerce offers access to live chat and support ticket on business days from 9 AM to 6 PM CET. However, these methods of support are only available if you subscribe to the Community Sponsorship which goes for $65 per year. Alternatively, you can get help from documentation and osCommerce forum. The platform also provides help on Twitter and Facebook, although they are not very active on these social media platforms.
Based on our analysis, it’s vivid that both shopping cart software is richly featured hence favorable for online businesses. Although the platforms have some similarities, they provide a unique set of benefits and downsides. OpenCart exhibit superior capabilities and barring its limited support, it is an incredible eCommerce platform. However, OpenCart is not built with small business in mind and is only perfect for enterprise-level business.
On the other hand, osCommerce provides plenty of benefits, but there is one major disadvantage. Adding advanced features and new security measures on osCommerce is difficult. This makes it too complex for small business owner or an average web designer to create a fully optimized option.