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6 of the Best Free Open Source eCommerce Software Solutions

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UPDATE 09/28/2017: We’ve updated this list with a new software option and new details about existing options. We also took SimpleCart off the list, as the security risk from a JavaScript cart was just too high.

Open source eCommerce software—like other business software—can make or break you.

free ecomm header copy

It brings up a lot of questions right out of the gate, such as: Is it a good choice for my small business? Is it powerful enough to meet my needs? Which solution is right for me?

While I can’t answer the last question for you,I have collected a list of options and basic information about each to help you decide.

1. Magento Open Source

If you know anything about eCommerce software, you’ve likely heard of Magento. It’s one of the biggest names in eCommerce software, in general, not just open source.

Magento_Admin_Panel_screenshot

Screenshot of Magento’s dashboard

Magento gives it open source users all the basic tools they need, saving some of the more powerful, optional tools for paid versions.

  • You can make landing pages and content for your products, manage your shipping and fulfillment in almost any manner you see fit, and generate a host of useful reports (including sales tax, stock, and on-site search terms).
  • Magento works on a core system with add-ons; its extensions marketplace is full of options to add sales tax integrations, custom stock systems, and live customer chat integrations, to name a few. Prices range from free to more than $5,000 per extension.
  • Users can buy pre-made themes to dress their sites up. There are a few free theme options, or you can pay up to around $500 for a responsive Argento theme—which isn’t all that much compared to how much a web developer charges per hour.

Magento Open Source is flexible, capable, and,in the hands of the right person/team, can create a beautiful, functional website for all manner of retailers.

All this power comes with a caveat: Magento is intended for experienced coders.

While Magento Open Source is free, you will need to purchase a payment processor, domain name, and security certificate in order to get your store online and keep it safe.

For businesses with less technological experience / resources, Magento offers a paid, non-open source solution—Magento Commerce Starter—with pricing starting at $2,000 per month.

2. OpenCart

Screenshot of OpenCart’s admin dashboard.

OpenCart comes as a basic package that you can extend to fit your business needs.

  • OpenCart doesn’t require a whole lot for installation; if you have a LAMP (Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP) stack on a server, you’re off to the races. This setup is typical for most web servers, so you’re likely already set. You can always check with your service provider if you’re not sure.
  • Customers can visit OpenCart’s marketplace to find add-ons that extend its functionality, including free basic integrations (such as Square payments or Facebook plugins). The marketplace also offers more powerful tools (SEO insights or Excel tie-ins for product management), costing up to $2,000 for something like a Microsoft Dynamics integration.

OpenCart is noted for having a sleek administrative dashboard and a general out-of-the-box ease of use. Larger or more complex stores may need to expand the core functionality, but smaller stores should be fine with the basic system.

OpenCart also offers a cloud version with a starting price point around $35 per month for businesses without in-house tech support.

3. osCommerce

cat

The basics of osCommerce.

osCommerce is one of the oldest names in eCommerce software, which means a lot of add-ons have been developed for it. There are more than 7,000 free integrations for the software, and a huge active community working on and providing support for it.

Its age also means that there are a lot of “heritage” pieces hanging on to today’s product, which is a nice way of saying “it looks a little dated.” Merchant Maverick—a great resource for online retailers—has been unimpressed with the ease of development, saying “[A] big chunk of professionals creating stores with osCommerce have experienced several hair-pulling hiccups along the way.”

That said, osCommerce does have a lot to offer.

  • osCommerce integrates with all types of third parties through its Apps Marketplace. You can integrate with Sage Pay and Facebook, and present your site in multiple languages.
  • osCommerce isn’t an overly complex program, making it a solid contender for early entrants into eCommerce software.
  • If you have trouble making it do exactly what you want it to do, you can turn to the OsCommerce community’s years of growth and experience working with the software. While support from the company comes at a fee, the user community is an excellent resource for finding aid among other retailers and developers.

osCommerce has partnered with a hosting company, allowing you to use a hosted version of the platform without needing any bonus technical knowledge. Pricing for the hosted version starts at $8 per month.

4. PrestaShop

350-features

Screenshot of PrestaShop’s dashboard

PrestaShop follows the standard core-with-extensions eCommerce solutions formula. Its core is built on PHP (a common web development language), which makes it an easy fit for most websites.

The company is split between Europe and the U.S., giving it a platform that supports sales and legal requirements in both areas.

  • PrestaShop offers over 1,500 templates, 500 of which are premium.Add-ons allowing integration with Stripe, Google Merchant Center, and Amazon Marketplace—among other offerings—can make your life a lot easier and tighten your operational ties.
  • PrestaShop supports international stores and multiple stores within one back end. If you’ve got separate U.S. and Canadian storefronts, you can take care of both in one place.
  • PrestaShop also has reporting capabilities, such as unique Intelligent Merchant KPI feature and forecast ability.

5. Spree Commerce

Spree Commerce is unique because it’s built with Ruby—not PHP. If you’re familiar with Ruby and the Rails environment and looking to shift away from PHP, this is software to consider. If you’re not familiar with Ruby, though, you’re facing a steep learning curve.

Screenshot of Spree Commerce’s shipping page.

If the development side isn’t a concern, there’s a lot to like about Spree.

  • Spree is a lightweight system, due in large part to its coding. Users say that it runs quickly and doesn’t take up a lot of online resources. If your host charges you for activity, Spree can really help in that area.
  • Unlike a lot of other options, Spree doesn’t work on the core-extension model. There are a handful of well-developed extensions for Spree, but nothing like the huge set offered for other software options. This means that there are fewer moving parts to concern yourself with, but also limits your options for easy expansion. It’s also worth noting that all of Spree’s extensions are free.
  • Spree’s core functionality allows you to manage orders, products, payments, and shipping right out of the box. The software is in almost constant development and expands functionality all the time.

6. WooCommerce

screenshot-4

WooCommerce orders summary.

WooCommerce is not actually a full open source eCommerce solution on its own but rather an open source WordPress shopping cart plugin.

WordPress—easily confused with, but different from, WordPress.com—is the most popular, content management solutions out there. WooCommerce is an open source plugin that businesses using WordPress can use to turn their sites into a store. If you don’t already have a site, you can still use WooCommerce just download WordPress (also free) first.

  • If you’re used to working with WordPress already, adding WooCommerce is a breeze. It’s fully functional out of the gate and requires minimal customization. If you’re not as experienced with WordPress, the good news is that help is only a quick Google away. There are a lot of resources out there on how to tackle WordPress’s learning curve.
  • One of WooCommerce’s most popular features is its one-page checkout process, which allows users to easily pay for the items you’re selling.

Moving to a new eCommerce platform

One of the most time-consuming parts of choosing a new platform is moving all the digital nonsense you’ve accumulated—by which I mean valuable product and client data—from your old system to the new.

PrestaShop turned me onto Cart2Cart, a tool that allows you to transfer all of your data from one platform to another.

Let’s say you’re moving 500 products, 10,000 orders, and 5,000 customers from Shopify to Magento. Cart2Cart can take care of the heavy lifting for $200 and get it done in about two hours.

Pretty cool.

What’s your favorite open source eCommerce solution?

What other open source eCommerce software should we add to our list? Have you had success with any in the past that we left out? Let us know in the comments below!

Looking for eCommerce software? Check out Capterra's list of the best eCommerce software solutions.

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About the Author

Andrew Marder

Andrew Marder is analyst at CEB. His background is in retail management, banking, and financial writing. When he’s not working, Andrew enjoys spending time with his son and playing board games of all stripes.

Comments

Having a good shopping cart software is a great thing. It help us to optimize the user interaction..

Hi, an informative and nice article about opensource e-commerce systems. In our country most-used ones are Opencart, Prestashop and Magento.

Thanks so much, Bogac!

Hi. I am considering Prestashop. Thanks for the information. I was looking for a guide about how to install it and finally found one here:
https://www.rosehosting.com/blog/install-prestashop-on-a-centos-vps/

Travis – thanks for sharing!

OpenCart one of the best open source ecommerce software solution in order to build an online store for your business.

Very informative and refined content, precisely what i’s hoping to find!! I enjoy horse rides as well!! Thanks a lot and good luck!!

Thank you! So glad to hear it was helpful!!!

please, don’t forget spreecommerce from http://www.spreecommerce.com

This is great. I am working on WordPress plugin. What I like the most is the real time communication in the WP environment is a good for me.

Thanks!

Magento is one of the best open source ecommerce software solutions we use. Thanks for sharing different types of open source ecommerce software solutions. Very helpful for ecommerce website beginners!

http://www.evoketechnologies.com/technologies/open-source

Thank you! 🙂

Hi Cara,

Thanks for the great article. As mentioned on the last line, I feel (eventhough being derived from osCommerce) Zen-Cart also deserves a place on this list 🙂

Best wishes,

Gerrit

Thank you! I’ll keep them in mind for the update!

Great list, although I would not put Magento at the top as I found it quite cumbersome to use and also it has some performance issues in large projects.

I would suggest YesCart ( http://www.yes-cart.org ) as an option on this list.

Thanks for your input, Mark! The list is really in no particular order, so being at the top doesn’t mean anything. 🙂

Thanks for sharing helpful information, I really like your all post. I will bookmark your blog for future updates.

Thanks – I’m really glad to hear you found this so helpful! You can also enter your email for monthly updates, that way you don’t have to worry about it.

Hi Cara,

Great overview.

I think oscommerce can slide down the list. Also, Abantecart is getting some buzz lately. Based on users review in captera and softaculous it is pretty decent.

Thanks

Nichole

How about VirtueMart, is it good or not ?

Opencart is great if you don’t need help. Ask a question on the forum and you’ll receive heavy sarcasm for being stupid enough to ask the question in the first place. Complaints are dealt with in an innovative way also….they just delete your post!
Opencart looks great but is backed by a shit attitude

I think you have not mentioned ABANTEcart…….It’s amazing and has best UI of all….including almost all features….

I have operated an online business since 2007 with arguably the best, and most widely used open source eCommerce store system in history – ZenCart (www.zen-cart.com). It does seem like competitive open source web shopping cart systems close the gap with ZenCart the past few years, but there is absolutely no way ZC should not make any top X list for open source shopping cart systems…

Intersting article, Cara! I believe those platforms are more suitable for small online shops? For those who need something more advanced, I can’t recommend VirtoCommerce enough. It’s open source and they have cloud hosted solutions. Check it out: http://virtocommerce.com/our-offers/enterprise-cloud-hosted

Where can I get the source code for E-commerce applications like E-bay, SnapDeal, Flipkart?

There are a lot of open source and free E-commerce platform available in the market. Use them to understand their software. Ebay, SnapDeal, Flipkarts are no different than these E-commerce platforms. Few of them are listed below 1. Magento eCommerce So…

Hey Cara, would you mind if i reshare this article on my blog http://www.nadeembari.com. The article is precise & informative.. I have been developing Ecommerce applications since 6 years and consult many companies in Germany and abroad through my company youbequityweb.com.

The Magento framework and ecommerce solution is widely used & unbeatable, with vast community and plugins. the disadvantage is that it needs some tech savvy guy to handle the code, integrations, and down times due to anonymous SQL issues. However, opencart ,simplecart and prestashop are easy to use and requires no serious web development skills.

Nadeem-

You’re welcome to share this on your blog, just please attribute it to Capterra. 🙂 Additionally, if you’d like, I could write you something original for your blog!

And thanks for sharing your experiences! That’s so helpful!

Hello and thanks for sharing.

Could anyone suggest a free catalogue-ONLY-mode e-commerce system?
I’ve tried opencart and removing add to cart/login/registration fields via vqmod is painful.

While e-commerece systems are oriented towards selling things, I require to have a catalogue only system with pointing prices, but excluding the ability to register/buy or login.

Hi Cara,
When we heard about best free open source ecommerce website platform, these software solutions will comes first in mind because they all have their unique factors and special features which makes them popular among their web developers and users.
You have explained all the six platforms in a very neat and clear way.
Thanks for this great and informative article.

Nice Article, but am definitely missing Zen Cart in this.

@Andrejs
Zen Cart has a default option for setting the store to catalogue mode

Magento is such an awful framework that I’ve seen till now. I’ve used it for one year but I think creating a website from A to Z is more convenient than using Magento. I’ve faced with too many strange problems that solving them is too way difficult (if was not impossible!). Customizing Magento is an ardious work because its scripts are too complicated while its documentation is too weak.
Now I’m searching for a good alternative. I hope other framework would be more applicable.

Also good choice will be such platforms as http://spreecommerce.com/ http://www.zen-cart.com/ and http://getsocio.com/

I am using Woocommerce but it is extremely slow and you need to pay for some features. You need to install plugins to make your shop better functional, they make it more slower. I am in search of other software to change it.

I start using this plugin it do it all for free give it a try 🙂
tajer
https://wordpress.org/plugins/tajer/

-1 for having an HTML based shopping cart (Simple Cart). Storing financial values in the user-changeable Document Object Model is one of the worst things you can do when using a shopping cart along-side storing plain text credit cards/passwords/other sensitive information. There’s a reason that it has a Window’s 95 looking web browser in the picture. Definitely stay away from that one.

I would have liked to see more open source shopping cart’s in here rather than open source frameworks that have paid shopping cart plugins/applications.

+1 for Prestacart.

All those interested in an eCommerce solution should be warned about Magento 2.
Magento 2, released in Nov. 2015 is a cluster fuck of permission issues and near impossible to install even if you are a developer or experienced coder.

Magento Inc should be embarrassed.
Read their bug list/reports…
Many magento users have already abandoned them in favor or more stable solutions.

You have been warned.

The way I would pick the open source shopping cart, is by checking how active the development/release cycles are. This will indicate if you can trust that in the future you will be having updates. eCommerce industry actively changes and you do not want end up with outdated software that is barely supported

I would not put oscommerce, or as mentioned by others zencart. Both are very old and based on our customers not requested any longer. I would add abantecart though. It is a new gig and we get many inquiries for development with abantecart

What about Virtuemart? Is it ok?

Hi Cara,
I have chosen option 6 (Prestashop) above all. find it great with multi store option what i wanted. the webservice part in it also very useful and handy. Other Themes however are a bit tricky to implement and most modules are paid ones though most free ones work good for me.

I’ve had the opportunity to evaluate several systems.

1) Magento
Tends to run very slowly due to huge drain on system resource. The Zend Framework is much bulkier so you might want to stay away if you are not running a very large site.

2. Prestashop
Quick on the launch, but for programmers like myself the french style coding is rather confusing. This will lead to higher costs if you need to debug and its not as popular.

3. Woo Commerce
Rather light on the plugins and payments. I think it’s a nice upgrade to an ecommerce after a wordpress site, but it really lacks robustness and clean coding for a full ecommerce site.

4. Opencart
Currently my choice solution. Reasonable amount of plugin and features. Nice and fast.
As a programmer, I like the background template interface that lets me do some editing and plugins. This is a key point.
Check it out at http://paperlesscloud.wesvault.com/opencart

ecommwar.com provides a good overview of the most popular open-source e-commerce platforms in various programming languages and frameworks.

It is Good Megento And Best ecommerce Solution in india

I would also add nopCommerce. It is a very robust solution, the code is clean and easy to follow. Plus they have a good community support.

https://en.shopware.com/ is one of the best options

I’ve just spent 3 days trying import a simple csv file to PrestaShop. After reading comments from the Presta forums I am now convinced that this is almost impossible. Which is more tedious, trying for days to figure out Presta’s csv import coding or just entering the information on 500 products manually? I’m pretty sure the manual option is the only option.

For memberships or digital goods, aMember works well. I use it at https://www.barplan.com

Abantecart is a great choice. I see the stability, sure. Evidence a lot of people recently used and appreciated. I do not think wordpress is an e-commerce expert.

I enjoyed the article. However, I noticed you mentioned about the security features of only half the items on the list.

ShopKnekt is a very nice ecommerce platform. Which is completely free. No setupfee, No Maintenance Fee. Checkout http://shopknekt.com/

http://www.eRizQ.com is a free fully customizable ecommerce platform built in pakistan, a content management system. It offers a complete product administration system, shopping cart, and checkout form.

What about the XYZ Shopping cart script from https://xyzscripts.com ? Is it good? There is a free version of this script available.

For small-to-medium-sized businesses, establishing an online presence to sell products or services is an absolute must to stay competitive in today’s marketplace.

At first glance, the premier e-commerce platforms might appear to be a hefty monthly or yearly expense. Fortunately, there are a vast number of open source eCommerce platforms that not only have an attractive price tag (many are free!), but they also offer customizability, scalability, and community support that isn’t always found in enterprise solutions.

https://www.couponobox.com

I have been managing flower shops for over 15 years. And during this time I tried many different open source systems. Unfortunately, no one of the free cms is able to fully meet the needs. The ideal option – to order a good programmer to write a store specifically for you, taking into account all the functions you need. But it will cost about $ 1000. I have been using OpenCart for the last 5 years, in my opinion this is the easiest to manage system with a very large community.

I had a tough time to choose an e-commerce open source for my client’s store. After all the research, I went on with Spree e-commerce as it has many extensions. I loved it and I would recommend it to others also. In case you are not aware of the extensions Spree provides, you can check it here.

https://www.icicletech.com/blog/top-spree-ecommerce-extensions-to-build-ruby-ecommerce-store

This is very new open source e-commerce app that is very easy to install!

Demo: https://shop.jsdecena.me
Github: https://github.com/jsdecena/laracom

You missed one – Zen Cart. How come? Zen Cart is a popular ecommerce solution that has a large support community (over 150,000 members).

Is this a top or just a list? I mean if this a top why OpenCart only at the second place? I used it for 5 years and I`m still sure in my choise. Large support community, many different plugins for any needs etc. My company created 100+ different online stores using only free OpenCart CMS and this plugin : http://opencart.torg.town/mega-calculator. Though I hope it`s just a list))

Try MulteCart ecommerce (Yii2 Php) – Full Open Source – Fast and Secure – Supports Digital and Physical Products with unlimited functionalities

https://codecanyon.net/item/multecart-multivendor-ecommerce-marketplace-shopping-cart-solution-cms/21772349

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