Open source ecommerce application may be the best option to start your own online store. There are a lot of open source applications available through online communities for online stores. In this blog we are going to comparison of most popular open source ecommerce applications so you can select the right product for your business.

What is Open Source?

Open source software and applications are released under General Public License (GNU) and are freely available with their complete source code along with their help documents. These applications are continuously being updated and extended by the community members. Programmers can customize these software according to their needs and redistribute their customized work. Open source software is much better and stable than proprietary software in many aspects. Programmers all around the world contribute to the software features, quality, bug fixes and security making it more reliable and safe. Most leading open source software are built on tried and tested frameworks such as MVC. Furthermore, they are supported by third party modules, add-ons, plug-ins, localization packs and connectors which make it real easy to not only enhance the functionality but also integrate with other systems and applications.

Which Open Source Application to choose for your shopping cart?

Selection of open source shopping cart application for your online store is not an easy task. You have to consider each and every aspect from basic layout towards the complex payment processing features right from the beginning. However, the application features must fulfill the business needs and requirements. For example if you are have thousands of products and expect a huge volume of traffic, then it is recommended to go for a most stable and enterprise level application. On the other hand if you have few products to sell online and expect low volume traffic, you can go for an entry level application. The entry level applications are easy to customize, have a low cost to run and maintain but may not be able to handle large volume of transactions and security demanded by medium to large size businesses.

We have prepared a Comparison of open source ecommerce applications with respect to their stability, ease of use, feature list, availability of advance options, customization complexity etc. The matrix will help you choose the right product for your online business.

Most Popular Shopping Carts

For the comparison matrix, we have selected the following most popular open source shopping cart applications:

  1. Magento
  2. ZenCart
  3. OpenCart
  4. OsCommerce


Magento is a feature-rich ecommerce platform built on open-source technology (MySQL and PHP) that provides online merchants with unprecedented flexibility and control over the look, content and functionality of their ecommerce store. Magento’s powerful administration interface features, search engine optimization and catalog-management tools give merchants the power to create sites that are tailored to their unique business needs [1].

Magento is the ecommerce platform of choice for integration with Openbravo ERP system. For medium to large businesses, Openbravo ERP extends the functionality of an ecommerce application to include stock control, sales order management and finance and accounting.


ZenCart is a free, user-friendly and open source shopping cart software. It has been developed by a group of like-minded shop owners, programmers, designers, and consultants that think ecommerce web design could be and should be done differently. [2].


OpenCart is an open source PHP-based online shopping cart system. A robust e-commerce solution for Internet merchants with the ability to create their own online business and participate in e-commerce at a minimal cost. OpenCart is designed feature rich, easy to use, search engine friendly and with a visually appealing interface [3].


osCommerce Online Merchant is an Open Source online shop e-commerce solution that is available for free with a feature rich set of out-of-the-box online shopping cart functionality that allows store owners to setup, run, and maintain online stores with minimum effort and with no costs, fees, or limitations involved. [4].

Comparison Matrix of open source ecommerce Applications

Here we are going to present a comparison matrix of these 4 most popular open source ecommerce applications.


1 – Essentials

Magento ZenCart OpenCart OsCommerce
Requirements PHP5.2 MySQL4.1.20+, InnoDB, cURL PHP4.0+ MySQL4.1.14+ PHP4.0+ MySQL4.1.14+InnoDB, cURL PHP5.2 MySQL4.1.20+,
SSL support full SSL full or shared SSL full or shared SSL full or shared SSL
Knowledge level for coding? advanced intermediate intermediate intermediate
Ease of use? intermediate easy easy easy


2 – Site Management

Magento ZenCart OpenCart OsCommerce
Support for Multiple Currencies
Tax Rate support
iPhone optimised
Template system
WYSIWYG Editor for HTML content
Page content management
Email template management
Administration Roles and Users
Open Source?
Unlimited products?


3 – Catalog Management

Magento ZenCart OpenCart OsCommerce
Batch Import and Export of catalog
Google Base Integration
Downloadable/Digital Products
Filtering of products
Product comparisons
Product reviews


4 – Product Management

Magento Zen Cart OpenCart OsCommerce
Multiple Images Per Product
Bundled products
Up-sells in Shopping Cart
Stock Control
Product call for price
Min or max quantities and units
Cross Sells
Related Products


5 – Marketing, Sales and SEO

Magento Zen Cart OpenCart OsCommerce
Google Site Map
URL Rewrites
Meta-information for products and categories
Discount Coupons
Catalog Promotional Pricing
Multi-tier pricing
Customer groups
Gift Certificates


6 – Checkout

Magento Zen Cart Opencart OsCommerce
Delivery / Billing address
Ship products to multiple addresses in one order
One-Page Checkout
Checkout without account/Guest Checkout
Integrated with Google Checkout (Level 2)


7 – Order Management

Magento Zen Cart OpenCart OsCommerce
Manage orders from admin
Create, edit orders from admin panel.
Create one or multiple invoices, shipments and credit memos per order to allow for split fulfillment
Order statuses



We hope that after going through this article you are able to select the right product for your online store. If you feel that this article was informative and helpful, please share it with others.


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