Best Open Source Shopping Carts

So you are building an eCommerce website, or trying to add a shopping cart to an existing website, but you are not sure which software to use. Building an e-commerce website can be overwhelming and frustrating if you have no experience in setting up an e-commerce software.

There are plenty of shopping cart software for you to choose from. But, with so many options, sometimes you do not know which will work best in your situation. Here, we will look at 10 of the best open source shopping carts which you can use for FREE on your eCommerce website.

Magento Commerce

Magento Commerce

Since their launch back in 2007, Magento has improved and evolved over the last few years. They are one of the world’s fastest growing eCommerce platform with over 2 million downloads so far. I must say that Magento is awesome. I would never believe it is an open-source software.

Advantages of Magento shopping cart:

  • Clean And Modern Layout
  • Easy Integration Of Layouts, Themes And Add-ons
  • More Than 50 Payment Gateways Are Available For Integration
  • Manage Multiple Stores From One Administration Panel
  • Search Engine Optimized store front and Google sitemap
  • Multi-Lingual and Multi-Currency

Magento comes in a few different versions, namely Magento Community, Magento Professional, and Magento Enterprise. For starters, Magento Community is a great free option.

osCommerce

osCommerce

osCommerce is an open source eCommerce solution that is available for free under the GNU General Public License. osCommerce is backed by a large and active community. This shopping cart has been around for nearly a decade, and over the years tens of thousands of website owners choose this shopping cart because of its many great features, flexibility and extendability.

Over 2,000 developers work on this open source software. This means that if something significant is needed, it will be created – usually for free. If you need any help in setting up osCommerce, or if you need any new addons, you can always get help at the osCommerce forum.

Zen Cart

Zen Cart

Zen Cart truly is the art of eCommerce – it’s free, user-friendly, and open source. The Zen Cart eCommerce shopping cart is being developed by a group of like-minded shop owners, programmers, designers, and consultants that think eCommerce software could be and should be done differently.

Zen Cart focuses on the shop owners and shoppers instead of the developers. Zen Cart, in 5 simple points:

  • Easy installation
  • Multiple customer modes
  • Unlimited category depth
  • Multiple sales and discounts
  • Multiple display modes

The community forum is active and has a lot of resources there. Get helpful tips and tricks on setting up and customizing Zen Cart from other users.

PrestaShop

PrestaShop

Free to download. Free to use. That’s the biggest advantage of Open-Source shopping cart PrestaShop.

PrestaShop’s Back Office tool is easy easy and user-friendly. With new and enhanced Back-Office functionality added regularly, shop owners don’t need to rely on others to make their storefronts look and act the way they want it to.

The source code is in clean structures. Developers can easily customize them to meet their client’s needs. Thanks to PrestaShop’s use of CSS and modular blocks, this eCommerce software can be customized for small or medium-sized businesses working within tight deadlines.

Opencart

Opencart

Opencart is a powerful open source PHP based online shopping cart system that is designed feature rich and user friendly. Some of the features of this eCommerce shopping cart software includes: Unlimited Categories, Unlimited Products, Unlimited Manufacturers, Multi Currency, Multi Language, Product Reviews, Product Ratings, Templatable, Automatic Image Resize, 20+ Payment Gateways, 8+ Shipping Method and more!

The good thing with Opencart is that you can extend its functionality with Extensions. Some of these extensions are free while many are available from a third party developer with a cost. However, worry not, you do not need to buy them if you do not need to extend the features. You only buy when you need it, this should keep your cost to a minimum level.

CubeCart

CubeCart

CubeCart shopping cart is very popular and widely used. It comes in two versions; one version is entirely free, with the condition that you leave their copyright notice in the footer of your eCommerce website, while the other is a paid version with some additional advanced features.

CubeCart supports the following features:

  • Professionally Security Audited
  • Search Engine Optimization
  • Alternate Checkouts (PayPal / Google Checkout)
  • 100% Template Driven – Valid XHTML & CSS
  • Coupon & Gift Certificates
  • Import new Shipping/Gateway/Affiliate Modules
  • Bulk Upload Product Inventory
  • Multi Currency & Language Support
  • Email Marketing
  • Inventory Stock Control
  • Digital and Tangible Goods Support

CubeCart 4 costs $130. But if you buy the software together with the copyright notice removal, then it will set you back at $180. Anyway, I think for most of us just starting out on eCommerce, we can live with the small notice at the footer and will be happy with the great features the free CubeCart version has to offer.

Zeuscart

Zeuscart

Zeuscart offers a highly usable shopping cart software with a very nice UI. Kudos to their designers who have developed the cart based on the Web 2.0 trends and latest usability standards. Zeuscart focuses mainly on small & medium size store operators and designed the software to cater all their needs. Main features include flexible inventory management, attribute driven product catalog, category management, friendly CMS, SEO friendly URLs, Gift Cards, Discounts, Tier-Price, Taxation, Integrated payment gateways, E-Mail templates, Newsletter and many more!

In our tests, we liked the fast loading Zeuscart catalog and its intuitive looks. This dramatically improves visitors’ online shopping experience. Remember to check out this open source shopping cart’s new features and try out the online demo!

CREloaded

CREloaded

CREloaded is the industry’s first download-able eCommerce shopping cart that can easily make your store fully compliant with all Payment Card Industry (PCI) security rules! This basically means that the shopping cart is designed to ensure that you can accept credit card transactions securely and safely.

There are extensions which you can download to easily enhance your online CREloaded store. Some of these are commercial extensions while others are available for free. Click here for free CREloaded extensions.

RapidShop

RapidShop

RapidShop is very different from the other open source shopping carts we have reviewed here. RapidShop is very fast and easy to use, and it runs without MySQL! The software uses data directly from MS Excel! This makes the shopping cart ultra easy and simple for novice store owners. You can edit your shopping cart (products, prices, descriptions, settings) in MS-Excel based interface and RapidShop will create for you all the HTML and JavaScript files you need for your shopping cart.

This shopping cart is ideal for 1000-2000 item of products. RapidShop is integrated with Google Checkout, PayPal, E-Gold and Webmoney payment gateways.

Agoracart

Agoracart

Agoracart is a very popular online shopping cart. The software is written in Perl/MySQL and has an advanced CSS Manager through which you can customize the look and feel of your store easily. Agoracart also features unlimited product options, up to 4 different tax zones at the same time, and lots of shipping and payment gateways/options.

For store owners, you can use the existing templates and graphics to quickly get your eCommerce store up and running. Of course, if you have a little more time, you can customize the look or integrate your own web design. Either way, Agoracart make it as simple as you want it to be!

Editor’s Advice

We have briefly reviewed 10 of the best open source shopping carts available for free download. Which one you choose to implement on your new store depends on your needs and requirements. If you need a fully PCI open source shopping cart, then obviously CREloaded is your first choice. If you need a shopping cart with great community support, then osCommerce is your choice. If you have not more than 1000 products and you are happy with MS Excel, then perhaps you can go with RapidShop.

One other consideration is that 3 of the open source shopping carts above are actually included in cPanel powered hosts. These are CubeCart, OS Commerce, and Zen Cart. This makes these software much easier to install. You can basically get up and running within minutes, thanks to the Fantastico installer in cPanel. These supported hosts include HostGator, Just Host, HostUpon, BlueHost and of course HostMonster.

Advice: It’s always advantageous to get a web host which includes these software for free. It will be much easier to install and upgrade them.