Have you met OpenCart?
OpenCart is a free open source PHP based e-commerce platform licensed for both commercial and individual use. We have been following this platform for a long time and have seen it develop over the years in to a very pretty looking and powerful shopping cart. One of the first things that we loved about OpenCart is of course that it is open source. Secondly, we like that it is PHP and mySQL based.
Some features that will make OpenCart stand out from the competition:
- Templates – Easily switch out templates to change the way your store looks.
- Languages – OpenCart is multilingual right out of the box! OK, so there is no box.
- MultiStore – OpenCart allows you to run multiple stores within one platform. This is a feature seen in only enterprise level shopping cart platforms like Magento.
- Multiple Tax Rates – Flexible tax options so you can make sure the right amount of taxes are being charged based on customers location, etc.
- Payment Gateways – There are a ton of payment gateways available to the new OpenCart user immediately after install. OpenCart also has a lot of payment gateways available on their extensions page. Pledged Plugins has made their share of OpenCart Payment Gateways as well.
- Modules / Extensions – Like many other shopping cart platforms there are a lot of extensions available for download. We think this area is a little weak for the platform as we are not thoroughly impressed with the third party extension community.
- Back end – OpenCart has a nice looking and very powerful Back end for even the most picky ecommerce store owners.
- Fully SEO Optimized – This is a big deal for those of you who understand SEO. OpenCart even has solid default SEO settings.
- Sales Reports – OpenCart comes with effective sales reporting tools.
- Business to Business (B2B) Functions – Another very powerful function that is typically only seen in enterprise level e-commerce platforms. You can set up customer groups, login in to display prices (great for wholesalers), and bulk discounting.
- Guest checkout – Often frowned upon by shop owners, this is an option available within OpenCart. Guest checkout does have its applications and it is foolish for an e-commerce platform to disallow it as some do.
What are the requirements to run OpenCart? These are pretty standard requirements for any eCommerce platform — not too much to ask for here.
- Web Server – Apache is highly recommended
- PHP – 5.2+
- Make sure CURL is enabled
- Database – MySQLi is highly recommended
Overall, we are impressed with OpenCart as it is feature rich and performs well. The database it runs on stays pretty well maintained and does not slow down over time like a lot of the very popular shopping cart platforms.