OpenCart is an open source shopping cart system widely used by an increasing number of webmasters seeking a robust solution. Since there are many other favorable choices in the field, it is puzzling to pick a really good one.
With the purpose of helping you figure out whether this system is user-friendly and beneficial for Internet merchants, we closely and carefully review it with an eye to its features, user-friendliness, customizability and support. Finally, make a detailed introduction of the installation requirements of this system. In the following, we are to make a comprehensive analysis with different angles to help you reach a better understanding of this free eCommerce solution.
Developed in the year of 2007, OpenCart has managed to impress about half a million prospective users initially. But, with timely updates and modification, the online platform has grabbed the attention of many owners and developers and has expanded its popularity. Today, this open source platform is popular in six out of seven continents because of its features and interface. The Hong Kong based company gives intense competition to some big names in the industry such as Zen Cart.
In fact, the software is used by 3.5 million presently, which is only a bit less than the statistics of Zen Cart. It is also referred as “the easy to use Magento” by many experienced and developers. Hence, the statistics itself highlights that the software is quite popular on the internet world.
As a turn-ready shopping cart system, OpenCart comes with plentiful features with which you are capable of getting an eCommerce website online easily. Simply, what needs to be done is installing this system, selecting the template you want, adding products and eventually you are ready to get accepting orders started. Using it, you are offered with unlimited features including categories, products, manufacturers, information pages and module instance system and so forth.
Moreover, more than 20 payment gateways are included in the default OpenCart download. These gateways enable you to have a great variety of options including PayPal, PayPoint, SagePay, WorldPay, eWay, Moneybookers and 2 Checkout and so on. In addition to these channels, you can also require many other additional ones by extensions. In the following, we have listed lots of features that must be mentioned.
- Multi-Store makes it possible to administrate multiple stores from just one admin interface and showcase different products in specific stores.
- 10 shipping ways by default including citylink, flat rate, free shipping, per item, parcelforce 48, pickup from store, Royal Mail, UPS, United States Postal Service and Weight Based Shipping.
- 3 types of reports as sales report, products viewed and products purchased.
Featuring an easy-to-use admin panel, OpenCart makes it simple to upload images, add products, modify features, manage payments, and keep track of customers, just to name a few. In addition, entering this user-friendly admin panel demands only two steps.
Initially, inputting the location of your store into the web browser followed by “/admin”. Specifically, if you locate a store at “https://howshost.com/”, then your admin panel can be sought at “https://howshost.com/admin”. What is more, you don’t have to worry that your store is located in a sub-folder or on a sub-domain of its website, because adding “/admin” to the end of the path of the store is bound to lead you to the administration side. Then, the rest is to enter specific username and password to login your administrator.
After the exact username and password filled in and “Login” button pressed, you will be directed to the dashboard of OpenCart, which is blank in the first login because there is no statistical data has ever been analyzed.
Invariably, customizability is always paid a great deal of priorities. With regard to this aspect, this system boasts lots of advantages by featuring tremendous customizability in the admin, templates and extensions and so on. Whether the admin can be customized plays a momentous influence on the interaction between the store and its customers. OpenCart allows you to realize this point by modifying the look, structure and content of your store front through the admin.
Furthermore, it is provided with a total of 16 gorgeous and competitive templates by default, together with totally 3428 free extensions. More than that, you are able to enjoy great flexibilities by selecting different default language, currency and tax class to localize each store, fixing different prices for each store, and setting up a default customer group for each store that enables you to have some stores setup specifically for retail customers or wholesale, etc..
Likewise, this factor is attached to a good deal of attention by some web newbies. In terms of support, OpenCart offers both free community and commercial support that is available on its official website.
Community assistance includes resources such as forum, the latest news & announcements, FAQs, tutorials, general support, etc.. Besides, the support covers a great range including that for installation, configuration, upgrade, templates, extensions and solutions to technical issues.
The highlighted feature of the above support is that it is available in plenty of languages including Chinese, English, Spanish, French, Japanese, and Korean, etc.. Moreover, you can also turn to OpenCart partners who have been specializing in OpenCart development for professional installation, upgrading, coding and customization troubleshooting. Specially, these partners are situated in more than 30 areas around the globe, which makes sure flexible options.
With the ever advancing techniques for Search Engine Optimization (SEO), the essence of having an SEO optimized website receives the utmost importance from prospective website owners. There are many online tools that facilitate sophisticated website, but very few of them give importance to SEO.
OpenCart follows the latest SEO guidelines and provides its users with an SEO optimized website. The websites that run on this software are indexed by all major search engines. Adding to it, these websites include support for META tags that provide assistance in better performance of the website in a search engine results page. Hence, it is suitable for people who look for SEO optimized website.
Open source platforms are frequently the target of hackers. Being an OpenCart platform, OpenCart software can bring the threat of unethical hacking because hackers know its basic structure and coding. Hence, it is recommendable that the owners must change the name of “admin” folder so that the hackers cannot attack the file. Although it won’t make the website completely secured, it can avoid the basic threats of hacking. Besides this, the use of spam filters, the frequent backup and the use of strong passwords are also important.
Conclusion – Recommended
In the light of the above merits in features, ease of use, customizability and support, OpenCart is obviously a really favorable eCommerce solution. Besides, it has specific requirements of the installation including web server (preferably Apache), PHP (at least the version of 5.2), MySQL and Curl.
After we have personally tried web hosting services offered by hundreds of companies and collected thousands of comments from verified customers, we have worked out the following providers that excellently meet the above demands. They are recommended for their affordable prices, rich features, remarkable performance and responsive technical support.