Open source software is the perfect ingredient that startups and small business owners should consider when starting their eCommerce journey.
There are many benefits that working with open source software bring versus working with commercial platforms. For starters, they are free to use, they are backed by huge developer communities and you can make changes to the software however you want without the limitations you would face when working with paid alternative like Shopify.
In this article, I have listed the top 5 most popular open source eCommerce platforms that have stood the test of time.
Hot open source eCommerce platforms
If you are a fan of WordPress, WooCommerce is a no-brainer. With more than 20 million downloads, hundreds of extensions, WooCommerce is considered to be one of the most popular open source eCommerce platforms in the market.
- Hundreds of both free and premium themes, extensions and tools available
- WooCcommerce has a large active support community
- It has a simple one-click installation process with WordPress
- It’s relatively easy to scale
- It’s easy to use
- No need to use a different platform for blogging
- It is built to only work with WordPress
- Requires optimised WordPress web hosting
OpenCart made its first appearance back in 2010 and to date, this open source eCommerce platform is used on 350k websites worldwide.
- It’s really simple to get up and running
- It doesn’t require much technical know-how
- It runs quickly, your server will love it
- Large selection of free and commercial themes and modules available
- It heavily depends on third-party modules, which can create conflicts at times
- You may need to hire a developer to install, modify or create modules
- It has basic features, no SEO-friendly options out of the box
PrestaShop, launched in 2007, is used by 300k websites worldwide. Like OpenCart, PrestaShop has an extensive marketplace where you can buy modules and templates.
- Hundreds of modules and templates available
- One-page checkout supported
- Shipping discounts supported
- Feature-packed backend that includes inventory management, shipping, customers, etc.
- Not as flexible as its competitors
- You’ll need to either purchase add-ons or hire a developer to extend its functionality
osCommerce is the perfect choice if you’re looking for a simple, no-thrills solution. It may not be as flashy as the others on this list, but it is still a great option. The osCommerce project started in 2002 in Germany.
- It’s relatively simple to use, meaning it’s relatively easy to get up and running.
- There are a variety of plugins available, allowing you to customize your e-commerce store.
- There’s a large support community.
- It’s older, meaning it doesn’t have as many options as the newer platforms.
- You’ll probably need help from a developer if you want to really customize your store.
Magento is used by the big boys. Companies such as Samsung, Nike, Coca-Cola, Burger King splash out an enormous amount per year to use the Magento Enterprise Edition. Magento’s Community Edition is free and has no limits, you can develop any type of eCommerce store.
- You can manage multiple stores
- It has a host of additional plugins and extensions created by the community.
- It offers extreme scalability and flexibility.
- Magento does not offer any technical support for the community edition, so you will need to hire Magento experts if you run into problems
- Now owned by Adobe