General, Tools

10 Promising Opensource PHP E-Commerce Application

Nov 10, 2008 insic 60 Comments

1. Open Cart

Open cart

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.

2. Magento


Magento is a feature-rich eCommerce solution offering complete flexibility and control over the look, content, and functionality of an online store.

Magento Features:

Site Management

  • Control multiple websites and stores from one Administration Panel with ability to share as much or as little information as needed
  • Multi-Lingual
  • Support for localization
  • Support for multiple currencies
  • Administration Permission System Roles and Users
  • Web Services API for easy integration between Magento and any third-party application
  • Flexible tax rate management with support for US and International markets
  • Fully 100% customizable design using templates
  • Customer Groups
  • One-Click Upgrades
  • Content Management System for Informational Pages

3. osCommerce


osCommerce is an online shop e-commerce solution that offers a wide range of out-of-the-box features that allows online stores to be setup fairly quickly with ease, and is available for free as an Open Source based solution released under the GNU General Public License.

osCommerce was started in March 2000 and has since matured to a solution that is currently powering 14,055 registered live shops around the world.

Today, osCommerce has been taken to the next level, moving towards an e-commerce framework solution that not only remains easy to setup and maintain, but also making it easier for store administrators to present their stores to their customers with their own unique requirements.

4. PrestaShop


PrestaShop™ is professional e-Commerce shopping cart software that you can download and use for free

The big advantage of open-source software: you’re never ‘locked’ to expensive commercial software.

Our dedicated team and growing user community join forces to fix bugs and add new functionality at a rate proprietary software companies can rarely claim. Join the Open Source revolution!

5. Agora Cart


AgoraCart – The powerful “Free” Open Source ecommerce shopping cart software solution that offers a very wide range of “out-of-the-box” features that allow you to setup an online ecommerce solution ranging from a simple template based store to the integration of a complex visual design concept containing all the creative magic of your web designer.

Ecommerce Shopping Cart Software with limitless flexibility in many areas including full design controls through Cascading Style Sheets (css), template systems, customizable layouts, custom individual product category layouts and templates, customization of nearly all cart features for the code hobbyist, modular “drop in and go” code as well as AgoraScript, our own scripting language inside parsed HTML pages, that experienced programmers can appreciate.

6. StoreSprite


StoreSprite is ecommerce for web designers a powerful, free php/mysql shopping cart easy to install, customise and maintain, no complex scripting to negotiate design and deploy a top rate store that your
client can manage with little or no training.

7. FreeWay


Freeway is an advanced Open Source eCommerce platform which can sell using methods only previously available in enterprise class or niche bespoke systems. Without having to purchase a commercial system and then paying a developer to build a custom installation, Freeway does what you need out of the box. Of course Freeway is great for selling products but it also sells events AND services AND subscriptions. From appointments and time based bookings to event ticketing and subscriptions Freeway is the eCommerce platform for how we want to sell.

8. UberCart


Ubercart is an exciting open source e-commerce package that fully integrates your online store with Drupal, the leading open source content management system. This is a killer combination for anyone looking to build a community around a product, sell access to premium content, offer paid file downloads, and much much more!

Ubercart was designed to take advantage of Drupal’s major core and contributed systems, providing our users with shopping cart functionality that seamlessly integrates with other parts of your company or community website.

9. phpShop


phpShop is a PHP-powered shopping cart application. It is released under the GNU General Public License. The primary purpose of phpShop is to provide a simple shopping cart solution that is easy to customize to suit any purpose. phpShop has less features that many other shopping cart applications, but is generally easier to customize. All that is required to effectively customize phpShop is a basic knowledge of HTML, PHP, and SQL.

10. VirtueMart


Free Shopping Cart Software for Joomla! & Mambo
VirtueMart is an Open Source E-Commerce solution to be used together with a Content Management System (CMS) called Joomla! (and Mambo). Joomla! and VirtueMart are written in PHP and made easy for use in a PHP/MySQL environment.

Learn more about Ecommerce Software

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  • Lavin

    Nice article, stumbled upon this site from the “tuts” site. :D

  • mezu

    Magento looks really good. I have used Oscommerce and I am keen to check out the other ones..I am trying to see if I can get something with SEO friendly URL’s

    Thanks for the list :)

  • Rian

    Thnks for the lists..

    i’ve tried Joomla,Prestashop,and oscommerce but for me prestashop is the simple one..

    now i wanna try the others..^^

  • Chris Wallace

    I’d like to throw Zen-Cart into the ring on this one and remove Magento. Reasons:

    1. I did this in ZenCart:

    It doesn’t look like a typical ZenCart store because it isn’t butt ugly, like most are. When you get down to it, a lot of ZenCart’s biggest advantages are you can make modifications to your templates without hacking up core functionality that you will eventually need to overwrite with an upgrade.

    2. ZenCart 1.4.0 is coming

    With the current state of ZenCart, building a storefront with advanced downloadable products is extremely easy but extremely taxing on your SQL server. I’ve had issues where I would see, literally, 50,000 queries run per page load when there are lots of items in the cart. Version 1.4.0 is going to address this issue by bringing SQL caching to ZenCart and a load of other features, that I probably shouldn’t attempt to elaborate on in this comment.

    3. Magento is not as great as we all thought.

    It turns out, Magento isn’t actually as easy to customize as we all thought initially. Sure the whole separation of layers, and XML block layouts, and MVC framework was a great idea. And offering the application Open Source was great too. But with a paid support model, nobody can get any of their questions answered about Magento if they are not paying a yearly subscription fee because the core Magento team is too busy with the “paying customers.”

    Anyway, to make a long comment longer, I think ZenCart is more flexible than people give it credit for and Magento is not as slick as people think because eventually, everyone will reskin the basic Magento template about a million times and they will all look and function exactly the same. In the words of that dude in the Incredibles, “When everyone’s super, no one will be.”

  • insic2.0

    @Chris, Well said, Sorry for not mentioning ZendCart here in the list maybe because I havent tried to use it yet, but your comment draws me an attention to go deep in this app (ZenCart). Thanks.

  • Andrew

    Zencart is horrible! Don’t use it, I had a client nightmare with that :(

  • duellsy

    Yeah, agree with Chris Wallace, Magento wasn’t the saviour we all thought it would be.

    There’s still a gaping market for a neat and to the point eCommerce system, easily customised and skinnable etc.

  • Matt

    oscommerce or creloaded and virtuemart are probably some of the worst php applications ever built and definately not promising. Old clunky and hacked together.

    Magento is the only one here with a fresh approach and up to date technology. Even though its a tad on the heavy side and may require a degree in astrophsycis to manipulate.

    Good to see some new ones here i havent heard of before will have to dive further. i hear is going to be pretty snazz. :P

  • Jauhari

    Which one the best?

  • 67ideas

    Helpful post! I’ve heard a lot about Magento and it seems to be the most polished of the solutions out there.

    All these solutions require a merchant account with a bank, right? Has anyone used the hosted solutions like FoxyCart or e-junkie to compare? I wonder how the costs compare: free software+merchant fees (the ones in this post) versus paid software+no merchant fees (e-junkie/FoxyCart).

  • Ewan

    Avoid osCommerce and Virtuemart like the plague.

  • Paul

    I’ve been looking for a good open source solution and have tried a few. Not surprisingly, the slickest ones seem to have the most daunting installation requirements; none seem to be as flexible as I need (from a designer’s point of view):

    ZenCart: full featured, but mostly table-based layout. I eventually wrestled with it to create a layout that I liked, but it was hard work.

    Magento: looked great, but I’ve been having trouble getting it installed on a test server to try it out (I’ve tried 2 web hosts and my MacBook with Leopard).

    Prestashop: much smaller footprint than Magento and pretty easy to install. I’ll see if I can customize a theme; every Prestashop site I’ve seen looks pretty much the same.

    I look forward to trying some of the others listed here. Thanks for the help.

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  • Riza
  • Adam

    Magento is a disaster. It’s a marketing campaign. I’ve installed magento on 3 hosts and my local machine several times and I’ve had nothing but trouble. The code is so convoluted, the database is out of hand, and half the time the installations don’t even work. Stick with something that works and don’t be fooled by magento’s shiny “fresh” appearance.

  • roman

    oscommerce promising? lol

  • insic2.0

    @roman yes in some aspects and scenarios. All in the list has its own pros and cons.

  • envision

    1) You all DO realize ZenCart is a fork of OSCommerce right? .. Just Checking.

    Magento isn’t actually as easy to customize as we all thought initially. Sure the whole separation of layers, and XML block layouts, and MVC framework was a great idea.[/quote]

    2) I’ve heard this before and it could be a valid complaint. However it sounds like Magento is using superior software-engineering methodologies and more defined layers of abstraction to solve a complicated problem in a generic fashion. 

    I wonder if it’s *possible* this complexity  simply goes over the heads of many artists and average web-designers. Not to knock print-layout-artists who’ve made the digital jump, we love you guys! However as a software-engineer, I don’t try to do your job,  and I don’t expect you to be able to do mine.

    My team is looking forward to testing Magento, so it will be interesting to discover what the truth of this is.

    And offering the application Open Source was great too. But with a paid support model, nobody can get any of their questions answered about Magento if they are not paying.[/quote]

    3) That IS the popular opensource buisness model. Your no longer paying for the software directly, your paying for help figuring out how to use it in a cost/time-efficient manner.

    “You don’t want to pay? You have the source – whats the problem?!..”

    It’s a classic time/money trade-off. If you want to save money you will spend more time on the solitary learning curve. Nothing comes for free in life.

  • envision

    ps. is the sweetest looking ZenCart I’ve ever seen. No argument there, congrats Chris! If that’s what works for you, then by all means stick with it.

  • Azri Jamil

    Great list! Anyway can i facebooking u?

  • Morningtime Internet

    Magento seems to be the top choice. Its backed by a commercial company, Varien. This ensures further development. Magento’s code isn’t convoluted, but it is complex. You do need an expert coder to set it up for you. It does have the most flexible templating system I’ve seen so far, and drag-n-drop design is on Magento’s roadmap.

    If you have a choice, the best or the easiest, I would go for the best (Magento) and put in the time to work with it.

  • Mohammed

    I am building an e-commerce site for vehicles floor mats. And I would like to use one of those content management systems you have listed. But, I believe that my database is much more complicated than the database that gets installed by these products. For example, I have floor mats, colors, logos, car make and model, car features (2 door, 4 door, and much more), etc.

    How do you go about that, just modify the database they create and the PHP scripts?

    Thanks for the suggestions

  • Stuart

    I’m afraid I have to agree with Chris Wallace as well. I was so excited by the concept of Magento as I work with MVC frameworks all the time. But unfortunately Magento suffers from some serious issues:

    Bloatware. Yup, it’s the size of a cow, and a big cow at that too.Plus this means your hosting had better be pretty heavy weight or it’ll run like a snail. Like a cow-snail thing really.
    Bug-a-licious. The team are so busy dreaming up new ‘goodies’ to draw the crowds, they forget to fix the bugs first.
    Ignor-a-thon. Hope you like bumping, cos you’ll be doing a lot of it on the forums.
    Access -a-inability. Not running javascript? Bye. The product pages are populated by ajax calls as they load. So no JS no products.
    Now don’t get me wrong, Magento may have a future, but to me it’s still Beta-ware. Wait for the 2.0 release. As I speak 1.3 has been released to claims of 40% reduction in server load and render times. But wait at least for 1.31 (or 1.32) as their .n0 releases are very buggy.
    For now I’m watching to see what Zen-cart 2.0 brings – yes you heard it right 2.0 on Zen-Cart! Claims are a full rebuild on O-O paradigms. It’s a tried and tested product by a very experienced team.
    Or if you are commited to OO and MVC what about Bakesale it’s built with Cake, and you can’t get much more MVC than that.

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  • jigish

    Thanks for the info..

  • mario

    Could we please stop recommending osCommerce, the greatest php shitfest ever created, every time shopping systems come up?

  • Dave Thompson

    As a professional web developper who has worked on dozens of osCommerce sites, I agree wholeheartily that it is a shitfest.

    Magento has as steep learning curve but for pressionals is DA SHIZNIT

  • johnny

    @envision Thank you for pointing that out. There is a very large difference between well engineered solutions to be used and implemented by engineers whom spent much time and money on eduction learning the ropes of engineering software compared to copy/paste/push it out/my cousin built it solutions. Reading your comment reminds me of the all time favorite solution we offer for new programmers/integrators in any respectable mailing list or development community: RTFM… then ask your questions.

    I love design and code but neither can be expected to simply lay down for you without much study and effort. TYPO3 might take the cake on effort though… try implementing a useful commerce solution within that beast! Five years ago I managed to do so for a 2,000 plus product eshop with myriad tax issues due to the nature of said products… after which I checked into a mental institution for masochists. I’ve since recovered. ;)

    And yes, OSCommerce used to be the bees knees, when it first showed up. It is a clusterf*&k though and very bad architecturally. When I was a child, I played with childish toys… when I became a man, I set them in the closet and opened a lot of books. I bet I could find one or two osc solutions I put together years ago somewhere on my old CVS server… and I’ve been using SVN for years though recently I’ve been having a small affair with Git.

    Good Article otherwise! Keep it up!

  • Lesya

    Now e-commerce merchants have plenty of shopping carts to choose from. It’s really hard not to get lost in all that variety, to choose the right solution. Due to large number if shopping carts available people switch e-commerce platforms more often. To make it easier you may take a look at cart2cart web service. It automates data migration, offers assisted migration, etc

    • ogray

      Used cart2cart service, worked great for me

  • kaizentech

    I don’t know why you didn’t include zen-cart in your list. This is also widely used and popular. Also there are x-cart which is still best to me in performance although commercial.

    Web Designers London
    E-commerce Web Development

  • Мужские портфели

    The most advenced is PrestaShop and Magento, but Magento has big problem with performance.

  • simonfan

    There is no one ecommerce is good as I think it should be.

    Magento looks great at first, but I cannot bear its performance, even open the cache, it still very slow.

    No prominent ecommerce solution so far.

  • jenniferaslan

    We have only built one full ecommerce site so far (, and we used Magento because it had most of the features the client wanted, “right out of the box.” It worked well for several months until the client started adding thousands of products to the catalog and got another developer involved in additional customization. In more recent times it crashes the server quite often and appears to have a memory leak somewhere (although I can’t say if it’s a problem inherent in Magento or has something to do with the customization).

    There was quite a learning curve in implementing and skinning the store, and the client required A LOT of customization, but we were happy with how much control we had over the look of things with CSS and that the menu is SEO friendly. The back-end Admin interface is also very easy to use.

    Since it’s the only solution we’ve used, I can’t compare its speed to any other system, but it seems to work for the most part. The only thing that I would say, apart from anything about its underlying programming and structure, is that it really isn’t designed to handle extremely large catalogs and all the fulfillment takes place inside the back-end admin, one product at a time (it is not currently able to connect to any established fulfillment applications that we know of). In this way, it is not very scalable.

    My conclusion is that it seems you’ll have frustrations with any solution you choose, but Magento has a lot of built-in functionality that makes it feel a bit like If that’s what you’re looking for, and your catalog is not thousands of products large and your fulfillment guys are comfortable using its interface, Magento may still be your ticket, especially if you want easy control over every aspect of the CSS.

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  • denbagus

    i usualy use magento for ecommerce…many have features

  • fau

    I am looking for ecommerce site for blinds and shades.. any one recommend me free open source.. cheked most of them for unique price.

    I am looking for price with width and hight.

  • Paul

    I’m revisiting this after a year. I stick to what I said above. Magento seems bloated; Prestashop has promise (although the GUI in the admin is a bit all over the place). Odd that no one has anything to say about OpenCart (No. 1 in the article). It’s fast, has a pretty full features list, clean interface, MVC architecture and (as a designer but noob programmer) easy to customise. And the fledgling community is very helpful. Check it out.

  • Annie

    I use ZenCart and I like it a lot – but it’s not perfect. I have played around with Magento and I’m horrified by the enormous file structure. Somebody said it’s a COW and a big cow at that… I agree! And I’ve heard about problems from all over the ‘net about Magento’s performance. There are a lot of servers that can’t run it, apparently.

    I hope that ZenCart’s programmers will release 1.4 but they’ve been fairly quiet in 2009 about what they’re working on. If they were paid better maybe there would be more incentive to work on it. That’s an inherent problem with Open Source, and it’s not meant as criticism of any of the developers: just an observation. I do think ZenCart is the best of all the osCommerce forks.

    This article is helpful. I’ll check out these other programs. Thanks.

  • Bill

    I’m searching for a open source e-commerce script. This article is really helpful. Thanks a lot.

  • Slapo

    I’ve deployed Zen Cart on only one web and in the process, I’ve learned that I should have avoided Zen Cart. It has some useful features, but the code isn’t exactly clean or elegant. What makes it a really bad choice is the sheer number of database queries the default ‘modules’ use. I had to modify ‘modules’ and ‘templates’ working with product pages and listings to bring down number of queries issued to a more sensible number. The modifications tend to save about 200+ queries per page.

    I haven’t profiled Magento, but it’s quite slow even on localhost in its default installation.

    I’ve also tried FreeWay and PrestaShop and the only one that seemed to work OK was OpenCart. FreeWay and PrestaShop were pretty buggy when I tried them about half a year ago.

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  • jasa pembuatan website

    thanks for the article.
    i think prestashop is great.

  • beel

    Great article, i think i’m gonna try prestashop…thanx

  • programmer

    prestashop is terrible if you are serious about ecommerce. they don’t support guest checkout, proper tax rates, good seo, etc.the programmers just keep adding useless features and never fixing bugs from previous releases.

    support is an absolute joke on the forums. i myself have found and fixed 5 major functionality bugs in about 2 months (simple things like the tax module having misplaced logic that charged tax when it wasn’t needed, ignored it when is was needed). all documented and reproducable bugs in the bug tracker, but the forums full of developers out right ignoring 3 pages of ‘please fix this’

    i tried to submit code patches, but their bug tracker is broken and doesn’t allow new registrations. lol – “join the open source revolution”

    i have been working online for 15 years, and prestashop has been the most frustrating and worthless product i have ever had the misfortune of working on.

    if you are reading this, and even considering using prestashop, RUN away.

    • montyveda

      after a few days with prestashop… I can empathise with you.

  • Loron

    Super, thanks, that saved me a fair bit of time. How much time have you spent working with Magento? You seem like a bit of an online ninja at it!

    Thanks again, Loron.

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  • bobby

    Thanks for the opensource apps listing.

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  • chandan

    EasyStoreHosting is best Online E-Commerce Store creation software.

    I have tried it, and it genuinely works.
    The best thing is that provide “technical support service” free of cost.
    So you have to do anything by yourself, just shoot a mail to them, they will do it for you.

  • Kiayada Carter

    There are many e-commerce tool available in PHP but Zen Cart truly is the art of e-commerce, user-friendly, easy to install, configure and use. Zen Cart runs from our own webserver, which means we are fully in control of all its features and capabilities.

  • iLoveMage

    Magento is a feature-rich eCommerce platform built on open-source technology that provides online merchants with unprecedented flexibility and control over the look, content and functionality of their eCommerce store. Magento’s intuitive administration interface features powerful marketing, search engine optimization and catalog-management tools to give merchants the power to create sites that are tailored to their unique business needs. Magento also comes with a much more powerful Enterprise version.

  • Custom Ecommerce

    When I see platforms for developing an custom ecommerce site, there are certain solution first trigger in my mind, and PHP is one of them. The list isn’t completed yet, you can include, e-Smart ecommerce suite, which isn’t a platform for solution that can be developed in php / or java. It’s up to you.

  • magento development company

    Material Control System, or CMS is a program used to cope with information quickly so that customers can post, modify and remove content from the back-end management system. HTML and other scripting terminology are not necessary to function a CMS, though having them will add more advantages. Since we had examined 22 100 % free PHP frameworks.

  • Ricardo Carvalho

    br {mso-data-placement:same-cell;}very good post, useful information and enter the site Scriptcase is great too.