5 of the Most Popular Free & Open Source eCommerce Platforms in 2019
eCommerce sites were quite rare back in the day. They aren’t uncommon anymore now. Along with that, there has been an exponential increase in eCommerce platforms; both paid and free. We have also seen a rise in demand for open source development services over the past couple of years.
Most open source eCommerce frameworks available on the web are either free or inexpensive. Many of them are managed by communities with a lot of experts continuously adding to the frameworks’ usefulness.
Here are a few reasons to consider those frameworks instead of their proprietary counterparts.
- They are either free or cheap
- More creative control over the design
- Constantly managed and maintained by experts adding to the feature set
- Hosting, plugins and themes can be controlled and customized
- Developer-friendly and offers great technical support
But they also have their fair share of cons.
- They require more development or coding knowledge (but one can hire an open source eCommerce development expert to handle the coding part)
- You have to find a hosting server by yourself
- Maintenance, speed optimization and security configurations of the site has to be done by yourself
- You may not get dedicated technical support
Choosing the best platform depends on personal preferences mostly. Without further ado, let’s get to the five most popular open source eCommerce platforms of 2019.
OpenCart is a great option because it’s lightweight yet highly beneficial. With OpenCart, it won’t take too long before the site is up. OpenCart is supported by an active community that can help should any design issues arise. It’s more user-friendly than it used to be thanks to the community, and is also quite easy to use with inexpensive themes and little need for any additional plugins making OpenCart an ideal option for startups that want their site to go online soon. It’s also not resource-heavy and is known for the short learning curve compared to Magento.
Magento Open Source
Magento is probably the most popular platform on our list primarily because of the vast array of features it offers. With Magento, you will be able to carry out marketing to your customers and creating options like recurring payments, discounts, membership plans etc. The platform offers complete control over the site’s design. For additional scalability, you can go for the paid version of the platform as well.
A free-to-download WordPress plugin that needs you to have WordPress as the host, WooCommerce can instantly transform a WordPress site into a fully functional eCommerce site. Payment gateways like PayPal and Stripe are given by default. Amazon Pay and PayFast are other alternatives. Using the extension library, you can add more features to the eCommerce site and even offer coupons and discounts.
Zen Cart was designed to be of use to people without a lot of development expertise or knowledge to build online stores. It’s probably the most user-friendly free open source platform at present, and is reliably secure as well.
With this platform, you can add a wide range of features and get full customization options. Many modules that open source developers created are available for download, and they can be added to the store. Zen Cart also allows one to send HTML emails directly from the site to leads or customers. The Zen Cart community has been active for decades, which means technical support is of no concern.
X-Cart made it to our list simply because it powers over 35,000 online stores. It’s free, self-hosted and impressively fast. There is a premium version of X-Cart which requires a one-time payment of $495 which adds an impressive array of features to the already long list of features.
X-Cart users can get full multilingual and multi-currency support depending on the package chosen. Popular payment gateways like PayPal and Sage are provided along with great scalability. X-Cart is also PCI compliant.
All of the platforms mentioned in this blog are constantly improved by their respective communities and are free. There are even more open source platforms that didn’t make it to the list simply because we wanted to keep it short. Unlike open source CMS development, open source eCommerce developers have plenty of options to choose from and many features to make use of. A non-open source solution can also be useful though the aforementioned platforms are ideal to those with budget constraints.