Choosing Right E-Commerce Software For Your Online Store

There are numerous options available when it comes to choosing right e-commerce software for creating your online shop. From free shopping cart solutions to those who charge you a bill of thousands dollars for keeping your shop online, there are actually hundred of shopping solutions available out there. In this article we will dig deep in to the world of some most famous e-commerce solutions. Let’s get started.

Cheap SSL CertificatesE-commerce week is sponsored by SSLmatic which sells SSL certificates for much cheaper prices (RapidSSL, Geotrust, Verisign) and offers great support. Check their site to get the cheap SSL certificates.
We can divide the whole section in three parts. First we will cover free and open source options and then we will cover pre hosted and paid options. We will also take a look on e-commerce modules available for extending your CMS to e-commerce website.

Open Source & Free E-Commerce Softwares

1. osCommerce

osCommerce is an award winning e-commerce shopping cart solution which has more than 200000 community members. osCommerce is released under GPL which means its open source and any one can modify its code adhering to the license under which it is released. You can download it for free and can create your shop online without paying a single penny to the developers of osCommerce.


The last update (3.0 Alpha 5) in osCommerce was in March 2009 so there are rumors that the project is dead. There are 5600 different modules available on their official repository which shows that community of osCommerce is really supportive.

2. Magento

Magento is the second big guy in the world of e-commerce solutions. Like osCommerce, Magento is also released under GPL and you can download it for free. With a very active development schedule, it got the latest update (1.4.1) on 19 February 2010. There is a big list of features which you can read there. But the biggest problem with Magento is that it’s heavy software and needs a huge amount of resources to work efficiently.


This is my personal choice and I use it for my client works. The community of Magento is still growing as it is new in the game. Recently the official extensions repository crossed the number of 2000 extensions. Varien, the company behind Magento also offers an enterprise version of Magento starting from only 8999$$$/year. The have previously worked with osCommerce and now they have developed their own solution.

3. Zen Cart

Zen Cart is a forked version of osCommerce, licensed under GPL and free for every one. The major difference between osCommerce and Zen Cart is the templating engine and some additional features which are not available in its superior. Templating engine of Zen cart makes it very easy to create custom themes for your online shop as compared to Magento and osCommerce. There are more than 1000 free addons available in their plugin repository.


4. PrestaShop

PrestaShop is also open source and free solution for creating your online store. It has a big community with more than 50000 community members. The best thing in PrestaShop is its light weight and fast speed. If you compare PrestaShop with Magento in terms of speed and size, it’s a lot better. One thing for sure, you will love its back end design. It’s really awesome, simple and easy to use. Even a beginner can set up an online store. We published a beginner’s guide for prestashop. You can check it out here.


Pre hosted and Paid Solutions

5. Shopify

Shopify is a pre hosted e-commerce solution which charges you for keeping your store online. You don’t need to set up anything technical. All you have to do is just adding your products. SSL, payment gateways and all the security measures are the responsibility of Shopify Team. You can setup your custom domain and you can also create custom themes.


Each shop owner can change the html/css of his store to customize the look of his store. All you have to do is just to pay their bills/month which depends upon your sales and the package plan you take. If you are totally scratch and want to make things easier for yourself then I will suggest you to go for it.

6. FoxyCart

FoxyCart is also a pre hosted version of e-commerce solutions but it’s a bit different from Shopify. Actually Foxy Cart is only a shopping cart (not a cms) which integrates in to your already existing website. You can customize the look of your shopping cart by changing the html and css of your shopping cart. Just take the code, put it into your website and you are done. At the end, you will have to pay them a monthly fee for all their efforts.


E-Commerce Modules for your CMS

7. Ubercart for Drupal

Ubercart is an e-commerce module for people who want to create an e-commerce store on the top of Drupal. It’s a fact that Ubercart is an almost complete solution for anyone who wants to create an e-commerce store but I will not recommend it those people who don’t have experience with Drupal.


8. WP e-Commerce for WordPress

WP e-Commerce is the most trusted and complete solution for people who want to include e-commerce functionality in their WordPress blog or website. We have already covered it out. You can check the detailed explanation here.

9. Virtue Mart for Joomla

Virtue Mart is an addon for creating online store using Joomla. There are 2 other plugins out there for same functionality but Virtue Mart is the oldest one and most comprehensive solution for creating e-commerce websites with Joomla. My personal opinion about Joomla is not good as I think a newbie will get puzzled with dozens of premium modules which have same functionally.


E-Commerce is an enormous subject to cover and each option has its own pros and cons. I have tried my best to write those options which are trusted ones and mostly people are happy with those options. There is always chance for improvement. Let me know if I have missed your favorite option and I will be happy to discuss it with you.:)

Cheap SSL CertificatesE-commerce week is sponsored by SSLmatic which sells SSL certificates for much cheaper prices (RapidSSL, Geotrust, Verisign) and offers great support. Besides standard SSL certificates, wildcard and EV certificates are offered with discounts too. Check their site to get the cheap SSL certificates.

Saad Bassi

Saad Bassi is a 20 years old web developer from Pakistan who loves to create beautiful websites with great user experience. He is co-editor at CrispyTech and 1stWebDesigner and blogs about the next Windows at Windows8Geek. He also loves to make new friends so don't forget to say him a hello on Twitter. Last but not least, make sure that you check out my latest project, Addictive Fonts which focuses on free high quality font downloads.

15 Smart Tools To Help You Build Your Freelance Business

Discover the awesome tools we use in making our clients comfortable and happy in learning new things every day.

Download Now


  1. Jim says

    I was finally able to start making money with my site. It takes a little bit of time and work but it has turned out to be worth it! This is part of Global Domain International website services. The owner has proven to be very helpful to me by sharing tips and tactics used on creating your own websites and marketing them successfully. I recommend this to the self motivated, computer savvy person looking to add a few bucks to their bank account down the road. It does take an investment of time and only $10 a month for your own domain name as well as a web hosting account. It provides a great website designer with several templates to choose from. Also included is a 7 day free trial so there really is no risk involved!

  2. Osbaldo says

    I need to get in touch with Companies or Individual programmers to build an E-commerce site that will be on my one. I need a customized solution.

    I invite to conect me by emails.


  3. Jack says

    Obviously, these are some truly amazing, inspiring e-commerce sites that help get the creative juices flowing in my mind. Like most developers, I too dream of an e-commerce solution that can one day make a list like this. Until then, I will enjoy reading about these powerhouse e-commerce solutions on posts like this one.

  4. Shahril says

    I’ve been used Opencart for like two years now..and for me it’s always the best…but really surprise it’s not even in the list!!

  5. Simon says

    Good collection, I prefer to use Virtuemart! Great opensource software to use i.c.w. Joomla.

  6. Md Shahnur Arefin says

    I am looking for a ecommerce cms with the following features.
    “Viewer can create there own shop inside that. And clients should have the ability to add his own product. ” Please I need help regarding this. I need to know which CMS has this feature.


  7. Matt says

    I think a Table comparing all the top e commerce platform will be helpful which can show the pron and cons of all the soft-wares then giving conclusion to the readers.

  8. Razibul Hassan says

    Zen Cart & Magento are 2 best e-commerce solutions around. They are quite capable of producing a Small e-commerce solution in a very sort time (considering the developer knows how to do that), and on the contrary are designed to produce large scale, comprehensive, feature enriched large online commerce site.
    Moreover, the features are getting updated round the clock by the millions of developers worldwide.

    Zen Cart and Magento should be on the priority list for anyone who requires a e-commerce solution.

  9. Razibul Hassan says

    Shopify !!! I am kind of surprised to see this hosted e-commerce here in this list. Shopify no longer even provides the free trial, though they are advertizing it on their homepage!!!!

  10. Lilya says

    Hello, everybody.
    We invite you to take part in the poll Best E-commerce software.
    You welcome to propose any of shopping cart you like and vote for your favorite.
    We’d like to get as many independent and honest opinion as possible.

  11. António says

    Any good ideas about where to find serious reliable total on-line business platforms?

  12. Patti V says

    OS Commerce is very difficult to install and use – and it’s very limiting. There’s not enough features to run an entire professional business. The same goes with ZenCart. Magento almost has it right, but it’s also very difficult to install and it’s slow.

    You should look into a total online business platform such as Haikuob which handles shopping cart, website, customer database and marketing features. It’s a hosted solution so you don’t have to worry about the technical stuff either. All the other bases are also integrated, such as the payment gateways, shipping modules etc., and you can even give your customers coupons and vouchers. It’s an all in one solution so you don’t need to juggle multiple systems.

  13. Razibul Hassan says

    People who don’t have any e-commerce or online shop building experience should definitely try the “Zen Cart” e-commerce solution. It’s free, feature enriched and easy-t-maintain.Thx for the brilliant post.

  14. @JesseLuna says

    Hi Saad,
    Have you had a chance to test out PrestaShop yet? We’re checking out PrestaShop and Magento. The store will have less than 100 products total but we are preparing for a lot of traffic.

    Also, I’ve seen several comments about Magento being resource intensive. Is a dedicated server the best way to go if we use Magento?

    Great post, BTW!

  15. Ralph says

    Good list, but you’re missing some that are being used widely: bigcommerce, amazon web store, web retail group, google stores/checkout. In my experience, dealing with 50 diff companies was a pain, and I never had the time to really get any marketing/sales going because we were riddled with problems. We now use Web Retail Group for our solution, they use a pretty advanced ecommerce platform. We also had them do our design, and we’re happy with that too — we like using an all-in-one company since we’re retailers and did not go to school for this stuff. We looked at bigcommerce in particular and oscommerce, but it was just too much work/learning for us as retail store owners. Still, I think you should update your site with some of these others…cheers!

  16. Jagchana says

    I am looking on starting a online opticians which e-commerce package would you recommend? please note will require options menu for prescription lens shopping cart with zoom function etc

  17. Fabian koliren says

    Great Post!!!!!

    In your opinion, Which is the best combination of CMS and shopping cart?

  18. Sally Green says

    I am looking for a powerful, feature-rich ecommerce cart that you’re able to write your own url’s. We currently have a very successful shop and do not want to abandon the established urls. I have been told that redirects are a fast way to loose your page rank – hence the ideal solution of being able to recreate our established static html pages.

    • Saad Bassi says

      Well, 301 redirects are best way to maintain pagerank. Magento FTW. Nothing is better than it :)

  19. linda says

    Saad Bassi, thank you for your good sharing. Im using an open source which is ecshop but my website always hacked since June till now and havent solve it yet. As i know, all open source is easy to get hack. Am i right?? Im panic now and do not what should i do now. still continue to using this open source with same hosting company OR change a hosting company and change a new open source OR custom made?? In the market got a lot of company ecommerce package is modify open source then sell is as own develop’s still is open source and easy to get hack??thank you for your info and sharing again.

  20. Gloria says

    I need some help, I want to create my website, I am using siteground, they offers some ecommerce like os commerce and other, could some one can help me to choose wich is one is better solution for an online store with more than 2500 items, how can I upload with pictures, I was using zen cart but siteground is not longer available, (is like a catalog)

  21. says

    Thanks a lot Saad Bassi, great list!
    just tried Prestashop and its sleek and wonderful but an overkill for my task, does anyone have idea what is the best solution for Rental Website? Ive tried to search the web but failed to find any references. Iam renting stuff and my site is currently on css/html, im planning to move it to CMS but not sure what should i build it on. Have seen people doing this on Joomla/Virtuemart but it doesnt look nice to me. Any suggestions please? I dont really need shopping cart but a calendar would be great with indication when the item is due!

    Thanks in advance to someone can help me out ;)

  22. says

    Great compilation.

    You may also want to take a look at JadaSite. It is an open source e-commerce software that you can download and use it for free. More importantly, it includes a lot of features right out of the box. Some important features include multi-site, multi-lingual and multi-currencies support.

    One thing that makes JadaSite different than the list you have is JadaSite is written 100% in Java and it is able to leverage all the enterprise grade features in the Java environment.

  23. says

    Out of Magneto and Presta which have the most options/add ons and customizable? Some clients want different features so trying to find out which would be the most flexible.

  24. says

    I tried following shopping cart:
    Prestashop: easy to install and USE.
    MAGNETO: Feature rich ecommerce software.
    virtuemart for joomla: shopping cart for Joomla.

    I like all three because they had their own advantages.

  25. Powen says


    Last month we at Jimdo added e-commerce/store functionality to our (hosted) website builder. Check it out if you have a chance, I’d very much like to hear what you think :) and if you would add us to your list

    • Saad Bassi says

      Great Powen. Sure. Will let you know when I am done.:) And yeah Jimdo is a great tool. There is not doubt in it.:)

  26. says

    Saad , thank you for your article.
    However I find it very surface. I expected to learn more. Unfortunately your high-sounding title didn’t live up to my expectations.
    You just enumerated the most popular e-commerce softwares, noticing few main features like “Ubercart for Drupal”, “WP e-Commerce for WordPress” (it’s not hard to guess), “Virtue Mart for Joomla”. Thank you very much. However this information can be found in any specifications for these software’s. There are more characteristics to choose E-Commerce Software: e.g. software’s architecture; its main functionality; customers’ and administrators’ possibilities; installation features and the like.
    I think you will have to work at it.
    Thank you.

    • Saad Bassi says

      Well Alice, I am thinking of writing detailed tut on each software so It will be easy for every one to decide.

  27. Ryan Cowles says

    Great information! I don’t know how many hours I have spent researching different shopping cart software, trying to find the best suited for the job.

  28. says

    After getting frustrated recently revamping a clients OsCommerce site – I think I might give Zencart a look.
    I know Magento seems to be getting a good reputation – I had a look at it a while back & didn’t really get on with it…maybe I should do a text of them both & see which I prefer now.

    Thanks for the article – it helps to get a different perspective.

  29. Matthias says

    I have to mention oxidshop. It is a big player on the german market. just recently they changed their business modell and released it under a gpl license. it is a mighty fine product. well developed and easy to set up. the english community is growing stronger every month. check it out

  30. Clint says

    What about OpenCart, how does that measure up with the others? From a designer/coder perspective, I’m looking for a shopping cart that’s simple to skin/theme and incorporate into any site. I like that Magento at least has some instructions on their site for designers.

  31. Ant Hodges says

    Great post thanks…

    Has anyone had any experience with Adobe’s Business Catalyst?

    • says

      Business Catalyst is Great. I’ve been using it since before Adobe bought the company (used to be called Good Barry). The author may not have mentioned it because it is a paid solution. Though I believe that the advantages it offers far outweigh the small investment in the platform. I’m a developer and could use any of these, but Business Catalyst saves me time because the platform is integrated with all the features I’ve ever been asked to deliver. Also, because they are constantly improving the platform there is no need to worry about software updates or plugin conflicts. For me, it’s helped me streamline my technology offerings so I can focus on creating the best web marketing results and customer experience for my clients.

  32. Beth McLain says

    Useful Round up .
    I have to say my personal favorite OS-Commerce & Zen cart, Both have their own Advantages and Drawbacks.

  33. Howard Stevens says

    Another strong player in the open source space is Interspire. After thoroughly evaluating many of the platforms on your list, my team and I decided on Interspire due to its performance, open source code, out-of-the-box functionality. Contrasted with Magento, the code is infinitely more well structured, easier to comprehend and make customizations–one of the many reasons that performance is significantly better.

  34. says

    I have to say my personal favorite OS-Commerce & Zen cart, Both have their own Advantages and Drawbacks.

    Of the two I prefer Zen Cart

  35. says

    nice article!

    I’ve tried most of these and my personal favourites in order would be

    1.) Prestashop – easy to work with – and fast
    2.) Magento – full featured but you need lots and lots and lots of memory!
    3.) Virtuemart for Joomla – great cart if your working with Joomla

    I’m planning on using wp-ecommerce for an upcoming project.

    I try to avoid Zen Cart and Os-Commerce as their code is in the dark ages now!

    • Saad Bassi says

      Well. I am now quite sure that osCommerce and Zen Cart are dead. No updates from developers. Its sad to see osc going because they were the first one to take the initiative.:(

      • says

        Please try TomatoCart. It’s a fork of osCommerce 3. It adds new concept to shopping cart software, and it’s really a easy-to-use ecommerce software in the market.

  36. says

    Great list of carts. I’ve used most of these solutions and am pleased to see them on there. Every solution is different and has it’s merits and downfalls. Getting the right balance of CMS and Shopping cart is vital for any project. Go one way too early and you may have a headache on your hands.

  37. says

    Great compilation! As far as I know, Magento is really robust but in the same time you will need at least a vps hosting account to run it…Prestashop is light but you will have problems if you want to sell digitalproducts (especially for big files).

    • Saad Bassi says

      Well, 100% Agreed regarding Magento. About Prestashop, I’ve heard a lot of praise and I am going to test it out. Will surely share my experiences with you.:)