Review of some free online webshop solutions
There are several free open source PHP-MySql based shopping carts (eCommerce systems) so if someone wants a webshop then he has the freedom to choose between many options. The most common are OpenCart, Zen Cart, PrestaShop, Magento, OsCommerce and I wanted to figure it out which one of these is the best to use.
I installed Zen Cart, Prestashop and OpenCart to test them. I read many forums about the topic and these are the top eCommerce systems what people usually recommend.
This webshop seemed to be the easiest to set up. You simply install, then set up your template, add products and you're ready to start accepting orders. It has order management and multiple payment gateways already built in and they provide lifetime free support and free software updates. It was really easy and fast to set up the products. What I don't like about it is that it's not easy to add new custom information pages if you want a contact form for example. It doesn't have any page management functions like a cms.
Magento is ideally suited for companies who need a professional online shop presence. Usually the Magento is the most expensive webshop solution being so complex and server resource-intensive. The Magento Community edition is free but the Enterprise license goes up to $12990 per year, and generally, developers are paid in the range of $60 – $150 an hour based on skill level and experience. In exchange you get 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 store. The 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.
An other fully open source shopping cart platform is the PrestaShop which is generally suitable for small to medium sized companies. It is a free software but if you want to extend the functionality of your store you can buy additional modules. With fewer shops using this software, it may not be as popular as some other carts, but it definitely has a full list of features that say it is here to stay. Moreover, the software claims to run without major headaches for shoppers, even for those on slower connections, because of its incredibly small size.
Zen Cart evolved from an older platform, osCommerce. Zen Cart is free, user-friendly, open source shopping cart software that can be used to create an online store for the sale of both physical and downloadable products. Zen Cart is free, user-friendly and open source shopping cart software developed and maintained by a group of like-minded shop owners, programmers, designers, and consultants.