OpenCart–An Easier Alternative to Magento

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Do you want to create an attractive and functional online store, but you don’t have a lot of technical knowledge?  Then you should definitely check out OpenCart, an open source software application that, unlike its counterparts, manages to be user-friendly, lightweight, AND attractive. Plus, it’s easy to install, thanks to Softaculous, our 1-click auto-installer!

Like Magento, OpenCart has tons of awesome features and it looks great, but, unlike Magento, it’s also lightweight, fast, and easy to use, making it a great option for both inexperienced and highly skilled users.

Some of OpenCart’s features include:


With OpenCart, you can manage multiple online shops from a single admin area, so you can use a different theme for each store, set different prices for each shop, localise each store using a different currency, tax class, and default language, and much more!


OpenCart is available in 18 different languages, including Dutch, Italian, Japanese, and Farsi, so you can sell your products to customers all over the world!

Multiple Payment Gateways

OpenCart includes 21 different payment gateways in its default download, including PayPal, SagePay, Authorize.Net, and 2Checkout, so you can easily accept payments online.

SEO Optimised

Your store’s search engine rankings can have a huge impact on sales, so SEO is extremely important.  Thankfully, OpenCart is optimised for search engines, so your shop’s pages will be indexed by all major search engines.  OpenCart also enables you to customise the META tags for your products and categories, so your store can be even more search engine friendly.

Sales Reports

OpenCart offers 3 different types of sales reports designed to help you gather important data about your online store:  a sales report, products viewed, and products purchased.

Guest Checkout

OpenCart comes with a guest checkout features, so your customers can purchase your products without having to create an account.  Guest checkout will save your customers time, because they’ll only need to enter the minimum amount of details to make a purchase.


Because OpenCart is a module based application, it can be customised quickly and easily to meet your needs.  OpenCart includes 11 modules, including Google Talk, Bestsellers, Specials, Latest, Google Analytics, and more!


OpenCart comes with tons of great B2B features, making it an ideal application for businesses that sell to other companies.  With OpenCart, you can choose to only show your prices when a customer is logged in, define various customer groups with different prices for each group (such as retail, wholesale, etc.), and provide discounts to customers who buy larger quantities of your merchandise.

In addition to all of these awesome features, there are also tons of free OpenCart themes available, so you don’t have to spend money on an expensive premium theme.  Plus, there are a lot of free extensions available for OpenCart, so you can customise your online shop to your exact needs and specifications.  To check out the OpenCart extensions directory, please visit

OpenCart also offers excellent documentation, as well as a forum, to help new users in need of help, so inexperienced users have multiple resources to turn to when they’re having trouble.

Still not sure if OpenCart is the right shopping cart solution for you?  Then check out a demo of the frontend and admin area!

Are you looking for UK OpenCart hosting?  Then check out our UK web hosting plans!  OpenCart is one of the free scripts we offer with every hosting plan!

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  1. On February 13, 2012 at 9:12 pm

    iphone 4 cases uk said:

    Just realised what you are promoting ;)… What hosting would you recommend from your selection of hosting options for my Mageneto website, spec above in previous post. only about 20 products, so not a massive selection. thanks Cat.

    • On February 14, 2012 at 9:58 am

      Cat M. said:


      If you’re trying to decide between Magento and OpenCart, I would definitely choose OpenCart. While Magento offers lots of features, the majority of people will never use them, so their sites end up getting weighted down by unnecessary options and code. Plus, there are tons of OpenCart extensions you can get to add additional functionality to your store, and there are lots of attractive free and premium OpenCart templates available. Also, your Magento site will need to be tweaked before you even start using it (for better speed), whereas OpenCart will work on shared hosting right away.

      However, if you have your heart set on using Magento, this knowledgebase article outlines the tweaks you can make to get it to run faster, as well as an extension you can use to minify the code:

      As far as which hosting plan would work, your store will only have 20 products, so it’s not huge. With so few products and all of the tweaks, it might run fairly well on shared hosting. If you wanted to host with us, I would recommend starting with the Starter plan. It’s the smallest plan we offer, but you can upgrade at any time. If you decide to add more products in the future, or your traffic increases, then you can upgrade to a larger plan. Basically, there’s no point in paying for resources you don’t need, so it’s best to start out small and then upgrade as needed. Here’s a link to all of our hosting plans:

      If you have any questions, you can ask me here or open a ticket with our sales/technical staff:

      All the best, and good luck with your store!

  2. On February 13, 2012 at 9:08 pm

    iphone 4 cases uk said:

    thanks for your reply Cat M, I’ve been searching for reviews on both as I can’t decide which one to use for my business. My developer can create either a Magento or open cart store for me, but I’m still in two minds what to go with! I suppose Magento if I am sucessful with the business might be more future proof and be able to cope with more add ons that I might need. Loading times is the one thing I am worried about, will a Magento site run ok on shared hosting with hostgator, with around only 20 products on the my site? any feedback would be great, thanks!

  3. On May 12, 2011 at 4:13 am

    Mr. X said:

    OpenCart is much easier to use than Magento. Magento’s code is very difficult to wrap your head around as a developer or as a designer. It uses XML to build the layout along with a modified version of the Zend MVC framework so it is foreign to basically everyone that touches it. The reason for this is so it is compartmentalized making extensions run as though they are separate programs. This is great for keeping extension X from breaking extension Y or the core but it is also the reason why Magento runs so slowly. If you go with Magento, you are at the mercy of the Magento staff or one of the few Magento developers for any changes and they are not cheap so Magento ends up being far from free as where OpenCart is easier to extend and design but it is not as modularized so extensions may need to edit core files and this becomes a problem when it comes time to upgrade to the next version. Overall OpenCart is cheaper and easier while still being a very competent cart.

  4. On October 3, 2010 at 3:20 pm

    Super Games said:

    How about from the Design/Customization point of view. Is it flexible, easier?


  5. On September 28, 2010 at 9:45 am

    Vehicle Graphics London said:

    People tell me that Magento is good for the extra marketing stuff it brings to e-commerce. Stuff like recommendations of relevant complementary products and up-sells. Does OpenCart do the same sort of thing, perhaps with the extra modules?

  6. On September 22, 2010 at 10:04 am

    Ben - Equestrian Clothing said:

    Hi there Cat

    This was an interesting blog posting as we have just launched oru website 2 months ago. This was built on the magento platform and similar to Steve the Royal mail postage plugin and the general increasing usage of magento by high street retailers meant that really there was only one choice.

    Nice blog – I like it

  7. On September 1, 2010 at 3:25 pm

    Mark @ Metal Treasure Detector said:

    I have several blogs and am about to try my first ecommerce based blog.
    Does Open Cart run on or integrate with WordPress?

    Also does it matter any if I am based in the US? I noted one comment where Steve talked about Royal Mail Delivery charges and I wanted to make sure that this was not specific to Europe.

    Finally I am less concerned about having a million features and more concerned with easy of use and spending my time marketing the website not wrestling with shopping cart software!

  8. On August 24, 2010 at 5:15 pm

    Bert Jonson said:

    Cat, thanks for clarifying. Makes sense now! Now I just need to decide which one to stick with!

  9. On August 24, 2010 at 12:49 am

    v2Media Web Design Brisbane - Gold Coast said:

    A feature to feature comparison places Magento on top of the pile. Magento’s community of users is also 100x’s larger than Opencart. There’s also no comparison between the number of extensions between Magento and Opencart.

    I can certainly appreciate your angle as a web host though. Magento is a php, mysql and smtp resource hog. If I were a web host and suddenly 10 Magento accounts cropped up on each server, I’d be quite anxious.

    • On August 24, 2010 at 11:18 am

      Cat M. said:

      Magento definitely has more features and a larger community than OpenCart, but it’s decidedly more difficult to use. As a web designer, you may not find it difficult to use, but I can assure you that people without a lot of technical knowledge find it quite challenging. Plus, Magento is such a heavy application, due in part to the large range of features. These features are great if you want to run a really complex shop and offer tons of different promotions. However, if you just want a simple online store, and you only plan on offering discounts like 20% off, then there’s no point in users struggling to learn Magento when OpenCart will suffice.

      We have tons of customers who use Magento, and we don’t find it be a huge problem as far as resources are concerned (all of our servers use LiteSpeed instead of Apache, and we help our customers make tweaks to help Magento run better). The reason I suggest OpenCart to people who have a hard time with Magento, is because it is much easier to work with. Some people use Magento without a problem, while others are constantly struggling with it. When our customers really just can’t make Magento work for them, we recommend OpenCart. We’ve had rave reviews from our customers, so I thought I’d pass the information along to people in the same situation.

  10. On August 23, 2010 at 7:04 pm

    Bert Jonson said:

    Really interesting info on OpenMart. My only issue with this is that I dont know much about Magento and the article doesn’t give much info on what are the benefits OVER Magento. Does Magento not include any of the features listed above?

    • On August 24, 2010 at 11:25 am

      Cat M. said:

      Sorry if this wasn’t clear–Magento undoubtedly has more features than OpenCart. However, some users find Magento to be quite a challenge to use, while OpenCart is much more user-friendly. The main benefit of using OpenCart over Magento is simply ease of use. Sure, OpenCart doesn’t have all of the same features, but it has most of the features needed by users who wanted to create a simple online shop. We have customers who have really struggled with Magento, so we told them to give OpenCart a try: they really like it, and they find it much easier to use. We are big proponents of open source applications that enable fairly inexperienced users to create websites, blogs and online shops, and for most users, this doesn’t include Magento, but it does include OpenCart.

  11. On August 21, 2010 at 6:40 am

    London Ontario Web Design said:

    Hey there, I was looking for info on Open Cart and stumbled on your site. Good info here. I have only used Virtue Mart for Joomla. Looking for more open source solutions

  12. On August 19, 2010 at 7:09 am

    Steve said:

    I had quite a close look at Open cart when looking into making a move from an old solution to a new one. The main reason for choosing Magento over Opencart was the amount of plugins that are openly available and one very important one for us was the Royal Mail Delivery charges which will save us thousands of pounds a year in itself.

    It looks like an amazing solution I just feel it needs to become a little better known and have a few more add on’s available (such as video streaming etc) to make it a slightly more attractive option. Good post!