Looking for ecommerce software? Here's how 3dcart and OpenCart stack up.
Matthew Taylor and Daniel Adams
Last updated 2o July 2020
Best for3dcart is one of the “big boys” of hosted ecommerce platforms, catering to businesses of all sizes.
$0 (the core platform is free)
Best forOpencart is ideal for small and medium-sized retailers that have web development experience.
Can't decide between 3dcart and OpenCart?
Find the best platform for you with our side by side comparison of 3dcart and OpenCart. See how each platform stacks up across ease of use, design, support and value for money.
Let the comparison begin. Don't worry, we'll guide you.
3dcart is a widely-used and fully-hosted ecommerce platform that comes with an extensive set of features.
Like Shopify, 3dcart offers packages for retailers of all sizes. Smaller online sellers can take advantage of a site-builder and straightforward management dashboard. Larger retailers, on the other hand, can choose from a comprehensive premium plan or several enterprise options (for stores turning over millions of dollars).
For retailers that want to start on a smaller plan but are expecting to scale, 3dcart will be particularly attractive.
On the negative side, absolute beginners may benefit from a more intuitive, streamlined platform like Weebly or Squarespace. The themes aren’t the most visually-pleasing that we’ve seen, either.
Use if you’re a large retailer looking for a fully-hosted solution with a wide feature set, extensive customizability, and excellent customer support. Equally, smaller retailers that are expecting to scale should consider 3dcart.
OpenCart occupies a unique space in the eCommerce platform market. It’s a free and open-source solution that’s ideal for small and medium retailers that want to exercise full development control on their own servers.
Immediately, this excludes two groups. First, small retailers that want a fully-hosted solution and don’t have coding skills will struggle with OpenCart. Secondly, larger stores, or stores expecting to scale, may find the feature-set somewhat limited. OpenCart doesn’t have the same functionality and scalability as other open-source platforms like Magento.
If you’re not in either group, however, OpenCart is well worth giving a go. As an open-source solution, it’s fully customizable. The feature set is pretty solid, and the interface is very intuitive for a self-hosted solution. You’ll also have access to a large user community and extensions library. Oh, and it’s probably worth mentioning the key selling point again: it’s free.
Use OpenCart if you’re a small or medium-sized retailer looking for a self-hosted solution that isn’t going to break the bank. OpenCart is a streamlined platform with an intuitive dashboard, a solid feature-set, and a friendly, active community of users.
Our first comparison criteria, ease of use. Why? Because it’s the most important.
Think about it. You don’t want to invest a lot of your precious time setting up an online store and tweaking the design only to find out that it’s a pain in the butt to manage day to day.
We take a look at how simple the 3dcart and OpenCart platforms are to run.
3dcart offers a site-builder and collection of ready-made themes for beginners, along with an advanced editor for developers. Setting up a store for the first time is a straightforward process.
Because 3dcart has a huge array of features, the interface can feel a little overwhelming at first. And it doesn’t boast the same level of intuitiveness as some other platforms.
That said, once users are familiar with the various features, store-management becomes easy. Extensive video and written tutorials are also provided.
I like it. At first it was a bit over whelming. I am self taught, so just had to figure things out my self.
I would never use another shopping cart software. I started using them in 2010. They have always been light years ahead of the others.
I like 3Dcart. I have been using them for about 10 years.
There are two sides to the ease of use question when it comes to OpenCart.
On the one hand, users have access to an intuitive dashboard (which is slightly unusual for an open-source, self-hosted solution) and a large library of extensions.
On the other hand, installing, maintaining, and running a store built on OpenCart requires a certain degree of development experience.
If you’re not comfortable handling backend tasks, then it’s probably not the option for you.
Very good. Takes a while to get it setup to your own taste/needs, but worth the effort. Loads of online help for the most common stumbling blocks.
Having tried numerous e-commerce platforms opencart is by far my favourite.
I love that you can easily buy modifications from the marketplace for niche use case scenarios, and if not there are developers that are very knowledgeable of the product so custom functionality isn't a problem.
Powerful features are great, but we all know first impressions count. So, do 3dcart and OpenCart templates actually look any good? See for yourself. We outline each platforms design options, plus showcase a few real life examples.
Generally speaking, 3dcart excels when it comes to design flexibility. Developers and designers that are seeking a solution that balances a high level of customizability with the benefits of a fully-hosted plan should definitely consider this platform.
Retailers will little design experience will also benefit from a solid website builder that allows them to make changes to their site’s look-and-feel and layout options. The one downside is that the free templates are a little lacking in terms of visual appeal.
Experienced developers can take advantage of the theme editor. A REST API is available for the creation of apps to add extra functionality to 3dcart’s existing feature-set.
OpenCart comes with a straightforward, minimal theme that’s already installed. Users that want to change the design have two options: buy a theme from the marketplace or edit the source code directly.
The themes in the marketplace are relatively well-priced - most cost around $20 - and this is a definite plus. There are lots of options on offer, tailored for a variety of online sectors, so you’re certain to find one that fits your needs.
OpenCart doesn’t provide a site-builder for users. If you’re not comfortable editing code directly, then you’ll struggle to make small design changes. Again, development experience is a must.
Everyone’s favourite topic - pricing. Let's dive in to see if 3dcart or OpenCart offers better value for money.
3dcart is very competitive when it comes to pricing. The lowest-priced “Startup” plan, which has everything you need to run an online store (unlike some other ecommerce platforms where the entry-level plans have limited feature-sets), costs $19/month. There are no extra transaction fees on any of the packages. New users can also sample the software with a 15-day free trial.
The top “Pro” plan, which is suitable for stores making up to $1 million in sales per year, and comes with omnichannel sales, 24/7 support, and unlimited bandwidth and product listings, costs $229/month. There are significant discounts for a yearly subscription across all plans. 3dcart is also one of the few ecommerce platforms to publicly show it’s enterprise options, which begin at $499.99 a month for stores making up to $5 million a year.
It’s difficult to fault a free platform. So why only eight out of ten?
First, let’s take a look at the positive side of things. The OpenCart feature-set is superb for a free, open-source platform. Users can take advantage of unlimited products and categories, multilingual and multi-currency support, product reviews, a shipping calculator, analytics reports, and more.
Where OpenCart starts to flounder a little is in regards to extensions and support. Dedicated support is $99/month. And extensions which provide extra functionality, such as integrations with third-party platforms, regularly run into the hundreds of dollars. Finally, retailers will have to take care of all hosting and maintenance costs themselves.
If things go wrong (and they often do) you need to know someone’s there to help get you back on track. So, how does 3dcart's and OpenCart's support measure up?
3dcart offers one of the best support packages on the market. All plans include live chat and help tickets. All but the lowest-priced option also offer 24/7 phone support. Customer reports regarding the quality of support are very positive.
Furthermore, users have access to extensive documentation and an active community of fellow retailers and developers.
OpenCart support comes in three forms. Reviews of the quality of support are generally positive.
First, users have access to a free community forum. The forum is active and has over 110,000 members.
Second, a one-off paid option is available. For $99 you get a one-time technical fix with a 30-day bug-free guarantee.
Finally, a subscription option for $99/month provides you with a monthly maximum of five extension installations and three bug fixes.
The final say. Let's wrap up our thoughts on each platform.
Overall, we were very impressed with 3dcart. Pricing is competitive, the feature-set is comprehensive, and there are plans to suit every type of online outlet, from small boutiques to international enterprise-level stores.
Features include support for multiple staff accounts, omnichannel sales, advertising automation, unlimited products and bandwidth, access to hundreds of payment processors, and more. Beginners can take advantage of a robust site-builder. And more experienced developers will find it easy to make deeper backend changes via the code editor or through the use of the REST API.
With all of that in mind, there are a small handful of downsides. Costs for apps can run into hundreds of dollars per month, there’s no support for multiple languages, and the quality of themes isn’t as high as some other providers. Smaller retailers that aren’t expecting to grow significantly might also prefer a more streamlined solution.
Our advice? If you’re looking for a powerful hosted solution that won’t break the bank, give 3dcart a whirl and see how the features work for you.
We liked OpenCart. It’s a great free solution for retailers that want to manage backend tasks themselves. If you have a small or medium store, and don’t want to deal with the complexities of a platform like Magento or PrestaShop, then it’s well worth giving a go.
Where OpenCart stumbles a little is in regards to paid extensions and support. Add-ons often run into hundreds of dollars. And for the amount you pay for monthly support, you might as well opt for a fully-hosted plan like Shopify or BigCommerce that comes with support included.
Just remember, if you don’t have development and IT skills, you’ll likely struggle with OpenCart. If, on the other hand, you’re more of the DIY orientation, you’ll certainly value the intuitive dashboard and extensive, easy-to-use features.
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