OpenCart vs. WooCommerce

Looking for ecommerce software? Here's how OpenCart and WooCommerce stack up.

Daniel Adams

Daniel Adams

Last updated 2o July 2020


OpenCart

4.0  Stackupp rating


Pricing from

N/A

Free Plan?

Yes


Best for

Opencart is ideal for small and medium-sized retailers that have web development experience.

WooCommerce

3.8  Stackupp rating


Pricing from

N/A

Free Plan?

Yes


Best for

If you want to run your store on WordPress, then WooCommerce is hands-down the best choice. It’s ideal for small and medium-sized retailers, but larger enterprises might struggle.

OpenCart or WooCommerce: Which is best?

Can't decide between OpenCart and WooCommerce?

Find the best platform for you with our side by side comparison of OpenCart and WooCommerce. 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.

Is OpenCart right for you?

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.

Advantages

  • The platform itself is free.
  • Open-source and fully editable for those with web development skills.
  • Intuitive and easy to use for a self-hosted platform.

Drawbacks

  • Costs for dedicated support and extensions can quickly add up.
  • Requires development and IT knowledge to be used effectively.
  • Few native marketing and SEO features.

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.

Is WooCommerce right for you?

WooCommerce is an open-source ecommerce platform for WordPress users. It’s one of the world’s most popular ecommerce platforms, and retailers can add unlimited products.

WooCommerce has a lot of great features, including an intuitive management dashboard, an extensive integration and theme library, and an active community. What’s more, WooCommerce is completely customizable and completely free.

While WordPress users won’t find a better solution than WooCommerce, there are downsides.

Because WooCommerce isn’t a hosted solution like Shopify or BigCommerce, you are responsible for taking care of backend tasks like hosting, security and maintenance. Some features that larger retailers require are also missing.

Advantages

  • Integrates seamlessly with WordPress.
  • Open-source and customizable with unlimited products.
  • Comes with an extensive library of themes, integrations, and add-ons.

Drawbacks

  • Because it’s not a hosted solution, you have to take care of maintenance and security.
  • Costs for themes, customer support, and integrations can add up.

Use Woocommerce if you like WordPress and want an easy-to-use ecommerce solution. It’s ideal for smaller retailers that are familiar with WordPress and are looking for a cost-effective platform.

Ease of Use

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 OpenCart and WooCommerce platforms are to run.

How easy is OpenCart to use?

Rated 4/5 for Ease of Use

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.

What OpenCart customers are saying...

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.

How easy is WooCommerce to use?

Rated 3/5 for Ease of Use

WooCommerce is very easy to use. A set-up wizard walks you through the initial process of setting up your store.

Carrying out typical ecommerce tasks, like adding product inventory, processing orders, and launching promotions and discounts, is straightforward. WooCommerce offers a simple and intuitive dashboard that WordPress users will find familiar.

Choosing a theme and integrating with third-party services (like shipping providers, payment gateways, and email marketing apps) is also relatively straightforward. WooCommerce utilizes “extensions” to offer an array of features, although some of these extensions are quite pricey.

If you have any problems, you can pay for dedicated support or consult the large community of WooCommerce users.

What WooCommerce customers are saying...

“The best eCommerce platform available!”
“Such a good product running perfect for 6 months now. Thanks and keep up the good work.”
“This is incredible shopping cart. So professional solution with huge amount of add-ons. Thank you for your work!”

OpenCart is our winner for ease of use

Design

Powerful features are great, but we all know first impressions count. So, do OpenCart and WooCommerce templates actually look any good? See for yourself. We outline each platforms design options, plus showcase a few real life examples.

How good are OpenCart's themes?

Rated 4/5 for Design

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.

OpenCart Examples

  • Schtinky Dog
    Schtinky Dog
Item 1 of 3

How good are WooCommerce's themes?

Rated 4.5/5 for Design

WooCommerce is one of the most customizable ecommerce platforms on the market. The WordPress editor makes it easy for users with no coding experience to tweak their storefront.

Deeper backend changes are also possible because WooCommerce is built on open-source software. Plugins allow for a host of minor changes, while more experienced developers can alter virtually any aspect of the core files.

If you don’t have any coding experience but want to make more complex changes, you can always enlist the help of a WooCommerce developer.

Along with a handful of free themes, WooCommerce offers a number of paid themes, most of which cost $39.

WooCommerce Examples

  • All Blacks Shop
    All Blacks Shop
Item 1 of 3

WooCommerce is our winner for design

How much do they cost?

Everyone’s favourite topic - pricing. Let's dive in to see if OpenCart or WooCommerce offers better value for money.

How much does OpenCart cost?

Rated 4/5 for Pricing

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.

How much does WooCommerce cost?

Rated 4/5 for Pricing

WooCommerce operates a unique revenue model. The basic plugin is free. Assuming that you have a WordPress site already, you can get up and running without having to pay anything.

WooCommerce makes money by selling plugins, themes, and support. So it’s important to account for these costs. Certain features that many retailers would consider essential, such as customer reviews, geo-targeting, customer services, and discount codes, can only be added through extensions that often cost several hundred dollars.

What’s more, customer support is only offered for WooCommerce products and via support tickets. For customization support, you’ll need to hire a WooCommerce developer, which can be costly.

It's a draw!

Help and Support

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 OpenCart's and WooCommerce's support measure up?

How good is OpenCart support?

Rated 4/5 for Help and Support

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.

How good is WooCommerce support?

Rated 3.5/5 for Help and Support

WooCommerce support is a mixed bag. Because it’s a free WordPress plugin, customer service is not included as part of the core package.

If you need dedicated technical support, you’ll have to hire a “WooExpert”. WooCommerce provides basic general support and dedicated support for paid products like themes and extensions through help tickets.

That said, WooCommerce has an active community of users that are happy to help solve minor problems, along with extensive documentation.

OpenCart is our winner for support

The Bottom Line

The final say. Let's wrap up our thoughts on each platform.

OpenCart: Our Verdict

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.

WooCommerce: Our Verdict

WooCommerce has many positives and only a handful of negatives.

If you’re thinking about WooCommerce, first make sure you wouldn’t prefer a fully-hosted solution like Shopify or Big Commerce. Out-of-the-box solutions come with dedicated customer service, an array of features, and all backend tasks are taken care of.

If, however, you’re looking for a cost-effective solution that integrates seamlessly with WordPress, and don’t mind looking after hosting yourself, then WooCommerce is ideal. A large library of extensions means that you won’t miss any features, and an active community of users is on hand to help you troubleshoot any issues.

What’s more, as an open-source platform, WooCommerce allows for almost unlimited customization.

Evaluate the cost of extensions and hosting before you decide to go all-in. And don’t be afraid to give WooCommerce a test-drive. It’s free, after all.

Overall, we found OpenCart to be the better ecommerce platform.

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