Top 15 Prominent Open Source eCommerce Platforms

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Mia Updated: April 07, 2021

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We’re living in the digital age where the role of websites for businesses is indispensable. Without a business website, you might lose out on opportunities to reach your target market and scale your online presence.

From the start, choosing the best eCommerce platforms is not an easy task, especially if you have to balance between the cost and web quality.

If you feel unsure and confused among the sea of available open-source eCommerce platforms, this post will compile 15 potential open-source platforms to consider.

Table of contents:

What is an open-source eCommerce platform?

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If you’re looking for an economical solution when it comes to crafting an online shop, an open-source eCommerce platform might be a great starting point. For a non-tech-savvy person, the “open-source” term can be understood as:

  • The software whose original source code is developed freely available

  • Users can take, modify, or enhance the code however they like without any restrictions

  • Typically don’t have to pay a dime to download and use the code source to build your site

An open-source eCommerce platform, by means, is a piece of software that enables you to build a website and run your business online. In the long-run, the open-source eCommerce platform comes with more benefits than just being budget-friendly.

People choose open-source platforms since they are packed with unique features and developer-friendly.

Pros vs. Cons of open source eCommerce platforms

Pros of open-source eCommerce platforms

  • No vendor lockdown: Open-source platforms aren’t looked down to a specific vendor like licensed ones. Any vendor developer can use or distribute the original source code

  • Huge support community: Though open-source platforms don’t have the support staff like enterprise solution, each goes with a dedicated community for fixed and workarounds

  • High flexibility: As there are no licensing restrictions, businesses can install additional copies to get development and scalability needs without extra cost

  • Excellent customizability: The customizability of open-source goes hand-in-hand with its flexibility. With lots of freedom, you can modify and shape the source code to your specifications with no difficulty compared to licensed software

Cons of open-source eCommerce platforms

  • Complexity: The complexity of an open-source platform is the result of its extreme flexibility and freedom. The software maintenance, compliance towards relevant laws, security are not ensured during the software development process. Have long learning curve for non-tech-savvy people

  • Hidden costs: They can come with various unexpected expenses and end up shelling out the extra cast for an expert web developer to help you customize your site. You have to deal with several issues, such as the compatibility of plugins to your platforms, etc.

  • Security risk: To create a comprehensive eCommerce site via open-source code, you need plugin support. But some of which can breach your security protocols because of malicious and negligent design

  • Challenge for implementation: There’re various unexpected factors when it comes to building a website from scratch. You don’t get any help from the customer support team and is left to the forums, blog posts, or documentation of the platform

Simply put, we can point out the primary advantage of open-source eCommerce platforms is extreme flexibility and customization. Still, along with that freedom, they come to the severe need for lots of handholding.

Top 15 open source eCommerce platforms

1. Magento Open Source

Magento Open Source
Magento Open Source

With more than 250.000 users by now, Magento is one of the leaders of world eCommerce platforms (after Woocomerce and Shopify).

The biggest reason for its growth is how it’s completely tailored for eCommerce applications with the essential features and advanced customization to run an online shop.

Magento comes with 2 options for merchants:

  • Magento Open Source - previously known as Magento Community Edition or CE
  • Magento Commerce - previously known as Magento Enterprise Edition or EE

On this post’s scope, we only discuss the Open Source version of Magento.

Pros:

  • Support all essential features a primary online store requires
  • Easy installation and customization
  • Come with a vast Magento community
  • Various extensions (from fundamental to advanced)
  • Merchants or web developers get complete control over the website with no restriction
  • Well-developed documentation to instruct and support merchants and developers

However, by default, Magento 2 features are not completely optimized for marketing and sales. Thus, you still need the support from 3rd-party providers for extensions like SEO or Magento 2 abandoned cart email.

Read more:

2. WooCommerce

WooCommerce
WooCommerce

WooCommerce is by far the most popular open-source eCommerce solution when it comes to the WordPress user community.

Technically, WooCommerce is a supportive extension with essential features that turn your WordPress website into a fully functional online store, for instance:

  • Upload and manage an infinite number of products, orders, coupons, and categories effortlessly

  • Run a blog, optimize SEO and other sales activities

Pros:

  • Extremely easy to install and use

  • Support ton of extension and integration

  • High-quality and detailed documentation

Of course, this free eCommerce platform has some drawbacks, for instance, slow loading speed or potential coding conflicts. WooCommerce is a worth-trying tool for WordPress users.

3. OpenCart

OpenCart
OpenCart

Along with the popularity of Magento and WooCommerce, OpenCart is recommended for its user-friendliness and clarity. In fact, it’s a perfect choice for inexperienced users, particularly small businesses, startups, or ones with string budgets.

You don’t need to mess around much with code issues but still live up your online shop to its fullest potential.

Pros:

  • Don’t take too much time and programming experience to customize the website from scratch

  • Lightweight leads to fast loading speed

  • Offer many themes and plugins to customize your store

Though OpenCart is easy to use and good enough for running a business online, there are some flipsides of this PHP-based eCommerce platform, particularly:

  • Still need the help from a programmer to get around some of the code

  • Too simplicity and reliant too much on plugins which can increase the cost

  • Easily meets bugs and crashes during the updating process

4. nopCommerce

nopCommerce
nopCommerce

nopCommerce is another open-source eCommerce platform developed on ASP.NET technology with more than 60.000 customers.

Like OpenCart, nopCommerce offers high flexibility to meet most merchant requirements. But in terms of sales and marketing tools, the performance of nopCommerce is more outstanding. You can run multi-stores, multi-languages, and multi-currencies features.

Pros:

  • Provide users with all essential features

  • Offer a responsive design for mobile users

  • Support advanced eCommerce features for sales and marketing activities

Still, nopCommerce is definitely not for everyone. To use the software to its full potential, you need a solid knowledge of .NET, HTML, or CSS. Or else, you must hire someone to set up and launch your store.

5. Zen Cart

Zen Cart
Zen Cart

Though Zen Cart might not be the most modern eCommerce platform, it’s one of the best open-source solutions to experience for those who’re fans of old-school templates.

Pros:

  • User-friendly system

  • Ensure your website and customer information is completely secure

  • A substantial supporting community with over 150.000 members

  • Offer a wide range of features, along with various customization options.

However, as mentioned above, Zen Cart default comes with an attractive and old design. Thus, you properly need a developer to help your online store look more professional and compelling or buy templates on the marketplace.

6. PrestaShop

PrestaShop
PrestaShop

Serving more than 250.000 merchants, PrestaShop is another potential open-source platform to consider. You can download PrestaShop and modify it to your specifications.

Pros:

  • Ease of use, though it can take a bit of time for setting up PrestaShop

  • Offer a demo that takes you through the whole process

  • Over 4500 templates, plus a massive collection of customizable templates in the PrestaShop official marketplace

  • Strong user community

  • Come with a host of SEO-friendly features

  • Fairly lightweight, so that you don’t have to worry that it will negatively affect the website loading speed

No matter what, PrestaShop has common drawbacks of an open-source/ free platforms like:

  • Still require developer skill at the first stage to launch the store

  • End up paying hosting charges and paid modules/ extension for a comprehensive and effective store

  • Expensive extra modules for a regular online store

The rich features make PrestaShop a good option in your consideration list. It works best for small and mid-sized enterprises. However, Magento Open Source seems to be more prominent due to its advanced functionality towards even larger enterprises.

7. OsCommerce

OsCommerce
OsCommerce

Launched in 2000, with over 20-year experience in the industry, OsCommerce is known as an old and reliable option for small and medium businesses to scale on digital platforms. e

Furthermore, you have a chance to assess a much thriving community of experienced people (developers and users) to check out and discuss the best solutions for your problems.

Pros:

  • Great integration with almost all 3rd-party apps assist you in customizing your eCommerce store

  • Allow you to present your online website in multiple languages

  • Have a vast community of developers and users who’re always ready to support

Still, along with OsCommerce’s long existence, some of its features are limited and less advanced than newer platforms.

8. WP eCommerce

WP eCommerce
WP eCommerce

Another WordPress plugin option for merchants, WP eCommerce yet is more like an overshadowed cousin of WooCommerce. This comes as no surprise since WP eCommerce offers fewer themes and is not regularly updated.

Just like WooCommere, WP eCommerce is a solid WordPress plugin that transforms a regular WordPress dashboard into an eCommerce control center. You can add products, run promotions, and many more marketing activities on your site.

Pros:

  • The coding for this open-source eCommerce platform is not too complicated, easy to navigate, and configure

  • You can customize your site with simple CSS and HTML

  • Provide users with a robust coupon feature allowing one-time use for sales activities

WP Commerce’s a good place to go if you can handle CSS and HTML, but inexperienced merchants might need to hire experts for support or ask for help from a large developer community.

9. Drupal Commerce

Drupal Commerce
Drupal Commerce

Apart from Magento, Drupal is one of the most comprehensive open-source eCommerce platforms these days.

Pros:

  • Offer multilingual support and multi-currency

  • Integrate with numerous 3rd-party applications, which makes it a perfect fit for implementing strong content marketing on the site

  • High secure, mobile-friendliness with a large supportive community of developers and users

Most importantly, “comprehensive” means that you can easily do almost everything you need for an eCommerce platform.

10. TomatoCart

TomatoCart
TomatoCart

Like Zen Cart, TomatoCart is a straightforward and user-friendly eCommerce platform and an independent branch of osCommerce 3. Furthermore, TomatoCart can be completely customized via a basic built-in CMS.

Pros:

  • Lightweight system makes TomatoCart-based websites load quickly

  • Offers lots of features for the business’s sales and marketing activities

  • Designed to be very versatile and SEO friendly with a decent analytics supportive system

However, it’s a pity that TOmatoCart doesn’t have as many extensions as other popular platforms like Magento or WooCommerce. Its shipping options are also limited, and the admin panel can be a little unstable.

You can play with all the features of their demo on the TomatoCart site to define whether it works for your business.

11. Shopware

Shopware
Shopware

Founded in 2000, Shopware is among the most popular eCommerce platforms these days, with more than 12.000 users.

The remarkable thing about Shopware is that it has a distinct local character in the German eCommerce market, where it owns a 3.76% share.

Pros:

  • The product setup in Shopware is straightforward so that you can add your product with several variants, prices, and images easily

  • Feature automatic SEO configuration allows you to have a good solid basis for a high ranking on Google

  • Integrate with most popular third-party solutions like Microsoft Dynamics, Stripe, Paypal, etc.

Shopware is a great choice for eCommerce merchants due to its flexible configurations, straightforward user interface, and rich extension base to boost functionality.

12. Spree Commerce

Spree Commerce
Spree Commerce

What’s outstanding about the open-source of Spree Commerce is its customizability and the admin module.

A worth considering option for eCommerce merchants to grow their business with a flexible CMS. With Spree’s support, you get the most basic features to build a personalized eCommerce website.

Pros:

  • Support tones of customization options

  • Comes up with a store tailor-fit for your business’s needs

  • The backend admin module is adaptable, lightweight, and quick

  • Mobile responsiveness. Plus, support both iOS, Android, Desktop

  • Flexible and light with a powerful admin module

Unfortunately, like other platforms, such as Magento, Spreecomes with a massive learning curve to prepare for. And you need to install the system and host it on a manual basis. Thus, you might need to hire a dedicated team to handle their storefront for them.

13. JigoShop

JigoShop
JigoShop

Similar to WooCommerce and WP eCommerce, Jigo is a third option for WordPress users. It usually gets compared to WooCommerce in terms of simple interface and ease of use.

JigoShop focuses strongly on user experience so that you can start building your eCommerce site as a beginner with no difficulty.

Pros:

  • Support a wide range of plugins and add-ons, making your website far easier to scale up

  • Offer a basic dashboard and rich themes

  • Lightweight and available custom coding

But, there are some flipsides of JigoShop you should consider before tapping into this platform’s open-source. For instance:

  • Still need some add-ons to leverage the power of your online store

  • Don’t offer any free SEO options

JigoShop isn’t as popular as Magento or WooCommerce, so there’re not many partners listed on their website

14. Branchbob

Branchbob
Branchbob

Compared to others, Branchbob is a lesser-known eCommerce platform for online merchants. The special of Branchbob is that it comes with no monthly fee or transaction fees. Ease of use and simplicity are the 2 most significant advantages of this open-source platform.

Pros:

  • Support unlimited products

  • All built-in tool by default is clear and straightforward for beginners

  • Excellent flexibility for developers and web designers

  • Fast loading speed and excellent image optimization tools

  • Include on-page SEO functionality

Along with its great benefits, you should be aware when choosing the Branchbob, especially when you lack the required coding knowledge. Furthermore, since Branchbob’s a new platform, its eCommerce capabilities are pretty limited in some areas.

15. Joomla

Joomla
Joomla

Joomla will be the last name on the list of open-source eCommerce platforms that’s designed to enable both novice and expert web developers to build their websites.

Joomla is a flexible and highly user-friendly platform that provides thousands of free templates and extensions to streamline any online business.

Pros:

  • Install easily with PHP scripts

  • Offer built-in SEO functionality for the website and many available extensions

  • Come with multilingual for global selling

If you want a convenient way to build your e-store, Joomla has all the most basic features a regular eCommerce website needs. You only have to put a little time and effort into the first stage of setting up your site with Joomla.

The bottom line!

Hundreds of eCommerce solutions have popped up in recent years due to the rapid growth of eCommerce and modern shopping trends.

Open-source eCommerce platforms are the preferable options for startups, small and mid-sized enterprises because of their cost optimization and constant development.

However, it’s hard to define which one is the “best” platform. You are the only one who can decide what’s optimal for yourself.

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Mia
Mia
As a content executive at Mageplaza, Mia Hoang understands the value of content marketing lies in the engagement between the customers and companies. Her wish is to bring a unique voice, different perspectives, and new light for every audience.
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