Ecommerce Platforms – 10 Free & Open Source Solutions for Your Store

Ecommerce platforms can save you a lot of headaches by offering a complete product management solution, shipping options, payment processing gateways and a top way for you to communicate with your customers. These and many other arguments make us recommend Ecommerce platforms instead of building your own CMS.

These solutions tend to get quite expensive however and are not always a good suit to everyone. We know that if you are a small business, maybe money is an issue. For those of you who want to start with a free solution we collected the best and most comprehensive platforms that can handle your ever-growing online store.

In our quest towards finding the perfect free ecommerce platform we focused on 5 key elements that we consider most important for every online shop out there:

  1. Ease of use and customization options
  2. Platforms that are able to scale and grow with your business
  3. Overall code quality & code optimization
  4. Stability & reliability
  5. Solutions that fit any kind of product type

Based on this list, we were able to come up with a top 10 list of amazing platforms that are not only free, but supported by huge communities always there to bring more innovations and features.

We’ll start this countdown from #10 to #1 so that you will understand how we chose the best one in this list. We’ll take you through each feature and describe our experience with each of them.

10. osCommerce Online Merchant

osCommerce

This platform is a veteran in the eCommerce industry. osCommerce (“open source Commerce”) was first introduced 16 years ago as a simple, clean and minimalist shopping cart software. It used to be quite popular back in the day since there was little to no competition in the business.

In fact, osCommerce is used by over 20,000 registered online stores and it has an arsenal of over 8000 free add-ons released by its community.

Nowadays, osCommerce doesn’t seem to bring that much of an improvement, but they are quite decent for a small to medium-sized online store if you are not that picky in terms of design and functionality.

What we like:

For starters, you should know that osCommerce is a self-hosted ecommerce platform that is secure and powered by over 300,000 members. It has plenty of free modifications and add-ons that allow you to create a fully customized store in no time at all.

We also enjoy the fact that osCommerce managed to stay in this competitive market for so long … this definitely means something.

You can check out the online demo and see what osCommerce can do.

What we don’t like:

osCommerce kept it’s old-looking design and doesn’t seem to release updates all that often. Besides that, we don’t really consider osCommerce the most SEO-optimized platform out there. It’s great that is free, but we really don’t recommend it for large ecommerce projects.

Our Recommendation:

Even though osCommerce is a stable and growing platform, we believe that is somehow outdated and may not work on some Ecommerce projects. This is the main reason why osCommerce comes only at number 10 in our list.

We do recommend using osCommerce if you have a small store or one that has few products or just one.

9. SpreeCommerce

SpreeCommerce

Spree was first introduced in late 2007 by Sean Schofield as a Ruby on Rails project. Since 2007 the project grew to become the main platform that suits over 45.000 online stores.

It’s an ambitious project that is supported by over 700 developers and a $1.5 million funding from AOL and True Ventures.

SpreeCommerce gives you full access to API, license, the entire community and a modular way to think your online store.

What we like:

Spree was voted as one of the “Top 50 Open Source Projects out of 3 Million” this gives huge potential to this project and sustains it on the long run.

What we don’t like:

SpreeCommerce is not that accessible to everyone. In order to operate it, you will need to have a decent understanding of how Ruby on Rails works.

Check out SpreeCommerce now.

8. Sylius

Sylius

Probably one of the biggest surprises in this list. Sylius is a new entry in this niche, but definitely one of the strongest we’ve ever seen. In fact, the reason why Sylius doesn’t sit in top 5 is because it isn’t as well established as the other platforms in the list.

It is good to know that Stylius is an Ecommerce platform behind over 35.000 online stores, over 400 developers and quite a large community.

On top of that, Sylius powers large vendors like HBX.com and Reiss.com.

What we like

Sylius is fully customizable opening an entire world of possibilities to developers and business owners. In fact, Sylius offers 2 different packages, one designed with visual assets in mind and another one designed for developers.

What we don’t like

It doesn’t have as many plugins and themes as other solutions like it. However, it’s still a new product and has a great future ahead.

Visit Sylius and see what it has to offer.

7. X-Cart

X-Cart

Not many people know that X-Cart is actually the very first ecommerce platform developed on top of PHP. It was first introduced in 2001 by a Russian development team who also worked on the popular Ecwid platform.

X-Cart offers a cloud-based application which is premium, but is also available as a downloadable free and open-source file for small to medium-sized companies. (you can always upgrade when your store grows)

X-Cart is the no1 choice for over 35.000 online stores in over 111 countries.

What we like

We really enjoy that X-Cart includes a fully customizable experience that happens in the front-end based on a drag and drop interface.

It’s very easy to install and manage and favors a great overall user experience.

What we don’t like

It requires some HTML knowledge and coding skills in order to operate it. On top of that, if you want to upgrade to the pro version of X-Cart you need to pay a substantial amount of money.

Check out X-Cart and let us know what you think.

6. VirtueMart

VirtueMart

VirtueMart is a popular open-source ecommerce tool designed as an extension for Joomla! and Mambo CMS. The plugin is quite powerful and doesn’t sacrifice any features that you may find in a standalone software that focuses on ecommerce.

It’s great, free and open source. On the other hand, however, we only recommend VirtueMart if you are a serious Joomla! fan.

What we like

VirtueMart is available in pretty much every language and offers guides and support for each feature.

What we don’t like

You will probably need a developer in order to bring in your personal touch to the store. It’s dependable on Joomla!

Install VirtueMart for free.

5. Drupal Commerce

Drupal Commerce

It’s widely known as a social commerce framework. Drupal Commerce, as you probably have already guessed is a Drupal module which extends the awesome features included in this popular CMS.

It’s one of the most popular Drupal modules and offers plenty of options to customize it and extend it using mods and tools created by the developer community.

What we like

Drupal Commerce is a very flexible platform that offers a modular environment and plenty of configuration options at your disposal.

On top of that Drupal Commerce is quite a comprehensive tool in comparison with other Drupal modules, but you still need to know how to operate Drupal first.

What we don’t like

It doesn’t come with any presets. In fact, Drupal Commerce was designed to allow you to build your online store from scratch, but using the capabilities of Drupal. This is a downside, but also a great benefit of using this module.

Get Drupal Commerce

4. PrestaShop

PrestaShop

A widely popular solution started up by a French development team in 2007. PrestaShop is now the favorite store-builder to over 250.000 online shops and online ventures.

The even crazier fact is that PrestaShop has a community of over 1 million members and is available in over 190 countries.

What we like

Is definitely an aesthetic platform that manages to embed a feature-rich administration panel. We enjoy the clean interface and the built-in SEO feature.

What we don’t like

PrestaShop doesn’t offer full support for multiple stores. On top of that, the modules created for the platforms are rather expensive.

Learn more about PrestaShop

3. OpenCart

OpenCart

By far the most undervalued ecommerce platform in this list. We love OpenCart and we believe it is one of the best in the industry…and free, of course.

You should know that OpenCart is a solution that comes ready out of the box. It embeds a ton of free features and an extra 13000 modules and themes to take your creative genius to the next level.

On top of these, OpenCart powers over 300.000 online stores processing business in every corner of the world.

We also consider it a lightweight commerce solution, always keeping the essentials, but allowing you to upgrade at any time (through extensions or themes).

What we like

It’s very simple to install and customize it.  OpenCart offers a large variety of payment gateways and has an active community that strives to deliver the best extensions and themes 24/7.

If you want to hire a developer, there are plenty of affordable services for this platform.

What we don’t like

The extensions for OpenCart are amazing, however too many of them are available for purchase only.

Learn about OpenCart

2. Magento Community

Magento Community

Magento came to life in late 2008 as a Varien LLC project which exploded in just few years. It was acquired by eBay in February 2011 and has been under heavy development ever since.

Now, Magento is the go-to solution for largest ecommerce businesses out there. In fact, many people consider Magento to be the most complete solution for both small size business and corporations.

This is the reason why Magento is available in 2 different packages, one for small-medium online stores, and another one for corporate. The Magento Community is the free, open source option which includes all the essential features.

What we like

We consider Magento to be the most stable ecommerce platform because of all the developers and experts that work on improving it.

It’s ecommerce at a whole new level embedding all the tools and assets you need to create, manage and promote your products. On top of that, Magento makes it easy to scale and doesn’t have any limits at all.

What we don’t like

It can become quite overwhelming to new users and some even complained that the platform is bloated and moves slow in comparison to other solutions.

Get Magento Community now

1. WooCommerce

WooCommerce

The most popular and customizable Ecommerce platform out there. WooCommerce started out in 2011 as a JigoShop fork on GitHub and evolved into the most downloaded WordPress plugin of all times.

WooCommerce powers over 28% of the stores available online today. It is one of the fastest growing open-source projects and one of the most stable Ecommerce solutions.

The WooCommerce project became so popular and powerful that WordPress decided to invest in it so in 2016 they decided to acquire it and transform it into the no1 Ecommerce solution.

What we like

We love WooCommerce because it’s incredibly simple to create an online store using it, there are thousands of tutorials to help you manage it and hundreds of thousands of extensions such as themes and plugins.

This makes WooCommerce fully customizable, easy to approach and completely free.

What we don’t like

Even though WooCommerce is so powerful and great, it lacks one major aspect that other Ecommerce platforms have and that is a standalone version. This means WooCommerce is only available as a WordPress extension.

Still, keep in mind that this is also the reason why WooCommerce is so flexible and why it has such an astonishing community that supports it with plugins and themes.

Check out WooCommerce

Conclusion

All these platforms offer the essential tools and assets you need to sell your product. However, we recommend you to take time, write down all the features needed for your future online store and compare them with this list.

At the end of the day, the most important aspect you need to take into consideration is your ability to make these platforms work in the benefit of your business. Let us know what you think by posting a reply on your favorite social media website.