WooCommerce vs OpenCart

With so many ecommerce systems out there, it can be confusing to choose between them. This article explains some key differences between two often used systems – WooCommerce vs OpenCart.

WooCommerce

WooCommerce is a plugin for WordPress that adds the ecommerce functionality such as product details, taking payment and customer account management. It’s written by WooThemes, a well established WordPress development company.

Pros

  • Free
  • Well coded and has been security audited
  • Very easy to install
  • Automatic updates are easy to install too
  • Some great free and cheap themes available
  • The WordPress system behind it is great for blogging to market the site

Cons

  • Things like payment gateways, shipping modules etc may be commercial
  • Skinning to match your website can be tricky, and probably requires professional help
  • Customising layout often uses PHP and ‘hooks’ rather than just editing templates
  • The automatic WordPress, WooCommerce and other plugin updates have the potential to conflict and wreck your site if you’re not careful. This can be a nightmare to troubleshoot and fix!
  • The documentation isn’t great, and support forum access is only included with paid themes or membership
  • The WordPress and WooCommerce forums are also full of newbie questions and people arguing, which makes getting correct answers time consuming

OpenCart

In contrast to WooCommerce, OpenCart is a complete ecommerce system that runs your whole website. It is maintained and updated by a small development team.

Pros

  • Free
  • It’s also fairly well coded
  • Lots of features and payment gateways built in that are paid add-ons for WooCommerce
  • Lots of free or cheap and well made themes also available

Cons

  • Customising templates needs high level of knowledge
  • No blog/news functionality as standard, although there are some great add-ons for this
  • No auto-update functionality means upgrading manually
  • No (free) support, as to be expected with free software. Forums are also full of newbie questions.

So Which eCommerce System To Use?

Unfortunately while we’ve looked at WooCommerce vs OpenCart, there is no easy answer to that question! It depends largely on what payment gateway you are planning on using and how custom you want the design to look. It’s vital to check the payment system is available on your chosen platform and that the gateway module is well supported and continually updated too.

While off the shelf templates can get you up and running quickly, we find a better branded shop is often quicker to achieve with OpenCart. The auto-updates of WordPress, WooCommerce and your other plugins often cause conflicts and break functionality, so it’s not as good as it first sounds.

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