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What's your opinion on the Best Open Source Cart?

Discussion in 'White Hat SEO' started by derpywizard, Jan 20, 2011.

  1. derpywizard

    derpywizard Regular Member

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    I wrote a bunch more explaining my predicament with finding the free-commerce platform for me (So that I can begin. I simply don't have the funds to buy a dedicated cart).

    Basically, what open-source or free cart platform do you like best and why?

    So far I've been trying to open up an e-commerce using Opencart. The design aspect was a pain in the ass but I finally got it down. However, although Opencart itself is open-source and I don't expect to get help for problems (I chose opensource because I don't have a budget over 2k to buy a dedicated cart, and hosted carts, eh, I'd rather have control and not pay them anything either) but getting add-ons/modules for simple functions is ridiculous.

    I spent a week gathering some critical add-ons such as a csv importer (which just barely works) and other junk live support modules. I have just about everything I need and could launch the site tomorrow (I'm missing a timer countdown for special deals for my site, since I'm no programmer I'm straight out of luck as I can only go so far with simple html and no javascript).

    My question is, what's the most customizable open source cart do you guys reccomend? Opencart is severely limiting me and eating up my time just getting things to work.

    I heard Magneto Free Community edition was developing nicely. I also heard Prestashop was nice. Dreamhost offers Zencart and pushes it. I was also going to try Virtuemart but I have no interest in using Joomla.

    My main needs are a good .csv importer and image importer function,the ability to mark up prices of all products at once (I couldn't find this in Opencart, am I missing the function or am I blind), countdown timer for specials/deals, seo-able urls/cats/ and pages (not a big deal with Opencart, a module I downloaded fixed most of this), customizable design (messing with a stylesheet and a few .php files isn't too hard. However if I have jump all over the place to change the look of a site, I would not call that customizable), and that's about it.

    Thanks guys. I'll come back to this thread tomorrow. I'm dead tired.
     
  2. jamesmwis

    jamesmwis Newbie

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    I've used a many and Magento is the hands down best open source platform out there. The amount of built-in features, add-ons and overall how professional it is, is pretty amazing considering it's free. There's very little you can't do with it.

    If you are building it yourself it certainly isn't the easiest, there is a big learning curve with it and a lot to get your head around. It's also pretty resource intensive, wouldn't bother without a dedicated server running php5.
     
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  3. ahiddenman

    ahiddenman Elite Member

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    Magneto
    Opencart
    Cubecart
    Interspire
     
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  4. Dn100

    Dn100 Regular Member

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    Hi,

    Thought i would make my first post one worthwhile, instead of lurking!

    I have used several platforms, notably xcart (which i know isnt opensource) and Magento.

    I would say Magento is definitely one of the better platforms in my eyes, and does all you request - however some of the built in features (such as built in CSV/product/stock import) are poor and very slow.

    Magento itself is a slow platform, and does eat more resources than many webservers provide. I have used this system on a dedicated server of mine, and also on a VPS with a low contention ratio with minimum 700ish dedicated ram.

    My store has approximately 5000 records in the backend which translate to around 3000 on the frontend, and runs fine on the VPS setup, although obviously slower than the dedicated. However, magento will run slow on most setups without the correct tweaking (which is relatively simple when you get the hang of it).

    Basically, search magento for a thread which explains how to tweak magento/your php and mysql settings. I think it was called 'How to speed up magento' and although is a little old, most of the tweaks are still relevant.

    One of the biggest improvements is to install Fooman Speedster from magento connect which is free (you can either use the built in magento connect manager on your system or install via SSH using ./pear install xxx (x being extension key displayed on the magentoconnect website section). Once installed, setup the neccessary file permissions as stated on the extension page, clear the magento cache in the backend and browse your site. You will notice after a while, you store will load and run alot quicker.

    One of the biggest slow downs with Magento is MYSQL queries I believe, so when installing via the web interface, I always store sessions in the file system and not the DB.

    Configuring your servers PHP and MYSQL configurations can help quite a bit, aswell as installing APC (there is a seperate thread on magento forums for this also, do a search, sorry, cannot remember title). All are pretty easy to do via SSH if your server provides root access. Always make a backup of these just incase tho (better to be safe than sorry!).

    One thing I would say, is just to always remember when making any big changes on your site, either disable the inbuilt magento cache system, or refresh it afterwards, as this changes will not be visible otherwise.

    With regards to the CSV import, the inbuilt magento import is terribly slow. Search the forums for a thread by a user called 'dweeves' who has created a fantastic CSV import script which can be run from your web browser, and will import products or update stock at about 100000000% quicker than magento will do. This is free, and all you have to do is upload your CSV to /var/import for this to work. I use this to keep my website stock up to date. You can also use this to import and create new products (although it won't match configurable products and simple products together), you will have to do this manually through the magento system afterwards.

    Magento is a system which is very powerful, and I am always learning new things to do, to change, to improve on, and providing you have patience, I think you will be happy. I also love the fact there are so many free web templates and other misc modules which can be used to improve your store.

    Hope this helps :)
     
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  5. jamesmwis

    jamesmwis Newbie

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    Good post Dn100, some sound advice :cool:

    Just want to add, once you have Magento set up learn about different product types before you start i.e. configurable & simples. Do it right to first time and save yourself a lot of time.

    Google "magento gbase module" and use this for Google shopping instead of the slow buggy in-built module. I have stores doing 300+ clicks per day from Google shopping and it converts well, don't ignore it.

    Another selling point for it, multi store installations. I'm doing SEO on a store that has 3 different websites all running from 1 central installation/host. The client adds their product once and the product appear on all of their sites and they manage all sales from one CMS. It's SEO friendly because I can have different content/design/meta on all 3 sites, all edited from the one CMS. I don't know any paid carts, which do this so well.
     
  6. derpywizard

    derpywizard Regular Member

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    I'm using shared hosting from dreamhost so I'm probably going to have get a VPS soon anyway, if my store has a good conversion rate anyway (I plan to spend some money on PPC campaigns to test if my site converts. Then"ll switch to another cart and make a similar design/set-up but with more functionality.). I have to check Magneto out.

    Wow, that was a fantastic first post! CSV importing and speed are one of my biggest concerns. Although speed/loading time of the site can be easily speeded up from me upgrading to a VPS, I still could use a faster .CSV importer, as the csv module for Opencart is slow.

    I'm going to have about 5,000 - 10,000 products once I'm done tweaking a few pieces of code in Opencart. Is that a lot for a cart? Hopefully this won't slow Opencart to a crawl. If it stays at the speed it is at, I'm going to throw some PPC and see where it goes from there.

    Anyway, thank you very much for the informative post, I'm going to keep it bookmarked and test Magneto out this weekend. Thanks a lot man!

    If anyone else has more suggestions, feel free to post. So far I'm swayed by Magneto.

    P.S. Does anyone know how to program a timer countdown into Opencart?
     
  7. LyNHS

    LyNHS Regular Member

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    The best open source shopping cart has to be VirtueMart. I'm a Joomla person ...honestly, if you're creating a serious website, then everyone's choice should be Joomla IMO. VirtueMart is a Joomla Extension... and is completely free and easy to use.

    Oh, and VirtueMart was created by Google, so that should give you some idea on its quality! :)
     
  8. Dn100

    Dn100 Regular Member

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    No problems, as I said, bout time I contributed :)

    Upon initial install, magento will be as quick as other platform. Once you get your products loaded on, you will notice quite a slow response, even with a VPS or dedicated.

    I forgot to mention you can also disable built in modules in the backend which you won't use, which can/do speed up the store. For example, I don't use the built in 'poll' module, or moneybookers etc, so I disable these. Theres about 30 I think, most you will need, but some I am sure you can turn off.

    Just to let you know, I ran an import the otherday uploading related products information only. Only 4 column rows in the CSV which were something like 'related' 'sku1' 'sku2' 'relationship'... This is a custom import which will automatically assign relationships between products (cross selling). Using the inbuilt magento import, this took almost 2 hours for around 4000 rows. No records had to be created, and this was basic information. Unfortunately the import script created by Dweeves doesn't feature this functionality (although I did read he is looking at implementing it).

    I haven't used the import script to create new products etc, however to update over 5000 records using 2 columns 'sku' and 'qty'... this takes around 30-40 seconds, and can also be setup on a cron job if you pull a regularly updated csv file from your supplier.

    I know Magento can pretty much handle as many products as you throw at it.

    Jamesmwis is correct - learn the product types first :) There is a a lot to the system to be learnt, but it is very powerful and once you get to grips with it, I am sure you will be happy with it.

    Thanks James, the inbuilt googlebase system on 1.4.1.1 never really works, although I think they fixed this in 1.4.2.... /me goes to do a google search :)
     
  9. poola

    poola Junior Member

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    What I cant understand is why people keep on mentioning magento when they know that is a pain in the ass to learn if you are doing it on your own. I still prefer opencart
     
  10. sumon2k7

    sumon2k7 Junior Member

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    In my opinion this are the best

    Presta shop is robust, professional grade e-Commerce shopping cart that you can download, install, and use for free.

    OenCart is an open source PHP based online shopping cart system.

    Magneto is a professional open-source e-Commerce solution offering unprecedented flexibility and control.