Self Hosted Shopping Carts: Prestashop vs. OpenCart

By Jacco Blankenspoor
We teamed up with SiteGround
To bring you the latest from the web and tried-and-true hosting, recommended for designers and developers. SitePoint Readers Get Up To 65% OFF Now

Self-Hosted Shopping carts

After comparing WooCommerce and Magento, it is now time for Prestashop and OpenCart to be compared. WooCommerce and Magento were like David and Goliath, but Prestashop and OpenCart seem to be more equal when it comes to features and complexity. If that’s true, I’ll find out by putting them head-to-head in a Prezi comparison.

Comparison metrics

I will be putting them up for a test in the following areas:

  1. Hosting: What are the requirements?
  2. Setting up: How long does it take before they are up and running?
  3. Features: Do they offer the important e-commerce features, and maybe more?
  4. Admin: Very important, how easy is it to manage your store?
  5. Coding: A look behind the scenes, how easy is it to change the templates?

For demonstration purposes I set up a demo store for both of them, which are used in the Prezi.

Prezi: Prestashop vs. OpenCart
Viewing instructions: Full screen and audio on (for the screencast).


While choosing webshop software can be just as hard as buying a new car, I do feel Prestashop has better cards in this game:

  • All the basic (and proven) commercial features are there (cross-selling, layered navigation, coupons etc.), where with OpenCart you need to use a paid extension.
  • There are lots of useful but – best of all – free extensions available. OpenCart wins on numbers, though.
  • There aren’t many free themes, but the paid ones look great and you can find about 100 themes for under $50. And the mobile theme is free and very professional.
  • The template engine makes more sense to me, but that’s of course really personal. It is better documented, though.
  • The higher degree of hosting requirements means more optimization possibilities, and that’s something I personally like.

OpenCart might be easier to start with, since more features can easily turn into a higher learning curve. My suggestion is to check out the demo stores, and install them for yourself as well. I’m very interested in your opinion.



Live shop: Prestashop demo
Prestashop theming guide: Coding a theme
Official site: Prestashop


Live shop: OpenCart demo
OpenCart Developer Guide: Guide
Community guide: Forum
Official site : OpenCart

We teamed up with SiteGround
To bring you the latest from the web and tried-and-true hosting, recommended for designers and developers. SitePoint Readers Get Up To 65% OFF Now
  • Josh Hartman

    Thanks for the comparison, Prestashop looks interesting. Please note that OpenCart does have cross-selling (related products) built-in. Edit a product, go to the Links tab, and you’ll see the Related Products section at the bottom.

  • irfan

    Thanks for the comparison. I have been doing some online searching on this, and your article was useful.
    Prestashop’s documentation is more comprehensive than opencart’s guide. I was planning to learn opencart, but I have realised not enough information is available on the opencart guide. The strange thing is that even books don’t exists on opencart development.

    • Anonymous


      You’re right about the documentation, too bad the official documentation isn’t finished. Prestashop really shines on this one though :-)


  • Oscar

    Nice article!
    As a developer, I’ve programmed for PS and OC too (I’m a Magento developer), actually I’m agree with you when you say OC is “easier to start” because I developed a custom shipping method (catching default events, adding some ajax and working over a custom new table) in less than 1 hour with no previous experience.
    I think OC’s MVC-L pattern is not so hard when you understand it, actually it’s really good to me (I worked on a 4 language site: english, spanish, portuguese and japanese!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!).
    But in my personal opinion, once again I’m agree with you, PS gets a better feel because it gives to users (front-end & back-end) an easiest experience. But… yep, a new BUT! I’m really impressed with OC, with some improvements I’m sure it could be the second e-commerce framework after Magento, and the best choice for non complicated small-medium business.

    PS: You forgot to mention some awesome native OC features like multi currency!

    • Anonymous


      Given the fact Magento isn’t the easiest piece of tool either, I can relate to your choice for OpenCart. And thank you for sharing your experience with coding for OpenCart, PrestaShop and Magento, it’s a great addition to this article.

      You’re about the multi-currency function. There’s more to it than what I covered, but I had to make choices :-)


  • Buck

    Years ago, I spun my wheels for six months with OpenCommerce until I tired of hearing about the upcoming new version (which still hasn’t materialized). I have been over 6 years without even touching a shopping cart.

    Now I am back, still a newbie and still learning. I tried PrestaShop and bogged down. Then I tried OpenCart and was able to get started, but still not fully functional. I noticed a similarity in the back end that made me think that one might have derived from the same code as the other so I have looked for this comparison to see if I should go back to PrestaShop.

    Judging by the three review sites I just looked at, PrestaShop is most up-and-coming and has the most features and support available.

    What I need it to do, seems rather simple, but once I start filling in the blanks, I find a lot more blanks than I expected, so I have to regroup and re-plan my strategy.

    I noticed in Open Cart, I can post Retail prices and then, for select members, I can post wholesale and quantity prices to my wholesale buyers. I hope that is the case in PS.

    I have deciede to give it another try.


  • Prestashop or OpenCart the debate can go on.. I don’t think there is a clear winner. Both are equally good.

    So when push comes to shove of selecting one.. How do you select? I would suggest two steps

    Check out the admin side of both on demo installations of PS and OS, find out what are you comfortable in

    Ask the developer what he is comfortable in . Check his portfolio. It is always better to go with a cart in which developer has specialization.

    Prashant Telang TransPacific Software