By Sean P Aune

18 Great Shopping Carts to Power Your Online Store

By Sean P Aune

The ecommerce boom shows no signs of slowing down any time soon, and each year the amount spent during the holiday season continues to increase. The question of getting into the market is a fairly easy one if you have products to sell, but how do you even begin to sort through the hundreds of shopping cart options that are in the space?

We’ve helped you out a little bit by gathering up 18 choices that represent the best of the free and fee-based options out there. Read about each one very carefully, though, as they all have their pros and cons.

Free Shopping Carts

AgoraCart: AgoraCart offers a free version of its software with all of the usual bells and whistles, but if you upgrade to the gold version you will get access to more modules and support.

Batavi: Batavi was born in 2007 by osCommerce core-team members and ICEshop over frustration that osCommerce 3.0 seemed to be going nowhere. This cart is based on that unfinished version of 3.0, but is completely rewritten. It offers customer- and group-specific pricing, payment and shipping modules, related products for crossselling and upselling, product price rules for pricing large product volumes and many other features that make it very friendly for business-to-business selling.

Magento: Magento was originally envisioned as a branch of osCommerce, but as development began they decided to code something original from the ground up and that is how this shopping cart was born. Built on the Zend framework, the system is PHP-based and is available as an open source option with extra modules that can be installed, or as an Enterprise edition, for a fee, for larger companies needing a shopping solution. For additional information, check out the SitePoint podcast with Roy Rubin of Magento.

OFBiz: Apache OFBiz is a solution for a multitude of enterprise business needs, but can be rolled out as an ecommerce solution easily for businesses of any size.

OpenCart: OpenCart is another in the long line of open source shopping carts in the marketplace, but this seems to offer a bit more options than most of them. It supports a full templating system, support for over 20 payment gateways, over 8 different payment gateways, unlimited categories and products and more.

osCommerce: Probably the best known of the free cart solutions, osCommerce has been around for several years and features a constantly growing developer community that continues to develop new plugins to make this shopping cart do everything but clean the windows. The front end of the cart is highly customizable, but it comes with a fluid-width template that is fairly decent on its own. Due to the number of installs it has become quite common and instantly recognizable. The biggest drawback at this point is the exceedingly long time version 3.0 has been in development. It is PHP-based and uses MySQL databases.

PrestaShop: PrestaShop runs on PHP and MySQL and makes extensive use in the admin panel. The system allows you to have orders placed for out of stock items, package tracking, merchandise return and a lot more. Many expansion modules are available for free, but there are some paid ones and templates available in the PrestaStore.

Satchmo: Originally designed in Python to try to overcome some of the shortcomings of PHP, Satchmo now is using the Django web application framework. It includes many features such as PDF invoice generation, automatic thumbnail generation, inventory tracking and a whole lot more.

Ubercart: Developed to work with Drupal, Ubercart fully integrates with your site and community on any server that can run PHP and MySQL. It seems best suited for people or companies with a limited number of items to sell.

VirtueMart: Starting life as a plugin named mambo-phpShop, VirtueMart changed its name when Mambo became Joomla, and it still requires Joomla to function as it is incapable of running on its own. It runs on PHP and MySQL, and is capable of supporting an unlimited number of products and categories, but is recommended for light to medium traffic sites.

Zen Cart: Zen Cart is a branch off from osCommerce that adds features such as a templating system and includes some popular osCommerce plugins in its core coding such as the gift certificate module. It is PHP-based and uses MySQL databases.

Fee-Based Shopping Carts

Avactis: Avactis offers all of the usual bells and whistles of a PHP/MySQL shopping cart such as real-time shipping calculation, multiple currencies, sales reports, marketing and so on. The program offers a tag based cart system that allows you to add the system to any web site of your choice, whether it’s a static site or not. They offer a free trial with limited functionality that you can install and test.

CubeCart: CubeCart runs on PHP and MySQL and is template driven, offers tax by state/zone or country, inventory control, gift certificates and more. The company also offers free updates for life and more modules for additional functionality.

Magellan Commerce: Magellan is a bit limited in its scope, but it is still very serviceable depending on the needs of the retailer. It offers over 30 templates, real time shipping calculators, order and inventory tracking and a lot more.

ProductCart: ProductCart is written in ASP and relies heavily on AJAX to speed up the consumer experience with their shopping cart. The system can also integrate with your current site if you prefer to building one totally on top of the cart.

ShopSite: This shopping cart solution allows you to add buttons to an existing site, or you can build an entire site with their wizard. This would be a great solution for those who want complete control of their design without being encumbered by the limitations of a complete shopping cart site. ShopSite offers three levels of subscription to its shopping cart system, or you can pay one time fees for the top two tiers of service.

ViArt: A PHP-based shopping cart that is offered in multiple flavors so that you can choose the one that best suits your needs. There is a free version, but it is so limited that it would only be suitable for the smallest of online stores. ViArt also provides you with a full CMS and Help Desk that can be integrated into the online store.

X-Cart: X-Cart offers different versions of its software to match the different needs of merchants. From the most basic version on up it features a CSS-based layout for customization, MySQL databases, search engine friendly and more.

  • ciaranmg

    I’ve been using x-cart for few years now and find it excellent. The templates use Smarty so there’s tons of good documentation out there. Also, their technical support is very responsive and reasonably priced.

  • GrahamS

    I’d like throw JShop in there too – http://www.jshop.co.uk
    I’ve just completed another shop using this. Its very flexible, and not too expensive (to buy or run). Support is good and there’s an active, helpful community too.

  • audiopleb

    I’ll admit that i’m only recommending this based on the demo i’ve tried (full demo to be fair and i did play for a while!!). But, it seems to be awesome and as i use one of their other products which is pretty awesome, i can only imagine it will be awesome too.


  • Bevan

    I thought I was a PHP developer until I tried using Magento. I think it is really over-complicated and not worth getting involved with unless you are a hardcore php programmer with zend experience or you don’t wish to change it’s default layout/functionality.

  • great list but you should add Wosci

  • Niubi

    Great list. Does anyone know what shopping cart software is in use at http://www.dubli.com? Because I’m really interested in getting it for my own site.

    Thanks in advance!

  • Aaron Salmon

    I’ve been using the free version of Magento for numerous ecommerce projects lately. It’s fantastic.

  • Stu MIlne

    Try out Tradingeye for ease of use. Simple to reskin and its really simple to understand the php templating system that it is built on.

  • recoil

    How about cs-cart? The list seems to be dead on other then that and the aforementioned jshop.

  • heggaton

    I use Magento exclusively – well almost, it’s too big for small e-commerce projects.

    It’s an extremely powerful product. Unfortunately, with that power, comes complexity – and expense.

    However, once you understand the complexity, it makes perfect sense.

    It’s brilliant for the module developer, as you can write a module without affecting the actual Magento files.

    Just be prepared to spend a good week getting to know the ins-and-outs.

  • I’ve heard really great things about Shopyify, and I personally use Instinct.co.nz shopping cart for WordPress.

  • I’ve used Mal’s Ecommerce (free) for a couple of clients who sell a limited product line that rarely changes.

  • Daniel

    Magento is really. The. Power house when it comes to cms ecommerce. Although there is a steep learning curve its worth the time and effort because once you master it there is no turning back and you have that sense that nothing is too hard to accomplish.

  • kmullins

    Is there a cart that can handle donations and subscriptions, and integrate with Authorize.net?

  • Kaiser
  • Nath

    Hi, Thats some great carts :) I’v been looking into these lately as I could really do with a top shopping card for a new online gothic store I would like to build. So yer I found this site pool tables and would like to know if anyone knows whats used on it please?

  • Wladimir

    Also check out http://www.tradingeye.com. Its built in XHTML/CSS and complies with the W3C WCAG and Section 508.

    It also has great features such as writing your own SEO URLs and even a link to Ebay!

  • pug2112

    Anyone here use ecart from Webassist?

  • IOS eshop is a powerful yet easy to administer shopping cart component for Elxis CMS.
    Unlimited categories and sub-categories of any level.
    Unlimited products
    Integrated search
    Product tags and tags cloud
    WYSIWYG editor
    Support for digital, intangible and downloadable goods (download manager is included)
    Special offers
    Discounts and discount coupons
    Product variants and price modifiers
    Open payments support (customer fills-in the payment amount)
    Tax and discount per product
    Express checkout option (shop without login)
    Generation of receipts and invoices (for companies)
    Various shipping methods and automatic calculation of shipping cost
    Various payment methods (paypal, moneybookers, 2checkout, eurobank, parsian bank, authorize.net, order, bank deposit, and more)
    Latest products RSS feed
    Products XML export for price comparison sites (many export options like different XML files for each language)
    Search and download eshop extensions and updates from within eshop control panel
    Option to set zero VAT depending on the origin country of the customer (ie. for inter-european transactions)
    Option to set eshop as new users registration handler.
    Integration with IOS Newsletter component
    Free updates and free support by IOS

    You can learn more here

  • Lepp design

    Avactis has been an excellent choice for shopping cart software. I am a web developer and had been looking for something to offer my clients in the way of shopping carts. I had tested 2 other carts out before and was very disapointed with them.

    Also why Avactis is not listed in the Free Shopping Carts category? They have Avactis free edition which could be used for production ecommerce store!

  • Magento!

    My vote is for Magento Commerce! It’s powerful and flexible ecommerce platform!

  • Anonymous

    I often use Digishop (php/mysql) because it’s really easy to customize the template, relatively easy to customize the cart’s functionality, and it’s got a ton of features built-in. However the company way overcharges for the tiniest customizations. Don’t use this cart unless you’re a competent php programmer (or can hire one with Digishop experience) or you’re happy with either spending lots of money to get Sumeffect to customize the cart for you, or you’re happy with the default functionality and template arrangements. They have a hosted option and an installable option — either option will cost money over time, but you get what you pay for in this world. I have one store with over 30k items and over 5k categories, and Digishop handles it fine.

  • Kley

    the shop above I fill not so good ,because I know one site is most cheap and nice
    if you don’t belive,you can visit the site http://www.myequalshop.com,so deep price so nice.

  • pek9999
  • loganathan

    i have used “Magento” really, it is great and good tool for the modern e-commerce solutions… i enjoyed to work on that

  • anete

    I’ve been using http://www.ecommercetemplates.com for years. It supports php and asp and has fantastic support forums. You can purchase pre-designed templates but I always purchase the generic code and add that into my custom design.
    Niubi….I think that dubli.com site might be using http://www.phpprobid.com. I looked into this software a couple of years back and would probably be what I would use if I had to do an auction site.

  • Debbie

    Where is FoxyCart? Big kudos for FoxyCart and their great tech support team.

  • Daniel

    Thanks for the great article. You can also try opening a profile store on http://www.incompany.com It is a great way to quickly set up and maintain an e-commerce store without having to spend money on servers, maintenance, promotion, etc.

  • Wendy


    You should take a look at my website… ScamDetective com. Just look under the eCommerce Tools tab on the left. I have reviews on all the above Shopping Carts, along with many others. You’ll be able to see what eCommerce Solution truly fits your needs best.

    Best Wishes,


  • These are 18 shopping cart.But which is the most preferable one.

  • Virtue Affiliate

    I can say that I like OpenCart, is easy to install and to use. Doesn’t have all the options which osCommerce has, but is quite good.

  • steveto

    Great list. I’ve done research myself and there are over 500 shopping carts out there…I would not be surprised if they were in the thousands. Obviously this is a service MANY people need or it could not support so much competition. You should also take a loof at shoppingcartforum.com. There are a few more to take a look at and review.

  • nside25

    And what about Shopcms?

  • Connie

    Nice list. Very detailed. May I suggest another you could add. Its called Market Theme. Its a theme for WordPress. You can setup a store and start selling stuff in less than 5 minutes. It includes a shopping cart that hooks right up to Paypay easily. You can see it at http://www.markettheme.com. They even have a demo that you can play with.

  • Darren

    Also be sure to check out http://lemonstandapp.com

    It’s coming out soon. You can implement any design you want. Your site can use any HTML/CSS structure that you can come up with. The interface is amazing and it’s very fast.

    It definitely looks like a more modern approach than what is currently available

  • Nigel Tavern

    Think that one obvious contender has been left out of this list… Tiger Commerce. It’s excellent software, competitively priced and able to create awesome ecommerce websites like http://www.squadronleader.co.uk.

    They have free software support also which is god send.


  • Mike

    I have been using CS-Cart for several years, and I am pretty satisfied.

  • Fawwad Ahmed

    i made my store on interspire : http://www.iunlockappleiphone.com and i am glad to use this worthy shopping cart. Thanks

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