Hosting Tutorial & Guide

CS-Cart VS Magento – Which Is the Better Free eCommerce Solution?

updated on Jan 03, 2015
CS-Cart VS Magento – Which Is the Better Free eCommerce Solution? Both CS-Cart and Magento are popular shopping cart solutions although Magento has a much larger user base. This post concentrates on making clear of the similarities and differences between the 2 software to help figure out which is the right solution for your online store.

Taking both CS-Cart and Magento as pure applications instead of paid platforms, the comparison is made based on our testing and investigation into the software's cost, ease of installation, dashboard features, built-in payment and shipping features, SEO, customizability, and more.


CS-Cart is totally free of charge in the Trial mode which lasts for 30 days. After the period, the software charges expensive license fee of $385 for lifetime use and $195 for 1-year subscription, or you should use the Free mode which has limited features. Besides, to use CS-Cart, you need to purchase a separate hosting package as the application is self-hosted requiring a hosting platform that meets its system requirements.

The open source version of Magento comes with a completely free license which costs not a single penny in the download and use. Where you need to make a payment is to purchase a reliable and fast Magento hosting package to support the software well in serving online shops. In this perspective, it wins the competitor.

Backend Admin

Backend Admin CS-Cart is developed with a simple and clean admin panel which integrates with useful eCommerce management features for orders, customers, products and marketing. Pay attention that with the Free mode, you can only use 3 product filters and have no access to store access permission settings, shipping management and many other advanced features.

With Magento, one of the 3 best eCommerce software, you are allowed to manage multiple stores from a single interface. You can set different languages and currencies according to the location of targeted market, administer the permissions for different roles and users, and monitor everything about your store. Just the same as CS-Cart, Magento has a built-in content management system which enables you to create informative contents and pages for products and categories.

Payment & Shipping

Using CS-Cart, you are accessible to 50+ payment gateways which include nearly all the popular methods including credit cards, PayPal and Google Checkout. For shipping, the application gives you the ability to leverage the power of all major shipping providers to get your products well delivered. Tax and delivery cost can be set up differently to each customer.

Magento is integrated with a vast variety of payment methods. Your customers can pay with not only PayPal gateways, Amazon payments, Google payments and credit cards, but also checks and money orders. In terms of shipping, Magento supports real-time shipping rates from UPS, USPS, FedEx and DHL, multiple addresses for one order, order tracking, flat rating shipping, multiple shipments per order, and so on.

Both of the 2 applications gives full support to one-page checkout which presents all needed payment and shipping information on a single page to help customers make an order as easy as possible.

Marketing & SEO

Marketing & SEO CS-Cart and Magento both have multiple promotion features which help you attract customers and increase sales, such as product discounts, free shipping and product promotional pricing by percentage. Besides those mentioned, the latter comes with many more features in this aspect including private sales, multi-tier pricing, landing page tool, up-sells and cross-sells.

In terms of SEO, both of them support search engine friendly URLs and URL rewrite, which allows you to create URLs that are easy for both search engines and visitors to read. Besides, you are able to add meta descriptions for pages with CS-Cart, and add meta information for products on Magento sites.


CS-Cart has kept a large marketplace with hundreds of free and paid add-ons and themes with which you are able to customize the site layout and design, and add more features to your store to improve user experience and simplify management. Pick some of them, then you are to see large differences on the store.

Magento, on the other hand, has a much larger marketplace on its official site which assists both store owners and developers who want to make changes on the core features. Named as Magento Connect, the marketplace is recognized as the largest one for eCommerce applications. In addition, there are a large number of premium Magento themes and modules offered by third party marketplaces like Mojo Themes.

Which Should You Use?

Because of the limitation in features, the Free mode of CS-Cart can only suit the needs of beginners and small stores, while Magento is an all-in-one solution that is suitable for all purposes ranging from personal stores to enterprises. If you are in need of a reliable hosting platform for either software, we have the following recommendations which offer excellent eCommerce hosting services.