Hosting Tutorial & Guide

osCommerce Review – Why Is It Popular among eCommerce Owners?

updated on Sep 15, 2014
osCommerce Review – Why Is It Popular among eCommerce Owners? As one of the most widely-used shopping carts, osCommerce is enjoying increasing popularity. Based on the fact that some people wonder whether the application is really good for online businesses, we have made a comprehensive review on it to make clear of the advantages that help start an eCommerce site, manage sales and boost visits.

First of all, refer to the following ratings to get brief information about the cost, ease of use, eCommerce features, customizability and support. The ratings are based on our investigation into user reviews, the information on the official site, as well as our own using experience.
osCommerce Review
  • Cost
  • Ease of Use
  • Features
  • Customizability
  • Support

Cost

Just like PrestaShop, OpenCart and ZenCart, osCommerce is a self-hosted open source solution for online retailers, which means that anyone can download and use it without a single penny paid for the software itself. Where you need to spend some money is to purchase a web hosting package to get the software and the planning-to-build website residing on a server.

Also, there are a large number of free add-ons that can be found on the official site of osCommerce, so you can use the ones you like to richen your website with no additional charge. Of course, you may also need some premium and more professional ones that charge if you take your business seriously.

Ease of Use

Now in its 14th years of development, osCommerce currently releases a stable version of Online Merchant v2.3. Due to the nature of being open source, people who would like to use the software have to download and install it before any website is set up. The web-based installation procedure may demand a little bit technical knowledge, but as most web hosts now offer auto script installers, the installation should no longer be an obstacle, even for beginners.

Besides, the server requirements of Online Merchant v2.3 are quite easy to meet. Now almost all web hosting providers pre-install PHP 5 and MySQL 5 on all their servers, which far exceeds the requirements of PHP 4 or higher and MySQL 3 or higher. This fact indicates that the compatibility with osCommerce can be easily ensured. Besides, the multi-lingual support makes sure that it is a right solution in the world scale.

eCommerce Features

eCommerce Features This is the most important part that webmasters take into consideration when selecting a solution for their eCommerce sites because the features determine how they manage everything on the sites, including shipping, pricing, products, reports, and so on.

In this case, we have carefully reviewed the features and found that the software is quite feature rich, coming with tons of tools and options that are more than needed. Some of the ones that matter most are listed as following.
  • Admin features: unlimited products and categories, support for both virtual/physical products, database backup and restoring tools, static/dynamic banners, gift certificates & search engine optimization.
  • Payment features: multi-currency support, discount coupons, the ability to disable certain payment methods in the given areas, tax by state/country, multiple payment methods including PayPal, 2CheckOut, Authorize.NET, Sage Pay and SecureBuy.
  • Shipping functionality: weight and price based shipping options, UPS/USPS/FedEx lookup, support for disabling certain shipping options for areas.
  • Front-end features: order history/statuses, customer addressbook, advanced search options, product review, bestseller list, secure transaction via SSL, role-based temporary/permanent shopping carts.

Customizability

As is mentioned before, the shopping cart is open source, which makes it quite flexible, especially for developers, to fully control and customize it for specific demands. As is investigated, there are so far more than 7,000 free add-ons uploaded by osCommerce community which help extent and simplify the management of images, infoboxes, language, order, payment, shipping, and so on.

The add-ons include a large number of templates and themes which beautify the site appearance with a more professional sense. If you are in need of some more premium items that are packed with advanced settings, check the items from ThemeForest, one of the largest theme marketplaces with nearly 15,000 choices.

Support

Support osCommerce has kept a large community with over 270,000 store owners and web developers. In the forum, you are able to search and browse the categories and topics that you are interested in, or just post your questions and wait to be assisted by the vast number of participants. Besides, there is a Live Chat room where you can go on direct and real-time communication with other community members. This is a quick way for getting rid of problems.

In addition to the community, you will need to seek help from your web host with some advanced and complex issues, so the accuracy and speed of technical support is an important factor to consider in selecting the provider.

Conclusion

osCommerce is a good option for people newly getting into the online-selling field for its highlights in ease of use, extensibility, support and low cost, although some existing complaints say that new features should be added and security need to be enhanced. There are reasons why it is popular, after all.

If you are in search of a web host that offers reliable and fast online performance, around-the-clock support, and rich server resources, we have the following recommendations which are all official partners of osCommerce.