Hosting Tutorial & Guide

Zen Cart VS osCommerce – Choose the Better One for Your Needs

updated on Nov 06, 2014
Zen Cart VS osCommerce – Choose the Better One for Your Needs Zen Cart and osCommerce are both widely-appreciated and competitive eCommerce shopping cart solutions among a multitude of online business solutions such as Cart66, CubeCart, Drupal Commerce, Magento Go or more. Besides, as is known that the success of online business mainly depends on the eCommerce software you choose, and to be frank Zen Cart and osCommerce are both trustworthy and helpful tools for you to give a try.

However, there are still a handful of differences existing between Zen Cart and osCommerce although they share more or less similarities in the same time. We will give you a pertinent and unbiased comparison between them from both the similar and different aspects so as to help you select your most ideal one.


First of all, there is a close and tight connection between Zen Cart and osCommerce because the former is separated from osCommerce and later becomes an independent shopping cart platform since 2003. Thus, Zen Cart is also PHP-based and adopts MySQL database just as its predecessor does with a more wide range of features added. What's more, they are both open source online store management solutions, which means that they are free to download and use under GUN General Public License.


Zen Cart VS osCommerce - Similarities In terms of the difference existing between them, Zen Cart offers the template system which enables its users to select any template out of the provided ones and a couple of new functions which are excluded from osCommerce. Moreover, Zen Cart is much more advanced and improved than osCommerce as it allows you to change the configurations easily in the admin interface and to add the product information quickly with its built-in sub-pages.

In the following part, we will further compare those two eCommerce solutions from the platform and product features, SEO and design, security and hosting tools, payment gateways, inventory management and marketing, payment and reporting aspects.

Platform and Product Features

Speaking to the hosting platform, both Zen Cart and osCommerce can successfully run on Windows, Unix and Linux platforms. But note that only osCommerce supports for Mac platform. Besides, Zen Cart bestows more robust and useful product features which are not offered by its competitor, such as the content management, customer registration, design features, mobile user interface, search engine optimization tools or more. But, osCommerce provides the search reports and SSL support which are not involved by its competitor for its users.

SEO and Design

Zen Cart VS osCommerce - Similarities When it comes to the SEO and design features, they have their own advantages and specialties that osCommerce supplies you the extra ability to have the auto-generated sitemaps, bulk image upload, existing site migration, and modifiable HTML or CSS. In comparison, Zen Cart supplies you the particular features, such as the breadcrumb navigation, drag-drop design, dedicated IP address, WYSIWYG editor. In a word, they are both well-designed with different features included.

Security and Hosting Tools

To sum up, only Zen Cart is PCI compliant and offers more security and hosting tools for people to ensure the safety of their websites which consist of daily backup, database caching, data encryption, dedicated SSL or more. But it does not supply users with the shared SSL like osCommerce does.

Payment Gateways

If you use Zen Cart eCommerce, you are able to enjoy more payment including, Iridium, Beanstream, Nochex, PayPal and Skrill. It needs to point out that you are not allowed to use the SagePay payment method unless you decide to turn to osCommerce which comes with bountiful payment gateways such as, PayPal, or more.

Inventory Management and Marketing

Both as the favourable option for merchants worldwide, Zen Cart and osCommerce have the function for you to check the real-time inventory status whenever you want. Furthermore, you are able to track your shipment by using Zen Cart. In terms of the marketing features, Zen Cart also defeats its competitor as it not only supplies people with the shared feature - coupons, but also offers more additional features like affiliate program support, gift cards, email list management, and newsletters.

Payment and Reporting

Zen Cart VS osCommerce - Similarities The two programs are both featured with multiple currencies available for you to use. What's more, on the one hand you can price every customer group by using osCommerce and on the other hand you have an access to discount management by using Zen Cart.

Likewise, both Zen Cart and osCommerce make you capable of having the inventory reports and sales summary reports, but only by using the former can you have the product performance reports and hosting usage reports.


According to our comparison between Zen Cart and osCommerce from the similar and different aspects, we can reach the conclusion that they are both right options for hosting your online store. To be specific, osCommerce is much easier to install and is fit for people using Mac platform and beginners who know little about eCommerce, and Zen Cart includes more product options and features for users and is suitable for people have professional-related knowledge.

However, whichever solution you choose, a powerful and reliable eCommerce hosting provider is rather necessary for you to run online store. In this case we have the following recommendations.