OpenCart: A Great CMS for an Online Store
OpenСart is a CMS for creating an online store. In general, this is easy to guess from the name, which can be translated as "Open shopping basket". It is PHP-based, using a MySQL database and HTML components. Support is provided for different languages and currencies. It is freely available under the GNU General Public License.
A little about history
OpenCart is one of the oldest, when compared to other CMS systems. It was written in Perl at the end of the last century, in 1998, and its first public release took place in May 1999. However, not everything went flawlessly - in 2000 the project was abandoned, and they started talking about it again only in early 2009, when the first release of the updated version took place.
And from that time on, OpenCart began to gain worldwide popularity. For example, in the fall of 2014, this CMS was recognized as the most popular e-commerce platform in the PRC, and in August 2015, OpenCart ranked third in popularity among platforms for online stores with a share of 6.42% (only WordPress and Magento became more popular ). At the moment, OpenCart is used on over 300 thousand sites!
Advantages of OpenCart
We can talk about the advantages of this platform for a long time, I will try to choose the most significant features that distinguish this CMS from some others.
OpenCart is free. You don't have to pay money for a bare engine, you can install the CMS, watch it, give it a try and decide if it works for you or not.
But even if we talk about paid modules, they are much cheaper than other CMS (for example, when compared with PrestaShop or Magento). In this case, we are talking about modules - that is, an online store on OpenCart will cost you a much lower amount than a similar store on another CMS.
Now I turn to the technical part - OpenCart is open source. In addition, it is not only open-source, but also quite simple, since it uses MVC. And the platform developers themselves are attentive to the readability of their code - it's nice when they think about end users, don't you agree? Thanks to this, you will be able to write modules yourself; it will not be difficult to understand the code. Ordering a module from a specialist would also be a good option.
Although I note that OpenCart has a large number of ready-made paid and free modules and themes. This is especially important for those who are afraid that the platform will not implement all of his wishes.
In addition, new versions are regularly released, the CMS is constantly and actively developing.
The popularity of this or that platform can sometimes be understood by the number of communities that are present on the Internet. So, many communities are dedicated to OpenCart: you can easily find the information you need.
Now let's talk about the functionality of the engine itself - it's abundant! Using OpenCart as the basis for your online store, you can create discounts, coupons, promotions, divide users into groups, use various features and options to create exactly the online store you've always dreamed of. For example, it is convenient that OpenCart has many order statuses, and if you wish, you can add your own. There are also purely customer-friendly features like ratings and product reviews.
OpenCart has support for an unlimited number of products and categories, as well as many payment and shipping methods. As for payment methods, I would like to note separately that OpenCart has the ability to integrate payment methods such as Webmoney, PayPal and many others into your site. The more payment methods you have in your online store, the more potential customers you can reach. By the way, the ability to use multiple currencies in the store is also present.
OpenCart provides protection for customer transactions, and also has additional tools to help protect your site from online fraud, hacking or information loss.
Also, this CMS supports many languages, including Hindi - let it be taken for granted, but in any case it means that you will not have problems with localization and understanding of items from the control menu.
The performance of OpenCart is excellent - the pages open quickly, and this despite the fact that the engine's hosting requirements are quite low.
Administration panel - "admin panel" - the place where you will spend a lot of time. So, OpenCart has a very convenient and understandable panel, there is nothing superfluous in it, at the same time everything you need is present. If you want to modify it, you can modify it on your own or by the forces of third-party specialists. Due to this wide customization ability, some define OpenCart as a hybrid of a CMS and a framework - indeed, this platform can be configured much more subtly and easily than WordPress itself.
Also worth noting is the ability to create reports and view statistics. Yes, it is now popular to track statistics using services like Google Analytics, but monitoring, for example, sales is much more convenient through the administration panel.
An interesting feature of OpenCart specifically is the availability of a tool that allows you to create an affiliate program. This can be used to advertise your online store: you will receive customers, and your partners will receive a percentage of their orders.
In general, this CMS can be safely called one of the most practical platforms that is great for creating an online store.
Cons of OpenCart
Each platform has its drawbacks, and OpenCart is, unfortunately, no exception.
Someone may think the basic functionality is limited: yes, perhaps the initially installed version will lack some function that you really need, but this issue can be easily solved using the module.
Also, due to the simplicity of the code, which means the low threshold of entry, there are many novice developers who try their hand at creating modules for OpenCart - and even sell them for money! - and then they cannot even provide them with normal support, or their module generally carries some fatal errors (or vulnerabilities for hackers). Therefore, you need to be extremely responsible in the choice of the modules that you install, and the source from where you get them.
Some technicians have pointed out architectural problems with the engine. There is also a problem with duplicate pages: different URLs can display the same page; this happens when a directory is nested at multiple levels, resulting in duplicate pages.
OpenCart may lose in terms of customization options, if you compare this CMS, for example, with Magento: Magento has much wider functionality, but it is also more difficult and longer to customize it, an average user may not be able to do it.
Perhaps, if you are going to create a very large online store with a wide assortment, and especially if you need integration with 1C: Enterprise, it is better to choose another platform (for example, Bitrix). Otherwise, OpenCart is fine for you.
OpenCart may not be the perfect platform for every task. However, experience has shown that this CMS is worthy of the attention of those who are going to create their own online store, and most often meets their requirements. Since most of the hosting now has the opportunity to install this CMS directly from the control panel, I recommend installing and trying to work with it, especially since - I repeat - this is a free and well-made engine that is convenient to work on, even if you do not have deep technical knowledge and extensive experience in administration.