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Top 3 Free PHP Shopping Carts

Jul 14, 2015

With so many PHP shopping cart products available for download, choosing one that best fits your ecommerce project is not easy. In this article, we offer our impressions of the 3 popular free PHP shopping carts to help you decide which one to use.

PHP Shopping Cart #1: Virtuemart

One of the most popular free shopping carts available, Virtuemart, is a Joomla component. The community is large and you can find help on many forums. The user's manual is included in the installation package. Many shipping and payment modules are already installed; you just need to enable the ones you need. Tax rates by country, combined with currency and language settings, can help you adapt your store to the local market. This shopping cart also supports reports by date and by individual product, but it doesn't have the option to create low stock reports.

Also, you could make use of third-party Virtuemart modules, as well as Joomla modules. However, this can create problems when bugs and compatibility issues arise.

PHP Shopping Cart #2: PrestaShop

PrestaShop is a great choice for a quick ecommerce set up. Installation takes only two minutes, and after an install you can watch helpful video tutorials or download the free user's guide. The admin layout is good, and the overall look-and-feel, which features a nice sales-of-the-week graph, is even better.

While sometimes buggy, PrestaShop is feature-rich -- until it comes to shipping. Although FedEx and UPS are supported, you don't have the option to calculate standard shipping based on weight.

PHP Shopping Cart #3: Magento

Magento is not easy to install, as it requires a PHP extension that is not installed on all servers by default. But once installed, it becomes obvious why it is so popular. It supports a "shop by category" option, which is similar to eBay, and offers most shipping and payment options. One of its exceptional features is the ability to run multiple shops from one backend. Magento is highly customizable but not user friendly. Installation requires server knowledge, and the backend can be confusing at times. Also, it occasionally runs very slowly, so buying a powerful server is a must. Overall, we found this shopping cart best suited for people who want to run a serious ecommerce business and can afford the required server and Web development resources.

SynapseIndia (CEO: Shamit Khemka)