Best of eCommerce Nuts: OpenCart vs Magento

Written by in Articles on December 23, 2012  |  26 Comments


When it comes to the situation when your existing shopping cart does not satisfy your e-business demands anymore, it is time to move on and consider the latest trends and tendencies. You should look for the platform which features and options will help you get the highest profit leaving competitors far behind.

There are countless solutions to choose from, each having their own strengths and weaknesses. This is extremely important to figure out here as it is the most responsible step in your business development.

To help you in this confusing task, I have selected two of the best shopping carts available today: OpenCart vs Magento. They are the two platforms that come up on top SEO ranking and are the most popular among online entrepreneurs.

So let’s put them face to face to reveal the key features and differences so that you could make a more grounded decision.

At first glance, OpenCart and Magento may look similar. I can honestly tell you that both of them are reliable platforms. They allow to easily build successful online store, with minimum money investment and maximum effect.

Both, OpenCart and Magento:

  1. Are open source and free to download. You have full control over the code,and use the cart for free so no one can suddenly raise the monthly fee for using the shopping cart on you.
  2. Have large forum communities, so any problem can be solved easily in the shortest time via communication with real people.
  3. Offer an unlimited number of grouped and related products and categories.
  4. Have multi -languages, -currencies and -stores support, and allow to use all that options from one admin interface.

Which One to Choose?

Answering to such common and important question “which one is actually better” my answer will be “it depends on which features you prefer over others…” So lets go in depth to make a “checklist” of options you would need the most.

The work with your shopping cart starts from the installation. What is important here? I guess the time needed for installation and simplicity. Here, you do not have to vary about anything as there is a number of tutorial videos, documentation and precise instruction guidelines available for both carts to save you time on the learning curve.

OpenCart is full of “out of the box” features that are easy to install. So your task here is to select template, add categories, products and related information, and you are ready to start accepting orders from your buyers. Magento installation will be more time, knowledge and effort consuming in terms of hosting environment.

In the admin area, OpenCart again wins thanks to its simplicity. Magento complexity is explained by such fact that this platform is mostly oriented on a large-scale stores. It was created particularly for store owners who are professionals in IT and are aimed at making their business perfect with their own hands.

Content management system for OpenCart has built and strong but very basic CMS. Magento’s CMS is more flexible and allow easy formatting of content per users unique requirement.

When we talk about SEO (search engine optimization), Magento is considered to be the leader here. It has top of the line built-in SEO features and SEO-friendly URLs. OpenCart also offers SEO tools which allow pages to be highly ranked by all major search engines.

  1. Apart from everything mentioned above, Magento’s options include online marketing option that enables entrepreneurs to develop customized sites for their unique requirement. Magento best suits for merchants with specific need and experience in online business. Platform provides users with advanced level of flexibility and control over the content, design, and functionality.
  2. OpenCart eCommerce shopping cart is developed not only as a starting point for e-business, but for those merchants, who are looking for effective and effortless maintenance and a good background for online store. OpenCart comes with a great B2B features, making it perfect for large-scale businesses.

The Conclusion

OpenCart offers more straightforward store establishment that can bring immediate results. Functionality with Magento platform is highly developed and does not require third-party extensions, but does require “more” technical knowledge.

Our goal was to show that both OpenCart and Magento are great open source projects, just created for different eCommerce demands, purposes and requirements. It depends on your personal preferences and business specific needs which one will suit you better.


About the Author

Halia Vilchynska is a Marketing Assistant at MagneticOne, developer of Cart2Cart, online shopping cart migration service designed for straightforward and secure data migration from your current shopping cart to a desirable one automatically. Find out more information about migration to OpenCart here.

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26 Comments on "Best of eCommerce Nuts: OpenCart vs Magento"

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  2. Tom Mccaffery March 27, 2015 at 1:52 am · Reply

    Magento is way better cart than opencart. Opencart is ok. However, they use vqmod which is so bad it’s not funny. Also the code is a bit of a mess with opencart. If your really wanting to have a full funtional store than magento is your choice. Look at it this way all the big names use Magento not many use Opencart.

  3. Mr Tham February 14, 2014 at 2:07 am · Reply

    Hello!!! I really like this article!
    I also want to share my experience on e-commerce platform. I used opencart before and I think it is really user-freindly and the function are so powerful! I can edit my shop without any programming knowledge! I love it!

  4. dustin February 11, 2014 at 6:42 pm · Reply

    Nice to see sane comparison of the two. Magento does better on, well it Must because it can cost so much more. OpenCart is a viable shop a good many businesses.

  5. Harris December 30, 2013 at 4:09 pm · Reply

    I’m also with magento because of its easy to use features and bundle of templates.
    One of the best option in magento is SEO functionalities

  6. Harris December 30, 2013 at 4:08 pm · Reply

    I’m also with magento because of its easy to use features and bunlde of templates.
    One of the best option in magento is SEO functionalities

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  9. Cheap E-commerce Development October 1, 2013 at 4:30 pm · Reply

    nice article magento is best for ecommerce site development. nice comparison between these two. Informative and best. thanks for sharing.

  10. Syahmi July 25, 2013 at 3:16 pm · Reply

    Both have their advantage. For now i’m using opencart. For a person like me who are not reLly expert in coding open cart is ok, but waiting for my bussiness expanding then i also want to try mmagento

  11. Magento Deal of the Day July 2, 2013 at 1:27 pm · Reply

    I would prefer magento because it supports many features like:
    cross selling
    product comparison
    Product reviews
    HTML5 uploader
    product image zoom in capability

    But opencart supports:
    cross selling
    product comparison
    Product reviews

    • Bill July 16, 2013 at 4:15 pm ·

      Hi, after reading the article I’m more confused. I was settling on Magento GO as I’ve tried the trial program and it seems quite easy to follow (although a bit confusing in some aspects…scopes, views, etc.) I’ve read great reviews on ‘opencart’ but I am no programmer and wondering if it’s over my head to venture into? With magento there are enterprise, community and ‘GO’ versions and I’m wondering if some of the reviews I’m reading are specificially targeting one version over another? So far I don’t see any problem ‘setting up’ a magento GO trial site that will eventually handle less than 500 sku’s but a common problem brought up is that is uses alot of bandwidth? For a non-programmer …. magento GO or Opencart?

    • David July 20, 2013 at 1:49 pm ·

      Hello, everything that you listed for magento opencart has as well. I am the owner of a web development company and I can tell you that I have implemented almost everything you have mentioned in that list with the exception of a few items. Dont get me wrong I love magento and its definitely the number 1 shopping cart on the market but I would definitely say that open cart is not to far behind them

    • RomC March 10, 2014 at 2:16 pm ·

      Obviously you don’t know a whole lot about OpenCart – seeing as OpenCart also has most of the features you listed for Magento.

  12. John June 9, 2013 at 9:40 pm · Reply

    @Preshant: How did you bulk upload data of 10,000 records thru a script. I am building an OpenCart Website and am having issues trying to add a required scents select option. I have 835 different scents to choose from. The customer first chooses the type of bottle and size which each are all products that have been put in their respective categories (Roll On, Spray, Lotion, Massage Oil, Gift Kit). Then when they are led to the product detail page where they can add it to the cart I wanted to provide a required drop-down select where they would choose the scent to be filled in the bottle. If the customer choose more than one in the quantity it would display a hidden or disabled select menu for the scent for the second bottle, etc. If you could please help me as I am pulling my hair. I had manually entered 250 product options from the options page in the admin. After this I started getting errors when trying to save. I have read on about other people having the same issues. If you could please help it would be greatly appreciated. Also, I am a newbie to OpenCart and PHP. I am fluent with HTML and CSS.

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  14. Nikhil Goyal March 20, 2013 at 8:41 am · Reply

    Well, your article is comprehensive and brings out the differences between the two platforms. But I would prefer if you also add some use cases for readers to analyse much better on how the platform will impact their business.

    Though I really love the conclusion part. Best I have seen while debating on the both platforms.

  15. Monty February 23, 2013 at 6:36 am · Reply

    Magento ecommerce solution has become the most demanding open source platform of today’s online retail store businesses since it provides a tremendous advantage. With Magento Ecommerce Platform, online store owners are being given the capability of handling multiple stores and facilitate a more systematized browsing of items for sale. Improved management of customer’s orders and having more developed promotional or advertising tools also becomes possible with Magento Ecommerce.



    • Gangsar Swa Purba February 23, 2013 at 6:33 pm ·

      wow, it’s strange dude !

      i personally +1 opencart as it is more friendly with startups ( i.e. retailers ) in money & time.

    • james July 19, 2013 at 10:05 am ·

      hi i am using community edition and almost created can i use it in my web hosting
      without any licence..
      please let me know

      tnks in advance

    • David July 20, 2013 at 1:53 pm ·

      I agree with gangsar 100% I have seen a huge cost savings for my customers especially with new startups. Also its extremely easy to customize if there is something particular a client needs for there business.

  16. Daniel January 11, 2013 at 10:33 am · Reply

    I had migrated to OpenCart from Magento, where my store was hacked sever times. OpenCart is much easier, cheaper and comfortable. Forum support is much better and clearer. At Magento community it was very difficult to fing exacly what I need. So that s why I am here

  17. Bret Williams December 26, 2012 at 9:38 am · Reply

    @Prashant: the best way we’ve found to upload huge bulk products is through Magmi. You should try it. It’s free and VERY fast.

    As for this article, we use both platforms for our clients. Magento is more complex, but it does handle multiple store set-ups much, much better than OpenCart. Additionally, Magento has a large, paid staff working on its development, whereas OpenCart is one developer with some volunteers. I’m not saying OpenCart is not nice — it is a very good starting e-commerce solution — but in the hands of a knowledgeable developer that truly understands e-commerce (not just technology), Magento can be a very powerful tool. Consider such things as configurable products, layout customizations, the huge extensions community, and its popularity. OpenCart has a lot of potential, but it’s not quite all there as a total e-commerce solution. Close, but not quite.

  18. Prashant Telang December 25, 2012 at 5:15 pm · Reply

    One of the big issues we encountered with Magento was bulk uploading products. For example we had to developed a Diamond & jewelry retailing portal wherein we have to develop a plug-in to upload bulk data (atleast 10,000 records) through script . Mangento failed due to its rigid database and complicated table structure. It simply use to hang.
    On other hand Open Cart did well . Finally we redeveloped the site in Open Cart


    • Rishi Ram Gautam (Nepal) March 1, 2013 at 1:44 pm ·

      You are right. OpenCart is simple to handle and customer are happy to use it too.

  19. Diego Ramos December 24, 2012 at 3:04 pm · Reply

    Looks, nice for me, I@ll collect some fact from here to decide

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