Merchant Account Services

Archive for the 'Shopping Carts' Category

Is OSCommerce Really The Best Option?

Friday, July 21st, 2022

A common question asked by merchants looking to enter the world of online transactions is what shopping cart should they use for their new store. A common answer to this common question is to use os Commerce. osCommerce describes themselves as:

osCommerce is an Open Source based online shop e-commerce solution that is available for free under the GNU General Public License. It features a rich set of out-of-the-box online shopping cart functionality that allows store owners to setup, run, and maintain their online stores with minimum effort and with no costs, fees, or limitations involved.

osCommerce’s popularity is undeniable. Their website lists over 9,000 live stores running their software. You can assume this only represents a fraction of the stores actually using their software.

But is osCommerce the best shopping cart available? It does have a lot to offer an online store including:

  • Robust functionality out -of-the-box
  • A powerful administrative control panel
  • Developers have contributed 3,500 add-ons that may be used free of charge
  • Built in support for major gateways
  • It’s free

Those points alone make it a solid choice for many merchants. But it does have strikes against it including:

  • It is extremely difficult to customize its appearance. It is not template driven and thus you must must edit individual pages (which contain code) to achieve a unique and custom look and feel.
  • It contains everything but the kitchen sink. Although many merchants will want some of the features that come standard in osCommerce, few will actually want all of them. For merchant who want only basic shopping cart functionality, osCommerce is overkill
  • Although thousands of add ons have been created for it, you still need to edit individual files to add new functionality to the shopping cart.
  • It requires PHP global variables to be turned on to work. Although this isn’t a security risk in and of itself, it does require the server it runs on to now have that feature turned on. This opens the potential for other scripts to have security issues thanks to osCommerce requiring this feature.
  • It is rarely updated. Development is slow and updates are far between and minor in scope.

Is osCommerce right for you? Good question. It does fill the need for many online merchants. But there are a lot of alternatives out there that are worth considering. Look around and see which shopping cart offers the features you need without the hassles or extra features you don’t need.