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WooCommerce vs OpenCart: A Detailed Comparison of Two Ecommerce Giants

Updated on June 30, 2022

14 Min Read
woocommerce vs opencart

Setting up your online store is the first step in your long, challenging, but ultimately rewarding ecommerce journey. This step is also tricky because you have to make several tough decisions that determine the success of your online business.

Out of all these decisions, choosing the ecommerce platform is a fundamental one and perhaps, the hardest.

WooCommerce and OpenCart are two of the most popular ecommerce platforms. Choosing between the two is not easy. Both offer a host of features that make it simple to set up an online store, even for beginners. Both WooCommerce and OpenCart give your customers a pleasant shopping experience, have powerful analytical tools, and give you enough customization options to design your store the way you want.

In this comparative piece, I will take you through a detailed comparison of WooCommerce vs. OpenCart and cover various aspects of these platforms in the context of online business.

Let’s begin!

WooCommerce vs. OpenCart: An Overview

Before I start with the comparison, let’s have a brief overview to understand what WooCommerce and OpenCart are all about and how they operate.

WooCommerce OpenCart
Market Share 29 percent 0.21 percent
User-friendliness Yes No
Performance Can use numerous WordPress performance optimization plugins Limited optimization options
Product Management Simple interface for product management Complicated and confusing interface for product management
Themes and Design More themes available Fewer themes available
Customization Simple customization process and a vast variety of extensions Need technical expertise for heavy customization
Pricing WooCommerce is highly affordable since it’s free OpenCart is also free to download
SEO WooCommerce has better SEO capabilities Limited SEO capabilities
Extensions and Plugins Useful extensions to make the store more functional Good extensions available
Security Numerous security options due to its reliance on WordPress Limited security options
Customer Support Free and unlimited customer support, plus a plethora of WordPress forums and communities Paid and limited support

What is WooCommerce?

WooCommerce powers around 40% of the online stores at the moment. The interesting thing is that it’s actually a WordPress plugin that, once installed on your website, turns it into an ecommerce store with all the basic functionalities such as order processing, reporting & analytics, and inventory management.

Even though WooCommerce was launched a few years after OpenCart, it is well ahead in terms of popularity and user base. One of the main reasons for that is its open-source nature, which means that anyone can create their own plugins and themes and install them on their WooCommerce store without any restrictions.

Another reason for its immense popularity is that it works on a WordPress website, so anyone who knows how to run a site on WordPress is automatically fluent in WooCommerce as well.

What is OpenCart?

Like WooCommerce, OpenCart is also an open-source platform with powerful store management, a host of extensions and themes, and a support system that will help you every step of your way. However, OpenCart hasn’t had the same success as WooCommerce in the ecommerce industry. One reason could be that it doesn’t have as many extensions and themes as WooCommerce, which limits the customization and functionality of the store.

OpenCart, however, is widely prevalent among novice store owners looking for a quick free setup as it offers enough out-of-the-box features capable of running a small store with a few hundred products.

WooCommerce vs. OpenCart: Market Share

Market share is an important parameter to judge while comparing the two ecommerce platforms because it gives a clear idea of their scope. A greater market share means more sales, stronger standing amidst competitors, and the ability to roll out more features.

According to Builtwith, WooCommerce has 29 percent of the market share among all the websites that use ecommerce platforms to sell, whereas the market share of OpenCart is only 0.21 percent.

Who Wins?

WooCommerce, without an ounce of doubt, is a winner in this parameter. A greater market share implies that store owners will get more consumers, and hence, they will enjoy significant growth over time.

WooCommerce vs. OpenCart: User-friendliness

As mentioned earlier, WooCommerce is a WordPress plugin. So to get started with WooCommerce, all you have to do is install the plugin on your WordPress site.

Go to Plugins on your WordPress dashboard and click Add New.

add plugin

Search for WooCommerce in the search bar and click Install and then click Activate.

search woocommerce

Once you are done, go back to your dashboard’s main page. You will now notice ecommerce functionalities added such as product, order processing, and analytics.

woocommerce functionalities

This is how easy it is to install and get started with WooCommerce.

Once you are done with the installation process, you should start creating your store. Since you will be using the WordPress dashboard to create your store, it will be as easy as creating a website with WordPress. If you are already hands-on with the CMS, you are in for a smooth ride.

Adding products is similar to creating new pages. To add more functionality, just install the desired plugin and configure it on your store, and to see how your store is performing, use the built-in analytics that is right there on the dashboard. Most of the functionalities you perform on a WooCommerce store are pretty straightforward. However, you might need some technical help in other aspects, which I will cover later in this comparison.

Hosting providers like Cloudways also offer ease of installation regarding WooCommerce through one-click deployment. Here is how you can do it.

First, choose WooCommerce from the drop-down menu, and name the application and the server.

application and server details

The second step is to choose your cloud provider.

Once you are done, choose your RAM size.

Lastly, choose your data center location and click on Launch Now.

select datacenter

There, your WooCommerce store is ready!

OpenCart, on the other hand, has two installation methods. The first one is the manual installation which is complicated and needs someone with technical know-how to complete the process, which means you would need to hire a developer to do it for you. However, with this method, you will have many more options and customization features.

You might think once you are done installing OpenCart, you can take over and start building the store, but that’s not how it works. It all depends on how skilled your developer; the more competent your developer is, the easier it is for you to operate the platform.

The other method uses a single-click script installer such as Softaculous or Installatron. These installers will allow you to install OpenCart with a single click without the need of a developer or any technical knowledge.

Once you’ve installed OpenCart, you can see that the dashboard has a modern design with all the important information upfront, so you don’t have to search for it.

 Who Wins?

WooCommerce is definitely the winner of this round. It is easier to install and much easier to operate. You don’t need a developer or technical knowledge to get started with WooCommerce.

WooCommerce vs OpenCart: Performance

To test the performance of both the ecommerce platforms, we installed OpenCart and WooCommerce on a Cloudways managed hosting platform. We created stores with similar products and tested their performance on Google Page Speed Insights.

The results were almost similar for both platforms.

opencart performance

woocommerce performance

Who Wins?

Although both platforms did fairly well on the performance parameter, WooCommerce clearly has an edge over OpenCart because it can use WordPress optimization plugins to optimize the database, cache pages, and streamline the performance. WooCommerce has far greater caching and database optimization options as compared to OpenCart. These are two extremely important factors for improving the performance of the site, which is why WooCommerce wins on performance parameters.

WooCommerce vs. OpenCart: Product Management

WooCommerce provides a more effortless way of product management. The settings and layout of WooCommerce are straightforward and relatively easy to understand, making adding, editing, or deleting a product way too simple.

There is also a Bulk Edit option in WooCommerce that lets the user edit multiple products simultaneously on the WordPress Dashboard.

bulk edit option

Moreover, a Quick Edit option saves you from the hassle of moving to a separate edit page to make specific changes.

quick edit

Whereas, in OpenCart, product management gets a little more complicated. To create a simple product in OpenCart, you have multiple tabs, which can get confusing and time-consuming to manage.

opencart product management

Also, there isn’t a Bulk Edit option in OpenCart, which means that for similar edits, you’ll need to redo the entire process, which again can be time-consuming.

Who Wins?

WooCommerce wins in this parameter because it gives a simple interface to users for product management and has various options such as Quick Edit or Bulk Edit to quicken the actions.

WooCommerce vs. OpenCart: Themes and Design

Not many platforms can compete with WooCommerce when designing your online store; there are just too many free and premium themes on the WordPress repository and marketplaces for others to compete with. There are also themes for all sorts of stores, so whether you want to start a tech store or sell furniture online, you can find themes for all your needs.

However, once you find the theme, installing it on your WooCommerce store and customizing it can be a little troublesome. Though the options are virtually unlimited, you might need a helping hand when customizing your online store. Page builders such as Divi or Brizy have resolved this issue by providing drag-and-drop website building functionalities where you can see live changes to your site through their WYSIWYG feature.

So even though designing a WooCommerce store might get a little tricky, there are several tools that can make it smooth sailing.

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Once you install OpenCart, you get a basic store design that you can play around with. Of course, it also has many themes available through OpenCart and marketplaces. However, working with those themes would require you to have all the HTML and CSS skills, or you may need to hire a developer to do the customizations for you.

Unlike with WooCommerce, you won’t find page builders to make the process any more straightforward, so that’s a massive downside for beginners who want to make constant changes to their online stores.

 Who Wins?

WooCommerce is a clear winner in this round as well because it has a huge number of themes available, and it is easier to work with those themes than OpenCart.

WooCommerce vs. OpenCart: Customization

Once you’ve set the theme for your store, it’s time for customization so that it can appear fully functional. The customization process can be a little tricky because, along with maintaining an appealing visual outlook, you need to embed the functionality in the store.

WooCommerce offers extensive customization opportunities as it is built on WordPress. So WooCommerce users can enjoy the benefits of the WordPress market and start customization by simply embedding a suitable WordPress Plugin.

Also, if you’re looking for extensions ideally suited for ecommerce, you can use WooCommerce-specific extensions. There are sufficient extensions available to facilitate you to expand your store’s capabilities.

One benefit of using WooCommerce is that the customization process is pretty straightforward.

  • Go to WooCommerce Dashboard> plugins > Add New

add plugin

  • Search for the relevant plugin.

search plugin

  • For the purposes of demonstration, I am selecting Yoast SEO. Click Install Now

install plugin

  • Click Activate

activate plugin

For the customization of the OpenCart store, go to OpenCart Marketplace to find around 13000 free and paid extensions in almost all categories.

opencart marketplace

You can also use the same account to create multiple online shops and sync them in real-time.

To create multiple stores,

  • Go to your OpenCart Dashboard > System > Settings

system settings

  • Select “Add New” to create a new shop

create new shop

Then you’ll be redirected to the page, where you can fill in the details for your new shop.

While creating a new shop might be easy, syncing it with other shops might demand heavy programming skills. Or you can hire a developer to do this task for you, which can be a costly business.

Additionally, OpenCart and WooCommerce are open-source platforms, which means that both allow their users to dynamically customize their stores, beyond what is present in their relevant marketplace.

But for this, you need to tweak your source code and make fine adjustments to it to suit your needs. Thus, for heavy customization, you’ll need technical expertise.

Who Wins?

Both of these platforms provide similar customization opportunities. Yet, I would declare WooCommerce to be the winner because it has a vast variety of extensions and can make your customization process a lot simpler and more effective.

WooCommerce vs. OpenCart: Pricing

Since WooCommerce is just a WordPress plugin, it’s free to download, so you won’t have to pay any upfront cost. But does that mean creating an online store using WooCommerce is free? No, it isn’t. There are a few significant costs that you need to pay to get your store up and running.

 Web hosting

WooCommerce requires you to buy a hosting service separately to take your WordPress website live, the cost of which can start from $12/mo.

 Premium themes and extensions

You can choose free themes and extensions, but if you are a serious store owner, you should never install free stuff on your site. A premium theme can cost you around $30 to $500, and the cost of a paid extension is similar.

OpenCart is also open-source, so you can download it free from their website and then hire a developer to configure it and design your store. The cost you will pay to get a store ready on OpenCart is more or less the same as WooCommerce; You will need to get a separate hosting provider and install paid themes and extensions.

 Who Wins?

This round is a tie since both the platforms are free to use, and the cost to build a store on either is about the same.

WooCommerce vs. OpenCart: SEO

If you’re choosing WooCommerce as your ecommerce platform, you will get to leverage the considerable SEO advantage WordPress has over other CMS. WordPress is built on SEO-friendly PHP code, which Google and other search engines highly favor. This means a website or a store built on WordPress automatically gets an SEO head start.

Furthermore, there are several WooCommerce SEO plugins that you can install on your WooCommerce store for added functionalities, such as meta details, that will further help you rank your site higher on the search results.

 OpenCart doesn’t have the advantage of SEO-friendly code but allows you to edit the meta details of your store. It also allows you to use search engine optimized URLs for your store and product pages. Though if you wish to go deeper into OpenCart’s SEO functionalities, you will have to learn a lot more about coding or hire a developer who can do it for you.

 Who Wins?

WooCommerce is a clear winner in the SEO round because it leverages WordPress’s SEO advantages and the functionalities of SEO plugins such as Yoast.

WooCommerce vs. OpenCart: Extensions and Plugins

With WooCommerce, you can extend your store’s functionalities in several different directions using the free or paid WooCommerce extensions. These extensions are available on the WordPress repository, the WooCommerce website, or other marketplaces.

Here are a few examples of WooCommerce extensions that you can use:

 WooCommerce Product Addon

This extension makes the shopping experience unique and customized for every user that comes to your website. You can add multiple customization options for each product so that customers can get a product with their desired colors or design.

 WooCommerce Bookings

WooCommerce Bookings lets you book your customer’s appointments, make reservations, or book rentals on their own directly from your store.

 WooCommerce Tax

WooCommerce Tax automatically calculates tax that should be collected on each order placed in your store, saving you tons of time and effort.

OpenCart also comes with several useful extensions, which you can buy from the OpenCart marketplace on their website or other marketplaces such as elfsight. They might not be as many as WooCommerce extensions, but there are enough to allow you to run your store smoothly.

Similarly, there are free and paid extensions for OpenCart available. Here are some examples of OpenCart extensions.

 Multivendor Multi-seller/supplier Marketplace

The Multivendor extension turns your OpenCart store into a multivendor store, with tons of different categories, a separate seller/supplier product section, and feedback support.

Auto Change – Currency & Language by IP

The Auto Change converts the currency on your products automatically by tracking the customer’s IP to determine the country they are accessing your store from.

 WhatsApp Chat Tool

This OpenCart extension allows users to interact with their customers through WhatsApp by giving a WhatsApp chat option on the store.

 Who Wins?

Both WooCommerce and OpenCart have useful extensions, so this round is a tie.

WooCommerce vs. OpenCart: Security

Security is one thing that no one would ever compromise on. This means that ecommerce platforms need to be extra cautious when dealing with security matters so that the customers can develop trust in their brand.

WooCommerce is built on WordPress, meaning we can use the same plugins to secure both platforms.

The transaction element of WooCommerce is considered pretty secure as it uses SSL encryption and compliant payment gateways. Using two-factor authentication and other data encryption methods allows you to take extra precautions.

OpenCart is also a relatively secure platform. It also has a built-in fraud tool accessible from the dashboard.

To access the fraud tool, go to OpenCart Dashboard > Extensions > Extensions.

select extensions

  • Select Anti-Fraud from the drop-down menu.

select anti-fraud

  • Modify the status from “Disabled” to “Enable”.

Enable the extension

You can also use free and paid extensions to secure your OpenCart platform.

To further ensure the security of your OpenCart store, you can use SSL encryption, a secure web host, and mainstream payment gateways.

Who Wins?

Both platforms are similar in terms of security as they are both dependent on SSL, data encryption, compliant payment gateways, and secure web hosts to enhance their security.

However, WooCommerce still has an edge over OpenCart because it has more security options, thanks to its reliance on WordPress. Thus, WooCommerce gets the security win.

WooCommerce vs. OpenCart: Customer Support

WooCommerce support starts with the official WordPress forums, where the WordPress community can answer your queries promptly. There’s also comprehensive WooCommerce documentation that would likely cover your question.

Another way to get help is to open a support ticket on WooCommerce. You can use the WordPress helpdesk for this. But the operators can take 1-2 business days to reply to your query, so this isn’t great for urgent situations.

Similarly, for OpenCart, you can get support from documentation and online forums. OpenCart forums are usually active, so you’ll likely get a prompt response. Also, there are third-party developers on the OpenCart website that you can hire to assist you throughout the process.

To enhance its customer support, OpenCart developed a support plan. You can use a one-time plan or a premium plan. For the former, the cost varies depending on the type of help. You need to pay $99 per month for the latter, covering three bug fixes and five installations per month.

Who Wins?

Without an ounce of doubt, WooCommerce is the winner because you’ll always have help available, free of cost. There are numerous WordPress forums, communities, specialists, and developers, who are always ready to help. WooCommerce also offers comprehensive documentation, along with giving a ticket creation option to its users for support.

To be fair, OpenCart also gives these options, but it is still far behind what the WordPress community has to offer. OpenCart asks you to pay for the support system and doesn’t even promise you extended support. You can only get a few answers per month.

Final Words!

OpenCart vs WooCommerce was always going to be close.

Choosing an ecommerce platform for your online store is a tough decision and in this article, I have tried to make it easier by comparing two of the best platforms based on some important aspects.

In this article though, WooCommerce emerges as a winner that is suited to almost every store owner because of its customization capabilities, easy installation, and user-friendliness.


Q. Which is better: OpenCart or WooCommerce?

Choosing an ecommerce platform is a matter of matching the business requirements with platform features. That said, WooCommerce is generally a good platform for beginners and experts alike because of higher customization options and the massive lineup of extensions and plugins that extend the platform’s functionalities.

Share your opinion in the comment section. COMMENT NOW

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Owais Khan

Owais works as a Marketing Manager at Cloudways (managed hosting platform) where he focuses on growth, demand generation, and strategic partnerships. With more than a decade of experience in digital marketing and B2B, Owais prefers to build systems that help teams achieve their full potential.


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