osCommerce is an eCommerce management software toolkit. An estimated 100,000+ websites use it, putting osCommerce in the same league as big-name services like WooCommerce and Shopify when it comes to popularity.
But is it the right choice to use for your online storefront?
Let's find out in this review.
What is osCommerce?
Unlike all-inclusive competitors such as Shopify, osCommerce is a self-hosted eCommerce program. To install it, you'll need a separate osCommerce-compatible server.
eCommerce Platform for Developers
osCommerce is a piece of open source software. That means it's ideal for technical users because you can modify it for your own purposes. There's also a thriving osCommerce development community who've created lots of custom modifications you can make use of. The osCommerce forum has nearly 2 million posts in it!
Allows you to Create Fully-functional Online Stores
osCommerce includes an impressive number of powerful eCommerce features. These include:
- Support for unlimited products
- Customer reviews
- Multi-currency and language support
- Tax and shipping payment integration
- Add-on modules
- Security checks
- And many more...
In short, osCommerce offers everything you could need to set up your eCommerce store. But how do they all come together? That is the big question.
osCommerce Review: First Impressions
Downloading the osCommerce software package and installing it on your new server is a straightforward process. Once you've added it, you'll find it takes care of both the product management and consumer-facing parts of your website.
osCommerce doesn't have a great looking interface. When I first opened it, I felt like I was back in the 90s.
But don't worry, although unappealing, it's still extremely functional.
Ugly Stock Theme
That being said, the "time machine" appeal of this builder carries all the way to the theme as well.
The default osCommerce storefront also feels extremely dated.
However, hundreds of themes are available through the community section of the osCommerce website. The osCommerce demo sites page proves it's possible to create a totally modern looking osCommerce website.
Helpful Community Support
The osCommerce community is so large it's able to run a live chat service, which is a rare thing to see with a piece of open source software.
I was extremely impressed with this service. I received an informative response from a volunteer immediately after asking a technical question.
osCommerce Can be Buggy
Unfortunately, I did experience several site errors that I had to rectify myself. This is one of the issues with osCommerce: there's less quality control than you'd find in a managed-eCommerce platform.
Although the software itself is free, running an osCommerce site will incur costs, primarily from your hosting provider. For smaller stores, an eCommerce shared hosting plan should cost around $5/month.
1&1 IONOS, a host that osCommerce itself recommends, is even cheaper with prices starting at just $1/month for the first year.
You should also budget around $10/year for domain registration. Plus, if you want a well-maintained osCommerce theme, you may have to pay for access.
osCommerce Review: Final Thoughts
Overall, osCommerce is a strong platform. It's surrounded by a dedicated open source development community which provides many benefits. However, it is more complex than most of its competitors, and you shouldn't rely too heavily on its volunteer-run support services.
Also, compared to competitors such as Magento, or WooCommerce, it hasn't been updated or maintained well enough to match them.
If you aren't confident in your own technical skills, this isn't the product for you. This is a reputable blank canvas - but not that much more.
What do you think of osCommerce? If you have your own osCommerce reviews to add, post them below!
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