Zen Cart, OS Commerce, or CubeCart - Recommendation Please?

21 replies
I have a site using Volusion - a paid shopping cart app - that I want to move to a 'free' shopping cart app. (Nothing wrong with Volusion, in fact I'm very happy with them, except for the pricing).

Using Fantastico, I have the option to use either Zen Cart, OS Commerce, or CubeCart.

I'm reasonably technically able; can anyone offer a recommendation or good/bad experiences with any of these?


#cart #commerce #cubecart #recommendation #zen
  • Profile picture of the author Mark Brian
    Magento - Home - eCommerce Software for Growth, Powered by Open Source seems to be better than OS Commerce and it's free too.

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  • Thanks for that, Mark - looks very good! I might download and try it out.

    Anyone with experience - good or bad - with Zen, Cube, or OS Commerce?


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    MY Expertise, YOUR Profit.
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  • Profile picture of the author 2ndAccount
    i have recently started using zencart on one of my sites. I've created my own template and got things up and running and had my first sales this week. It is a bit of a fiddle to get up and running (I'd consider myself reasonably techhy for what is is worth) however once you get used to it it all seems to make sense. i'd also add that the support forum is a massive source of help and has solved most of my stumbling blocks!
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  • Profile picture of the author Jesus Perez
    I've been down the OsCommerce, Zencart and Cubecart road. I stopped using all of them.

    If I ever setup a cart, it's with SunShop. Super simple backend and install. Plus the default theme looks great on any site. Worth every cent.

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  • Thanks for the input 2ndAccount!

    BlueSquares - Thanks! SunShop looks terrific, unfortunately there are about a half-dozen sites I have to migrate, and the license is per shop. So even with the discount ($150 off), it would be considerably more expensive than Volusion in the short-term.

    VERY Limited WSO. 100% Guaranteed.

    MY Expertise, YOUR Profit.
    Read the thread.
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    • Profile picture of the author Jagged
      I am assuming that you want oscommerce, zencart, cubecart for the simple fact of easy one click install through cpanel / fantasico...
      Of the 3, I have found Zencart to be the most user friendly. Oscommerce is a more popular, but a nightmare to edit / add contrubutions...well, they all are..lol but oscommerce particularly.

      I've had oscommerce for years....dreaded it when I needed to change or add anything... Zencart seems to me a bit easier to manuveur....still a pain, but less of one compared to the other 2.

      Honestly....I myself have 6 oscommerce / 3 zencart / 1 cubecart shops....I am in transition on all 10 sites....moving each over to Magento....easier to use....nice features...MUCH better seo features and it's FREE!! Easy set-up...much better looking site layouts.
      Only drawback I see with magento is being that they are so new, they have very little support...as time goes on this will grow.

      I would give a serious look at magento...but if your dead set on using one of the 3 you mentioned....give Zencart a try.
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  • Profile picture of the author SamLewi
    why not try interspire too? they have an online demo.

    Boost Your Online Business with email marketing software and shopping cart software by Interspire.

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    • Profile picture of the author Jagged
      Originally Posted by SamLewi View Post

      why not try interspire too? they have an online demo.
      For the price? I strongly doubt it...he wanted free

      Oh..by the way...stop spamming threads with this interspire stuff....it's the 3rd one ive seen already today.....I suggest you read the forum rules about affiliate links in sig's......definately a no-no
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  • Profile picture of the author Glenn72
    Try this one - buyitsellit - Free Online eCommerce Store Builder

    There's a free version and a paid version that provides additional download product support.
    Free From Society - Escaping The Perils of Mainstream Society.
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  • Profile picture of the author Rupps
    I wanted to try Magento, but I could not load pictures no matter what I tried. They have a newer version now so I am going to try again hopefully soon. The little that I did to review it made it look extremely promising.

    I am also playing around with VirtueMart for Joomla. For this I am going to need to outsource. The problem is knowing what features I need in order to tel the designers what I want.

    To Your Success !!
    - Rupps

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  • Profile picture of the author Ben Roy
    My personal recommendation: Magento. I started a clean install of ZenCart just this last week and found it HORRIBLY non-intuitive. I mean, it installed fine, but it seemed really confusing, not very well documented, and talk about poor SEO.

    Magento took a little longer for me to install since there was no installer in CPanel, but just from a day of playing around with it I really like it. It seems much more in tune with what an average IMer would be looking for.
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  • Profile picture of the author teesee150
    I've used OSCommerce in the past. It can be difficult to setup and get running, I have also had break several times for no reason. I know other retailers in my field recommended Magento.
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  • Profile picture of the author Debbie Songster
    All my stores are using zencart
    I've looked at Magento but my tech says its a resource pig and I have big stores.
    I have a dedicated server so I may try it on my next store build just to see how it works. The next store to be built has less than 300 products so it will be a good one to test with.

    According to reports I've received, if you have a lot of visitors in a store with a lot of products it slows to a crawl - not good for sales.
    It does have some neat features I wish zencart had but I'm told the next version of zen is going to have some major changes.

    The thing about zencart is it has a huge following. Extremely large support forum and its constantly being upgraded and monitored.

    I've been very happy with my zencart stores.

    As for the SEO component. I have several of my stores ranking #1 - #9 (first page) of Google for major keywords even with the "non SEO friendly URLs" so no one can convince me that its a dud in the SEO department.

    The secret to ranking with your zen stores is all in the product titles.

    The other thing about zen are the large numbers of people who are writing plugins for it. I don't think you get that with the other cart systems.
    Its a lot like Wordpress. It works fine in its fresh install form but the addition of certain plugins really make it rock.

    Just my 2cents worth.

    Getting back in the grove after taking a year off following a family tragedy.

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  • Profile picture of the author Kyle Tully
    Hey Mark,

    Originally Posted by internetmarketer99 View Post

    Using Fantastico, I have the option to use either Zen Cart, OS Commerce, or CubeCart.
    I ran a zencart store years ago and was happy with it -- not sure how much each of those options has changed in the last ~4 years but zencart was definitely the best of the bunch back then.

    Had 1st page Google rankings on many of my product pages, with thousands of competing sites... and I never did anything to actually SEO the thing other than writing title tags and H1 tags etc.

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  • Profile picture of the author Doggo
    Hi there!

    I was trying to find some discussion about this for a long time and I just decided to join this community to express my self about.

    I had such bad experience with Magento. I do not want to burn the application but I have lost a lot of information trying to use Magento and I did install for 3 times because I could not understand the reasons that did not work with so many good feedback.

    The Magento interface is beautiful and the ajax components are really nice, but for 3 times my store stoped to work from nothing and any concrete reazon. I could not find any answer at the Magento forum and I had to gave up.

    So, I decide to try Cubecart.
    Was heaps easier to customize and simple to set up, but nothing is perfect.
    I can not fix a gateway problem at my Cubecart store.
    I have tried PayPal Express Checkout (did not work), PayPal IPN (witch is working fine) and now eWay.

    My client want to procced the sales using a credit card merchant system because perhaps PayPal IPN is working fine, its more expensive and to be honest its a bit pain when your customer has to do the checkout at the PayPal website and not at yours.
    But I can not fix the eWay gateway and there are no answers at the CubeCart forum to fix the problem.

    I have been thinking in migrate my system to ZEN CART now, but I am not sure what problem is waiting for me if I decide do that.

    It has been extremely annoying to set up my e-commerce with free e-commerce systems.

    I am so sorry for bore you with my problems guys, but so far I have not been hapy with free e-commerce systems

    So be aware with your decision and try to get as much information as you can before start the process.


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  • Profile picture of the author Debbie Songster
    Sorry to hear of your problems Doggo

    I've installed Magento but I've been so busy with client projects I haven't had time to play with it.

    I still have all my stores using Zencart. I use a regular merchant system (credit cards) and paypal as payment options. Both work fine.
    I like using the offline processing of credit cards for my physical products stores since I run all my inventory through Quickbooks so I use their merchant system and eliminate double entry.
    Zencart allows that option - to collect the credit card information but to manually process.

    Which payment system works best depends on what type of products you are selling and your bookkeeping system.

    As for your Magento store not working. I would look at the components installed on your server and make sure you have everything that Magento requires. I don't remember what I had to install but I did have to add some component to my server - something that wasn't required by zencart or the other systems I use.

    I can tell you that I've had zencart stores since 2003 and I've watched the zencart community and software grow and mature nicely over that time. It appears to me to be the most progressive open source store software available.

    Depending on what you sell you might want to look at using Joomla and the store component for it. My tech has been experimenting with it and likes it. Especially if you aren't selling physical products.

    Hope some of this has helped you. Good luck.

    Getting back in the grove after taking a year off following a family tragedy.

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    • Profile picture of the author Doggo
      Thank you so much for the relevant information Debbie.

      I am not so sure if I did install all components in my server in order to run Magento.
      But I am sure that in my next e-commerce project I will try ZenCart regarding your feedback.

      I wish all the best for you and success.

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  • Profile picture of the author cheapdeals
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    • Hi all, i've used osCommerce and Zencart since around 2000 and it took me months if not a couple of years to fully get used to osCommerce or maybe just PHP and MySQL in general.
      Osc is a very powerful shopping cart and has thousands of add-ons called contributions. It's the original open-source shopping cart and can be modified into a beast of a program. The forum is huge and there are usually a lot of posts to read through to find solutions when you have problems adding on mods but you get there in the end... Try the CRELoaded version of osCommerce which has loads of mods installed.
      Zencart is like an already modified version of osCommerce. It has a lot of the same features coz it was built on top of osCommerce but has some powerful features built in already that would take some time to install in osCommerce. The forum for Zencart is not bad but can take a while to get a reply to most times. It's a smaller community than the osCommerce community but with Zencart you dont need to use the forums as much as osC. I dont think there are as many mods available for Zencart but even so, whats there is enough for most people.
      For ease of setup and maintenance, Zencart is the way to go but be aware, you will need to install some mods on Zencart just like on osC incl. the image enhancement mod and SEO URLs which are both easy enough anyway. Another nice thing about Zencart is the templating system, this used to be a nightmare on osCommerce without the STS template mod.
      My electrobiotics.com store is a Zencart store... another store i did using osCommerce is bwear.ie just so you can compare the two...
      I've installed Magento too but havent got it to work just yet, server is missing stuff i think it said when i tried it before...
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      • Profile picture of the author cashtech29
        Anyone tried DLG Shopping Cart?
        If so, are there any drawbacks?
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  • Profile picture of the author MartinWann
    Everything you mentioned is considered to be the choice of "yesterday". I'd say you try some more modern solution like Prestashop or Magento (if you can afford good hosting) To move your data you can use cart2cart (just check google) i'm not sure they already support volusion but you better check yourself.
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  • Profile picture of the author Frankie B Frank
    just came across this post & am interested in what has been said - I used Zencart many years ago after a lot of research however is it the shopping cart of 2010?

    Is Magento still as resource heavy? After all these years I won't be familiar with any platform so I'm willing to try any!

    I'm looking to setup a store for a printing company so there won't be a massive amount of products - the variables will mainly be in the quantities ordered (which will effect price per unit). One of the main requirements will be to have different pricing for the public and regular corporate clients.
    Amazon Kindle (romance/fiction)
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