eCommerce - Shop Systems at a glance: Open Source Shop Solutions

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Open-source shop systems are in vogue, because they are on the one hand cost-effective, but on the other hand also offer comprehensive functions and - at least for beginners - are easily adaptable. An overview of the most popular offers:

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The principle of open source

Behind the term “open source” is the principle of the published, freely available source code. Developers distribute their programs without license fees; everyone can expand and improve them.

In forums and newsgroups, adjustments are discussed and users receive help. Sometimes there is support or installation services for a fee. The open source has long since outgrown the amateur and hobbyist concept: professional shops such as Amoonìc consciously rely on open source.

Open Source is not always free

osCommerce (short for open-source commerce) and xtCommerce are the best-known representatives of their kind - but by no means the only ones. If you are looking for a solution with other focuses, if osCommerce seems too oversized or if you just want to compare, you should look at the systems in the overview table below.

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And note: open source does not mean in any case and always completely free. Sometimes you only get the latest program package if you buy one year of commercial support, such as at

Overview: The most important open source providers in eCommerce

Software URL Features / Functions License / features
oscommerce Comprehensive shop system with many extensions, international users, very active forums, commercial templates available GPL / German Forum
XtCommerce Comprehensive system with many options, well adapted to German conditions, lively community, easy-to-use template system GPL / download from the developer site only against one year support contract (98 €) possible
Magento Configuration via XML files for adaptation in the back as well as in the front end, German language version available Open Software License version 3.0. / german forum
ZenCart Comprehensive system with many additional features, German language version available GPL / German forum at
PHPShop Easy integration with HTML editor Dreamweaver, CSS templates GPL / forum and documentation only in English
CpCommerce cpcommerce. Very easy to customize due to template system optics, tailored to US conditions GPL / forum and documentation only in English
Opencart Only a few templates and contributions tailored to British standards GPL / forum and documentation only in English
FWP Shop Professional appearing shop system only in German language, well documented and supervised forum Installation and additional services possible for a fee
PHPeppershop extensive system, layout management, for more experienced users current versions for purchase (from 165 €), older free under GPL
Laaser Shop graphically simple, easily adaptable by professionals, no customer administration or article import GPL / small support forum
Gambio Based on xtCommerce developed, rental solution possible Download only against one-year support contract (149 €) possible
edge Store Well equipped, easy to use base system, active forum, support paid Visible copyright notice / many modules for an additional fee

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  1. Ludwig

    So far we have only had experience with the WordPress plugin “WPShopGermany”, but I cannot recommend it. Especially with updates or downgrades there is often a loss of data, the support is not that great either ...

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