It’s been long established that an online presence is crucial for a company in the modern business environment. So when you come to building an ecommerce website, you need to get off on the right foot (not to brag, but our Ecommerce Website Builder is super easy to use!).

Two of the most common platforms are OpenCart and PrestaShop. While both have amazing benefits, one small difference may make one shine brighter than the other. This totally comes down your preference, but how will you know which is best without a detailed comparison?

In this guide, we’ll compare PrestaShop Vs. OpenCart, how to build an online store with these platforms and our advice on which to choose.

Want to learn more about other platforms and their comparisons? Check out our Magento Vs. WooCommerce guide.

What is OpenCart?

OpenCart is a sturdy PHP-based ecommerce platform that enables businesses to create online shops for little cost. First released in 1999, it offers a quality order processing mechanism, a good cataloguing system, and all the essential basic features an online business could need. Though not fantastically high performance compared to similar platforms, OpenCart could be seen as the leading option for a small business or individual.

The advantages of OpenCart

1. It supports multiple languages and currencies

Want to operate an online store in different languages and currencies? You can certainly achieve that with OpenCart! This is especially useful if you wish to expand your current business into new territories and enhance a user’s experience.

2. It supports thousands of different extensions

OpenCart lets you use over 13,000+ extensions and counting. From PayPal checkout integration all the way through to TikTok (which is great if you’re a regular poster). Choose extensions from the following categories such as:

  • Marketplaces
  • Themes
  • Languages
  • Payment Gateways
  • Shipping Methods
  • Modules
  • Order Totals
  • Product Feeds
  • Reporting
  • VQMod
  • …and much more

3. It integrates well with the majority of shipping types

OpenCart is compatible with tons of major shipping types and couriers – making it a great choice for ecommerce store owners. Plus, OpenCart can integrate with real-time shipping calculators from prominent carriers like UPS, FedEx, and USPS, which allows customers to see accurate shipping prices at the basket.

4. It’s compatible with virtually all payment gateways

Choose from a variety of payment options for your store and tailor your options at country level. Plus, as the store owner, you can set limits on what payment options customers choose from (based on parameters you set – like order value). Plus, you can choose whether the customer can use a “pay in three” option too, which is great if you sell high-ticket items.

5. It’s super cost-effective

Starting an online shop shouldn’t burn a hole in your pocket. Fortunately, OpenCart is one of the most affordable solutions to building an online shop as it’s free to download. Plus, if you have specific features you wish to embed on your online store, you can make use of OpenCart’s extensive free (or low cost) add-ons.

6. Has excellent technical support and an online community

Whichever platform you go for should have a decent level of support available online – whether that’s through their customer support team or available online documentation. Fortunately, OpenCart has this and more – including a supportive online community that can help with more niche implementations and issues, plus tons of advice, tips and additional resources.

7. Offers useful analytics via a user-friendly dashboard

OpenCart is incredibly user-friendly for online shop management, merchandising, orders, and store analytics. As soon as you go onto your dashboard, you can quickly see your online sales within a specified time period, real-time users and total customers.

8. It’s easy to use!

OpenCart has a reputation for being really easy to use, thanks to its user-friendly interface. So even if you don’t have technical expertise, almost anyone that uses OpenCart can easily get an ecommerce store up and running as soon as possible. Plus, OpenCart comes with tons of themes that can be customised to your heart’s content.

The disadvantages of OpenCart

1. Its checkout process can occasionally be slow

OpenCart’s checkout process is known to be quite slow in the community (though it can be optimised, depending on the issue). You’ll need to ensure you have well-optimised code, a workable product selection list and fewer third-party extensions. It’s worth addressing any other bottlenecks, such as your overall online shop’s complexity and caching.

2. Multiple duplicate pages can cause issues with any SEO efforts

Another thing to keep in mind with OpenCart is the issue of duplicate pages, which could also lead to cannibalisation if you’re not careful. When you're building your online store, you might notice that the same webpage ends up with different URLs. This can be troublesome for your SEO rankings, and you might need some technical know-how to ensure your online store is well managed.

3. Modules and extensions aren’t always fully compatible with each other

When it comes to adding extensions and plugins to your OpenCart backend, they don't always work perfectly together. Unfortunately, this does mean you’ll need to experiment a bit to find the right combination that works smoothly. Occasionally, these conflicts can affect how visitors experience your website – so be sure to run regular tests of your user’s journey to ensure they can navigate all touch points smoothly.

4. Need to install a plugin to keep track of the inventory

While OpenCart has its own built-in inventory management features, some businesses might need something more complex – such as multi-location inventory management, then you’ll need to install additional plugins in order to enable this.

What is PrestaShop?

PrestaShop is a cloud-hosted ecommerce platform. It's open-source and available in a free version and a paid version called PrestaShop Ready, which comes with extra features. PrestaShop offers strong integration of payment gateways and ten free themes. The platform does require some limited technical skills such as HTML and CSS to operate effectively, however.

The advantages of PrestaShop

1. Can host itself or be hosted elsewhere

PrestaShop has the flexibility to be self-hosted or hosted on the cloud (PrestaShop Cloud). This gives you tons of flexibility, depending on your skill level and whether you want PrestaShop cloud to manage your platform and infrastructure. 

2. Can increase the loading speed of the website

PrestaShop is often chosen for its automated performance optimisation. This includes things like caching, and image and code optimisation – all of which can vastly increase your SEO rankings!

3. Many quality apps ready to use

If you want access to tons of apps, modules and themes, then PrestaShop’s marketplace has tons at its disposal. They cover all sorts of functionalities, from payment and shipping options to IFTT integrations to help speed up your workflow. Plus, you can install your favourite analytics tools if you want to gain specific customer insights in order to optimise your online shop.

4. Simple switching between themes

Just like OpenCart, PrestaShop also boasts a ton of themes you can choose from. You can click and install them quickly, and optimise them in accordance with your branding. If you’re itching to get up and running quickly, then you can easily install the theme of your choice and get selling with PrestaShop.

5. Offers multiple languages and currencies

Host your store in different territories? Then you’ll be pleased to know that PrestaShop also has built-in support for multiple languages and foreign currencies. This makes it great for when you plan to expand into different markets across the globe further down the line too.

6. Highly effective SEO capability

Want to drive traffic to your site and have all the tools to improve SEO rankings in the long run? PrestaShop has well over 100+ free and paid SEO modules to help with titles, meta descriptions, sitemaps and much more. 

7. Has a large active community

Besides its own support and help centre, PrestaShop also has a wide and active community of members that use it for their online stores. This means that no matter what issues you may be facing with your store, someone may be able to help within the community.

The disadvantages of PrestaShop

1. Its hosted version doesn’t feature multi-channel capabilities

If you decide to use the hosted version of PrestaShop, you may find it lacks the ability to integrate multi-channel capabilities such as Amazon, eBay and social channels. Instead, you may need make use of third-party integrations, some of which may come at a premium.

2. Some of its best modules have to be paid for

Speaking of premium – a lot of integrations and modules have to be paid for. While this may not be an issue for some, it can be for others – particularly if you’re just starting out or have a limited budget.

3. Difficult script architecture makes developing the cart problematic for programmers

When developers use PrestaShop, or any platform, they want things to work in a way that’s laid out in the documentation, however, when new versions of PrestaShop have been patched, it’s been known within the community that areas of their code need to change in order for their online stores to stay functional.

4. Complicated to upgrade major versions

Leading on from the previous point – upgrading PrestaShop to a new major version can be complex and time-consuming. It may involve significant changes to your shop’s theme and modules, potentially leading to compatibility issues. This can be particularly challenging for businesses with lots of third-party integrations and customisations.

5. Not as fast as OpenCart

Compared to OpenCart, PrestaShop has been known to be a bit slower. While both platforms offer multi-store management capabilities, OpenCart has a slight advantage due to its greater scalability. Plus, OpenCart includes built-in SEO features that facilitate improved search engine rankings, but PrestaShop needs this via a paid add-on.

The difference between PrestaShop Vs. OpenCart - in a nutshell




Founded in 2009 by Daniel Kerr

Introduced in 2007 by Bruno Leveguew & Igor Schlumberger


Open source and free

OpenSource and free (though requires more paid add-ons for more complex builds)

Ease of use

Easy to use

Easy to use

SEO capability

Built in

Needs an add-on


Active and wide

Active and wide


Easy and intuitive (ideal for beginners)

Easy to navigate





Extensive (but may require an Extension Directory)

Offers 75+ languages


No native shipping tool (requires a module)

Includes a native shipping tool



SMEs to large enterprises

How can you create an online shop with OpenCart or PrestaShop?

Here are some simple steps to get started with creating an ecommerce shop on OpenCart or PrestaShop. You’ll notice the general process is the same regardless of which option you choose, but one platform may require different configurations over the other.

1. Pick a domain and register a domain

Whether you opt for OpenCart or PrestaShop, you’ll want to choose a domain name that’s easy for you (and most importantly – your customers!) to remember. Before you buy a domain, be sure to keep it short and try to avoid hyphens if possible. You may also want to register any possible misspellings of your business name so that it can redirect to the right domain. 

If you already have a domain you wish to use, but want to transfer your domain name to us to benefit from our features, it’s really easy to transfer a domain name to a new provider (we’ll even do it for free!)

2. Download and install OpenCart or PrestaShop

Both OpenCart and PrestaShop have a one-click install option. However if you need to install either or manually, just follow these steps:


You can install OpenCart on a VPS if you host your store on one. If you’d prefer to download it directly from the OpenCart website and host it on your server, then follow this OpenCart download link. Here are the minimum requirements you’ll need to run OpenCart:

  • PHP (8.0 or later)
  • Curl
  • GD Library
  • Iconv
  • Mbstring
  • OpenSSL Encrypt
  • ZipArchive
  • Zlib

Plus, you’ll need the following PHP settings turned on:

  • file_uploads
  • magic_quotes_gpc
  • register_globals
  • Session_auto_start

Read our guide on why you should move to PHP 8.


You can also install PrestaShop if you host your store on an VPS. You’ll benefit from a ton of features such as 24/7 support, access to absolutely tons of add-ons, unlimited bandwidth and much more. Before getting started, you need to check if your server meets these requirements:

  • System: Unix, Linux, or Windows
  • Web server: Apache Web Server 2.2 or any later version
  • PHP: 7.1 (or later)
  • MySQL: 5.6 (minimum)

If you don’t use a VPS for your online store, go to the PrestaShop website to download the version you want. Currently, the newest version is PrestaShop Just fill in your email and click “Download”, then you’ll receive a Zip file to extract.

3. Install a theme

For both OpenCart and PrestaShop, you can browse their respective marketplaces containing thousands of themes, or use a third-party source such as ThemeForest or TemplateMonster. Then, simply navigate to the control panel of either platform and follow the instructions to install the themes

On OpenCart, upload the extracted theme files to the public_html directory.

On PrestaShop, you have a few options:

  • Import the theme directly from your computer
  • Import from the web (if you have the theme’s URL)
  • Import from FTP (File Transfer Protocol)

4. Upload and populate your products

Adding inventory to OpenCart and PrestaShop is really easy. Plus, they both have a similar process to one another in terms of the steps to take.

Once you’re logged into the control panel, you’ll need to navigate to the “Catalog” section where all of your products and their respective details will be stored.

Within this section, click on "Products" and select "Add New" to create a new product listing.

You’ll need to enter various details, such as:

  • Product name and description
  • Price
  • SKU (or other identifier depending on the products you sell)
  • SEO title and meta description 
  • Links to related products

Finally, save the product listing. We’d recommend giving your products a once over to ensure all details are accurate. Do this by displaying the product on a preview tab, then publishing it when you’re confident it’s good to go. 

5. Install desired extensions and add-ons


OpenCart extensions (especially on the 2.0+ versions) are often packaged in a zip file. This zip file may contain installation or update instructions, a release log, and another zip file with a name ending in "" The Extension Installer in OpenCart is designed to identify these kinds of zip files and upload their contents directly to your store's FTP root. However, if you attempt to upload zip files with a different naming format, an error will pop up.

To upload an extension, follow these steps:

  • Go to the "Extensions" menu and select "Extension Installer"
  • Click the blue "Upload" button
  • Provide the path to the "*" archive of your extension


There are two ways to install modules on PrestaShop: automatic and manual.

  1. In the modules tab, click on “Add a new module”
  2. If a file of the module exists online, add its URL in the Module URL field and then click on “Download this module”
  3. If the file is on your computer, click on “Browse” to open the dialogue box letting you search your computer, select the file then validate the dialogue box.
  4. Finally click on “Upload this module”

If this doesn’t work or you can’t seem to resolve the error messages, then manual installation may be your best bet.

  1. Unzip (decompress) the module archive (this will be a .zip file)
  2. Connect to your server using an FTP client 
  3. Place the extracted folder in the /modules directory of your server
  4. Go to the Modules tab within PrestaShop’s admin panel
  5. Look for the new module in the list, scroll down if necessary. Using the search engine within PrestaShop can make this easy to find
  6. In the line of the new module, click on Install (you may need to click on “Configure”)
  7. Once the configuration is complete, you can immediately use the module to check that it works as expected

6. Configure your payment and shipping information


Again, it’s very easy to set up a payment module in OpenCart. Just follow these steps:

  1. Log into your OpenCart Dashboard
  2. Go to “Extensions” then “Payments”
  3. Select the payment method you want by clicking the desired action on the right side. There are tons of options, including PayPal! 
  4. Click “Install”
  5. Once the PayPal module has installed click on “Edit” in the right column
  6. Fill in the fields on the screen, including the email address set up with that payment provider.


PrestaShop follows a very similar payment set up process:

  1. From the PrestaShop control panel, go to “Modules and Services” on the left hand side and click, “Payment”
  2. Scroll down to the “Recommended payment gateways” section and choose your desired payment method. If you can’t find it, click “View all payment solutions”
  3. Click on “Install” to install the payment gateway
  4. Fill out the details as prompted by the fields

7. Test Your Store

Regardless of whether your ecommerce store is on OpenCart or PrestaShop, you’ll need to test it to ensure everything works. Here are some criteria:

  • Is your store responsive on mobile and tablet devices?
  • Does shipping and tax add up correctly?
  • Does the inventory count go down when you make an order?
  • Is text and imagery displaying as you intended?
  • Do payments go through?

8. Add security to your store 

You can enable an SSL certificate for both OpenCart and PrestaShop ecommerce storefronts and admin. This will immediately build trust among your customers as it will indicate that browsing, the backend and payments will be encrypted.

Whether you operate on OpenCart or PrestaShop –  it’s also important to rename your admin directory to a name of your choosing. You’ll also want to make .htaccess and .htpasswd files in the admin folder to mitigate hackers from accessing your online shop. Even if they discover the admin login location –  .htaccess can deny all IP addresses from viewing your store, except the admin's IP address. A .htpasswd in the admin folder will require an additional password for the allowed administrator to access this directory, so you can feel rest assured no one is getting into the backend!

If you host your ecommerce store on a VPS, you may wish to reinforce your VPS with a VPN. This ensures your server is as secure as can be.

Frequently asked questions about OpenCart Vs. PrestaShop

What are the key factors when choosing an ecommerce platform?

Ease of use

PrestaShop has a user-friendly front office that is easily customisable as well as add-on modules that can improve its functions. Thanks to its intuitive dashboard, using PrestaShop is also easy to pick up.

OpenCart too has a simple interface that ensures that operating the platform is a breeze. No technical knowledge is required.


The speed of the two ecommerce platforms is approximately the same; therefore the primary factor that dictates how fast they are depends on the CMS and the number of products hosted.


PrestaShop offers many SEO tools that allow you to improve the visibility of your products.

OpenCart also offers a range of basic SEO features like meta tags, keywords and more. Unfortunately, OpenCart does need a level of technical ability to modify its codebase to work effectively. There are a number of plugins that can improve SEO performance, however.

Customer service

PrestaShop has a wide-ranging user community that's on hand to answer questions and solve problems via forums. The price is charged as a subscription that lasts a year.

On the other hand, there's a free OpenCart community that can be used for advice or to find a developer. There's also dedicated support that can be purchased on a one-time or monthly basis.

Is PrestaShop better than WordPress?

Not necessarily. It’s purely down to how you use them.

Want to run an ecommerce store? Then PrestaShop should be your obvious choice, due to its specialist tools like product listing, payment and shipping integration,  multi-store management and much more. PrestaShop is highly scalable too and can handle large product catalogues and high transaction volumes. It also includes built-in SEO features designed to improve your online store's search engine rankings.

WordPress on the other hand, can be used for both blogging and building an ecommerce shop. When coupled with the right ecommerce platform, it can be a powerhouse for online shopping and informational content. While WordPress can excel in SEO rankings with the right plugins and best practices, it may not offer the same level of dedicated ecommerce functionality as PrestaShop.

Does OpenCart require coding?

If you have limited coding experience, then OpenCart is a great choice for your first ecommerce store. That’s because it was originally built and designed to be accessible to use by those without much technical expertise.

Once your online store grows and you require more automation or functionality, it may be required to learn some coding (or enlist the help of a developer) in order to make your online shop work as intended. If you want to take the challenge on yourself, then knowledge of HTML, CSS and PHP will get you far. We’d even say and understanding of MySQL or JavaScript to some degree would help if you require things like email sign ups (though these can be integrated into your store through an add-on if required). Plus, having some coding skills in your arsenal may help you troubleshoot some basic issues by yourself, but you also have access to an online community of OpenCart users who’d be glad to assist.

Read more about PHP vs JavaScript to learn more about its applications for online stores and more.

Which is more secure – PrestaShop or OpenCart?

Both PrestaShop and OpenCart are as secure as each other, provided you keep up to date with the latest patches which address vulnerabilities and security issues, as well as follow our steps above to secure the backend. Plus, both platforms require data encryption and SSL support. Read more about why you need an SSL certificate in our guide.

Whichever ecommerce platform suits your business needs, make sure it's got the hosting it deserves. Take a look at our range of Virtual Private Servers.