OpenCart is a freely available PHP-based shopping cart system for online merchants. By downloading and installing it you can be ready to sell through your website in no time at all. The program requires Apache, PHP 5 and a MySQL database, though there’s an older version available for those of you with PHP 4. Really though, everyone should be working on migrating to PHP 5 if they have not already since support for PHP4 has officially ended.

The installation is as simple as download, extract to your local drive, upload to a directory on your web server and check the permissions. Certain directories you’ll need to give write access to by your Apache user, chmod 777 on those directories is often the quickest way. You’ll need to create a database for it to use if you haven’t done so already as well as a user for the program to access the Db with. Once that’s complete you can browse to the install location and begin the web-based configuration. It’s a quick 4-step process and that’s it. When you’ve successfully completed that you can delete the /install directory within the program directory and you’re all set.

As with many PHP programs, OpenCart saves settings in a config.php file in the main installation directory in case you need to edit them from the command line. There is also another config.php in the admin directory for your backend settings.

OpenCart is still a young project, currently at version 0.7.7 which was released October 9, 2007.  The User Manual isn’t quite complete yet but it is enough to get you through the install and setup. Once that’s complete you can log into the Admin section and look at store statistics, the latest orders and the latest product reviews. There’s also a full input system for adding items to your catalog. The store uses templates so it can maintain the look and feel of your entire website. It has also been ported to over 20 languages, supports multiple shipping and payment methods and has additional add-ons for extended capabilities. OpenCart is designed to be a full-featured, search engine friendly, easy-to-use Ecommerce interface for buyers and sellers.

Find out more at OpenCart’s website (