Best osCommerce Hosting: Starting Your Web-Store with osCommerce
If one intends to speak about the most popular eCommerce platforms, he has to speak about osCommerce as well.
osCommerce is a popular self-hosted e-commerce platform for online retailers. It has a huge community of users and over 7,000 user-contributed add-ons. Merchants can easily handle both the store end and the administration end of a web-shop and leverage the benefits of listing an unlimited number of products.
This open-source shopping cart (hence the name osCommerce) software is one of the oldest ones in the game and it’s used by more than 12,000 business owners. Although it has been on top of its game 13 years ago and has seen some better times than it does today. One of the reasons for this is that hackers have compromised it many times, which means you have to pay extra attention to security if you’re using it. Most of the issues that led to this have already been patched by now.
It is completely free to use. It enables users to build a complete self-hosted online store and gives them complete control over how they control their data and their store. osCommerce can handle webstores of just about any company size, no matter what industry they operate in.
Building & Running a Web-Store With osCommece
Creating and running a web store with osCommerce is possible, but you’ll probably have to reach into your walled before you’re ready to run your online business with it. But if you’re a web developer or someone who has professional web development skills, then you’ll be able to build a website yourself. A hosting service, additional security and a merchant account will cost money. You’ll have to have a merchant account to process credit card orders.
It is relatively easy to install on a server but many developers have come across some seriously annoying problems. Designing and programming certain aspects of an osCommerce webstore could get frustrating even for experienced web-developers.
Once it is set up, it works smoothly most of the time and offers a service like most eCommerce solutions out there. You can easily enlist thousands of different products but the inventory is known to be pretty tricky to manage. The situation is the same with handling SEO, because osCommerce makes the optimization process pretty complex. But it’s open-source software, so you’ll be able to include any kind of function you prefer.
The 188.8.131.52 version comes with numerous upgrades and fixes. It adds more than 30 improvements like social media implementations, a beginner manager and other maintenance updates. But this upgrade can be problematic as well, because it will overwrite any customizations made in the code previously. If you’re setting up a new store with osCommerce, you should update it right off the bat.
osCommerce doesn’t have much of a special web designs and it doesn’t offer many straightforward options for you to manage it either. You can modify columns, headers, footers. It doesn’t have many templates, so some design skills will be required to set up the design you prefer. If you have a particular design in mind and you want to make your store really stylish, you’ll be better off using a different eCommerce solution.
osCommerce is still a pretty dynamic and feature-rich eCommerce platform that can run a decent web-store. What makes it even easier to use is that it can run on just about any web server that supports PHP and MySQL.
Although web developers would be able to use the full range of features that osCommerce has to offer, this review is aimed more towards casual users who are looking for an eCommerce solution.
The Pros and Cons of Using osCommerce
osCommerce was one of the best in its time, but time has passed since then making it an old software. It still has a lot to offer to online merchants with all its benefits and flaws taken into account. Here you’ll see what advantages and disadvantages this software has.
- Easy to modify – Being an open source platform, you can easily modify osCommerce and give yourself more control. A basic understanding in programming will help you know what’s going on and make the modifications you want. But if you’re not much of a web-developer you can always hire a developer who will do it for you pretty easily.
- A huge community – osCommerce has many devotees inside a huge online community. You’ll get plenty of both casual and technical support once you register. Any problem or question you might have has already been encountered by someone before you in the 1.5 million posts that are already up there. But if you choose to just type in your question, you’ll have it answered relatively fast.
- Its free – You don’t have to pay anything for downloading and using the program and the same goes for updates as well. If you’re a developer or have the necessary skills, you’ll find it pretty easy to use. If not, then source a programmer.
- Rich in features – Such a huge community has already contributed a lot to this software. The 7,000+ available add-ons can be easily downloaded and integrated into osCommerce.
- Unnecessarily complex – It’s not that easy to make customizations if you bump into some of the overly complex aspects of this software. Some things that usually take minutes to set up could take hours.
- Requires more work – Some features are built in a way that you have to do a lot of tinkering in order to make some specific changes. You’ll also have to put more effort into updating and managing your store.
- It doesn’t scale well all the time – Some eCommerce platforms scale a lot better than osCommerce does, because it was built for minor applications.
- It has many errors – As I said earlier, making customizations and setting your store up isn’t always a walk in the park. osCommerce can perform really well at times, but it has a lot of bugs. If you’re modifying its code, be ready to fix some breakdowns that may occur. This could be a problem if the site breaks and your customers aren’t able to purchase a product.
- Not too SEO friendly – osCommerce lacks a lot when it comes to managing its SEO aspects. For this reason, it could take some qute time to optimize your site for search engines.
- Unsecure – Many osCommerce websites have been attacked and even destroyed by hackers. This also places users’ personal information at risk. Millions of users got hacked once a famous osCommerce webstore had its security broken by hackers.
- Many outdated designs – osCommerce doesn’t offer much when it comes to designing your website. Although it can be customized, you’ll need some strong web design skills to create a stylish website.
How to Choose a Host for osCommerce
It’s not too hard to choose a webhost for osCommerce as it can run on just about any server that supports PHP and MySql. But it’s good to know what you have to focus on when you’re choosing a webhost for an online store.
The best advice for beginners is to start with shared hosting. It is easy to maintain and will probably be enough for your new site. You can always upgrade it to dedicated hosting if you need more speed or space.
On the other hand, it would be smart for you to read this list. It has the most essential things to look out for and the factors you should consider when you’re looking for the ideal host for you eCommerce store.
The first question to get straight is what kind of website are you looking to upload? – Will it be an osCommerce site, a Magento site, a custom made eCommerce website or a WordPress site? Do you need any kind of special software? How much traffic will the site have or how much are you aiming for?
Load times and your website’s overall speed are very important for the customer experience. Most users expect sides to load within seconds. Your web host plays a crucial role in how fast your pages load. You’re in luck, because at BlueHost, you can benefit from high speed loading times for $4.49 a month, as a power user. You can easily try it out and if you change your mind for some reason, you’ll get your money back straight away.
The necessary storage space is determined by how much content your website has. If you use high quality or high quantity videos and pictures for showcasing your products or for marketing purposes, it’s obvious that you’ll need to store them somewhere. Although it is a major factor, you can easily have it covered with one of InMotion’s plans. You’ll have unlimited storage, whichever plan you choose.
It’s also beneficial to choose servers with SSD hard drives for increased speeds.
Users seek trustworthy stores to purchase their products from. They’ll have to trust you with their credit card numbers and other kinds of personal information that you must keep safe at all times. It is critical to prevent hackers from getting their hands on such confidential information.
You can’t know everything all by yourself. As with most software and technology, it’s good to have a decent customer support that you can call whenever you need it. It’s best if you seek providers who provide 24/7 customer support through the entire year, like HostGator. All of their plans have 24/7/365 Support, so you can always be sure that they have your back.
Web hosts can also take responsibility for providing technical support for your website as well. They can take care of security for example and provide constant backups.
Finding a host that offers all the best of the above mentioned without any hidden catch or any issue that would pop-up long term, like huge renewal fees.
There are various services that can be very convenient and beneficial to use. They will make running your site a whole lot easier. Basically, if you get your hands on a good service, you’ll also have a lot of work done for free.
We have added the web hosts we find most trustworthy both on a short term and on a long term basis. You’ll get your money back if you change your mind or you’ll save a lot of money and have a very solid service long term.
Web Hosts I Recommend for osCommerce
InMotion – If you’re running osCommerce or any other eCommerce platform, InMotion can provide you with a lot of technical support (24/7), unlimited storage space and high speeds. They are very trustworthy and prices start as $4.49 a month.
BlueHost – BlueHost is one of osCommerce’s partners, as they can run this platform perfectly and have its creator’s seal of approval. They are committed to deliver you a powerful service that you can count on along with giving you 24/7 support. The company is also a big supporter of open source solutions and communities and works on helping them. For $2.95 dollars a month you’ll have unlimited services (storage space, speed, bandwidth and so on) and they also have a money back guarantee if you’re no longer satisfied with their offer.
It would be hard to say that osCommerce is an ideal solution for running an online store. It has many flaws that make its use more time-consuming overall. One of the reasons for this is the fact that the software is old, as it was first released 16 years ago. So using it takes a lot of polish.
Although it does have many problems and have received complaints, the good still outweighs the bad. It has been around for an incredibly long time and still continues to serve merchants all around the world for some good reasons. It really works and offers a low cost solution for running your online store. What’s even better is that it isn’t so needy when it comes to hosting, so you’ll have it running on maximum speed once you have set it up.
I hope that this article provided you with all the information you were looking for and that you have enjoyed reading through it!