Web Hosting Guide
Best Shopping Cart Software

If you're setting up an ecommerce website, a shopping cart is probably high on your list of important choices. This article reviews some important information to help you in choosing the best shopping cart software for your ecommerce site.

What Is an Ecommerce Shopping Cart?

An ecommerce shopping cart is a metaphor to help customers get through the online shopping process in which they may click on items on a variety of pages in order to select them and are then able to review their selections and provide the necessary information to make a purchase. An ecommerce shopping cart serves several different functions that take place in a retail establishment. Like a physical shopping cart, it allows customers to collect items with specific attributes and in specific numbers (3 blue scarves, 1 flashlight, 4 hammers), bring them to a checkout facility, and like a checkout counter staffed with a cashier with a POS terminal, it allows them to transact a payment.

What Kinds of Shopping Carts Are There?

There are several ways to categorize shopping carts. One way is to distinguish the best shopping cart software that is provided as part of a larger ecommerce solution from freestanding shopping carts. In the first case, such an offering might include web hosting, a specified amount of bandwidth and disk space, email accounts, FTP accounts, programming languages, such as PHP, Perl, and Python, content management solutions, such as Drupal and Joomla, and more.

Web hosting providers who provide ecommerce website plans often offer one or more shopping cart software solutions that are easily integrated in the environment they provide. Typical choices are:

  • Agora carts
  • Zen carts
  • OS Commerce carts
  • Cube carts

Choosing one of the provided shopping carts can be the best shopping cart solution for many etailers for a number of reasons. First of all, you don't have to worry about website feature compatibility if you stick to your web hosting provider's offerings. Second, if you choose a web host with a 24/7/365 support program and good FAQ, you'll have assistance any time you may need it for your shopping cart. Third, upgrades will be easy, done in conjunction with the web host.

Freestanding shopping carts, on the other hand, can be added onto an existing website, but are not part of the plan.  In this case, you need to keep an eye out for compatibility issues. Important issues to consider are the server operating system, the shopping cart's language requirements, any modules that must be installed on the server for the shopping cart to run, the availability of a site manager such as FTP, and wrapper installation ability and/or the capability of running CGI scripts using your own identification.

For very specific or demanding shopping cart requirements, it is possible to build or have built a shopping cart that meets your exact specifications. This type of shopping cart can be developed in the context of an ecommerce site that either is pre-existing or created from scratch along with the shopping cart.

Which of these will be the best shopping cart software for you will depend on your particular business and your site needs.

Only $2.25/mo, Free Security Suite, Unlimited space, Unlimited bandwidth - Host Unlimited Sites!
Visit iPage

Only $3.49/mo!!! for Unlimited disk space, Unlimited bandwidth and Solid Web Hosting.
Visit BlueHost

Starting at $1.00/mo, PHP & PERL, 10 GB Storage Space, Unlimited Data Transfer, Microsoft FrontPage™
Visit GoDaddy

Only $3.96/mo!!! for Unlimited disk space, Unlimited bandwidth and Best Green Web Hosting
Visit GreenGeeks