OpenCart vs Shopify: Which One Should You Choose?

Posted by JackBudd on November 24, 2023

OpenCart? Shopify? Do you find yourself stuck deciding between which platform to choose? Deciding on the right platform is crucial for the success of your online business, and here's why we think OpenCart stands out:

Aspect OpenCart Shopify
Ease of Use User-friendly admin panel. High level of customisation and flexibility, but this can also mean that it might be more challenging for non-technical users to set up and manage without assistance. User friendly dashboard, however, Shopify has restrictions on certain elements and functionalities, such as URL structure and theme customisation.
Customisation OpenCart offers unparalleled control, allowing for extensive design and functionality customisation.

Shopify, being a user-friendly platform, has limitations when it comes to customisation, which is a massive drawback for businesses with specific needs. You can't customise the functionality of your store, only the look. 

Shopify doesn't allow dynamic shipping rates - This limitation can affect merchants who need more flexible or accurate shipping costs tailored to individual orders.

Cost "One time investment" to set up your store, with the additional fees of hosting the website. Non-technical users may require help from developers, resulting in further costs. Monthly subscription fees which will accumulate over time, starting with a basic fee. Monthly fees for extensions. Shopify's subscription model also requires a long-term commitment, and businesses will find it very challenging to switch to another platform due to the time and effort invested in setting up their store.
Scalability Ideal for small to medium-sized businesses. Suited for businesses of all sizes.
Themes and Templates Diverse range of themes fostering creativity. Custom theme development available for a very high level of customisation. Extensive selection of designed themes, with the choice of free or premium (paid) themes. However, businesses with specific design preferences will find the customisation options very restrictive.
App Ecosystem Large app marketplace with lots of custom extensions. Most OpenCart extensions can also be further customised to match the your exact requirements. Large app store with a variety of third-party apps. Shopify extensions cannot be customised by the end user or developers, any updates would have to come from the extension vendors, which further restricts overall customisation.
Payment Options Supports various payment gateways, providing flexibility. Supports multiple payment options globally.
SEO Features Solid, easy to use SEO features for optimising online visibility. Limited level of control over certain technical aspects of SEO. Eg. Shopify automatically generates URLs based on product titles, meaning that there are restrictions on fully customising them.
Community Support Active community support and forums with various professional OpenCart developers. Strong community and customer support.
Security Security depends on hosting and updates. High-security standards, automatic updates, and backups.
Hosting Allows for more control with the option for separate hosting. Fully hosted solution. However, hosting is strictly subject to shopify's terms, meaning that you have to accept their rules, and any price increases that they might implement.

OpenCart's Open-Source Advantage

OpenCart takes a significant lead over Shopify with its open-source nature. While Shopify's closed-source model limits customisation options, OpenCart's open-source architecture allows our developers to dive deep into the code, tailoring every aspect of your online store to perfection. This flexibility ensures that your website is not just a template, but a unique representation of your brand.

Comparison with Shopify:
Shopify, being a closed-source platform, restricts access to its core code. This limitation poses challenges when you need specific customisations beyond the capabilities of their theme editor or plugins. OpenCart's open-source advantage provides a level of freedom and control that Shopify users will find very limiting.


OpenCart stands out as a cost-effective alternative to Shopify. While Shopify requires monthly subscriptions that can rapidly escalate based on your business's growth, OpenCart eliminates these recurring costs. This allows you to allocate resources where they matter most - in the development and enhancement of your online store.

Comparison with Shopify:
Shopify's subscription fees can accumulate over time, especially as your business expands. In contrast, OpenCart's one-time investment in development offers long-term cost savings, making it an attractive option for those looking to maximise their ROI. You are charged monthly for Shopify extensions, so they are much more expensive over time. On top of that, you also have to rely fully on Shopify, meaning they can increase their prices at any time!

Price OpenCart Shopify
Basic Price One-time investment to set up your store, and any development work needed.

Hosting: £10-£300/month
Monthly subscription to run your store.

Monthly payments for extensions.

Basic Shopify: £25/month
Shopify: £65/month
Advanced Shopify: £344/month 
Online Credit Card Fees Depending on Provider. Basic: 2% and 25p online
Shopify: 1.7% and 25p online
Advanced: 1.5% and 25p online
Additional Fees Using Third-Party Payment Methods Depending on payment method. Basic: 2.0%
Shopify: 1.0%
Advanced: 0.5%
Extension Fee One-off payments. From £10/month


Full Control Over Your Store

OpenCart's commitment to customisation extends to every aspect of your store. Unlike Shopify, which has restrictions on certain design elements and functionalities, OpenCart provides unparalleled control. This allows you to create a truly unique and personalised shopping experience for your customers.

Comparison with Shopify:
Shopify's user-friendly interface comes at a cost – limitations in certain customisations. OpenCart's flexibility allows you to modify your store to match your vision precisely, offering a level of control that Shopify users find lacking. On top of this, you can't move your website to another provider with Shopify, you would have to rebuild it completely to move away, so you are essentially locked in.

Responsive Design for a Seamless User Experience

In the age of mobile commerce, responsive design is paramount. OpenCart takes the lead with a vast array of responsive themes, ensuring your online store looks and performs optimally across all devices.

Comparison with Shopify:
While Shopify also offers responsive themes, the extent of customisation is limited here too. OpenCart's themes provide not only responsiveness but also a greater degree of freedom to fine-tune the mobile shopping experience, giving you an edge in meeting diverse customer preferences.

Scalability and Performance

OpenCart's scalability ensures that your online store can grow seamlessly. Its modular architecture and efficient codebase contribute to faster page loading times, providing a smooth shopping experience for your customers, even as your business expands.

Comparison with Shopify:
While Shopify is known for its reliability, OpenCart's modular structure allows for a more granular approach to scalability. This can be advantageous for businesses with specific scalability needs, offering a tailored solution that may surpass the one-size-fits-all approach of some Shopify plans.

Choosing between OpenCart and Shopify depends on your specific business needs, but for those seeking a highly customisable, cost-effective, and scalable solution with complete control over their online store, OpenCart emerges as the optimal choice. At Antropy, we specialise in providing top-notch OpenCart services, ensuring that your ecommerce journey is not only successful but also uniquely tailored to your business.


In conclusion, the advantages of choosing OpenCart over Shopify are clear. OpenCart's open-source architecture grants unparalleled customisation and control, allowing for a unique representation of your brand. The cost-effectiveness of a one-time investment, as opposed to Shopify's escalating monthly subscriptions, ensures long-term financial savings. With full control over your store, responsive design capabilities, and scalable performance, OpenCart emerges as the optimal choice for those seeking a highly customisable, cost-effective, and scalable solution. 

If you need assistance or have any additional questions about OpenCart, please don't hesitate to reach out to us at; we're here to provide the support you need!

blog comments powered by Disqus