Setting up an Online Store for Free

For the past year, I’ve cobbled together a custom PHP script for my sales sites. After all, my needs were simple – very few items, PayPal payments only, so why invest the time and effort in a complete store, right?

Wrong.

I finally took the plunge this week where developing a new site, and decided to go for a ‘standard’ store. And to set that store up, I used open-source software – specifically, osCommerce.

osCommerce is a free store script in PHP that you customize for different looks (or leave unchanged for a nice blue look). Ideally, you want a style uniquely your own, which is where osCommerce templates come in.

A template is just the design tips needed to create a look for the basic osCommerce layout. And looks matter, so even if osCommerce is free, think seriously about paying for an osCommerce template – the price is well worth it in terms of a professional look.

I’ll try to get noting my experiences with osCommerce, but so far it’s been quite positive. Well, maybe one negative – a lot of the code is split up over files, so tracking down what’s happening can be time-consuming. But I can heartily recommend osCommerce, and once you’re past the initial learning curve, it’s a slick way to open your store cheaply.

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