osCommerce vs. Joomla! Virtuemart

Joomla! E-commerceThis is not an elaborate overview of the advantages and disadvantages of osCommerce and Virtuemart, but merely a brief summary that I’ve borrowed from a fellow forum member on a Dutch Joomla! forum. Dimage works with both systems and because of this he was able to compile a good overview. Read on for the advantages and disadvantages of osCommerce and Virtuemart!

There are going to be some interesting changes in the Joomla! e-commerce area in 2011 as some of the new extensions (like MagebridgeTienda and redSHOP) become more mature. The state of Joomla! e-commerce blogs are a series I am writing about these changes. Click the “e-commerce” label/tag to read more articles about this subject. Two previous blog posts are “The state of Joomla! e-commerce in December 2010” and “A short history of Joomla! e-commerce“.

Update 2012: Off course things have changed now Virtuermart 2.0 is finally released! View our review and screenshots, a Virtuermart 2.0 tutorial, and find iDEAL for Virtuemart 2.0

This is a translated version of a blog post “osCommerce vs. Virtuemart” I wrote in Dutch in 2008. I have also updated it to reflect the current situation. I would also like to mention that there are now more Joomla! e-commerce extensions. So in my opinion, don’t even consider osCommerce but read this blog post: The state of Joomla! e-commerce December 2010

Advantages osCommerce

  • A very stable and safe platform.
  • Little to no security issues, so there is no need for constant updates 
  • By default it comes with a good built in invoicing and inventory system 
  • Hundreds of extensions (over 4.800), you name it, they’ve got it 
  • An extensive community (over 180.000 members) with many developers
  • Support and most of the extensions are freely available 

Disadvantages osCommerce

  • No automatic installation like the Joomla! Installer; all extenstions must be added manually 
  • Fewer options for changing the layout 
  • This is solely a webshop, not a cms and it therefore has little options when it comes to content  
  • The development of osCommerce has been slow lately


Advantages Virtuemart

  • Automatic installation for both Joomla! extensions and Virtuemart
  • The Joomla! platform offers a lot more options when it comes to layout (Joomla! Templates)
  • The Joomla! platform also offers more options for extensive content 
  • The Joomla! platform offers a lot of (non-web shop related) extensions 
  • With the Joomla! platform and for example JomSocial or Community Builder one can build a community around the shop 

Disadvantages Virtuemart

  • If you’re looking for more than a “out of the box” functionality within Virtuemart, this has to be custom developed (by you or a third party) 
  • Very average invoicing and inventory system (Invoicing can now be improved with ccVAOM, for Virtuemart PDF Invoicing)
  • Smaller community (the Virtuemart site has 8.000 members), fewer programmers, less support on the forum 
  • With a small team of programmers, development of new functionality is slow-paced


Dimage’s opinion

Virtuemart is without a doubt a web shop with potential. The biggest drawback in my opinion is however that there are not many extensions available for Virtuemart itself. It is therefore often only possible to pay for an extension or have one developed. In most cases no support for these extensions can be found within the community as one has to pay for support. The biggest advantage of Virtuemart is mostly Joomla! itself, which offers you a lot of possibilities when it comes to Joomla! extensions, content and layout.

As development time is concerned, osCommerce and Virtuemart can be considered the same. What you save with the automatic installation in Virtuemart you’ll thereafter have to invest in creating extensions yourself, and the opposite is the case in osCommerce.