Magento VS X-Cart

The Comparison between Magento eCommerce and X- Cart can be made by studying their respective advantages & Disadvantages.


Magento is one of the newer shopping carts on the block but has already attracted a large following. The coding is based on the latest PHP 5 object oriented coding standards and the Zend framework.

Advantages + 
+ Varian the company who backs the cart is very active in updating the code and fixing bugs
Multi-Store Capable
+ Nice default template

Disadvantages –
Heavily layered and overly complicated coding style and thousands of files requires a lot of time to learn and do customizations. Estimate about 2 – 5 x more for your budget for customizing it vs. other carts
Right now the technical documentation is very limited, making it difficult to customize and modify the programming of Magento beyond doing graphical changes. 
 Runs fairly slow. Plan on spending at least $25/month for a 1000 product store, or $50 – $100 month for stores with over that.


X-Cart is a commercial package, but one of the most competitively priced and easy to modify.

Advantages +
+ Commercially supported and has very few if any bugs
+ Uses Smarty Templates system which many programmers like to work with for laying out the web site

Disadvantages –
– Licensing fees for system

Leave a comment


  1. While I agree with most of the article, having used both systems extensively I wanted to share a few of my own personal opinions on X-Cart and Magento.

    1) Varian is now Magento, Inc. which is now owned by Ebay.
    2) X-Cart is NOT OOP and is VERY difficult to follow an upgrade path when new releases come out, this was my biggest reason for switching to Magento after having many Clients with X-Cart and spending countless hours just to upgrade a client to the latest X-Cart release.
    3) Magento is a very complex system (almost overly engineered) but after spending enough time with it, it starts to make sense why this is the case, and how its easy to rapid prototype client requested features without FUBAR’ing the upgrade path.
    4) You are also correct on Magento being slow, it uses a huge amount of abstraction layers, ORM, EAV data models to make it easy to extend both on the Client side and Programmers side. This is where I would say X-Cart wins because of its procedural code if speed is your only consideration. However, for example, adding a new multi-option drop down on a product is far more cumbersome in X-Cart than in Magento.
    5) I would disagree on the documentation for Magento, there forums aren’t very helpful however StackOverflow and people like Alan Storm, Inchoo, etc. really help in understanding Magento easier.
    6) Smarty templates are just overhead IMO, simply doing PHP wrapped in HTML like Magento does makes sense from a performance stand point, most designers/FEDs are going to have to learn one or the other either way and it doesn’t separate business logic from presentation very well either.

    Conclusion: I am by no means saying X-Cart is a horrible E-Commerce package, it works very well and has/had served many of my clients well. However if a client doesn’t have many new features, doesn’t care about upgrade paths and wants a cheap reliable hosting that is responsive. X-Cart is the way to go.

    If you are wanting a robust E-Commerce system that can grow with your business easily, and you have lots of time, money and programming resource at your disposal Magento is the best choice. I know that statement sounds like Magento is just a money/time waster. It is not as your investing in your companies future more so with Magento than, X-Cart.

    That being said, for small shops that want a similar route to X-Cart now have the Magento Go! option as an affordable SaaS solution to get an E-Commerce store up and running without having hardly any programming, design and/or e-commerce experience.

    Thanks for the article BTW.

    • Have you seen our “LiteCommerce 3” open-source solution that will be used as the code base for X-Cart in the future?

      Making upgrades easier was the idea we had when working on LC3. That’s why it has an OOP modular architecture with a built-in upgrade function installing updates for the core and modules hosted on our server (in “Module Marketplace”).

      Most of the X-Cart upgrades problems were caused by hacks to the code and templates made by developers customizing shops. That was the only way to customize an X-Cart shop, unfortunately. The more hacks you had, the harder the upgrade path was.

      To reduce the number of hacks to the LC3 code we strongly recommend all developers to deliver their changes and fixes as LC3 modules.

      With the “dynamic decoration” feature in LC3 ( a LiteCommerce module can extend or replace any class method in the core or another module. Moreover, “dynamic decoration” enables modules to extend the same base class without even knowing about each other.

      Another great feature for module developers is the ability for a LiteCommerce module to modify and insert new UI elements without hacking template files ( A developer just adds a new template file (or a view class) and declares in its comments where the widget is to be inserted in the template tree.

      Doctrine 2 ORM framework is another thing reducing the number of hacks to the code. Since Doctrine 2 builds SQL queries on the fly, a LiteCommerce module can alter database queries without knowing the actual SQL strings. So, there is no more cases when a module replaces an SQL query and overwrites changes made to the query by another module.

      Easier upgrades were not the only idea. We believe that a modern e-commerce website is made up of many sections including articles, blog, forums, and so on, not just the catalog and checkout. While many vendors include basic content-management functions into their e-commerce solutions, we decided to focus on the e-commerce part and leave the rest to CMS that can handle it the best way. That’s why LiteCommerce has a deep integration with Drupal 7 and can operate as a stand-alone solution or like an e-commerce module for Drupal. When running LC3 in a connection with Drupal, you get tons of free content management functions, themes and modules from the Drupal community, which you can use for faster website development.

      I will be glad to answer any questions you may have on LiteCommerce 3!


      • Hector Estela

         /  May 11, 2012

        thanks, this is good info Vyach, so as a developer for small websites using x-cart, and really confronting some of the issues with upgrades and cost rising in develpment and support subscriptions in x-cart, do you thing litecommerce is a good choice over x-cart, for simple stores?

      • Thanks for this informative reply! It is good to see Qualiteam defending their product. Rock on guys.

  2. Bedoya

     /  December 18, 2011

    I love your wordpress template, where did you download it from?

  3. jocuri cu bile pe

     /  December 31, 2011

    Hi there, Thanks a lot for this nice article! I will bookmark Magento VS X-Cart Expert Magento Developers. Cheers.

  4. “Magento VS X-Cart Expert Magento Developers”
    definitely causes me personally imagine a small amount more.
    I really adored every single piece of this post.
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  5. KerryMorvel

     /  June 11, 2013

    The choice of shopping cart depends on your needs. If you need customization opportunities – use Magento. If you need user-friendly platform – X-Cart.
    I found also a good comparison of Magento and X-Cart here

  6. Ben

     /  July 15, 2013

    I wouldn’t advice to go nether with X-Cart nor Magento, unless you are 100% sure about it and you need some specific option/feature.
    Magento is way too complicated, while X-Cart seems to lose competition to CS-Cart that offers even better functionality and support for approximately the same fee or even less.
    Generally I would suggest to try PrestaShop or OpenCart for small-middle sized companies that want a free solution. Or CS-Cart for those who are looking for in-house support and bugless platform.
    As to other shopping carts there is a nice ppt that will give you a basic idea about most of platforms:

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