The Starter’s Guide for OpenCart 2.0

If you want to start online business and you need an easy and full-featured popular web shop, OpenCart is a great choice. In short, OpenCart is a unique open source system that allows you to participate in e-Commerce business and ensures smooth business performance. In addition, Opencart 2.0 has been released with a lot of great new features and improvements, check out the most exited new features of Opencart 2.0 →

If you have no experience yet with the platform, this beginner’s series will help you. This series will show how to install and open an OpenCart web shop in minutes.

Let’s Get Started!

After the tutorial, you will become friends with OpenCart. In detail, you know:

  • OpenCart is popular and ease to use.
  • You want to crank up a web shop right now.

OpenCart will run on most shared hosting that have PHP 5.2+, MySQL database, cURL (a server extension), 100-300MB of free space (depending on the number of products and images) and mod_rewrite (Apache server module). Please always ask your hosting provider if they support OpenCart hosting. There are many hosting providers support one-click installation, but to make sure the tutorial is useful or everyone, we’ll do the installation manually.

Pre-installation Prepare Your OpenCart Installation

Before the installation, you need to have your database and FTP user account info. Next, save the newest version of OpenCart from the OpenCart download page to your local folder. Extract the zip within your working folder then rename:

  • config-dist.php to config.php
  • and admin/config-dist.php to admin/config.php

Upload every file and folder to your server from the Upload folder.

upload opencart to hosting

In this tutorial, I will install OpenCart on my local machine, which is almost similarly configured in a shared hosting service.

Make sure these folders on the server are writeable (chmod 0755 or 0777):


Go to your shop’s homepage and follow the steps in the installation wizard:

Step 1 – User licence agreement: read the user license info and hit “Continue” button

install opencart 2.0

Step 2 – Server set up: this screen helps you check if your server’s set up matches the OpenCart’s requirements. If everything is okay, hit the “Continue” button to go to the next step – Database configuration.

install opencart 2.0

If something is in red, read what changes need to be done, perform them, then go back by hitting the Back button and Continue again. In my case, I had a small error and I had to rename the two config_dist.php files to config.php as seen below.

Step 3 – Database configuration: provide your database credentials as asked. For Database Driver, most hosting providers use MySQL, and for database prefix, pick something unique – this should make your configuration more safe. The rest is given by your hosting company. If you filled out this form with your own data, hit Continue.

install opencart 2.0

Step 4 – Rename/Delete “install” folder: We’re at the finish line! As the warning says, delete the install directory and continue either to your store front or to the administration. Let’s go to the Administration area, where the exciting things happen for the new friends of OpenCart.

install opencart 2.0 final step

Exploring the OpenCart Administration Panel

Go to and log in to your admin panel. The first thing you see is a dashboard showing an overview of your sales, an order and customer statistics chart, and a list of your latest orders. Now, we will do some basic setting modifications to get you started in the admin area.

opencart administration panel

General Settings:

To change the default store information, go to “System > Settings > Edit Your Store > General” tab. You can change the store name, address, owner’s name, and contact details. If you want to change the template and update the meta data go to the Store tab within Settings.

opencart general settings

Under the Local tab, you’ll find the options for the store’s default region, you can choose the front end and back-end language, change currency and units.

opencart local setting

Under Options tab you’ll see settings related to products and list view, vouchers, taxes, customer account, checkout, stock and affiliates. For the first try of OpenCart, I wouldn’t modify anything under the Options tab.

opencart option settings

If you want to change the logo and the favicon, and later edit different product image sizes, go to the Image tab.

opencart image setting

The FTP, Mail and Fraud tabs are used for advanced settings, right now, don’t bother with them. If you want to use SEO URL’s in OpenCart, go to the Server tab and enable the Use SEO URL’s option (don’t forget to rename the htaccess.txt to.htaccess in your root folder). Also you can insert your Google Analytics code under this tab, last option.

opencart server setting

Managing Your First Categories and Products

1. Opencart categories – Categories can be added or changed under “Catalog > Categories” menu. Click “Insert” button to add a new one. Open the General tab, type the category name, meta data and description.

create opencart category

Under the “Data” tab, the basic options you can edit are choosing a parent category, add SEO url, pick category image, and choose if this category should be in your main menu in the store front. The rest of the options are for advanced users.

opencart data setting

2. Opencart Articles – The basic product properties can be changed or added under “Catalog > Products” menu. To add a new one, click “Insert” button. For first time users, only the first three tabs are important to know.

The General tab covers the input fields, for product name, meta data (meta description and meta keywords), product description and keywords.

opencart article general setting

Under the Data tab, you can add a model identifier, SKU, other kinds of product codes (e.g. EAN, ISBN), product location, price, tax class, quantity, stock status, SEO URL, product image, date available from, status, and dimensions.

opencart article data setting

The “Links” tab holds the options to choose manufacturer, categories and related products. The rest of the product options are for advanced store owners, later to be discussed in a following tutorial part.

opencart article link setting

What’s coming next in the Opencart Tutorial series?

I hope you see now how easy it is to install OpenCart and tune the basic options for a quick start. You are now ready to move forward.

The next part of this tutorial series will cover the following:

  • Advanced administration settings with localization
  • Advanced product and category attributes
  • Advanced marketing with promotion tools
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