X-Cart Review: Ecommerce Power Like No Other (But Development Skills Required)

Since 2001, X-Cart has provided ecommerce and multivendor tools for over 35,000 online stores. The X-Cart brand is synonymous with creative control and complete oversight, considering it's a self-hosted, high-performance solution. This might sound like a dream to some online business owners, but for others, it's not exactly what they need.

The good news is that it's rather easy to figure out if X-Cart is the right ecommerce platform for your business, since it mainly has to do with how much experience you have with coding and building websites as a developer. Or, you might want to pay a developer to do the work for you. In this X-Cart review, you'll learn about all the features offered, along with what expenses you'll encounter.

Since it's an opensource solution, X-Cart lets you run an ecommerce website on your own servers. This means there's a little extra work involved, but more control comes with that small sacrifice. Upon first glance (and after a deeper analysis) the pros and cons of X-Cart become more clear. So, keep reading this X-Cart review to see if it's going to become your company's next ecommerce builder.

X-Cart Review: What's Great About X-Cart

X-Cart review homepage

As with many opensource builders (like Magento and WordPress,) X-Cart is highly intuitive and packed with some of the more advanced features on the market. There's not much you can't do with the software, seeing as how almost every element is customizable if you have the skills and resources to implement the changes.

This also means that the platform is highly scalable. If you're planning on expanding your operation and would like to add new customizations and features to the store, X-Cart has the ability to satisfy your needs.

I also believe the pricing for X-Cart is quite reasonable. It offers a free plan for smaller newcomers. I wouldn't expect to be using this for long, but it's a nice place to start. Although you'll find that X-Cart does have some yearly upgrade fees, the base product is only $495, and if you'd like, you don't have to pay for the upgrades.

X-Cart Review orders

Finally, many companies enjoy the option for multivendor selling. It's possible you integrate this functionality into your store in the future, or maybe you're building a multivendor marketplace from scratch. With the X-Cart Multivendor plan, you have all of the features needed.

X-Cart Review: What's Not So Great

In terms of the interface and customization options, you can't beat X-Cart. It's made for building powerful online stores without any limitations. However, it all depends on how experienced you are with development/coding–or the amount of money you have to pay a developer.

In short, you should have previous development experience if you're trying your hand with X-Cart. If not, make sure someone on your team is capable, or maybe think about hiring a developer–preferably with X-Cart experience.

Other than that, some people might get frustrated that X-Cart requires some additional fees. For instance, all upgrades to the software have price tags on them. You'll also have to pay for customer support.

Since it's an opensource platform, much of the research is done without customer support. So, once again, you'll have to be able to manage your own server, or find a good hosting company. The same goes for website maintenance. Everything is managed by you, not X-Cart.

Our Favorite Features from X-Cart

It's tough to cover all of the X-Cart features (since there are tons of them,) but here are some of my favorites:

  • Responsive design, and a mobile POS. You can also manage your store from mobile devices.
  • The ability to sell digital products and create auctions.
  • An option for preventing fraud.
  • A complete marketplace builder and integration tool.
  • Low stock notifications and best seller indicators.
  • Filters and cloud searching.
  • Shipping quotes that come in through real-time.
  • A beautiful one-step checkout with the option for guest checkouts.
  • Marketing options like a loyalty program, discounts, newsletters, exit offers, abandoned cart notifications, and more.

X-Cart Review: The Pricing

X-Cart pricing used to be far more complicated, but it's become easier to understand. There are some things to keep in mind before paying for X-Cart, the first of which involves the access to upgrades. As mentioned earlier in this article, upgrades aren't free from X-Cart (unless you go with the Free plan,) so that first payment you send to X-Cart probably won't be your last.

However, each package is technically a lifetime license. So, if you pay for one Business Package license, you have it forever for one site. You'd most likely want to get at least some of the upgrades, so shelling out more money in the future is up to you.

Here are the current X-Cart pricing plans at a glance:

  • Free – As the title suggests, this plan is completely free. It's meant for smaller businesses, or newcomers who are looking to launch with X-Cart. The plan supports unlimited products, five free themes, a powerful designer, access to site code, gateway support, and dozens of other features. It's a nice package since you don't have to pay any money. However, you might encounter some additional features or services you want to pay for along the way. For instance, customer support requires an additional payment.
  • Business – This is a one-time fee of $495, unless you plan on getting updates or other services. Customer support also requires a payment in this plan. All of the features from the previous plan are included. Some extra features we like include multiple currencies, product filters, reviews, social logins, and downloadable products.
  • Multivendor – This plan costs $1,495 (one-time fee) and it's only if you're interested in making a full-fledged, multivendor marketplace, like Envato or Etsy. Most features from the previous plans are also provided, but you get the addition of separate stores for vendors, commission rates, automated transfers, and much more.
  • Ultimate – This $5,995 plan features full customer support and assistance with your launch. Most add-ons are provided with the plan. For instance, you would typically have to pay for a tree-like category menu, but it's packaged into the Ultimate plan. Some other features are paid memberships, product questions, recurring payments, manual tax exemptions, a backup tool, and more.

X-Cart doesn't require you to pay any transaction fees for any of the plans. Besides the ones outlined above, X-Cart also offers Enterprise plans for companies growing rapidly, or already in the maturity stages.

One element to consider is that X-Cart does actually provide fully managed hosting. So, if you'd rather skip finding your own host (and everything that entails,) you have the option to pay for managed hosting, starting at $29.95 per month for all plans.

As for the upgrades we talked about earlier, here's how much they cost depending on your plan (The special low price is if you sign up for upgrades within one month after the expiration):

  • Free Edition – Free for all upgrades.
  • Business – Special low price: $99 Regular Price: $247.50
  • Multivendor – Special low price: $299.95 Regular Price: $747.50
  • Ultimate – Special low price: $3,155 Regular Price: $3,155

X-Cart Review: Customer Support

Customer support is a big downside for X-Cart, but that doesn't necessarily mean you won't be able to find any support. X-Cart is a rather popular platform for building online stores. Therefore, other people have created online courses, forums, blogs, and other resources to guide you along the way. You typically won't be able to send in an email or call a dedicated, trained support team, but there's plenty of information out there for you.

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In addition, the Ultimate plan is a popular one to consider if you plan on making a serious, fast-scaling business. On top of the software, you receive 24/7 customer support, all without having to pay any extra fees for it. Of course, your software version may need to be updated sometimes, but as far as we're concerned the support is free for that plan.

As for the online resources provided by X-Cart itself, a phone number is shown on the website–but that's more for sales and quick questions. You can also contact the X-Cart organization through email or chat through a live chat box. Once again, I would assume those are mainly for sales.

X-Cart provides a HelpDesk, documentation, success stories for inspiration, and a decent blog. Overall, regular developers should have no problems with this configuration. You're going to miss customer support if you're not a developer, but again, X-Cart isn't exactly made for those people.

Should You Consider X-Cart for Your Ecommerce Platform?

Do you have experience with development and want a self-hosted platform with loads of ecommerce features? Yes, try out X-Cart. If you want a powerful and affordable multivendor platform, X-Cart is an excellent solution.

If you'd rather not pay a monthly fee for your ecommerce platform, we also like X-Cart.

However, if you're not a developer, and you don't have the money to pay for one, X-Cart is most likely not for you. There is a free plan from X-Cart, so you can still test it out and see how you feel. Otherwise, there are plenty of other self-hosted and hosted ecommerce platforms made more for beginners.

If you have any questions about this X-Cart review, share your thoughts in the comments below.

X-Cart Rating: 4.0 - Review by

Joe Warnimont

Joe Warnimont is a freelance writer who creates tools and resources to help other writers get more productive and market their work.