Opencart development Hampshire

Ecommerce Setup and Development from the Shopping Cart Specialists

We have over 18 years experience in the field of ecommerce and online marketing. We can get your business online at prices that won't break the bank.

The Ecommerce-Help Blog

03 April 2023

Streaming Video Pay to Access Site

Following our ticket selling build for Alternative View Events we were asked to tweak their online streaming conference page and make some improvements. We and they love the result which was done in time for their forthcoming Smart Cities live stream.

Feel free to check the site out and grab a ticket if the subject matter interests you.

28 February 2023

Our Latest OC Customization

We've just finished our latest Opencart customization. The client wanted to sell tickets for a conference they were organizing. They needed Opencart to sell two different tickets. One sold a conference ticket and needed to collect the name of the attendee. The second ticket needed to collect the name of the attendee plus dietary preferences for a buffet lunch. Each ticket booking needed to be a separate item in the cart. Due to the flexible nature of Opencart this was a pretty easy one and the client is very happy.

5 January 2023

New Year and a Happy One to You

We're back in the office for a couple of days easing ourselves in to work and 2023. Already a couple of interesting projects have come in and several upgrade requests from existing clients. Whatever you are up to be it work or an extended break have a marvelous new year.

28 October 2022

Friday Afternoon Wind Down

After another fairly busy week we've finished early and are having a wind down in the office before we leave. We've got mini helicopters flying around, Doom FPS being played over in the corner and one of our geeky guys is having a play with the latest version of Manjaro Linux. Which, by the way, I have to say is very good. This week we've finished converting our OC 1.5 client sites over to PHP 8.1 and we've also done a few OC 2.3 sites. So far no major problems and PHP 8.1 seems to have a slight speed improvement for OC over 7.4. Let's see what next week brings for us.

12 October 2022

PHP 7.4 End of Life 28th November 2022

With the end of life for PHP 7.4 approaching now is a good time to start planning to keep your site(s) running on PHP 8.x

We've begun working through our client sites running starting with those on OC Yes, we still have some despite nagging them to upgrade. Some themes and extensions are problematic but if a site is pretty vanilla we find installing the excellent OC Bootstrap Pro theme and tweaking a few controller files where necessary generally provides a quick solution to keeping clients online. Where third party extensions throw up errors we change any depreciated PHP functions to their replacements or remove offending extensions and look for newer working versions if they exist.

In time we'll work up through the OC versions but as OC is still our favourite version we're happy to start there.

7 August 2022

Latest Client Website Launched

We've just finished and set live our latest client website. The Alternative View project runs online pay per-view-conferences. Although not an Opencart website this is still an ecommerce site as it sells tickets for online streamed events so we were happy to help.

One of the main problems for this venture is hacking attempts and DDOS attacks. They've been plagued with them in the past. Especially when they have a live event going on.

Our approach was to use a lightweight XML based content management with video player embed code supplied by their streaming services provider. We've protected that with a firewall and bad source traffic blocker. Attacks we initially saw when the site went live quickly dropped off as the layers of protection did their job. The site is now using less bandwidth and resources and consequently runs faster for real visitors as it's not being sucked dry by bots.

The Alternative View is an interesting project. If you like alternative subjects, deep research and the odd conspiracy theory head right over to

14 March 2022

Something a Bit Different for Us

Our office is based next to a martial arts gym. A couple of weeks ago the owner knocked on our door and asked if we could help. He had a Wordpress website that wasn't working properly, was way out of date and his current web designers had gone quiet and left him in a pickle. As an online presence is vital to the gym he wanted something quick and simple that just worked. No frills, no flashy effects. Just who, what, why, where and when in relation to his gym.

We're always happy to help out and set to work building a very simple site which delivered the basic info and get the gym back visible online. Although it's not our usual type of job we quickly built a simple site that looked very similar to his broken one but worked and was fast and secure. We used a simple flat file CMS, ported his old content over and stuck a firewall on to keep him safe from hackers and bots.

Technically the site is not an ecommerce site. It's more of a leads generating and basic info site. After chatting to the gym owner over coffee we agreed that the addition of an online shop to his site would be a big plus. We're planning out an Opencart based shop which will list his club wear, martial arts equipment and oils and liniments which will open up a larger market for him and hopefully up his profit margins. We now have a happy neighbour who can get back to doing what he's best at while his website works for him in the background.

If you would like to visit the site or even book in for some thai boxing lessons please visit

Tell them Ecommerce-Help sent you over. :-)

21 October 2021

The Power Of Customization and Thinking Outside the Box

We recently had a new client get in touch who was looking for an ecommerce setup but not for selling products or digital downloads. The client runs a private hire luxury taxi company and was looking for his own bespoke booking website. He had looked at several PHP scripts online and could find some nearly suitable but didn't find one that totally fitted the bill. Generally they were too complex and aimed at multi vehicle taxi companies with an almost limitless number of options and variables. As most of his journeys were pre-booked pickup and drops to set airport destinations he didn't need anything that evolved. Just pre-planned journeys with a fixed price and a few option variables plus email and text confirmation to the customer plus invoice. Bread and butter for any OC version.

After a brief look at some extensions we worked out how his needs could be delivered. Although the job is in the early stages we have a viable plan that the client is happy with. The next stage is to build and test. One of the main requirements is the ability for customer to pick a time slot and the system apply a surcharge for certain early morning/unsocial times. The client also needed to be able to block off certain times and days where bookings could not be made. After exploring some OC extensions we decided to use an SMS messaging extension plus a delivery time slot extension and just change it to provide pickup time slots and charges. Same logic but different language labels.

We have always known Opencart to be a flexible platform and great in its standard setup. It's also really good and open to customization and use on jobs you wouldn't initially think it suitable for. Again, it highlights just how good Opencart really is.

Hopefully we'll have another happy client in the very near future.

27 March 2021

Opencart 1.5.x.x and PHP 7

Currently many hosting compaines are removing PHP 5.6 and early PHP 7 from their systems as they've come to the end of their life. PHP 7.3/4 and 8 with most hosts are the common current offered versions. This has led to some of our clients and many other Opencart owners finding their sites are not working and asking what can be done. "Do I need an upgrade?" is a common question and something we will address in this post.

Opencart is an Evolving Platform

Opencart is a constantly evolving platform and aims to keep up to date with modern coding practices and technologies. The newer versions can handle higher PHP versions out of the box. For many site owners this is a pretty straightforward switch but brings problems for well developed and established sites on OC 1.5.x.x with regard to custom code, extensions and other such work. Upgrade the Opencart version and you can bet there are other upgrades and updates needed somewhere. But what if you don't have time, don't have the money and just want your current site to last a bit longer?

Keeping Your Old Site Going

If you're looking to keep your OC 1.5.x.x site going a bit longer then there is a solution. Generally with most OC 1.5.x.x based sites, depending on the level of development it is possible to make them run on PHP 7. There may be some fixing and patching to some of your third party extensions but generally it's possible. So far we have managed to convert several of our clients based sites to run on PHP 7.4 and PHP 8. Once converted, most are running error free and faster than on PHP 5.6.

The Ecommerce Help View

At Ecommerce Help we support development and evolution and would suggest that upgrading your site to a newer version is a good move at some point. Upgrades bring many improvements including enhanced security and better coding and practices plus more integrations with third party services. The Opencart development team do a great job evolving their platform and each release brings something new to an already great system. But, if you want to keep your old site running it usually can be done, is worth doing to keep you in business and online but should be looked at as a holding move while you investigate and evaluate getting an upgrade to a newer version. It will buy you time while you plan the next stage of your online presence.

If you have an old OC 1.5.x.x based site and are having any of the problems mentioned above please get in touch and see if Ecommerce Help can fix you up or give you a shiny new upgrade.

All in our own opinion. Other opinions are available.

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