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Recommended Host for CubeCart
What is CubeCart?
CubeCart is a popular storefront and shopping cart application included as a part of many hosting providers' eCommerce packages. With a plethora of plug-ins, detailed reports and flexible configuration, CubeCart is a good choice for veteran online retailers and eCommerce neophytes alike.
For many many small business owners, the decision to make the leap into online commerce coincides with their decision to build a website. Consequently, hosting providers of all stripes offer specialized "eCommerce" packages that often include improved site encryption, greater resource allocation, and shopping cart or storefront software designed to help the busy entrepreneur get their online shop up and running as quickly -- and professionally -- as possible.
Intuitive Control Panel
CubeCart offers an easy to use admin area with a detailed overview of the entire ecommerce site. The dashboard features sales stats in real time, and notification alerts for anything that needs your administrative attention: low stock warnings, customer comment and review approvals, and tasks related to new orders and fulfillment.
CubeCart offers a rich set of reporting features, allowing you to view sales data from a number of different perspectives:
- Custom time range (Week, month, year, etc.)
- Custom time division (sales by day, month, year, etc.)
- Sort by customer, by product, by department
- Different visual representations
- Comparison views
- Highlight gross, net, cost, shipping expenses, or any other detail.
Visual reports can be exported as images and the data behind reports can be exported to CSV for viewing in Excel or other spreadsheet software, or for importing into another data system if needed.
Full integration for Sage Bookkeeping is already supported, and (as of this writing) Quickbooks support is coming soon.
Development Flexibility with "Code Hooks"
If there is some feature you need that isn't yet supported, or some custom integration you wish to do, CubeCart supports the development of private and third-party plugins through their detailed hook system.
This allows developers to "hook into" key functions and triggers in major CubeCart use cases (adding a product, displaying a form, updating a shopping cat, etc).
Future versions of CubeCart are guaranteed to have backward compatibility with the hook system, ensuring a clean upgrade process with your custom code.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
When you add new products to your ecommerce system, CubeCart automatically generates all the pages, views, and product descriptions needed for user-friendly shopping.
But on top of that, all the pages, URLs, meta-data, and titles are optimized for the best possible Search Engine score, based on the information you provide. This data is all customizable as well. You can even edit precisely what Search Engines display when your site appears in their results.
Plugins & Modules
CubeCart has partnered with a number of third-party providers to integrate features and functionalities critical to a complete ecommerce experience. Plugin categories include:
- Payment gateways that provide a number of credit card processing and alternative payment options.
- Affiliate Marketing plugins that let you incentivize affiliate marketers to promote your products and services.
- Social media integrations that help you and your customers spread the word about your ecommerce store.
- Shipping plugins that provide order fulfillment features and real-time S/H pricing from major carriers (UPS, USPS, FedEX).
- Live help add-ons that give you the ability to interact directly with your customer.
Many hosting providers include a simple, one-click install of CubeCart Lite form the control panel. If you need the full-featured version later, you can upgrade in place, without having to start over.
If you're planning to purchase CubeCart directly and install it yourself, your Web server will need to have: - PHP 5.2.3+ - MySQL 4.1+ - Zend Guard Loader, Zend Optimizer, or Ioncube.
Remember to check with your host about adding or modifying critical system software before you hang out your virtual shingle.
CubeCart Hosting Frequently Asked Questions
What is CubeCart?
CubeCart is an e-commerce platform, with a storefront and shopping cart application. It is included in many e-commerce packages and remains a popular choice in several e-commerce niches. CubeCart was originally designed for small businesses, but over the years it evolved to include features that could be used by big retailers as well.
Is it designed for professional retailers or newbies?
CubeCart is designed for both. People new to e-commerce should have no trouble with it, but quite a few industry veterans rely on CubeCart as well, since it has been around for years. The control panel is streamlined and the dashboard contains all important statistics and notifications, so the learning curve is not too steep, although you will need some PHP skills if you want to change the design.
What does my server need to run CubeCart?
CubeCart has modest server requirements. It’s designed to run on Unix-like systems (namely Linux) and requires Apache with mod_rewrite. CubeCart requires PHP version 5.2.3 or higher, along with MySQL version 4.1 or higher. You should have no trouble setting up CubeCart on the majority of Linux webhosting plans.
Do hosts offer special CubeCart hosting plans?
Yes, many hosts have CubeCart hosting packages, with pre-installed CubeCart and some tweaks (which may or may not be too useful). CubeCart recommends A2 Hosting, Arvixe and Havenswift plans. However, if you already have a hosting plan, chances are you will be able to install CubeCart with relative ease.
How do I install CubeCart? Is one-click installation an option?
Many hosts will let you install CubeCart from the control panel using one-click installation services. If you decide to start from scratch, you can upload CubeCart and run the setup wizard yourself, or you can use CubeCart’s professional installation service. If you decide to install CubeCart on your own, you will need to make sure that all required folders are writable.
What’s the difference between CubeCart Lite and CubeCart Pro? How much will the upgrade cost me?
In January 2015, CubeCart decided to make all versions of CubeCart open source and completely free. However, the company still offers paid plans such as the Technical Support and Management plan, providing professional support and management. If you decide to sign up, you will get unlimited email and live chat support, along with minor coding tweaks, migration support and more.
Does CubeCart suffer from any security issues?
Some older versions of CubeCart were found to be vulnerable to SQL injection attacks, and they had some XSS vulnerabilities. These issues were addressed years ago and the software is frequently updated, so there is not much to worry about. The CubeCart support page lists all recent changes made in maintenance releases.
Is free support available?
Not anymore. CubeCart discontinued its technical support credits scheme and additional credits cannot be purchased. Professional support is reserved for paid support and management plans. However, you can still get community support, both on the official forum and elsewhere.
How flexible is CubeCart? Can I customize it?
CubeCart is very flexible and yes, you can customize it to meet your requirements. CubeCart allows developers to create their own plugins, or use third-party plugins. It sports a “hook system” whereby numerous key functions and triggers can be handled by third-party software, or triggered by it. The platform also supports a range of different export options, in case you’re concerned about bookkeeping.
How does CubeCart compare to PrestaShop?
Both platforms come with a lot of features as standard, although PrestaShop tends to offer a few more out of the box. PrestaShop supports product reviews, wish lists and gift certificates. However, CubeCart supports integrated newsletters, which PrestaShop does not.
What about Magento? How does CubeCart stack up?
Magento is a much bigger platform, used by several big industry names such as RosettaStone, Harpers Bazaar and Gant. Magento comes with more SEO tools, email on order, wishlists, and supports product reviews. The biggest difference is popularity – whereas CubeCart is used by thousands of sites, Magento is used by hundreds of thousands of e-commerce sites.
Does CubeCart support affiliate programs?
Yes, like most e-commerce platforms, CubeCart supports affiliate programs. Several affiliate marketing plugins are available as well.
My business is SEO oriented, so I need an e-commerce platform with top notch SEO features. Is CubeCart a good option?
CubeCart generates new pages automatically after you add a new product to your platform. CubeCart also optimizes all metadata, pages, URLs and titles for search engines. Everything can be customized as well. However, it lags behind bigger platforms in terms of cutting edge SEO features.
What about security? Is CubeCart bulletproof or not?
While CubeCart supports SSL in the checkout phase, there aren’t that many noteworthy security features in the package. Support for cookies, automated fraud detection, backup and restore functions are lacking, or inadequate by today’s standards.
What are the biggest downsides to using CubeCart?
CubeCart remains a relatively small platform, which means the ecosystem is limited. You have to pay to get professional support (which wouldn’t be a problem on much bigger platforms, with bigger communities). CubeCart also lacks a number of features compared to leading e-commerce platforms out there, such as Magento. In addition, while it is relatively easy to install and use, configuring or modifying CubeCart requires programming skills (namely PHP skills).