Choosing to use open-source software for your online business allows you to keep costs down and stay on the cutting edge while working with software that is almost always more transparent and often more secure than proprietary alternatives.
Below you’ll find 101 open-source applications to take your online business to the next level.
- 1 E-commerce
- 2 Customer Relationship Management
- 3 Customer Service
- 4 Email List Management
- 5 Email Clients
- 6 Content Management Systems
- 7 Project Management
- 8 Visualization Tools
- 9 Mind Mapping
- 10 Wireframe Tools
- 11 Video Editing
- 12 Image Editing
- 13 Audio Editing
- 14 Media Player
- 15 Document and File Management
- 16 Office Suites
- 17 FTP Clients
- 18 Web Browsers
- 19 Operating Systems
- 20 Accounting
If you want to sell anything online, you’ll need some sort of shopping cart. Some of these e-commerce solutions are stand-alone and some are plugins or extensions for a CMS.
- OpenCart: With the ability to manage multiple shops from one platform, OpenCart features the ability to set precise user permissions for single users and user groups while supporting a multitude of payment processors natively and through extensions.
- WooCommerce (WordPress plugin): With more than 3 million active installs, WooCommerce is easily the most used WordPress e-commerce plugin. It benefits from a wide variety of helper plugins available from WooThemes and other third-party vendors.
- Magento Community Edition: Built specifically for developers and small businesses, Magento Community Edition is the counterpart to its more enterprise-focused sibling. It features an enormous marketplace that enables you to extend the platform to perform a wide variety of tasks.
- PrestaShop: With native features for managing products, payments, shipping, and manufacturers, PrestaShop boasts a large number of add-on modules to allow you to add new features and customize your store.
- OsCommerce: Featuring a support forum with more than a quarter of a million users, osCommerce was one of the first open-source e-commerce solutions. It also features a live chat room where you can directly communicate with other users.
- Zen Cart: Originally a fork of osCommerce, ZenCart differs in that it comes with a variety of templates for users to choose from right out of the box.
- Drupal Commerce: Obviously built around the CMS that bears its name, Drupal Commerce features a long list of third party extensions to support a variety of payment processors.
- VirtueMart (Joomla extension): Offered as a Joomla extension, VirtueMart has been around for more than a decade and is the most used Joomla e-commerce solution.
- Spree Commerce: Built to be modular, Spree Commerce allows you to configure, supplement or replace functionality in order to create the exact storefront you desire.
- XCart: Released in 2000, XCart was the first open-source PHP e-commerce platform and remains in active development today.
- JigoShop (WordPress Plugin): Fast and stable, JigoShop provides a WordPress e-commerce plugin that is optimized for search engines.
- WP e-commerce: The original e-commerce plugin for WordPress, WP e-commerce is a developer-friendly platform offering integration with many free and premium payment gateways.
- Ubercart (Drupal): Featuring Drupal integration, Ubercart offers an e-commerce platform with powerful and secure Drupal features behind it.
- CubeCart: Started in 2005 as a proprietary e-commerce platform, CubeCart celebrated its 10 year anniversary by releasing its source code in 2015.
- RokQuickCart (Joomla Extension): Another Joomla extension. RokQuickCart offers extensive customization options and allows you to make use of Joomla’s sophisticated user access controls.
- Shuup: A powerful e-commerce platform, Shuup offers the ability to run a full-featured shopping cart as well as the ability to host products for use on other platforms.
Customer Relationship Management
CRMs manage customer information and track the history of customer interaction with your company.
- SuiteCRM: An open-source alternative to the extremely popular SugarCRM, SuiteCRM offers many of the same features while also offering Joomla integration.
- vTiger: Designed for small business, vTiger features integrated sales support, help desk and a holistic customer view that allows you to view marketing, sales, support and more on a per customer basis.
- Zurmo: Unique because of its “gamified” nature, Zurmo offers incentives to complete “missions” and gives badges as users progress towards a goal.
- openCRX: Offering enterprise level scalability and security, openCRX is developer friendly and easily integrates with a wide variety of third party services.
- SplendidCRM Community Edition: The open-source version of the popular CRM solution. SplendidCRM Community Edition is mobile ready and offers a robust suite of CRM tools.
- OroCRM: With an intuitive interface, OroCRM prioritizes a personalized customer experience and offers marketing tools for multichannel businesses.
- EspoCRM: A lightweight CRM option,
EspoCRM offers a mobile ready solution that is easily customizable.
- PerfexCRM: Featuring a robust project management suite, Perfex CRM also offers goal tracking and surveys designed for customer retention.
Manage and keep a record of your customer support tickets.
- OsTicket: An easy-to-use, web-based customer support platform. OsTicket creates tickets from emails, webforms and phone calls and routes them to one place for easy management.
- Helpy: Designed for self-service support, Helpy allows you to set up your support system to enable your customers to find the answer to their inquiry without your help.
- OTRS Free: Having been around since 2001, OTRS Free boasts more than 3.2 million downloads.
- Mantis Bug Tracker: Featuring a plug-and-play interface, Mantis Bug Tracker allows users to get started in minutes.
- Bugzilla: Focused specifically on bug tracking, Bugzilla is a great way to interface with your team and/or a small group of users for testing purposes.
Email List Management
Need to reach customers or subscribers? You’ll need an email list manager.
- phpList: With the ability to move to your own VPS as your list grows, phpList is built to scale with your business and offers amenities one would expect from proprietary options like AWeber or MailChimp.
- Mailman: Powered by Python, Mailman is a self-hosted email list management tool. It gives you the ability to have simple,
permission-based email marketing.
- ListMessenger: Built on PHP and MYSQL, ListMessenger offers a simple free version and a pro version with a far more robust feature set.
If you want to manage multiple email accounts or if you simply prefer a stand-alone email client to a browser based solution, these may be for you.
- Thunderbird: With the ability to manage multiple email addresses, Thunderbird comes from Mozilla with typical email client abilities such as signatures, automatic responses, and the ability to easily import an address book from other email clients or from a text file export.
- Claws Mail: Offering easy configuration, Claws Mail offers the ability to be extended by plugins. Popular plugins include anti-spam tools, calendar tools and archiving tools.
- Geary: If simplicity is what you’re after, Geary may be for you. It’s compatible with GMail, Yahoo! Mail and several other email services. It will send and receive HTML or plain text messages and has a reputation for speed.
Content Management Systems
Of course, you’ll need a website. The following platforms provide great starting points.
- WordPress: WordPress is the undisputed king of the open-source CMS market. It began as a blogging platform, but has grown into a robust CMS that powers more than 25% of the sites on the web. With an enormous community of users and developers, WordPress offers countless themes to choose from as well a plugin repository that offers more than 50,000 plugins to enable you to extend WordPress to do just about anything you can dream up.
- Drupal: Despite its steep learning curve, Drupal is perhaps the most developer friendly CMS option. It’s built for efficiency and security. While other CMS may have third-party plugins available to provide caching to speed up page load times, Drupal offers support for this out of the box. It offers a host of built-in security features and reporting functionality: one of the reasons many governments use Drupal.
- Joomla: Long a favorite CMS for sites with membership needs because of its sophisticated access control features, Joomla also offers front-end editing right out of the box. There is no need to access an admin panel in order to make simple changes.
- Django: Built on Python, Django is built for speed of use and takes care of many common website administration tasks, such as site maps, out of the box.
- OpenCMS: One of the few CMS to offer native and sophisticated content versioning. OpenCMS ensures that you can track what changes have been made to your content, when they were made, and who made them.
Collaborate with your team, assign tasks, track your progress and get things done.
- MyCollab: Backed by Amazon Cloud Services, MyCollab features robust collaboration tools that are mobile responsive and protected by SSL encryption.
- Taiga: Sporting a simple, yet beautiful interface, Taiga is perhaps best used as a tool to oversee the design and development of your website.
- GanttProject: With a limited feature set, GanttProject performs simple project management tasks efficiently.
- OpenProject: Offering cloud-based hosting, OpenProject provides a full-featured project management solution and offers a free community edition.
Tools to display data for you, your team and your customers.
- Datawrapper: Creates data visualizations that are fully mobile responsive. Supports a variety of tables, maps, and charts,
- Charted: Creates charts automatically from a .csv file or from a Google spreadsheet. Charted automatically generates simple line charts and stacked column charts.
- Draw.io: A relatively simple diagramming tool. Draw.io allows you to save diagrams directly to Google Drive, GitHub, Dropbox, OneDrive or the device of your choice.
Get your ideas out and record them while they’re fresh.
- XMind: Designed specifically for mind mapping, XMind is a cloud based app that is iOS compatible, syncs with both Mac and Windows and produces maps that can be exported to PDF or Office.
- Dia: Dia is commonly used for mind mapping and other visual diagrams.
- FreeMind: FreeMind is written in Java, and offers an interface that is the same across multiple platforms.
- TiddlyMap: A plugin for Google Chrome. TiddlyMap offers browser-based mind mapping.
Create visual layouts for designing websites, documents and more.
- Wireframe.cc: Featuring a simple, online, click-and-drag interface, Wireframe.cc offers a number of templates for designing websites for multiple platforms.
- Pencil Project: The Pencil Project uses built-in shape collections and a detailed interface to create mock-ups.
Edit videos for your website, YouTube or other video platforms.
- Blender: A robust 3D create suite. Blender features modeling, animation, motion tracking and, yes, video editing.
Create or edit images, logos, graphics and more.
- Gimp: With the ability to manage and edit multi-layered image documents, Gimp is the most robust open-source image editor available. For photographers and graphic designers, it’s an absolutely essential tool.
- digikam: With the ability to edit and publish photos directly to social media, digiKam allows you to manage large libraries of images.
- ImageMagick: Used for displaying, converting and editing vector image files. ImageMagick is also widely used for converting images and can read and write over 200 file formats.
- Inkscape: Primarily used to create and edit SVGs, but Inkscape can also create, import or convert many other image formats.
Record or edit music, podcasts, and other audio.
- Audacity: Commonly used by podcasters, Audacity allows you to record and edit audio from multiple sources and can be used for a wide array of audio-related tasks.
- Ardour: Billed as a full-featured audio workstation, Ardour comes with a clean interface and the ability to do seriously complex mixing.
- Traverso: Geared toward the home user, Traverso features a relatively simple interface with perhaps the most shallow learning curve of the full-featured open-source audio options.
Listen or watch media files stored on your local machine.
- VLC Media Player: Put simply, VLC Media player is far and away the best option for open-source media players. It plays a wide variety of codecs, works on Mac, Windows, and Linux, and it plays media from a wide variety of sources including files, discs, and IP cameras.
- Kodi: Compatible with a wide variety of operating systems including Raspberry Pi, Kodi is a home theater application that also offers support for music, videos, and photos.
- Audacious: Exclusively an audio player, Audacious offers the ability to set an alarm that plays an audio file of your choice.
Document and File Management
Privately keep track of your files and documents while maintaining specific permission levels for members of your team.
- OpenDocMan: OpenDocMan is a web-based document management system featuring granular control over file access. It complies with ISO 17025 and OIE standards for document management.
- OpenKM: Billed as “knowledge management”, OpenKM allows you to manage documents, records, workflows and task automation.
- 7zip: A simple tool for creating archive files. 7zip has been available for Windows since 1999.
- SeedDMS: A web-based document manager. SeedDMS features workflow management and notifications when files are updated.
- Mayan EDMS: Another web-based document manager. Mayan EDMS features advanced archiving and search features to make it easier to find what you need.
You may need to create text documents, spreadsheets, presentations and more to run your business.
- Apache OpenOffice: Rebranded in 2012, OpenOffice was one of the first open-source office suites, and it remains one of the best.
- LibreOffice: Forked from OpenOffice in 2010, LibreOffice is the most actively developed open-source office suite. While it uses the Open Document file type by default, it does support file types used by popular office suites including Microsoft Office.
- NeoOffice: Another fork from OpenOffice. NeoOffice was created as a way to get OpenOffice running natively on Mac OS X. It features the ability to edit documents safely in your iCloud Drive or in Dropbox.
Access and edit your website’s files.
- Filezilla: A simple, no-frills, effective option to one of the largest needs of any website owner. Filezilla is the most used open-source FTP client.
- WinSCP: One of the most popular Windows compatible FTP clients, WinSCP supports FTP, SFTP, WebDAV and SCP connections.
- CyberDuck: In addition to FTP transfers, CyberDuck also supports transfers to and from DropBox, Amazon S3, Google Drive and other cloud storage services. Once hugely popular among Mac users, it’s now available for Windows as well.
- FireFTP: FireFTP offers FTP access directly from the Firefox web browser.
- BareFTP: Written for the GNOME desktop environment, BareFTP provides essential FTP functionality.
- LFTP: A simple FTP client, LFTP also provides support for torrents.
Surf the web on all of your devices.
- Firefox: Easily the most used open-source web browser. Mozilla Firefox is a full-featured browser built with efficiency and privacy in mind.
- Chromium: The Chromium project was started by Google in order to provide source code for the proprietary Chrome browser. Chromium shares many of the same features.
- Brave: Brave blocks ads and tracking pixels. It speeds up your browsing experience while attempting to overhaul the relationship between publishers, advertisers, and end users.
- Pale Moon: Pale Moon is a Firefox fork focusing on efficiency and ease of use.
- QupZilla: Built on the QtWebEngine, QupZilla is extremely fast and provides all of the standards features you would expect from a web browser
- GNOME Web: Previously known as “Epiphany”. GNOME Web is part of the GNOME core applications.
- Netsurf: Netsurf strives for complete compliance with modern web standards in order to provide a seamless experience for end users. It’s lightweight and fast.
Use a solid foundation to run your computers and web servers.
- Linux: Based on Unix, Linux can be deployed on a wide variety of devices and is the basis for countless other open-source operating systems.
- Ubuntu: One of the most common Linux-based systems.
- FreeBSD: Having been in development for over 30 years, FreeBSD provides the ability to run web servers as well as a desktop operating system.
- Chromium OS: Chromium OS is based on the operating system that runs Google’s Chromebooks. It’s designed for speed and simplicity.
Pay the bills, create invoices and manage your assets.
- GNUCash: A robust personal and small business accounting application. GNUCash allows you to track bank accounts, stocks, send invoices, and generate detailed visual reports among many other features.
- OpenBravo: More than just accounting, OpenBravo is a full-on enterprise resource planning system that allows you to integrate everything from a store with inventory to sales, quotes and invoicing.
- Odoo: While it does track sales, offer invoicing, and provide detailed reporting, Odoo also features operations management, productivity tools and even a website builder.
- InvoiceNinja: You’ll get fresh, modern-looking invoices with InvoiceNinja. You’ll also get the ability to create tasks and track your time, automated and recurring invoices, and integration with more than 40 payment gateways.
- Simple Invoices: On the surface, this does what it says: it sends simple invoices. Digging a bit deeper you’ll also find the ability to send receipts, estimates and quotes as well as the ability to generate detailed reports.
- Open Source Billing: If you need a simple solution to bill clients, receive payments via PayPal and credit card, resolve invoice disputes and keep records of all of the above, Open Source Billing may be for you.
- jBilling: For complex billing, jBilling is the way to go. It also comes with simple tax functionality meaning it can handle basic US taxes using available plugins.
- Kill Bill: Designed specifically to be use for subscription billing and payment, KillBill is a self-hosted web-based platform that integrates with Stripe and PayPal for painless, recurring billing.
- TurboCASH: Boasting a community of over 100,000 users, TurboCASH integrates directly with open-source e-commerce platforms OSCommerce and zen cart.