ArticlesMarketplace software comparisons

CS-Cart or Dokan Multi-Vendor? Which Solution Is Best for Your Marketplace Business

Let me tell you a simple story that shows why it’s important to make smart choices in life and business. Last week, my friends and I went off-roading. Most of us drove Jeep Rubicons, which are great for this. However, our friend Mike brought his Suzuki Vitara.

We had told Mike that it might rain and the trails could get muddy, but he didn’t switch cars. Sure enough, it rained, and soon Mike’s Vitara was stuck deep in mud. What started as a fun day turned into us trying to pull his car out of the mud.

A friendly photo of Mike saving his car from mud
A friendly photo of Mike saving his car from mud

This story is like picking the right tools for a job, especially important in business. For businesses stepping into online sales, choosing the right multi-vendor marketplace platform is crucial. It affects not only their start but also their growth and long-term success.

Today, we’re focusing on two big names in the multi vendor marketplace platform world—Dokan and CS-Cart. Each platform has its own benefits and might be the right choice for different businesses. Just like choosing the right car for rough trails, picking the right e-commerce platform means understanding your business needs, its potential to grow, and what each platform offers.

As we look more closely at the features, advantages, and downsides of both Dokan and CS-Cart, remember Mike’s story about being stuck in the mud. It teaches us the value of predicting challenges and using the best tools to handle them. Whether you’re starting a new online store or expanding an existing one, choosing between Dokan and CS-Cart is key. This decision will impact how your eCommerce business operates and its chances of success as a multivendor marketplace.

In the next parts, we’ll check out how Dokan Multivendor and CS-Cart help different sizes and types of businesses. We’ll see their scalability, cost-effectiveness, and how easy they are to use every day. By the end of this, you’ll know which platform—Dokan or CS-Cart—could be best for your ecommerce business, preparing you to navigate the marketplace ahead.

Dokan vs. CS-Cart review

Table of Contents

Understanding Dokan Multivendor: A Preferred Choice for WordPress-based Marketplaces

Dokan multivendor marketplace is a plugin made for WordPress. Created by WeDevs from Bangladesh, it turns any WordPress site into a full online multi-vendor marketplace using WooCommerce. This platform has successfully set up over 127,000 marketplaces worldwide, with 37,000 active ones mostly in the U.S. Its popularity shows how much people trust and use it.

Dokan’s big plus is its simplicity and how well it works with WordPress, the most popular Content Management System worldwide. This makes it easy for users who know WordPress to set up their own marketplace quickly, perfect for small businesses and individuals starting in e-commerce.

Dokan usage. Source: BuiltWith
Dokan usage. Source: BuiltWith

Key Features and Benefits of Dokan:

  • Versatility in Deployment: Dokan offers a cloud platform and a downloadable version, suiting different business needs. Whether you want a hosted service with less technical stuff to worry about or a self-hosted setup for more control, Dokan adapts to your needs.
  • Accessibility for Beginners: For newcomers, Dokan’s free version provides an easy start to run a multi-vendor marketplace without big costs. This helps newly registered vendors get used to the platform.
  • Mobile Optimization: Understanding today’s mobile-first approach, Dokan ensures you can manage your vendor store just as easily on a mobile as on a desktop. They even have a mobile app to improve shopping for users and help marketplace owners and vendors handle their business on the move.
  • Integration with Third-Party Services: Dokan works well with third-party payment and shipping services like Mangopay, Razorpay, and Shipstation. This helps make everything from payments to shipping smoother, boosting the efficiency of your multi vendor marketplace.
  • Support for Wholesale and B2B Transactions: Dokan has extensions for big orders with its strong wholesale features, important for B2B transactions. This allows marketplace owners to serve a wider range of business customers.

In summary, Dokan offers a rich set of features that make starting and managing an online multi vendor marketplace simpler. With its focus on user-friendliness and wide support for third-party integrations, Dokan is not just another multivendor marketplace plugin—it’s a complete solution that empowers marketplace owners, boosts vendor capabilities, and improves the shopping experience. This mix of features and flexibility makes Dokan a great choice for anyone wanting to create their stable marketplace environment.

Dokan Cloud dashboard with pricing
Dokan Cloud dashboard with pricing

Exploring CS-Cart: A Comprehensive Standalone E-commerce Platform

Since starting in 2005, CS-Cart has become a powerful tool for businesses that want to start or grow their online marketplaces. It has over 40,000 installations and 12,000 active sites today, according to BuiltWith data. Many businesses, from small startups to big companies, use CS-Cart because it’s not dependent on other platforms like the Dokan plugin used exceptionally with WordPress. This standalone nature makes CS-Cart popular.

CS-Cart usage. Source: BuiltWith
CS-Cart usage. Source: BuiltWith

Core Strengths of CS-Cart

  • Self-Hosted Architecture: CS-Cart lets you host your own online marketplace with a vendor store for each merchant. This control means you can customize your marketplace extensively, from the marketplace’s code to its features and design. This customization is great for adjusting to business changes and growth.
  • Rich Feature Set: From the start, CS-Cart offers a variety of built-in features that are ready to use. These features allow your multi-vendor marketplace to handle different products and customer needs without constant updates. Financial features such as automated multi seller invoices and PayPal Commerce Platform are built in. CS-Cart is perfect for businesses that expect to grow and change their offerings.
  • Versatile and Adaptable: CS-Cart works well for many types of business models and sizes. Whether selling physical items, digital products, or services, and whether targeting niche markets or a broad audience, CS-Cart supports your goals throughout your business journey. Its flexibility means it can meet new challenges as your marketplace expands.
  • Extensive Learning Resources: Learning a new e-commerce platform can be tough, but CS-Cart makes it easier with a lot of learning tools. It offers a Marketplace Academy, many user and developer courses, and an active YouTube channel with tutorials. These resources help marketplace owners make the most of CS-Cart’s advanced features.

The CS-Cart Experience

You can see what CS-Cart offers yourself on a live demonstration. Our expert will show you the platform’s interface, its functionalities, and explain how it might fit your business.

Although CS-Cart is a standalone platform with extensive features making it appealing for many businesses, it’s worth noting that some functionalities, especially those tailored for WordPress integration like the Dokan plugin offers, might be absent in CS-Cart. However, for those looking for a scalable, feature-rich, and customizable e-commerce solution, CS-Cart is an excellent option that can grow with your business needs.

In the upcoming sections, we’ll compare more about what each platform offers, Dokan and CS-Cart, including vendor dashboard features and vendor product upload processes. We’ll help you decide which platform, Dokan Multivendor or CS-Cart, might best meet your marketplace requirements.

CS-Cart Multi-Vendor dashboard
CS-Cart Multi-Vendor dashboard

Unique Features of Dokan: Advantages Over CS-Cart

Dokan stands out from CS-Cart by offering unique features that meet the diverse and changing needs of a multi-vendor marketplace. These enhancements can make Dokan a better choice for some business types because they improve both the vendor and customer experiences without extra costs.

Booking Functionality

A key feature of Dokan is its booking system, which is part of the WooCommerce Booking integration in their Business plan for $499 per year. This allows marketplace owners to offer more than just products: they can include bookings and rentals for accommodations, services, or events. On the other hand, CS-Cart doesn’t come with booking functions by default. If you need similar features in CS-Cart, you have to buy add-ons starting at $69.

Subscription Services

Dokan also shines with subscription services, enabling vendors to sell products or services regularly right from their Business plan level. This is essential for businesses that want steady income through ongoing sales and want to build a loyal customer base. CS-Cart lacks built-in subscriptions, requiring extra add-ons costing about $89 to add subscription-based products.

Auction Capabilities

Furthermore, Dokan supports an auction feature within its Business plan, allowing a dynamic pricing model where customers can bid on items. This feature not only makes shopping more exciting but might also bring in higher prices for unique or limited items. For auction features in CS-Cart, marketplace owners must purchase add-ons, with prices ranging from $69 to $200 depending on the desired features.

These specialized Dokan multivendor marketplace features highlight its flexibility for different types of businesses. By including bookings, subscriptions, and auctions, Dokan provides a feature-rich environment, making it a highly advantageous option for specific e-commerce platforms.

Dokan booking marketplace
Dokan booking marketplace

Next, we will look at the areas where CS-Cart performs better, showing its strengths compared to Dokan to offer a balanced view of what each ecommerce platform can provide for your marketplace business.

This exploration will help you decide the most complete multivendor plugin for WordPress, fits your needs or if a marketplace platform similar to CS-Cart with different multivendor plugins and built-in features would suit better.

Where CS-Cart Excels: Advantages Over Dokan Multivendor

CS-Cart really stands out in several areas, making it a stronger choice for some businesses, especially those looking for big growth and lots of customization options. Let’s look at why CS-Cart might be better for your marketplace goals.

Standalone Platform Versus Plugin Dependency

A big plus for CS-Cart is that it’s a standalone eCommerce platform, unlike Dokan, which relies on WordPress. This is key for businesses wanting a dedicated solution without the headaches of plugin conflicts that can happen with WordPress updates. With CS-Cart, you avoid these issues, reducing downtime and simplifying maintenance. This lets marketplace owners concentrate on growing their business rather than fixing technical problems.

Comprehensive Feature Set from the Start

From the beginning, CS-Cart is packed with features. Even the standard plan comes with tools like export-import capabilities, staff management, and advanced Paypal integration. It also offers access to over 2,000 add-ons, which boosts its flexibility to meet specific needs. By contrast, many of Dokan’s advanced features, like subscription-based products, booking and auction systems, are only available in more expensive plans, which can increase costs as your marketplace grows.

CS-Cart dashboard and functionality
CS-Cart dashboard and functionality

Superior Scalability

If you’re planning big, scalability is crucial. CS-Cart is excellent at supporting growth without the limits of a WordPress CMS framework. While Dokan works well within the WordPress environment, it might not handle larger scale growth as effectively. CS-Cart’s architecture can manage more traffic and complex operations, making it better for large enterprises.

Cost-Effectiveness in the Long Run

Although Dokan starts cheaper and is user-friendly, costs can climb as you add more features and functionalities, often requiring paid Dokan addons or moving to higher-tier plans. CS-Cart might cost more initially but provides greater value over time. Its standard plan includes many features that Dokan charges extra for, making CS-Cart not only more complete but also more economical for growing businesses.


CS-Cart’s independent nature, full range of features, ability to scale, and cost efficiency make it a solid option for businesses that need a reliable, customizable, and robust eCommerce platform. While Dokan offers advantages like ease of use and specific features such as bookings and auctions, CS-Cart’s overall package is more suited for businesses aiming for major growth and high customization.

User Reviews: Dokan versus CS-Cart

When picking between Dokan and CS-Cart, it’s helpful to look at feedback from users who have real experience with each platform. Reviews from websites like G2, Capterra, and SourceForge show what these tools are like in real situations, pointing out their strong points and issues.

Dokan: User Experience and Ease of Use.

Many find Dokan easy to use, making it a friendly platform for both sellers and admins. It comes with all the necessary features to manage vendors and products well. Dokan is popular worldwide because it supports many languages and payment methods, which makes it flexible for reaching global markets.

Some challenges Dokan users face include:

  • Cost Efficiency: Dokan starts off affordable, but costs can go up a lot as you buy more Dokan addons. This might not be clear at the start.
  • Performance Issues: Some users find Dokan slow and hard to customize, especially if they don’t have much technical skill. Although it has a clean user interface, making big changes can be tough.
  • Technical Support and Features: People have had problems with bugs and limited customization options for the vendor dashboard. It’s also sometimes hard to tell what’s free and what’s not, which can lead to unexpected costs.

Summary of Dokan reviews on Capterra
Summary of Dokan reviews on Capterra

Dokan’s User Rating on Capterra: 4.2 out of 5 (39 reviews)

CS-Cart: Comprehensive Features and Scalability

CS-Cart is known for its wide range of features that handle products, vendors, and customers well without needing lots of add-ons. This is great as marketplaces grow and change.

Here are some high points from CS-Cart reviews:

  • Customer Support: CS-Cart has way better customer support, important for businesses that want to grow big, even internationally.
  • Customization Capabilities: You can change a lot in CS-Cart to fit your needs. But, this flexibility means there might be a lot to learn, and you may need more tech skills for big changes.

Challenges noted by CS-Cart users:

  • Technical Complexity: Setting up CS-Cart can be hard if you don’t have many tech skills. Adjusting the platform for specific needs or rules (like in the EU) might need extra work and know-how.
  • Initial Learning Curve: New users may find it hard to get used to CS-Cart at first but it becomes straightforward for them after mastering basic functionality.
Summary of CS-Cart reviews on Capterra
Summary of CS-Cart reviews on Capterra

CS-Cart’s User Rating on Capterra: 4.7 out of 5 (134 reviews)


Both Dokan and CS-Cart have their strengths and areas for improvement. Dokan is good for ease of use and flexibility for small to mid-sized businesses, thanks to features like the Dokan WooCommerce plugin and seamless integration with popular third-party services. Meanwhile, CS-Cart is excellent for bigger, more complex marketplaces needing a robust, feature-rich platform.

If you’re choosing a platform, consider these points along with your own business needs, technical skills, and future growth plans to make the best choice for your e-commerce multivendor site.

Wrapping Up: Choosing Between Dokan and CS-Cart

As we wrap up our comparison of Dokan and CS-Cart, it’s clear that each platform suits different business needs and sizes. Choosing between these two strong options should match what you currently need and what you aim to achieve with your marketplace.

Dokan: Ideal for Startups and Small Business Growth

Dokan stands out as an easy-to-use choice, especially good for new businesses and smaller online stores. Its connection with WordPress makes it a convenient pick for those already comfortable with that platform or who value simplicity.

Dokan supports various e-commerce models and is perfect for businesses that expect to operate within a moderate scope. It offers all the essential tools and functionalities needed to help small businesses succeed without the complexity they might not need.

CS-Cart: Built for Scalability and Expansive Business Models

In contrast, CS-Cart is designed for businesses planning for big growth or those already large. Its standalone setup and extensive features make it ideal not just for startups but also for established companies aiming to grow significantly.

With CS-Cart, businesses benefit from a high degree of customization and strong capabilities that support expansion—from a small venture to a vast, multi-vendor commercial hub.

Making the Right Choice

When deciding between Dokan and CS-Cart, consider your specific business situation:

  • Current Needs: What does your business need right now? Are you looking for an easy integration with WordPress, or do you need a standalone product with so many amazing features ready to go?
  • Future Goals: Where do you see your business in a few years? Can the platform you pick handle that growth in terms of size and complexity?

Key Takeaways

Just like picking the right vehicle for off-road trips—avoiding choices like Mike’s Vitara in tough conditions—it’s essential to choose an e-commerce platform that matches your business challenges. Whether it’s the adaptability and user-friendly nature of Dokan or the scalability and rich features of CS-Cart, your choice should effectively support your business journey.

Consider trying the platforms before making a final decision. For example, you can use a CS-Cart marketplace demo for 14 days for free to see its capabilities and how it fits with your business plans.

Head of Content Marketing at CS-Cart | Website

Yan Anderson is the Head of Content Marketing at CS-Cart with over 10 years of experience in the eCommerce industry. He's passionate about explaining complicated things in simple terms. Yan has expertise in building, running and growing eCommerce marketplaces. He loves to educate people about best practices, new technologies, and trends in the global eCommerce industry.