VirtueMart is one of the world's most popular ecommerce platforms, and is experiencing huge growth each month since VirtueMart 2 was released. VirtueMart has more shops in the Alexa Top One Million survey than osCommerce, PrestaShop, Volusion, Yahoo Stores, OpenCart or Ubercart.
VirtueMart is a powerful, Open Source eCommerce plug-in for the Joomla CMS (Content Management System, or a way for non-technical people to manage a website without programming). This means once Joomla is installed, then VirtueMart can be automatically installed with just a few clicks. If you are not technical-minded, just think of Joomla as a framework, and adding Virtuemart is like plugging in a lightbulb.
VirtueMart's powerful features can be used almost immediately by a store owner with no programming experience
, because most parts of VirtueMart are edited by filling in forms or by automatically installing a plug-in to add the features you want.
VirtueMart 2 was just released a few months ago. It has been completely re-written from the ground up in object-oriented code using the Joomla framework. What this means is that almost any Joomla programmer can do a respectable job on VirtueMart without learning a specialized program.
One reason VirtueMart 2 is so popular is because it is a "right-size" program: some come loaded with every possible feature, others are stripped-down so you must add every feature you want. VirtueMart is just right, with enough built-in features that you can use it without adding more. But it is so incredibly easy to add features that you will not be able to resist.
VirtueMart 2 now uses Joomla templates, so you can switch templates as easily as plugging in that proverbial lightbulb. You just download a Joomla template - and there are plenty of free ones to try out - click the "Extensions" (plug-ins) menu in Joomla and click the downloaded file on your computer, and voila, your template is uploaded and installed for you automatically. Adding any kind of extension is just as easy.
Updating an unmodified VirtueMart store is even easier, because a big notice appears in your Administration notifying you of an update. If you click the notice, the Live Update feature automatically applies the updates. Note that best practice is to always back up before updating by using your cPanel or web host's control panel to get a full backup.
VirtueMart 2 online user documentation was recently updated and can be found at http://dev.virtuemart.net/projects/virtuemart/wiki. Bookmark this page, because the program has been around for so long that there is lots of documentation on the old version which is of no use to you. There is an active and rollicking VirtueMart community forum to help with almost any issue not covered by documentation at http://forum.virtuemart.net/index.php. Again, there is lots of forum information about older versions, so be sure you are looking at VirtueMart 2 info.