How to Find and Install Hundreds of Free OpenCart Modules using Google Search Tricks

A default OpenCart installation may be a great way to start a business, but sooner or later everyone feels like they want to add more functionality and features to their online businesses. In the OpenCart eco-system, this additional functionality translates  as Modules, but you can also find the Modules referred to as Mods/Plugins/Apps/Applications/Add-ons/Extensions etc.

Whatever the name is, the purpose of every module is to add functionally, solve a problem or automate a task for you as a store owner. Another advantage of the modules is that they are mostly meant for the end user, which means that the store owner does not have to know how to code to use an OpenCart plugin.

OpenCart modules come in two categories - Commercial and Free. This blogpost will explore the best ways to find free plugins for your store using the search engines. This blogpost is the first out of a series of Free OpenCart Modules. Here is a schedule and the content for the other blogpost:

  1. We will start with some clever ways to make the most of the Google search (Published now, hurray)
  2. Finding Free modules in the OpenCart Extension store
  3. The Insider list of Recommendations for free OpenCart Modules developed by some reputable vendor (Scheduled for MAR 25rd)
  4. Finding Free OpenCart modules in a few overlooked sources (Scheduled for APR 1st). As a conclusion, we would just be giving you a few actionable tips on what to look for before installing the modules on your site.

Google Search

Google is one of the most used search engines, and there is nothing new here. It’s quite interesting that one can become better at Google searching if they use a few handy tricks outside of their regular keyword searching habits.

1. Use quotes to search for an exact phrase

Google has a very complex search algorithm. However, a neat trick to narrow down the search results to include an exact match is to use “quotes for an exact phrase search”. In the example below I have searched for OpenCart Free Modules, and I am getting results that include an exact match of what I am looking for.

2. Use minus to exclude results containing specified word

If you are searching for OpenCart Free Module or Free OpenCart Modules and you are getting a lot of paid modules suggestions, this is a time for a change in the query. Try modifying your search to exclude all paid modules. An example would be OpenCart modules -paid. This will exclude all paid modules from the query so you should see mainly free modules. 

3. Site search

Site searches are not always bringing the results we hope for, and sometimes the category filters are not working awesome either. Google has implemented a cool way that allows you to search for a particular keyword or a phrase in a website. As we are interested only in Free modules, I will use the OpenCart extension store as an example. So the query I have written looks like free.

The site is Google’s special word to recognize you are searching for something specific within a website. You can easily change the query to feature another site, which will bring different results. 

4. Searching multiple terms

Remember the quotes example from point 1? This feature allows you can take exact phrases to a new level by searching alternatives for a query. Here is how it works. We need to input two search queries. In my example, I am testing with ”opencart free modules” or “free opencart extensions”. As you can see, Google returns relevant results related to both of my queries.

Search outside of the Google eco-system (or hey, there are other search engines as well)

Google is a great search, but sometimes you can find treasures by just doing the same query search in another search engine. Lets search for OpenCart free modules in and and see what happens. As you can see both search engines produce different search results with the same query.

We are planning to write a whole section on what to look for when choosing a module for your store but for the sake of simplicity lets assume that you have chosen an downloaded a module. How should you install this module to your OpenCart 2.x

Installing a module

Lets start by logging into your store admin panel. Navigate to Extensions -> Extension installer.

Click on the upload button. A dialog box should open.

Locate the installation folder of the extension you are going to install and select it. For this tutorial I will be using AbandonedCarts. Select the necessary .zip file and click “OK”

Note: It is not uncommon for OpenCart users to receive an error "Could not connect as ......" while uploading files through the Extension installer. Most often this is due to a disabled FTP  access from your hosting provider or FTP settings in general. Here is a nice blogpost which will help you resolve this issue -

After clicking “OK” your extension will be uploaded and a “success” message should appear.

Now your module should be visible in Extensions -> Modules. After locating it in the Module list just click the install button (“ + ” sign)

The final step of the installation process is to apply the changes we have just made. In order to do so, go to Extensions -> Modifications and click the Refresh sign at the upper right corner of the page.

Hope you enjoyed this post. Next week we will continue with exploring the OpenCart Extension store. Two weeks from now we will share some reputable vendor’s sites and three weeks from now we will finish the series with some lesser known and often overlooked sources. We will conclude with a section featuring a few actionable tips on what to look for before installing the modules on your site.

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