WPCargo — installation and configuration

The installation process is quite straightforward and similar to the installation of the most of other WordPress plugins. The plugin operates on WordPress default database and infrastructure, so there is no need for additional pre- or post-install tweaking in the web system. Thus, from WordPress plugins list we choose WPCargo and we select Install. Alternatively, one can obtain the software from the producer website, then upload  the uncompressedWPCargo.zip to the /wp-content/plugins/ directory and activate the plugin through the ‘Plugins’ menu in WordPress.

After installation, we have decent options for software customisation. The settings are divided into four categories:

  • Shipment,
  • Email,
  • Multiple Package,
  • Map.

The Shipment Settings tab allow us to define, among others, types, modes, statuses of shipments; places and carriers used in transport. We may specify also users’ roles or add our company logo for messages send to customers.

General settings tab
Shipment settings

The process of communication with clients can be customised in the Email Settings tab. After defining the statuses of shipments, the user can choose, about which of them clients should be notified via an email. One can define the most important option of the email template: header, addresses, subject, content and footer.

Email settings
Email settings

The Multiple Package Settings is used for orders which can include multiple packages. These packages can be tracked simultaneously, displayed in the shipment history, and included in the email updates.

The Map Settings Tab enables to view shipment history on a map. Unfortunately, the only choice is Google Maps, there is no option to include other services, e.g. OpenStreetMap. Before using the Google services, a user must obtain Google API key.

WPCargo – an open-source cargo tracking system

Visibility of the shipment, package or cargo is a key requirement during its transport. The interest in just-in-time, reliable delivery, cost-effective logistics, and maintaining the integrity of goods leads to the development of many cargo tracking systems. However, nearly all of these systems are commercial products which prices are relatively high for start-up or small companies. Furthermore, additional cost must be incurred when the software is to be customised to the needs of a company.

WPCargo is an interesting exception in this field. It is free open-source software with an option of paid premium add-ons. Although the free version lacks some important functionality, it still can be successfully applied for smaller companies which want to inform their clients about a transport process. The software works as a plugin of WordPress, therefore requires a PHP hosted webpage which is usually provided by most of web hosting services.

One of the big advantages of WPCargo software is an access to its code written in PHP. Thus, it gives unlimited possibilities for customisation and extension of the software. The licence allows users to create derivative works based on WPCargo, including amending of its source code or integrating it with other company systems. However, one must note that no distribution of the derivative works is allowed. Taking into account that the installation and configuration of WPCargo are quite simple, the system is an interesting option for an increasing visibility of a transport process without incurring high costs.