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ZenCart Quick Guide

ZenCart Guide. Preparations

The first and the most important things you need to start your website is web hosting and domain name.

  • Hosting is an offer that allows you to run your website on the internet. In a few words it’s a place for your website files on a computer permanently connected to the internet (server).
  • Domain name is a name for your future website like info.template-help.com, google.com etc.

There is a huge amount of domain and hosting offers over the internet from different hosting companies. Unfortunately the web hosting market has various fraud offers that can harm your business. We recommend you to be careful in choosing a hosting provider and gather as much information as possible before ordering.

Before you can start setting up your ZenCart website please make sure that you and your hosting server is fully prepared for ZenCart.

1. Hosting requirements

Open the ZenCart official website at ZenCartcommerce.com and check the ZenCart requirements. These are the list of features and requirements that your hosting server should fit. We recommend you to contact your hosting provider to learn if you can host ZenCart on their hosting server.

Some hosting companies offer automatic ZenCart engine installation from the hosting control panel. You can use this option in case the offered ZenCart version fits the ZenCart template requirements

2. Software requirements

If your template would be customized by the third party developer or you are willing to order the template installation from templatetuning.com you can skip this step.

Otherwise, if you are willing to customize the template yourself please make sure you have all required programs installed on your computer. You can check the template preview page to see the template software requirements. Usually you need the following programs to edit the template:

The first application you need is a archive manager, the software that can extract the files from the password protected template package.

  • If you are on MAC you can use StuffitExpander software.
  • If you are on Windows you can use WinZip software.

Both archive managers have free trial versions available for download so you can use them.

  • Adobe Photoshop – to edit images
  • Adobe Dreamweaver – to edit CSS styles, HTML and PHP files, JavaScript files etc
  • Adobe Flash – in case your template has flash animation and you want to edit it

Note that the above Adobe applications are required for the template customization, in other words you need them if you want to change the template design, layout and functionality. If you are fine with the template and want only to install it and change content you don’t need any specific software.

You may also need the FTP manager to upload the files to your hosting server (in case your hosting control panel doesn’t have any). You can use any FTP manager like FileZilla, CuteFTP, TotalCommander etc

ZenCart Guide. Downloading

When you are done with the preparations you can start downloading the ZenCart engine and ZenCart template files to your computer.

Download correct ZenCart engine version

At the template preview page, in the requirements section you can see the required ZenCart version. Please make sure you are downloading the correct one.

The ZenCart engine could be downloaded from the official website at ZenCart.com Download ZenCart. In case you need more recent releases you can click the Click here to download older versions link.

Download ZenCart template

After the template purchase you got an e-mail with the link to the purchase details page. There you can see your order details and download the template using the Download button.

The template is provided as a ZIP file. Download it to your computer and save it.

ZenCart Guide. Extracting files

When you are done with the downloading you need to extract the files from the engine and template packages

To extract the files from the ZenCart engine ZIP package you can use any archive manager that can handle ZIP archives.

As for the template ZIP package, the situation is a bit different. The template package contains the password protected sources_XXXX.zip file. It countains the template source files and could be extracted only WinZip or StuffitExpander.

The following tutorials will show you how to extract files on Windows(WinZip) and MAC(StuffitExpander).

ZenCart Guide. Uploading

Upload ZenCart engine files

After extracting the files you need to upload the ZenCart engine files and folders to your hosting server. The extracted ZenCart engine files looks as follows:

  • admin
  • cache
  • docs
  • download
  • editors
  • email
  • extras
  • images
  • includes
  • media
  • zc_install
  • page_not_found.php
  • index.php
  • ipn_main_handler.php
  • …other files

All these files and folders should be uploaded to your hosting server.

If your hosting control panel has the built-in FTP manager that is able to extract files directly on the server you can upload the engine package as a single ZIP file and then extract it to the necessary folder.

The engine files should be uploaded to the PUBLIC_HTML or WWW directory on your server.

If you don’t see PUBLIC_HTML or WWW directories on your hosting server please contact your hosting and specify where to upload the website files

ZenCart Guide. Engine installation

When you are done uploading all engine files to your hosting server you can start the ZenCart installation procedure. Please follow the detailed video tutorial below:

ZenCart Guide. Theme installation

When the engine installation is complete you can install the ZenCart template.

To install ZenCart theme please perform the following steps:

  • open your template folder
  • open theme### folder (where ### is the number of your theme)
  • upload the includes folder to the ZenCart installation root on your server.

ZenCart Guide. Sample data installation.

To make your template appear as at the preview or live demo page you need to install the template sample data. Sample data contains the website settings, sample products, modules, menus, images etc. It is useful when you want to see the template functionality or the examples of the pages design and layout.

ZenCart templates are provided with two SQL files that contains all website sample content(except the images) and sample website settings. The SQL files can be imported into your database using your database management tool (usually phpMyAdmin) or directly through the ZenCart admin panel: Tools > Install SQL Patches

  • ZENCART_FULL.sql – contains sample products and store settings. Use it with clear ZenCart installation.
  • ZENCART_SHORT.sql – contacts only store and theme settings. Installing short dump won’t replace your store goods.