How to install Zen Cart e-store

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This entry is part 2 of 20 in the series Zen Cart Tutorials

Zen cart provides you with all you need to set up an e-store. For more details check out for more details.

To see a demo of zen cart (including the administration panel) click here.

How to install Zen Cart e-store

The easiest way to install Zen Cart is to sign up with a hosting services that provides Fantastico e.g. Hostgator. With Fantastico you can literally install Zen Cart with the click of a button.


  1. Login to the cpanel
  2. Click on Fantastico
  3. Select “Zen Cart” from the multiple options provided
  4. Click “New Installation”
    How to install Zen Cart e-store
  5. Fill out the necessary details
    How to install Zen Cart e-store
  6. Click the “Install Zen Cart” button
  7. Review the information provided on the next screen and click the “Finish Installation” button.
  8. Fantastico will automatically create the MySQL database and MySQL user to be used for the installation. It will also make a copy of all the zen cart files on your server. It will also configure zen cart as required.
  9. In the final screen Fantastico will let you know the URLs to access your Zen Cart installation and Administration Panel.
  10. Login to your Administration Panel with the username and password you provided during the installation process.
  11. You will need to set up your payment methods and customize your store settings from the admin panel. Some of the things you may need to customize include:
    1. Set up your payment methods (Modules > Payments)
    2. Upload your product details (from the admin panel – Catalog > Categories/ Products)
    3. Set you store details (Configuration > My Store)
    4. Set your postal code and other details (Configuration > Shipping/Packaging)
    5. Update your shipping details (Modules > Shipping)
    6. Update Locations/ Taxes
    7. Set the currencies (Localization > Currencies)

Zen Cart Templates

You will notice that the default zen cart does not look very good. A great remedy for this is to use a Zen Cart Template or Skin and customize it with your store’s unique details. Zen cart allows you to easily install and choose from various templates. The templates come with step by step instructions on how to install the template into your zen cart store. They also come with all the image source files etc. needed to customize the template to your store unique requirements.

Remember to go through the instructions in the ‘readme.txt’ file that comes with your template.

Zen Cart Tutorials

Various useful Zen Cart tutorials can be found at

SSL Configuration

If you plan to use Paypal Website Payments Pro for your payments option you should also make sure you have an SSL certificate. Hostgator offers all you need with their shared hosting plans, at reasonable prices. With their ‘Business Plan’ you can get free private SSL as well which looks more professional, however you can go for their ‘Hatchling Plan’ or ‘Baby Plan’ as well as it has free shared SSL. They usually have a current coupon code to avail a 20% discount as well.

SSL Protection for Your Store

Make sure the SSL certificate (begins with https://) points to your site. It will not work if it points to a separate secure folder.

To configure SSL you will need to edit the following files

“includes/ configure.php”
“admin/ includes/ configure.php”

In both these files you will need to enter your shared or private SSL certificate in the define (‘HTTPS_SERVER’ section of the file. You will also need to set define(‘ENABLE_SSL’ to ‘true’.

You can use your hosting server’s file manager to download these files and edit it using Notepad. Then you can upload the files again using your hosting server’s file manager. You might need to reset the permissions these files to 444 after you upload them (also via your file manager) if you get an alert message regarding this when you login to your admin panel.

Sometimes even if you are using another FTP software to transfer your files e.g. Filezilla, you may need to use the File Manager from the cpanel in order to change the permissions for the configuration files to 444.

Configuring Paypal Website Payments Pro

For more details on configuring Paypal Express Checkout and Paypal Website Payments Pro check out:

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