Zen Cart Error Message “Error: (6) Couldn’t resolve host”

For those who own and/or operate a zen cart ecommerce store, unknown error messages can present some of the most frustrating challenges. This is because there are tons of different error messages, and deciphering them can be a bit difficult for those who are new to zen cart. One of the things that makes error messages so hard to deal with is the fact that most of these notices can indicate a host of problems rather than a single issue. In this Easy Help Zen Cart tutorial, we will discuss the error message which reads: “Error: (6) Couldn’t resolve host”, and walk you through the various reasons why this message might pop up on your site.

The “couldn’t resolve host” message appears when your webserver runs into trouble while attempting to look up the IP address of the destination server. This can happen due to problems with your web server, your hosting company’s network, public DNS services, or the destination server. Most often, these problems come in the form overloaded servers, or maintanence checks that take the server or website offline temporarily, or misconfigured server settings. If the problem is with your DNS, it could be due to replication issues.

To resolve this error message, you should speak with your web host to see if they can help you figure out where the problem is originating. If the problem is with your web servers, their hosting network, or the DNS, then you may be able to work with your hosting company to resolve the issue, or have them fix it for you.

If the problem is not on your end, you might try contacting the destination server your webserver was trying to connect with to let them know about the problem.

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Zen Cart Admin Product Updates Error Messages

As a zen cart store owner/operator, you will have to make updates and changes every now and then to the content of your website. Most often, you will be updating product details or EZ-Pages and other areas. There are certain keywords and phrases, however, that should be avoided when you are doing this. If you include them in the text, they will throw this error message: “Forbidden – You don’t have permission to access /admin/product.php on this server.
Additionally, a 404 Not Found error was encountered while trying to use an ErrorDocument to handle the request.” Occasionally, this error appears as a “500 Internal Server Error” or “406” error, but it still means essentially the same thing.

Most of the time, this error pops up because of a tool called ‘mod_security’, which webservers often use to help prevent hacking attempts. It works by monitoring the content submitted to web pages through forms. The server using the tool will set a list of keywords, and if these words and phrases are found in the text and/or data submitted, mod_security will flag the entire form-submission as at-risk. This effectively stops the entered data from being saved to the server.

Keywords that are commonly flagged include: INSERT or LYNX or UPDATE and other commonly-used SQL commands. To avoid triggering mod_security, you should find out which words are specifically restricted by your webhost, and try not to use them when editing page content. Another way to go is to talk to your hosting company about changing or relaxing their mod_security rules.

You could also try disabling mod_security for your zen cart admin area. To do this, you will need to edit your /admin/.htaccess file. Open it in a plain text editor, and add this line of code:


SecFilterInheritance Off

or this:


SecFilterScanPOST Off

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Zen Cart Error Message ‘MySQL server has gone away’

This Zen Cart tutorial deals with the error message which reads ‘MySQL server has gone away’. It occurs when zen cart attempts to retrieve information from it’s database, and the connection between Zen Cart and Mysql is unexpectedly terminated. The effects of this error message can range from being annoying, but somewhat benign, to being quite severe. As a general rule, you should address this issue as soon as possible in case the problem is serious. One example of this is if it turns out that the error message is showing because your database/s have been deleted.

There are several things that can cause the termination of zen cart’s communications with MySql, and trigger this error message. One of these is simply that another slow connection to external systems is being executed at the same time as your request. In this case, all you have to do is try again later. Another possibility is that your webserver is running slowly. This can happen if you have a lot of spam stored, or if your web hosting company has placed you on a server which is running too many other websites at once.

It is also possible that your hosting company may have configured your server so that database connections expire very quickly. It is common for web hosts to allow connections to remain open for thirty seconds or more. This varies from one host to another, and is heavily affected by factors such as the configuration of their other systems(I.e, PHP). You can contact your web hosting company to learn more about the configuration of your server. This information will either allow you to troubleshoot the issue yourself, or hand it off to them to see if they can fix it for you.

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Zen Cart Admin Home Page Is Loading Slowly Or Not At All

Zen Cart’s page loading time is affected by a variety of factors. This can make troubleshooting certain page speed related issues quite difficult at times. Before you get started on this problem, you should check to see if the storefront of your zen cart site is slow as well. If the same slowness shows up there, then your Zen Cart version server is not the problem, and this tutorial will not help you solve your problem. Your web server may be unable to communicate with the Zen Cart version server, either due to slowness, or the complete lack of a response. Try talking to your hosting company about why your server can’t access ping.zen-cart.com, and the possibility that there may be a DNS problem on your server.

If the page loading issues are occurring only in your admin area, however, keep on reading.

The problem is most likely occurring when your zen cart tries to contact the Zen Cart version server to check for updates after you first log into your admin area. If the server is unavailable, or unreachable, the admin screen will take a while to load while waiting for a response. You can easily fix this issue using one of two methods.

The first is to log into your admin area, navigate to Admin–> Configuration–> My Storeand disable the version checking here setting ‘Show if version update available’ to ‘0/false/off’.

The second option should only be used if you cannot log into your zen cart admin area at all. In this case, open your /admin/includes/local/skip-version-check.ini file in your favorite plain text editor, and find this code:


version_check=on

Change the ‘on’ to ‘off’, save the file, and upload it to your zen cart server.

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Zen Cart Why Are My Product Titles Showing Twice?

In Zen Cart, product pages are among the most important on your entire ecommerce site. It is critical that these pages look good, and function properly, because this is where customers will make the decision to purchase an item, or not. As with the rest of your zen cart site, there are many, many ways to break these pages, or cause them to display bugs and glitches. In this tutorial, we will take a look at a very specific problem which can be encountered on this page. Namely, a slight bug whereby the product name shows twice, in different places on the page.

In this scenario, let’s say you are viewing a product info page on your website. You would see the product title at the top of the page, where it is supposed to be, but it would also display in place of the product image thumbnail.

The cause behind this glitch is actually very simple. In Zen Cart, many images include an ALT tag in the html which calls them. Most often, this ALT tag is just the product name, or maybe a few relevant keywords. When the images being called are not found in your zen cart directories, the ALT text will show alone in place of the image. This can make it look like the product name is duplicating itself on the page.

Just as the reason for this glitch is simple, so is the solution. All you need to do is find the name of the missing image which is being called, and create an image using that name. Save this image to the appropriate folder in your zen cart, and reload the page to see the new image!

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Zen Cart Pages Are Blank Except For ‘ ’ Junk Symbols

Zen Cart is generally a very reliable shopping cart program. It can be quite testy at times, though, and there are some surprisingly simple issues that can end up breaking your entire website if they are not fixed quickly. In this zen cart tutorial, we will take a look at one of these scenarios. The problem demonstrated here is pretty straightforward. Let’s say that you have encountered some pages blank pages across your website. These pages are completely white and empty, except for these characters: ‘’.

This is caused by characters(most likely from an unsupported char set), which have ‘invaded’ one of more of the files in your zen cart store. There are a number of ways in which these characters can be dumped into your files, but the most common is through file editing programs. Whenever you edit zen cart files, you should always do so in a plain text editor. Anything else is likely to insert characters like these, which can break your site horribly. Even worse, most of them are invisible, so you won’t know they are there until it’s too late!

To fix this problem, you will need a bit of help from the zen cart debugger log files. Look through them until you find an error message that looks something like this:


PHP Warning:  Cannot modify header information - headers already sent by (output started at /home/your_name/public_html/includes/languages/english/header.php:1) in 'xxxx' on line 'xxx'.

This error message is very important, as it tells you exactly what line, in what file the unsupported characters have been dumped. Once you know which file has been affected, all you need to do is edit the file(In a plain text editor!), and save it in “UTF-8 without BOM” encoding/format.

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Zen Cart Error Message ‘Authorize.net SIM…’ Part Two

This Zen Cart tutorial is the second installment in a series which is dedicated to explaining the error message which reads: ‘An error occurred while trying to report this transaction to the merchant. An e-mail has been sent to the merchant informing them of the error. The following is the result of the attempt to charge your credit card.’ In this segment, we will go over the last few reasons why this error message might be displaying on your zen cart site.

One possibility is that Authorize.net’s server IP address could be blocked in your zen cart store’s server firewall or .htaccess rules. Check your apache errorlog to find out if this is the case, and if it is, unblock Authorize.net’s IP.

Another scenario is that an invalid URL might have been entered into your Authorize.net ‘Relay Response URL’ and/or ‘Receipt URL’ settings. For the most part, these fields should be left blank.

The problem can also be caused by an invalid or poorly configured SSL certificate. If the SSL certificate you are using for your website is either of these, and Authorize.net detects that your site problems in SSL mode while they are attempting to connect to your website, then they will be hit with an error message or delayed response. This will trigger this error message. If this is the case, then you may need to purchase a new SSL certificate from your hosting company, or reconfigure your current SSL certificate so that it is set up correctly.

Another possibility is that you may have set some invalid rewrite rules. This usually happens during the creation or modification of zen cart .htaccess files. It is especially common to encounter this error if URLs in this file have been rewritten for illegitimate seo addons.

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Zen Cart Error Message ‘Authorize.net SIM…’ Part One

This Zen Cart tutorial deals with the error message which reads: ‘An error occurred while trying to report this transaction to the merchant. An e-mail has been sent to the merchant informing them of the error. The following is the result of the attempt to charge your credit card.’

This error message will most likely be encountered by your customers at checkout. It is a message that should be taken care of pretty quickly, as it can have a big negative impact on the number of customers who end up going through the checkout process, and purchasing items from your website. This is an error message that has many possible causes. In this tutorial, we will go over these causes, and tell you how you can fix each of them.

The first possibility is that your zen cart website may be taking too long to respond when Authorize.net sends transaction authorization to your site, and/or redirects customers back to your site from Authorize.net. The maximum time permitted for your site to respond to these interactions is 10 seconds. If your server takes longer to load pages, it is an indication of a more serious underlying issue with your server speed. There are many things that can cause this issue, and the best place to start when trying to remedy it is to speak with your hosting company. You should also take a look at our tutorials on page speed optimization.

The next cause is much simpler: your site could be Down For Maintenance mode. When in you put your site down for maintenance, you can’t test SIM transactions, which can lead to this issue. If this is the case, simply take your site out of maintenance mode.

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Zen Cart Error Message ‘Unauthenticated content’

This Zen Cart tutorial discusses an error message which reads ‘This page contains both secure and nonsecure items. Do you want to display the nonsecure items?’ This error can also read as ‘Page contains unauthenticated content’, or ‘connection partially encrypted’.

This error means that you have hard-coded URLs somewhere in your zen cart, rather than relative paths. This warning can also be triggered if there are banners in your zen cart with ‘http://’ links, which are set so that they will not show on SSL pages. Another cause is click-tracking tools which access your site using javascript, and link to http:// pages elsewhere.

The easiest way to figure out what is causing the problem is to search through your web browser’s View Source page for ‘src=”http://’. Once you find the hard link/s, fo through your template files/stylesheets and remove all the hard-coded links you found.

In the future, you can prevent this error from popping up again by enuring that you never hard-code a full ‘HTTP://’ URL anywhere on your site.

It should also be noted that this error can also be caused by images mentioned in your stylesheet that do not exist. In this case, they will produce ‘404 Not Found’ errors. In turn, these can sometimes create a ‘loop’ while attempting to display a 404-error-page, which often generates more error messages, and compounds the problem. Aside from throwing off a whole lot of error messages, this kind of repetitive loop can create a lot of extra traffic on your hosting account, which can get you into trouble with some web hosts, though this repercussion is highly conditional on what web hosting company owns the servers on which you host your zen cart store.

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Zen Cart ‘Fatal error: Cannot redeclare date_diff()’

This Zen Cart article discusses the error message that reads ‘Fatal error: Cannot redeclare date_diff()’. As you may already know from the ‘fatal’ warning, this error message is pretty serious, and should be addressed as soon as possible.

Though serious, this is actually one of the simpler error messages you can get from your zen cart store. It basically means that the version of zen cart you are currently running is incompatible with the version of PHP being run by your server. In other words, your version of zen cart is too old to work with PHP. Zen cart v1.3.8a and older will not work with PHP v5.3.0 and newer. If you are getting this error message, there is only one thing you can do to fix it: you must immediately upgrade your store to the latest version of zen cart.

It should also be noted that, even when you are not seeing serious fatal error message like this one, if your zen cart version is older than v1.3.9, you should upgrade as soon as possible anyway. The latest version is always the best, as it includes the most recent bug fixes and other features, but there is still a more important reason to upgrade your store. This is that versions of zen cart older than 1.3.9 have serious security issues. If you are running this version of zen cart, you are running the risk of having your site broken in to, which can lead to all kinds of trouble, for you, and your customers. When an upgrade is performed correctly, it is quick and easy, with minimal downtime for your website, and there are tons of benefits that come from running your zen cart on the newest version.

If you need help with your zen cart web site please contact us for a quote.

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