Zen Cart What Is A Download Delivery Method? – Part Two

This zen cart article is the last in a two part series that explores the various download delivery methods available for Zen Cart. In the last segment, we discussed the Download by Redirect Method. The second method comes into play when you disable Download by redirect by setting it to ‘False’. When you do this, your customers are given a link that leads directly to the product file in your /download folder. This link doesn’t expire, which means that your customers can download the product as often as they want. They can also share the download link with others, which is a pretty major security breach, and can definitely hurt your business. After all, why would anyone buy your product when they can easily get their hands on it for free?

Despite this drawback, this method works on both Windows and Linux hosts, and is not affected by PHP max_execution_time limits.

For the third and final method, ‘Download by streaming’ ‘Download by Redirect’ must be disabled. This method differs from the first two, in that it does not link customers to your products. Instead, Zen Cart sends the file as a download, in 2KB chunks. This method is recommended above the others, as it keeps server RAM loading to a minimum, and stops download links from ever being shared. While this method works Windows and Linux hosts, you will need to adjust your server’s PHP configuration so that the max_execution_time variable is set high enough to allow your largest file to complete it’s download. Otherwise, you will run into time/data limits when your zen cart store attempts to send large files, which pose potential customer service issues, and as well as introducing some technical difficulties.

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Zen Cart What Is A Download Delivery Method? – Part One

In Zen Cart ecommerce stores where downloadable products are sold, there are several different ways of delivering content to customers. Which of these is used in any given situation depends on a variety of factors, including your hosting configuration and personal preferences. In this Zen Cart Easy Help Tutorial, we will explore the various download delivery methods to help you decide which is the right one for your business to use. All of these settings can be found and adjusted in your zen cart admin area, on the Configuration-> Attribute Settings page.

The first method is ‘Download by Redirect’. When activated, this method causes your zen cart store to utilize the Linux/unix “symlink” feature. This essentially makes a temporary file ‘stub’ in your /pub folder. When a customer purchases one of your downloadable products, they are directed to this file-stub. This is the only way they can access the file, and the stub disappears after the transaction is complete.

This method is ideal, as it makes it impossible for customers to save and share the download link. If customers can come back to a download link again and again, they can steal the downloadable product infinitely. The Download by Redirect method prevents this by hiding the file’s real location. Once the stub file disappears, the only way for the customer to access the download is to buy the product again, which will generate a new stub.

It should be noted that this method will only work on Linux hosts. Windows doesn’t support symlinks via PHP, and the “pub” folder must be set to read-write permissions… typically 777 (or 755 on suexec hosts) for this method to work. The Download bny Redirect method is not affected by PHP max_execution_time limits.

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Zen Cart How Do I Disable SSL In My Store?

This Zen Cart tutorial will teach zen cart users and store owners how to disable SSL on their web sites. This is not recommended, as SSL is a very important security measure, especially for ecommerce stores. SSL encrypts communications between web sites and the browsers viewing them, which ensures that nefarious third parties can not spy on the transmissions. This greatly reduces the risk of site break-ins, and protects both the store owner and customers from many forms of online fraud, including identity theft. While there are some instances where it could be useful to temporarily disable your site wide SSL, you should leave it off for as little time as possible. Sites without SSL are viewed as untrustworthy by the vast majority of online shoppers. Customers are more likely to leave an unsecured site straightaway than they are to browse and eventually make a purchase.

Disabling SSL on a zen cart web site is simple, and easy. All you will need to do is effect a few changes in your includes/configure.php and admin/includes/configure.php files.

First, open includes/configure.php in your favorite plain text editor, and locate this code:

// Define the webserver and path parameters
define(‘HTTP_SERVER’, ‘http://www.YOUR_SHOP.com’);
define(‘HTTPS_SERVER’, ‘https://www.YOUR_SHOP.com’);
define(‘ENABLE_SSL’, ‘true’);

Change the ‘true’ to ‘false’, and save the file. Next, open your admin/includes/configure.php , and find the following code:

define(‘HTTP_SERVER’, ‘http://www.YOUR_SHOP.com’);

define(‘ENABLE_SSL_CATALOG’, ‘true’);
define(‘ENABLE_SSL_ADMIN’, ‘true’);

Again, change the ‘true’s to ‘false’s.

It should also be noted that your configure.php files are most likely marked read-only. In order to make the needed changes, you will have to modify them so that they are read-write. After you make your changes, be sure to put them back to read-only. It is extremely important that you remember this last step, as it is imperative for the security of your zen cart site.

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

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Zen Cart How Do I Enable SSL On My Site? Part Three

This Zen Cart tutorial is the last in a three part instructional series that teaches zen cart users how to install and configure SSL on their web sites.

After your hosting company has installed your SSL certificate, and you know that ‘https://www.your_site.com’ loads without incident, you may enable SSL support in Zen Cart.

The first thing you will need do is make a few changes in the /includes/configure.php and /your_renamed_admin/includes/configure.php files.

In includes/configure.php and admin/includes/configure.php find and change this info:

// Define the webserver and path parameters
define(‘HTTP_SERVER’, ‘http://www.YOUR_SHOP.com’);
define(‘HTTPS_SERVER’, ‘https://www.YOUR_SHOP.com’);
define(‘ENABLE_SSL’, ‘true’);

It should also be noted that in Zen Cart v1.x, in order to use SSL to secure all admin pages, You will need to change the HTTP_SERVER in your “/admin/includes/configure.php” so that it matchesyour HTTPS_SERVER setting URL. If the DIR_WS_ADMIN looks something like ‘/adminfoldername/’ and does not reference $p1 or any other $ variables, then ensure that DIR_WS_ADMIN matches DIR_WS_HTTPS_ADMIN. This will happen automatically with new installations of v1.5.x and newer, as this is required for PCI compliance.

And don’t forget, your configure.php files are most likely marked read-only. To upload your updates, you will have to change them to read-write, and then put them back to read-only when you are finished.

The last step in this process is to look your site over, and make sure that the SSL is working correctly. You will most likely need to clear your browser’s cache and cookies before doing this. If you don’t, your logins might not be successful, since your web browser will be using information from your zen cart store’s old URL. This problem is very easy to remedy, however, by cache and cookies, and perhaps restarting your web browser in some cases.

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

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Zen Cart How Do I Enable SSL On My Site? Part Two

This Zen Cart tutorial is the second in an instructional series that focuses on teaching zen cart users and store owners how to enable SSL on their web sites as a measure against online fraud. In the first segment, we left off on the topic of dedicate versus shared SSL certificates.

We recommend dedicated certificates, but you might also consider a shared certificate. Shared certificates differ from dedicated certificates in that they are owned by your hosting company, and shared among many users and stores, mostly at no charge. Shared certificates, however, should mostly be used for testing and development. When you use a shared certificate, your store url will look something like this: https://your_host.com/~your_username/. This url format is alarming to some customers, and therefore has been known to negatively affect conversion rates. This is the main reason why it is not recommended for use on a live store.

If you decide to use a dedicated certificate, this is how to enable SSL in your zen cart store. First, ensure that SSL is enabled in your hosting account. You will need to speak with your hosting company in order to purchase, install, and configure your SSL certificate. It is rather important to note that you should register the certificate to your ‘WWW’ web address(I.e., ‘www.your_site.com’ rather than ‘your_site.com’). Make sure that you can access ‘https://www.your_site.com’. If you can’t, talk to your hosting company to determine and resolve this issue. If you cannot enter your site while using an HTTPS:// address, then do not enable SSL in your live zen cart, as this will break a lot of your pages. Instead, get the SSL working on a test site before you enable it on your live zen cart store.

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Zen Cart How Do I Enable SSL On My Site? Part One

SSL, or secure socket layer, encrypts the exchanges between web browsers and the server being viewed. This protects sensitive data like credit card information that might be transferred to your store by a customer. SSL mode is recognizable by the familiar HTTPS:// that precedes the URL in a browser’s address bar. Next to this, you should also always see a green secure padlock symbol, oftentimes found in the status bar at the bottom of the browser window or in the address bar. SSL is an extremely important security measure that all ecommerce stores should take to prevent online fraud. In this Zen Cart tutorial, we will tell you how to enable SSL in your zen cart store.

The first thing you need to do is find out what kind of SSL service your web hosting company provides. Talk with your web host to have SSL capability added to your hosting account, and decide whether a dedicated or shared SSL certificate would be best for your business. We recommend a dedicated SSL certificate, for a number of reasons, most of which are related to customer conversion and comfort. For example, when you have a dedicated SSL certificate, your store URL is formatted like this: https://www.your_site.com. With a shared certificate, on the other hand, your URL would be formatted more like this: https://your_username.your_host.com. When customers visit your site and see the url format provided with a shared certificate, the majority of them will become wary of your site. When this happens, the likelihood that they will complete a purchase on your site drops drastically. Others may become confused, and leave for that reason. Either way, the negative impact that this can have on your customer conversion rates is substantial.

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

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Zen Cart Do You Really Need SSL On Your Site? – Part Four

This Zen Cart article is the final segment in a four part educational series that aims to teach zen cart users and store owners about the benefits of having your website SSL certified.

In this last segment, we will finish with a few words about dedicated vs. shared SSL certificates. As has been said before, we strongly recommend a dedicated certificate as they are optimal for a few reasons. One of these is the technical aspect of getting SSL for your site. Dedicated certificates work in zen cart with minimal setup and customization. Another important factor is your business’s brand. A dedicated certificate allows your site to use the same URL as your zen cart store, which brands it as one entity. When you use a shared certificate, the url for your zen cart store and site are different. As a result, customers can become confused, or worse, decide something fishy is going on. Whether customers are afraid that they are about to be scammed, or confused about where they are online, the effect this has on your conversion rates is still a negative one.

Beside this, shared certificates are configured oddly at times, mostly when it comes to cheaper web hosting companies. Sometimes, these weirdly configured certificates do not meet the industry standards required for Zen Cart. As such, they may not run properly on your zen cart store. Or, the SSL might not even work at all.

Whether you choose a shared or dedicated certificate, however, it’s installation will definitely be specific to your web host and user account. You will need to speak with your hosting company in order to buy, install, and properly configure an SSL certificate in your hosting account.

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

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Zen Cart Do You Really Need SSL On Your Site? – Part Three

This zen cart article is the third in an educational series that aims to teach zen cart users and store owners about the benefits of having their websites SSL certified. In the last segment of this article, we left off explaining the costs associated with SSL.

When you get SSL certified, there are three things you will have to pay for. The first is a dedicated IP address. The second, is the actual SSL certificate. There are two kinds of certificates: Dedicated, and shared. These are different in that a dedicated certificate is specially issued for your site, while a shared certificate displays your host’s name. The type of certificate you have on your zen cart site, however, can affect your conversion rates. As such, we recommend a dedicated certificate. When customers visit your zen cart website, they will expect your domain to be in the site url. When you have a shared certificate, you cannot use your own domain name. Customer’s might not even be able to view your zen cart site, and if they can, they will see warnings about the shared SSL. These are guaranteed to unsettle your clients, and make them wary of submitting their credit card information into fields on your site. Some online shoppers won’t even bother browsing zen cart stores that sport these warnings.

The third, and final cost involved with getting SSL on your website is the money it costs to have the certificate installed and activated in your hosting account. It should be noted that for this, your hosting account must have the ability to offer SSL. This generally means that you must at least have a plan which offers a dedicated IP address. Most hosting plans include this for no charge, or offer it for a few dollars monthly.

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

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Zen Cart Do You Really Need SSL On Your Site? – Part Two

This Zen cart article is the second in a series that aims to educate Zen Cart store owners on the benefits that come with having their websites SSL certified. For the most part, all online stores should be SSL certified if they receive credit card information. When this is the case, SSL certification becomes absolutely essential for the protection of your customer’s payment data.

Even if you own an ecommerce store, but your payments are processed offsite, you still need SSL certification for your customer’s protection. When payments are processed via another gateway that has an SSL certified site, then it’s true that your site does not technically have to have SSL installed on it, because it’s not actually handling your customer’s credit card data. However, if your site does not have SSL enabled, your customer’s passwords, names,, addresses, and email are at risk of being stolen by a nefarious third party when put into fields on your website. This information could then be used to login to your customer’s accounts, allowing potential third parties to impersonate them. These impersonaters would be unable to use your customer’s banking/creditcard data since zen cart doesn’t store any banking or card data, but they could still cause a significant bit of trouble, both for you and your actual customer. Adding an SSL certificate to your zen cart store eliminates the possibility that this kind of identity theft can occur on your site.

A common objection to SSL certification is that there are costs associated with it. While this is true, it is more than worth the money you spend getting your SSL installed and set up to avoid the possibility of identity theft, or other, even more serious forms of online fraud.

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

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Zen Cart Do You Really Need SSL On Your Site? – Part One

Zen Cart users who own/operate an ecommerce store are often hesitant to admit the importance of adding and SSL certificate to their site. SSl is, however, an extremely important security feature. It’s so important, in fact, that most online shoppers will leave a site immediately if it is unsecured.

To understand why SSL is so important when you are running a zen cart store, you need to know what it is, and what it does. SSL, or Secure Socket Layer, is meant to encrypt the communications between your webserver, and the your customer’s we browser. It’s important to secure these transactions, because third parties can spy on unsecured communications. There are many different ways this can be done, and it means that nefarious third parties can glean a wealth of sensitive personal information from an unsecured zen cart site. This is why many online shoppers will not stick around an unsecured site for long.

Another thing to be considered is the way that SSL is implemented in zen cart. SSL must be enabled in your hosting account, which is something you need to talk to your hosting company about. After it is turned on, however, Zen Cart receives your new SSL URL. Your Zen Cart store will them automatically use that secure address when on pages that handle customer information. This info can include highly sensitive data, such as login, account-creation, password changes, and checkout. A few of your admin pages will also be affected by SSL, as some of them contain information similar to that mentioned above.

It should be noted, however, that Zen Cart will only use SSL on pages that contain sensitive information. On other pages, Zen Cart will disable SSL so it doesn’t affect your site speed.

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

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