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.

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

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Zen Cart How To Speed Up Your Site – Part Four

This Zen Cart tutorial is the last in a four part instructional series that offers the best tips, tricks and hints on how to speed up your zen cart site. Site speed is important for a variety of reasons, but the most prominent of these is because of the effect page loading time has on your conversion rates. It’s not a complicated subject; Slow loading time equals low conversion rates, while fast loading time translates into higher conversion rates, and happier customers.

One of the things you can do when trying to figure out what you need to do in order to speed your site up is to assess your Page Parse Times. This can be helpful in isolating a bottleneck scenario, and remedying it.

Another good step to take is to use the MySQL slow query log feature, which can help you identify database queries that perform less than optimally. However, you might have to speak with your hosting company to turn this feature on, and/or evaluate the logs that it generates. If this is something you can do, be sure to set it with a low threshold so you can see where the database spends most of it’s time.

You should also figure out whether you have any mods enabled that add their own tables to your database. These may be badly tuned tables, which can contribute to slow page load time.
You should also reevaluate any custom code or addons which run queries that attempt to join tables on unindexed database columns.

Take a look at Zen Cart’s page on Webserver Tuning Tips, and put as many as possible into practice in your zen cart store. Another great Zen Cart tip page is this one which has some good ideas about image cacheing.

And in case you haven’t already checked, you should ensure you’re not loading more than one copy of jQuery on your zen cart site site. There are a lot of modules/addons/plugins that come with their own copy of jquery.js or jquery-min.js, and loading them all is unnecessary, and taxes your web site. Generally, you should only be loading one, and it should be the latest version available.

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

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Zen Cart How To Speed Up Your Site – Part Three

When you own and/or run a zen cart store, one of the most worrying things you can see is a low conversion rate for your website. One of the things that can contribute to this is slow site speed. Increasing your page load time is essential since customers these days expect a page load time of three seconds, maximum when shopping online – Even on their mobile devices! This Zen Cart tutorial, which is the third in a four part instructional series, will give you the most useful tips, tricks and hints about how you can speed up your website, and hopefully increase your conversion rates.

Firstly, the ‘new products’ selection window is set to ‘Forever’ by default. You can set this to a smaller time frame. This will affect the time during which new products will be displayed. By turning this down a few notches, you will make the new products display run faster, which will improve your site speed.

In some cases, you can also enable gzip compression. This can be helpful if you are experiencing sluggish load time on a site over internet connections that you know to be slow.
You can activate this feature by navigating to Admin-> Config-> GZip Compression->, and setting ‘Enable GZip Compression’ to ‘1’.

You should also make sure that your stylesheets contain no references to image files that don’t exist on your server.

Also, take a look at your debug/log files, and ensure that you do not have a ton of extra logs. When you allow a large number of debug log files to build up, it can cause your site to slow down to some degree. Get rid of the extra logs using the Admin-> Tools-> Store Manager-> Purge log files menu option. Before deleting them, however, it is a good idea to copy them to your computer so that you can check them to help with troubleshooting other issues on your site.

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

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Zen Cart How To Speed Up Your Site – Part Two

This Zen Cart tutorial is a continuation of ‘Zen Cart How To Speed Up Your Site – Part One.

In your individual attribute assignments, you have the option of setting “Apply Discounts Used by Product Special/Sale: No”. This is, of course, assuming that the options don’t have cost associated with them.

If it’s mostly your home page that is slow, you should consider switching off content-boxes like specials and featured products. These can tend to generate a lot of extra queries because there is special pricing information involved in the data they extract and process.

Also, if you have a lot of products in your categories, you should think about consider splitting them up into subcategories. This will actually do more than improve page load time. It will also help your customers find what they are looking for more easily. As with page loading times, this is an important factor in conversion rates, especially if you want to raise yours.
However, if you really can not slim down your categories, then you might want to turn off the previous/next buttons on your product-info pages. You can do this by going to your admin area, and navigating to Configuration-> Product Info. If you don’t want to turn this off completely, you should at least set the prev/next sort mode so that it does not include the product name. Instead, we recommend either model number or price.

Furthermore, when you have lots of products spread out through many, many subcategories, you can significantly improve page load time by going to Admin-> Configuration-> Index Listing. Turn off the first 8 settings there by setting them to 0. Adjust this as necessary, depending on what content you wish to display, though you should definitely aim to turn off as many as possible.

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

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Zen Cart How To Speed Up Your Site – Part One

If your Zen Cart is taking a long time to load, it can have a negative effect on your business. In this day and age, online shoppers are accustomed to quick page load times, and when a website takes too long to load, they are likely to leave without completing their order, or even without making one in the first place. In this zen cart tutorial, we will give you some helpful tips on how to speed up your website. It should be noted that these suggestions all work from the assumption that you are running the most recent version of Zen Cart.

The first thing to try is turning off your Category Counts, especially if you have a lot of categories. Do this by navigating to admin-> Configuration -> My Store. Switch both Show Category Counts’, and ‘Show Category Counts-Admin’ to false.

If you aren’t using the Manufacturers sidebox, you should turn this off as well. Again, it’s a very easy change to make. Simply go to Admin-> Tools-> Layout Boxes Controller, and find the sideboxes/manufacturers.php entry. Turn it ‘Off’.

Another thing you can do is to make sure that your images are optimized for your site. Specifically, you should be using small images for thumbnails, slightly larger images for product pages, and large detailed pictures for ‘click to enlarge’ images.

There are also a few functions that you can turn off in Admin->Configuration->Attribute Settings. Doing this will reduce the number of queries used to calculate and display product information.

1: Enable Downloads – If you don’t have downloadable products on your site, turn this off.
2: Enable Price Factor – This is unnecessary if you are not using price-by-attributes support.
3: Enable Qty Price Discount – This should be off, unless you offer quantity discounts.
4: Enable Attribute Images – Disable this if you’re not adding images to your attributes.
5: Enable Text Pricing by word or letter – Turn this off if you’re not offering text attributes which calculate per-word or per-letter.

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

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Speed Up Your Site by Disabling Text Pricing by Word or Letter



If you’re not offering text attributes which calculate price on a per-word or per-letter basis, turn this functionality off in your zen cart to increase your site speed. This step by step tutorial will show you how to turn off the text pricing by word or letter in your zen cart.

Log into your zen cart admin and go to Configuration -> Attribute Settings.

Click on “Enable Text Pricing by word or letter”, select “false”, and click on the “update” button.

If you need help customizing your zen cart web site, or would like a great custom design, please contact us for a quote.

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Speed Up Your Site by Disabling Attribute Images





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If you will not be adding attribute images, disabling this is an easy way to speed up your zen cart site. This step by step tutorial will show you how to disable the attribute images in zen cart.

Log into your zen cart and go to Configuration -> Attribute Settings.

Click on “Enable Attribute Images”, select “false”, and click on the “update” button.

If you need help customizing your zen cart web site, or would like a great custom design, please contact us for a quote.

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Speed Up Your Site Disable Quantity Discounts



If you will not be offering quantity discounts, turn this feature off to reduce the number of queries used to calculate and display product information and speed up your zen cart site. This step by step tutorial will show you how to turn off quantity discounts in zen cart.

Log into your zen cart admin and go to Configuration -> Attribute Settings.

Click on “Enable Qty Price Discount”, select “false”, and click on the “update” button.

If you need help customizing your zen cart web site, or would like a great custom design, please contact us for a quote.

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Speed Up Your Site Disabling Price Factor



If you’re not using price-by-attributes support, turn this off to stop those calculations and the related queries. This step by step tutorial will show you how to disable price factor in your zen cart site.

Log into your zen cart admin and go to Configuration -> Attribute Settings.

Click on “Enable Price Factor”, select “false”, and click on the “update” button.

If you need help customizing your zen cart web site, or would like a great custom design, please contact us for a quote.

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Speed Up Your Site by Disabling Downloads



If you will not be selling downloadable products, disabling downloads will reduce the number of queries used to calculate and display product information in your zen cart site. This step by step tutorial will show you how to disable downloadable products.

Log into your zen cart admin and go to Configuration->Attribute Settings.

Select “Enable Downloads” and click on the “edit” button.

Select “false” and click on the “update” button.

If you need help customizing your zen cart web site, or would like a great custom design, please contact us for a quote.

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