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 What Payment Gateways Are Best For Zen Cart?

As a Zen Cart store owner, there are a lot of things you need to consider, especially if you are just starting your online business, or even setting up a website for your existing store. Whatever your specific circumstance, however, one of the most important decisions you will make is what payment gateway you will use. Payment gateways are authorized, secure third parties that act as a conduit between you, and whatever payment method your customers use. You will need to choose a payment gateway, and get it working with your Zen Cart store before you can start accepting payments, so this is pretty high-priority.

Not all payment gateways are compatible with Zen Cart. Here are the ones that work natively with Zen Cart:

– Authorize.net AIM (SIM is also supported, but AIM is recommended for its security benefits)
– PayPal Website Payments Standard (IPN)
– PayPal Express Checkout
– PayPal Website Payments Pro
– LinkPoint API
– YourPay API
– C.O.D.
– Check/MoneyOrder

Out of these, we use and recommend Authorize.net AIM. Depending on your unique circumstances, you may need or want to use a different payment gateway, but this is the one you should probably go with if you are unsure.

There are also a lot of addon gateways available in the Free Addons area of the Zen Cart website. Most of these have been added by third party contributors from the Zen Cart community, built to work with many different versions of zen cart. Before you use any of these, be sure to make sure that they are compatible with the version of Zen Cart your store is currently running. It is also a good idea to take a look at their requirements to make sure that you can use them with your current webserver configuration.

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Zen Cart Add Logo To Invoices From Admin

In this Zen Cart tutorial, you will learn how to add your logo to invoices, packing slips, etc. quickly and easily from your zen cart admin. The image we will use for this purpose is found in the directory admin/images/logo.gif. This is the version of your logo that is generally used in your Admin pages, and in admin output. If your logo is named something different, you have two options. You can either rename your logo to logo.gif, which is recommended, as it is less work, and there is less room for mistakes. In this case, simply upload your version of the logo.gif image to the correct folder on your server, and it will overwrite the old one.

The other option is to delete the logo.gif image, and replace it with your image. If you want to do this, you will have to edit this block of code from the admin/includes/languages/english.php file:

// added defines for header alt and text
define('HEADER_ALT_TEXT', 'Admin Powered by Zen Cart :: The Art of E-Commerce');
define('HEADER_LOGO_WIDTH', '200');
define('HEADER_LOGO_HEIGHT', '70');

Replace the logo image name with your image name, then save your work and upload the file to your server to put the changes into effect.

It is also good to note that If you have changed the size of your logo, the invoice and packing slip functions native to zen cart will not automatically take this into account. To remedy this issue, you will need to edit two files, admin/invoice.php and admin/packingslip.php. Both of these files contain this line of code:


Find it in both files, and change it to this:


Save your changes, and upload the file to your server.

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

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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.

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

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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:


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 Customer’s Downloads Did Not Activate

This Zen Cart tutorial is meant to help zen cart users and store owners better understand the process behind the purchase and activation of downloadable products, since it is actually not as straight forward as one might think. It is still a very simple process, but on occasion, you might have that one confused customer who pays for a downloadable product, and does not get access to the activation link immediately afterward.

First of all, it is important for you to know that in zen cart stores that have been set up properly, download links are not made available to your customers until you have received payment for the product. Most payment modules commonly used with zen cart are configured so that new orders which contain downloadable products are automatically marked as ‘Orders Status: Pending’. In a nutshell, this means that your zen cart store will assume that you have not received your payment, and therefore, it should not give out the download link to the customer, until you tell it differently.

After you have verified through your payment gateway that the money has been safely transferred, you can activate the download links for your customer. This is very easy do do. Just log in to your zen cart admin area, and select the correct order. Click on Edit, and scroll down to the bottom of the page. Here, you will find a menu, where you can change the order’s status from ‘pending’ to ‘processing’. This tells your zen cart that you have received your payment, and it is okay to let the customer download the product. They will now be able to do this by navigating to their ‘My Account’ page and selecting the order.

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

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Can Zen Cart Run On Servers Using PHP As CGI?

Most Zen Cart experts, ourselves included, recommend running zen cart on standard webserver configurations, where PHP as used apache ‘module’. There are some hosts, however, who insist on running PHP as a CGI application. While you can still run a Zen Cart on these kinds of servers, you will find that there are more limitations to what you can do with your zen cart store. Most of these have to do with extra restrictions that are placed on data storage and processing limits. The file permissions you are allowed to set in this mode are a good example of these limitations. The highest they can be set is 755, which is too low for some purposes.

If you must host your zen cart store on a webserver that is set up this way, there are a few things you can do to get the best performance from your website.

Set the ‘Maximum simultaneous processes’ to 1024
Set ‘Process timeout’ to 10 seconds

There are also a few changes you should make to the standard installation process when your webserver is configured like this. The most important thing to remember is that you should not change ANY file permissions, except for at the end of the process, when you will need now set the configure.php files to 444 permissions. This means that the file is read-only, and no one will be able to edit it unless they change the permissions to a higher state.

The reason for setting these limits, and leaving the file permissions so low, is to avoid getting a ton of 500 internal server errors. These kinds of errors are common on webservers that use PHP as CGI, and they can build up rather quickly, and create a number of problems.

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

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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 Set Products To Be Both Physical And Virtual

In Zen Cart, it is possible to configure products so that they are categorized as both physical/shippable and virtual/downloadable products. There are very few instances in which this functionality is useful, but if you happen to find yourself needing to set a product up this way, look no further! In this Zen Cart tutorial, we will teach you how to properly configure a product in this manner.

The first thing you should do is to check and see if your products are set to ‘Always Free Shipping’ or ‘0 weight’. If this is the case, go check Admin–>Configuration–>Shipping/Packaging, and make sure that these settings match those of your products.

The main difference between a product that is only physical or virtual, and one that is a combination of the two(Sometimes called a ‘combo’ product) has to do with the weight attribute assigned to any given product type. Unlike a physical or virtual product, combo products can have their Weight added to the Product and/or the Attribute. Which one you choose to add it to is not really all that critical.

To actually create a combo product, mark it as’Product is Virtual: No, Shipping Address Required’, and ‘Always Free Shipping: Special’ .

Since Physical/Virtual combo products require a shipping address by default, zen cart will automatically calculate the weight as it usually would for a product which does not require a shipping address. This allows the shipping to function properly, despite the fact that the product is also marked as downloadable.

After marking the product in this manner, simply go on to configure it with the Special and Shippable/Download Combo, including the weight on the product and/or Attribute(s) for shipping. You can add additional attributes to the download as needed.

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