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 How To Automate Your SitemapXML Updates

Zen Cart is one of the best shopping cart programs out there. It is a favorite among ecommerce businesses because it typically requires very little maintenance, which gives store owners more time to themselves. Even though maintenance is minimal for normal operation, however, there are some circumstances under which maintenance tasks can build up, and create what can seem like a mountain of work for the store owners. There are many practices which can lead to this, but most commonly, it is found in stores where products and/or EZPages are constantly being added/edited/updated.

Luckily, a Zen Cart plugin exists to help with this issue. It’s called SitemapXML(formerly ‘Google Sitemap’), and it’s job is to generate pre-formatted XML site maps for Google. The only problem is that this site map needs to be manually updated from the admin area from time to time. This can take up an annoying amount of time under some circumstances, but this process can be automated, which is what this tutorial will focus on. It should be noted that in order to do this, you will need to be able to write and schedule a cron job on your web hosting account.

Before you begin, make sure that you already have SitemapXML installed. After this, you will need to call the page generating the XML file with a cron job using cURL. Go to your CPanel area as provided by your web hosting company, and schedule the cron job to run as often as you think is necessary. They should run more or less after every time you make an update. This is the code you will need to set in order to automate the process:


curl http://www.YOUR-WEBSITE.com/index.php?main_page=sitemapxml
CRON JOB 1:

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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.

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

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Zen Cart How To Create Downloadable Products – Part Five

This Zen Cart tutorial is the fifth and final installment in a series dedicated to teaching zen cart users and store owners how they can create downloadable products. In this last segment, we end the series with a few tips about how you can fine tune your download process

First of all, it is good to note that there aren’t any shipping costs automatically, because the name of the download file has been added to an Attribute. This means that downloads should not be marked as ‘Always Free Shipping’, or ‘Virtual Products’. Also be sure to set up the product so that the shipping address is not required at checkout.

You should also make sure that all of the files for download (all the files located in the ‘download’ directory of your zen cart) are set to read-only(644 should do the trick here). In contrast, the ‘download’ folder itself will, by default, be set to 755. For download-by-redirect procedures, however, your ‘pub’ directory will need to be set to read-write as well. 777 is a good permissions setting for this purpose, though it should be noted that a lower setting like 755 is required by some web hosting companies. This does not apply to Windows servers, however, since you do not use the ‘pub’ directory because symlinks typically don’t work on Windows servers. On most windows servers, Redirect is turned off, as Redirect requires symlink support, which windows does not provide.

Zip up the download files for the best results. Also ensure that you do not use any special characters, spaces, etc. in the filenames.

After you have added your downloadable products, it is a good idea to check them over to make sure that they all work right.

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

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Zen Cart How To Create Downloadable Products – Part Four

This Zen Cart tutorial is the fourth installment in a series dedicated to teaching zen cart users and store owners how to create downloadable products in their ecommerce shops. Before we wrap things up in the next few segments, we will take a quick look at an alternate method that you can use to create downloadable products.

Using this alternative method, the first thing you need to do is open your zen cart admin area and navigate to the ‘Option Name’ screen. Once here, add an option name, and set the ‘Option Type’ to either ‘radiobutton’ or ‘Dropdown’.

Next, go to the option values manager, and add an option value. Typically, it will look something like this:


Option Name: Downloads (from dropdown)
Option Value: PDF
Default Sort Order: 10

Then go to the ‘Attributes Controller’ area. Find the Product you wish to affect, and enter the correct information:


Pick from Option Name dropdown: Downloads
Pick from Option Value dropdown: PDF [DOWNLOAD]
Enter the filename: yourfilename.zip
Enter the number of days
Enter the number of download attempts
Set as Default 
Set Sort Order (if needed or after adding you can run the Update Sort Orders)

After this, all you need to do is click ‘insert’ to put the changes into effect on your website. Before you check the download on your storefront, however, you should take a moment to ensure that there is a green dot next to the name of the file which is to be downloaded. If the green dot is not there, it means the file is absent from your server, and you will need to upload it to the correct directory. While this can be done after the product is set up, it is better to do it beforehand to avoid confusion.

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

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Zen Cart How To Create Downloadable Products – Part Three

This Zen Cart tutorial is the third in a series which aims to teach zen cart users and store owners how they can create downloadable products. In this segment, we will discuss how you can add products using the ‘Attributes Controller’ located in the zen cart admin area.

In the last segment of this series, we talked about enabling multiple downloads per product. One of the things we will show you how to do here is make the Attribute read correctly based on the download number.

The first thing you need to do is open your zen cart admin. Navigate to Catalog==> Attributes Controller. Add your information into this area, in this format:


Option Name: Download 1
Option Value: of 5 [Download 1]
Download filename of file already uploaded to the /download folder.
Number of Days and Downloads

Option Name: Download 2
Option Value: of 5 [Download 2]
Download filename of file already uploaded to the /download folder.
Number of Days and Downloads

Option Name: Download 3
Option Value: of 5 [Download 3]
Download filename of file already uploaded to the /download folder.
Number of Days and Downloads

Option Name: Download 4
Option Value: of 5 [Download 4]
Download filename of file already uploaded to the /download folder.
Number of Days and Downloads

Option Name: Download 5
Option Value: of 5 [Download 5]
Download filename of file already uploaded to the /download folder.
Number of Days and Downloads

It should be noted that you do not need to worry about modifying the ‘sort order’ numbers. If you recall, you set these way back when you first created the downloadable products for which you are now adding information. Just make sure that after you add all your download information, you click the ‘update sort order’ button.

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Zen Cart How To Create Downloadable Products – Part Two

This Zen Cart tutorial is the second installment in a series which aims to teach zen cart users and store owners how to create downloadable products. In this segment, we will deal with enabling multiple download options for one product. Enabling multiple downloads on a product is most useful in cases where the file to be downloaded is so large that it must be broken into multiple segments to make downloading and accessing it easier, and safer.

Each download item must have an option name, and for each option name, you will need to add the appropriate number of option values. This figure is determined by the choices you wish to present your customers with on the product info page. For example, let’s say you have five downloads on one product. In this case, you would need five Option Names, each with one Option Value assigned to them. This configuration should look something like this:


'Option Names:
Download 1 Option Type: Radiobutton,  Sort Order 10
Download 2 Option Type: Radiobutton,  Sort Order 20
Download 3 Option Type: Radiobutton,  Sort Order 30
Download 4 Option Type: Radiobutton,  Sort Order 40
Download 5 Option Type: Radiobutton,  Sort Order 50'

So, create your option names, and then create one option value per option name.

If your store has a lot of multiple download products, and(for example) every product has five downloads, you can create a pattern of sorts, so that the names are easier to read and understand when displayed on a screen. This way, instead of a jumbled, indecipherable mess, you would see something like this:


Download 1 of 5
Download 2 of 5
Download 3 of 5
Download 4 of 5
Download 5 of 5

Obviously, the information displayed will vary depending on how many downloads you actually have in your store, but it will all be displayed in this same basic format.

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Zen Cart How To Create Downloadable Products – Part One

This Zen Cart tutorial is aimed toward teaching zen cart users and store owners how they can create downloadable products in their ecommerce shops. In zen cart, downloads are handled as product attributes, so it’s a good idea to learn how to set up attributes before you try to tackle setting up a downloadable product. By learning about product attributes, you will be giving yourself a good foundation to start from, and it will be much easier to understand how to set up a downloadable product.

Before we begin with the tutorial, it should be noted that the files containing the product you wish to make downloadable must be loaded the /download directory of your zen cart before any attempt is made to link this file/s to products/attributes.

The first step in the process is to open your zen cart admin area. Navigate to ‘Option Names’, and create a Radiobutton or Dropdown option name. It should be named ‘Download’, or something else along those lines. Then, navigate to the ‘Option Values Manager’, and add the desired title(I.e., ‘Zip File’).

Next, go to the ‘Attributes Controller’, and locate the Product you want to make downloadable.
Add the Attributes like this: ‘Option Name: Download’, ‘Option Value: Zip’, ‘Sort Order: 10’, ‘Filename: (enter name of file you uploaded to the /download folder)’. ‘Option Name: Download’, ‘Option Value: Notepad Zip’, ‘Sort Order: 20’, ‘Filename: (enter name of file you uploaded to the /download folder)’.

By setting the product up this way, you are allowing your customers to select the format in which they will receive the product after they download it. As such, you will need to tweak this procedure according to your product types, and preferences.

Also remember that if you are using radio buttons, you will need to set one as a default.

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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.

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