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.