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If you are planning to publish an e-commerce website, we can accommodate Zen Cart for your web hosting account. Zen Cart is an open-source e-commerce solution distributed under the free software licence GPL2. It’s popular with developers because it is open to modification, and can be adapted for virtually any application. You can also extend and enhance it with additional modules.

Zen Cart first appeared in 2003, forking off from the already-established e-commerce tool osCommerce. It resulted in a templated layout system, which was absent from osCommerce. This innovative move allowed users to customise their Zen Cart so that it would fit better with their websites. Today, Zen Cart is packed with features to win conversions, including simple newsletter subscription and guest checkout. If you are already using osCommerce, you can acquire scripts to make the conversion to Zen Cart before initiating your Zen Cart hosting plan.

Features of Zen Cart

The software is a comprehensive solution to construct a functional online store on the Zen Cart e-commerce platform. It features the following primary functions:

  • A wide range of templates to create your custom store
  • Various integrated payment gateways to accept online payments
  • Detailed store listings with product descriptions, images and pricing
  • Manage your coupon codes and discounts
  • Create a custom shopping cart
  • Advertise related products with banners and more

Zen Cart structure

The software is written in PHP, using MySQL database for storing data. Once you install it on your hosting account, you will find a number of gateways already set up and ready to go – all you need to do is install it, choose your preferences and launch your store within hours. You can use the software to sell digital content like MP2s and PDFs, as well as physical goods and even subscriptions. The built-in ‘search’ function gives the option to use the product catalogue to offer predictive search results, although this is a premium feature.

Shoppers are able to create product ratings and reviews. They can even provide their own images and share them with their friends. There is a wide range of currencies and languages supported by Zen Cart, so its market base is large.

How does it perform?

Zen Cart is a lightweight solution that will run on any hosting plan, so if you want to be cautious at the beginning there’s no need to spend big right away. Any expert will tell you that Zen Cart works well on a shared hosting plan, and installation is easy through your catalyst2 account.

You should be aware of how a potential traffic spike may impact performance. Every page in Zen Cart queries the database repeatedly, and on a cheaper plan, you could quickly hit a bottleneck. Plan for a little headroom to avoid this happening.

Hosting Zen Cart with catalyst2

Our servers are optimised to guarantee 100% network uptime as standard. We know how disruptive downtime can be for business, so we constantly monitor every aspect of our web hosting to ensure there are no problems with any operations. All our servers are from Dell, and we have built up a strong relationship with the manufacturer over 10 years that ensures we know their hardware inside and out. Likewise, Dell has a very solid understanding of our business, and can quickly step in to help if we require assistance at any time.

We work with Dell because their servers are reliable, so we can pass that assurance on to our customers for a consistently high level of service. If you’d like to learn more, call us today and we’ll be happy to answer any questions you have.