How We Do Zen Cart Upgrades

Below are some of the steps we follow when performing an upgrade to your website. We are at all times cautious to make sure good backups are made just in case there are problems.

We also are very conscious about making sure that the actual "move" of the upgrade to being live is done as seamlessly as possible with as little downtime as possible.

While we may do things a "little" differently than what documentation from Zen Cart tells us to do, our changes are based on years of experience in Zen Cart upgrades and finding the cleanest solution to rebuild your upgraded site.


  1. Do a visual check on the site for "hidden" modules that don't show up in the Zen Cart admin area like Column Layout Grid for example
  2. Make a list of all visible mods showing up in admin area to inform customer of what will work with latest version and give them ordering instructions
  3. On order sheet, write Zen Cart version, template name and any noticible mods that are installed
  4. Write down database being used, any usernames and passwords to admin
  5. Tools>Store Manager>clean out debug log files
  6. Tools>Store Manager>optimize database
  7. Download a backup of all current Zen Cart files to computer
  8. Download a backup of the current database being used
  9. Download a backup of current database leaving off select tables that have been changed by old mods that have been installed
  10. Unzip a copy of the current version of Zen Cart that the customer is using
  11. Unzip a copy of the latest version of Zen Cart that site will be upgraded to

Setting up the new Zen Cart Site

  1. On server, create new database and username
  2. Upload the latest version of Zen Cart to the server in a demo folder.
  3. Run zc_install to create a new database
  4. Make a backup of this new database to computer
  5. Go through old site overrides files and set the same up in the upgrade folder making sure that any changed files that are NOT in overrides folders that should be are copied into an overrides folder
  6. Do a file compare of the current website with the files from the Zen Cart version they are using and document any changes that have been made to core and overrides files.
  7. Do a file comparison on the documented changed files between the customers current website files and the latest version of Zen Cart. Move over any changes that are not module related into the new version files, retaining a backup of the original files in case there are issues with the changes
  8. Upload newly revised files to the server and make sure all is working properly
  9. Insert the "old" database into the new database
  10. Run zc_install to upgrade the old database to the current version
  11. Run UFT8 converter tool

Making new site look like the old site

  1. Copy current images folder to the upgrade folder
  2. Change image folder .htaccess to current Zen Cart Version
  3. Upload admin logo to new admin
  4. Upload /email folder to upgrade folder
  5. Upload customers template buttons folder to upgrade folder
  6. Upload template images folder to upgrade
  7. Upload template css folder to upgrade

Module Installation

  1. Install Backup My Sql Database (free)
  2. Install Image Handler (free)
  3. Install CK Editor (free)
  4. Install USPS or UPS if needed (free)
  5. Backup database
  6. Install any other modules the customer has ordered and as each is installed, check to make sure is working properly making backups of the database prior to each mod installed that makes database changes.


  1. Go through Configuration / Modules Pmt / Modules Shipping and make sure they match up with the current website.
  2. Test dev cart
  3. Make all admins super users
  4. Get approval from customer all is working properly
  5. Change config files to match where site is being moved to (eg root / or /store, etc)
  6. Check current site and see if there are new orders, customers or products. If so, pull over those tables into the new database and run zc_install again and make sure the database tables get converted to utf8.
  7. If any modules installed affect the tables moved over, reinstall the SQL for those modules

The move!!

  1. Put current website down for maintenance
  2. Move current site files (except images and email folders) into a backup subdirectory
  3. Move upgraded files to where the current site files were
  4. Uninstall and reinstall any modules that might need this because of the files being moved.
  5. Do another test of the newly upgraded moved site
  6. Give customer any new URLs, usernames/passwords and mark ticket as completed

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