Install Zen Cart on Ubuntu 17.04 | 17.10 with Nginx, MariaDB and PHP Support

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Zen Cart is a  free, user-friendly, open source shopping cart software based on PHP. It has comprehensive product features for small, medium and large businesses to create and manage their online stores for free.

If you’re looking for a functional, high performance eCommerce platform to manage your online storefront that’s 100% free, you’ll find Zen Cart to be useful. This brief tutorial is going to show students and new users how to install Zen Cart on Ubuntu 17.04 | 17.10 with Nginx, MariaDB and PHP support.

This post covers installing the latest version of Zen Cart, which at the time of writing was at version 5.5

To get started with installing Zen Cart, follow the steps below:

Step 1: Install Nginx

Zen Cart requires a webserver to function and the second most popular webserver in use today is Nginx. So, go and install Nginx on Ubuntu by running the commands below:

sudo apt install nginx

Next, run the commands below to stop, start and enable Nginx service to always start up with the server boots.

sudo systemctl stop nginx.service
sudo systemctl start nginx.service
sudo systemctl enable nginx.service

Step 2: Install MariaDB

Zen Cart also requires a database server to function. and MariaDB database server is a great place to start. To install it run the commands below.

sudo apt-get install mariadb-server mariadb-client

After installing, the commands below can be used to stop, start and enable MariaDB service to always start up when the server boots.

sudo systemctl stop mariadb.service
sudo systemctl start mariadb.service
sudo systemctl enable mariadb.service

After that, run the commands below to secure MariaDB server.

sudo mysql_secure_installation

When prompted, answer the questions below by following the guide.

  • Enter current password for root (enter for none): Just press the Enter
  • Set root password? [Y/n]: Y
  • New password: Enter password
  • Re-enter new password: Repeat password
  • Remove anonymous users? [Y/n]: Y
  • Disallow root login remotely? [Y/n]: Y
  • Remove test database and access to it? [Y/n]:  Y
  • Reload privilege tables now? [Y/n]:  Y

Restart MariaDB server

sudo systemctl restart mariadb.service

Step 3: Install PHP and Related Modules

Zen Cart also requires PHP to function. To install PHP and related modules run the commands below

sudo apt install php-fpm php-common php-mbstring php-xmlrpc php-soap php-gd php-xml php-intl php-mysql php-cli php-mcrypt php-ldap php-zip php-curl

After install PHP, run the commands below to open PHP-FPM default file.

sudo nano /etc/php/7.1/fpm/php.ini            # Ubuntu 17.10
sudo nano /etc/php/7.0/fpm/php.ini            # Ubuntu 17.04

Then make the change the following lines below in the file and save.

file_uploads = On
allow_url_fopen = On
memory_limit = 256M
upload_max_filesize = 64M

Step 4: Create Zen Cart Database

Now that you’ve install all the packages that are required, continue below to start configuring the servers. First run the commands below to create Zen Cart database.

Run the commands below to logon to the database server. When prompted for a password, type the root password you created above.

sudo mysql -u root -p

Then create a database called zencart


Create a database user called zencartuser with new password

CREATE USER 'zencartuser'@'localhost' IDENTIFIED BY 'new_password_here';

Then grant the user full access to the database.

GRANT ALL ON zencart.* TO 'zencartuser'@'localhost' IDENTIFIED BY 'user_password_here' WITH GRANT OPTION;

Finally, save your changes and exit.


Step 5: Download Zen Cart Latest Release

Next, visit Zen Cart site and register for a free account. You must register before you’re allowed to download a copy. The community edition is what you’ll want to download.

After downloading, run the commands below to extract the download file into Nginx root directory.

cd /tmp && wget
sudo mv zen-cart-v1.5.5e-03082017 /var/www/html/zencart

Then run the commands below to set the correct permissions for PrestaShop to function.

sudo chown -R www-data:www-data /var/www/html/zencart/
sudo chmod -R 755 /var/www/html/zencart/

Step 6: Configure Nginx

Finally, configure Apahce2 site configuration file for Zen Cart. This file will control how users access Zen Cart content. Run the commands below to create a new configuration file called zencart

sudo nano /etc/nginx/sites-available/zencart

Then copy and paste the content below into the file and save it. Replace the highlighted line with your own domain name and directory root location.

server {
    listen 80;
    listen [::]:80;
    root /var/www/html/zencart;
    index  index.php index.html index.htm;

    client_max_body_size 30M;
    location / {
           try_files $uri $uri/ /index.php?main_page=$uri&$args; 

    location ~ \.php$ {
         try_files $uri =404;
         fastcgi_split_path_info  ^(.+\.php)(/.+)$;
         fastcgi_index            index.php;
 #       fastcgi_pass             unix:/var/run/php/php7.0-fpm.sock;        # for Ubuntu 17.04
         fastcgi_pass             unix:/var/run/php/php7.1-fpm.sock;        # for Ubuntu 17.10
         include                  fastcgi_params;
         fastcgi_param   PATH_INFO       $fastcgi_path_info;
         fastcgi_param   SCRIPT_FILENAME $document_root$fastcgi_script_name;


Save the file and exit.

Step 7: Enable the Zen Cart and Rewrite Module

After configuring the VirtualHost above, enable it by running the commands below

sudo ln -s /etc/nginx/sites-available/zencart /etc/nginx/sites-enabled/

Step 8 : Restart Nginx

To load all the settings above, restart Nginx by running the commands below.

sudo systemctl restart nginx.service

Then open your browser and browse to the server domain name followed by install. You should see Zen Cart setup wizard to complete. Please follow the wizard carefully.

Click the link to begin the installation

zencart ubuntu

Then continue with the installation.

ubuntu zencart

Next, confirm the site URL and continue

zencart ubuntu install

Next, type the databases name, user and password and continue

ubuntu zencart

Next, create the zen cart site administrator account and continue

zencart ubuntu install

Finally, complete the installation

zen cart installation

After that run the commands below to delete the installation directory

sudo rm -rf /var/www/html/zencart/zc_install/


Congratulation! You’ve successfully installed Zen Cart eCommerce application on Ubuntu

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