Basics - Store Setup Checklist

Things to do when setting up a store


After installation, you’ll want to address several things to get your basic shop operational. One suggested order of operations is the following:

Language File setup


  1. Admin > Configuration > My Store

    • Basis of Product Tax - choose what level tax is calculated at.
    • Basis of Shipping Tax - choose what level tax is calculated at for shipping.
    • HTML Editor - select your editor for product descriptions and emails/newsletters.
  2. Admin - Configuration - Email

    • If you want to send HTML-based emails, turn on Use MIME HTML When Sending Emails
    • Set the format of emails for Admin to receive in Email Admin Format
    • Set the email address and status for all extra emails. These are copies sent to the Admin when various messages are sent to the customer.
  3. Admin - Configuration - Images

    • Verify that the image sizes are acceptable for your setup.
  4. Admin - Configuration - GZip Compression

    • Enable GZip Compression if your server supports it. This makes page display much faster in most cases.
  5. Admin - Configuration - Customer Details

    • Choose whether various components are displayed/requested or not.
    • If you require authorization for customers to access your store, choose those settings here as well.
  6. Admin - Configuration - Credit Cards

    • Choose which cards to enable acceptance for. This does not turn on payment processing, it’s just a check for later.
  7. Admin - Modules - Payment

    • Select and configure any desired payment methods.
  8. Admin - Configuration - Shipping/Packaging

    • Verify the Country of Origin.
    • Set the Postal/ZIP Code (if you don’t, your shipping quotes won’t work).
  9. Admin - Modules - Shipping

    • Select and configure any desired shipping providers.
  10. Admin - Locations/Taxes - Zones Definitions

    • Insert applicable tax zones for the regions in which you must collect tax.
  11. Admin - Locations/Taxes - Tax Classes

    • Create classes for the varying tax combinations you must assign to a product. In most cases, you only require one category.
  12. Admin - Locations/Taxes - Tax Rates

    • Link tax classes and zones and enter the tax rate for those combinations here.
    • If you only charge tax in one zone, and most of your products are taxable, consider setting a default tax class for new products.
  13. Admin - Localization - Currencies

    • Configure the various currencies your shop will accept/process.
  14. Admin - Localization - Languages

    • Set up the languages you wish to support in your shop.
  15. Admin - Catalog - Manufacturers

    • Enter the manufacturers that your products will be linked to.

Categories & Products

Now that you’ve done basic setup, you can enter your categories and products.

Admin - Catalog - Categories/Products


  • If you have multiple languages defined, you’ll be able to enter product and category names and descriptions in each of your languages.

  • To add images, click on the Browse button beside the category/product image field, and select the file on your computer. Then choose the upload to directory folder to store the image in on your server. If the folder you wish to use isn’t there, you’ll need to go and create it with your FTP tool first.

Documenting your Policies

The key business policies you will need to document have pages set up for you by default; all you need to do is fill them in. Go to Admin > Tools > Define Pages Editor and flush out these files:

File Description URL
define_conditions.php your store’s terms and conditions index.php?main_page=conditions
define_privacy.php your store’s privacy policy index.php?main_page=privacy
define_shippinginfo.php your store’s shipping and returns policy index.php?main_page=shippinginfo
define_accessibility.php your store’s accessibility statement index.php?main_page=conditions

Still have questions? Use the Search box in the upper right, or try the full list of FAQs. If you can't find it there, head over to the Zen Cart support forum and ask there in the appropriate subforum. In your post, please include your Zen Cart and PHP versions, and a link to your site.

Is there an error or omission on this page? Please post to General Questions on the support forum. Or, if you'd like to open a pull request, just review the guidelines and get started. You can even PR right here.
Last modified March 1, 2024 by Scott Wilson (97d9566).