Basics - Terms and Definitions

Terms used throughout this site

This page explains some terms you will see throughout the documentation site that are used as variables to represent site specific path information.

You may also wish to browse the glossary.


The variable YOURSITE is used to to represent your domain name, and thus to show the path to access your site over the web. If your site is called “John Doe Tools” and your domain is “”, then really means

Note: If you wish, you may install your Zen Cart in a subfolder under your public_html folder. For example, the site above could be stored in /home/johndoe/public_html/shop/, which would make the URL See deployment configurations for a description of possible approaches.

However, for the sake of simplicity, the explanations on this site assume you did not do this. Don’t get hung up on the fact that an article will say rather than - it was a decision made for simplicity and consistency. If your site is in a subfolder, just add on the /YOURSUBFOLDER/ wherever it is needed as you are reading.

Common values for YOURSUBFOLDER are site, shop, cart or store. Using a subfolder is especially appropriate if you have a large, built-out website, and Zen Cart is being used to add-on ecommerce functionality (rather than to provide your entire website).

Please note: Do not use the Zen Cart version as the value for YOURSUBFOLDER. For example, do not put your site in or The reason for this is that your Zen Cart version will change over time when the site gets updated, and it will be confusing to have your Zen Cart 1.5.8 installation in a folder called zc154 or zen155e. See deployment configurations for more information.


To allow you to customize the appearance of your site, Zen Cart has a templating capability. Names of templates vary, so they are referred to in this document with the variable YOURTEMPLATE.

So if your template is responsive_sheffield_blue, then when you read YOURTEMPLATE, just think responsive_sheffield_blue. So the folder


would be


in your cart.

You will see lots of different variables used in place of YOURTEMPLATE - we have just chosen this for consistency. Some people will instead call this YOUR_TEMPLATE, or custom or YOUR_CUSTOM_TEMPLATE - but it’s all the same thing, just the name of your template.


If an article has multilanguage dimensions, the variable YOURLANGUAGE will be used to refer to language specific folders.

For English language only stores, the path


is just



The variable YOURACCOUNT is used to refer to the name of your hosting company gives to your account. For cPanel users, this will often be your login username.


The variable YOURACCOUNTFOLDER is used to refer to the folder in your hosting account which holds your site’s files. A very common setup is the following, assuming the value of YOURACCOUNT is johndoe (i.e. that your account name is johndoe):

  • YOURACCOUNTFOLDER is /home/johndoe/ - the top level directory you can access using FTP. Putting files here will mean they are out of reach of a web browser, which can be useful for security; see relocating your download folder for an example.
  • Your Webroot is /home/johndoe/public_html/ - the top level directory your webserver can access.

Everything will be under YOURACCOUNTFOLDER when you view files, either in an FTP tool or in your cPanel’s File Manager. It’s even more convenient to set your FTP to go to your webroot, since this is where you will upload your code file changes.

Once you are familiar with these basic terms, you should learn about overrides.

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 January 6, 2024 by Scott C Wilson (fd93e74).