Server Requirements for running Zen Cart

What are the Server Requirements for running Zen Cart?

Zen Cart specifications - Server Requirements

(Last updated: May 28, 2020)

Minimum server requirements:

  • Zen Cart operates on a standard “LAMP” stack: PHP, Apache, MySQL on most operating systems (Linux/macOS/Windows)
  • See the detailed version-compatibility details in the sections below.
  • Keep in mind that for security compliance, you should always use a PCI Compliant version of each of these required software components. (That means using a ZC version that’s compatible with those software component versions, too!)


  • Zen Cart requires cURL to be installed/compiled into PHP with OpenSSL. If this capability is not available, a message to that effect will be displayed during the initial installation’s system-inspection, however it will still allow installation anyway. It is up to you to ensure cURL is enabled. Consult your hosting company for assistance.
  • You should always use HTTPS (SSL) on your store. Be sure to regularly test your site’s SSL (https) using and have your hosting company resolve all reported issues. If your hosting company doesn’t know how to resolve the issues to at least a “B” rating, find another hosting company.

PHP Version

Using the latest version of Zen Cart is always recommended for maximum compatibility.

  • Zen Cart v1.5.7 is designed for PHP 5.6 through PHP 7.4 (future versions will require PHP 7+)
  • Zen Cart v1.5.6 is designed for PHP 5.5 through PHP 7.3
  • Zen Cart v1.5.5 is designed for PHP 5.5 up to PHP 7.1
  • Zen Cart v1.5.4 is designed for PHP 5.5 and PHP 5.6
  • Zen Cart v1.5.3 is compatible with PHP 5.3.7 thru PHP 5.6
  • Zen Cart v1.5.2 is compatible with PHP 5.3.7 thru PHP 5.6 (or PHP 5.2.14 with weakened security)
  • Zen Cart v1.5.1 is compatible with PHP 5.2.14 thru PHP 5.3.x.
  • Zen Cart v1.5.0 is compatible with PHP 5.2.14 thru PHP 5.3.x.
  • Zen Cart v1.3.9 series is compatible with PHP 5.2.10 thru PHP 5.3.x.
  • Zen Cart v1.3.7-v1.3.8a are compatible with PHP 4.3.2 thru PHP 5.2.x, but not PHP 5.3.
  • Zen Cart v1.2.x through v1.3.6 are compatible with PHP 4.3.2 - 4.4.x. They are NOT compatible with PHP 5.

PHP compatibility requirements of Plugins/Addons may vary. Consult each plugin’s documentation and support discussion-thread for details.

What PHP version should I use? It is best to use the most recent PHP version that your Zen Cart version supports. The PHP developers have published a list of supported versions at

NOTE: PHP 5.6 is officially obsolete. So are some of the early PHP 7 versions. You should be moving to the latest version of PHP (and matching Zen Cart version) as soon as possible!

PHP Modules used by Zen Cart

Zen Cart requires a few PHP modules enabled: curl, mysqli, zlib.
Optional modules: gd and mb_xxxxx.

PHP Memory Recommendations

  • memory_limit suggested: 128M or higher such as 256M or 512M if your server can handle it.
  • post_max_size and upload_max_filesize should be set to whatever max file size you or your customers may upload. Usually 8M is sufficient for most sites, but if you’re accepting huge uploads, set both to the max size of accepted combined uploads.

MySQL Version

  • Zen Cart v1.5.7 expects MySQL 5.1 to 8.0, or MariaDB 10.1 to 10.4 (future versions will require MySQL 5.7.8+ or MariaDB 10.2.7+)
  • Zen Cart v1.5.6 expects MySQL 5.1 to 5.7, or MariaDB 10.1 to 10.4
  • Zen Cart v1.5.5 expects MySQL 5.1 to 5.7, or MariaDB 10.1 (10.2 may trigger “strict” errors)
  • Zen Cart v1.5.0 to v1.5.4 expects MySQL 5.1 to 5.5, and may work with MariaDB 10.1
  • Zen Cart v1.3.9 is compatible with MySQL 4.1.3+ thru 5.1
  • Zen Cart v1.2.x thru 1.3.8a were designed for MySQL 4, and will give errors on MySQL5

Plugin/Addon-compatibility may vary.

** Using the latest version of Zen Cart is always recommended for maximum compatibility. **


  • Zen Cart works primarily with Apache 2.4 or 2.2
  • Recommended Apache modules include: expires, headers, env, alias, deflate, ssl, mime, phpX, rewrite (in addition to other standard/default modules).


The default Zen Cart distribution contains numerous Apache .htaccess rules to aid in implementing security protections against malicious spoofing and other abuse. These will not give you any protections if you’re running Nginx, so you will need to do those yourself.

At the end of initial installation some Nginx conf file content suggestions are provided which you could manually copy into your nginx master configuration, to provide those same protections.


Zen Cart is not regularly tested on IIS. We don’t recommend IIS, and we don’t provide any default-configuration scripts for IIS.

Perl, Python, CGI and other languages?

Zen Cart does not use Perl or Python or CGI.

Still have questions? No problem! Just head over to the Zen Cart support forum and ask there.
In your post, please include your Zen Cart and PHP versions, and a link to your site.

Last modified May 28, 2020 by Chris Brown (b3dc7d7).