Setting up a test environment
It’s not good to deploy untested changes directly onto your live store! Doing so can lead to outages and lost sales.
Instead, it’s best to test and debug changes (including new plugins) on a test store.
You have two options for setting up a test environment:
- Testing Locally: Creating a test store on your own PC
- Testing on your Server: Creating a test store on your server
Using XAMPP (Windows, Mac, Linux) or MAMP (Windows, Mac), you can create a test environment on your own computer for your Zen Cart.
For the remainder of this document, these tools will be referred to as AMP for convenience.
1. Make a backup of your files and database
Follow the procedure specified in how do I backup my store?
2. Set your store on your local computer.
- Put your files at the webroot defined in your AMP.
- Load your database and create a database user.
3. Update your configure.php files
You will need to go through this file and set each entry to point to your local environment.
4. Try a simple update to see if things work.
Try updating (for example),
includes/languages/YOURTEMPLATE/english.php and, then refresh your browser page and make sure the change appears.
Testing on your Server
This is not as good as a local test environment, but better than putting untested changes on your live site and potentially breaking your store.
1. Create a new test store on your server
Create a NEW database in cPanel called
test_store. Create a database user that has full permissions to access this database.
Use the backup that you just made from your live site to fill the database with data. (See restoring the database.)
Create a new folder on your server called
test_store. Copy the files from your live store directory into this folder
2. Prepare the configure.php files
test_store folder, update the
- Set the path names to your test store.
- Set the database name to
DB_SERVER_PASSWORDto the new database user and password you created in the first step.