What is STRICT mode for my database?

MySQL STRICT mode and its impact

Newer versions of MySQL enforce a greater number of rules relating to interacting with the database. This can cause issues for code which was created prior to these rules being enforced.

This issue generally won’t happen to modern unaltered vanilla Zen Cart stores; this happens most often when you modify the database schema but don’t upgrade the code to go with it.

Example of MySQL Strict Mode Error

Here’s an example:

You add a field called gift_requested to the orders table to represent something the customer requested at checkout. The field is NOT NULL but with no default.

In prior versions of MySQL, this worked.

Newer versions will fail saying:

ERROR 1364 (HY000): Field 'gift_requested' doesn't have a default value

Temporary Fix To Disable MySQL Strict Mode

There’s a (temporary) workaround for this issue. In your configure.php files, you can turn off the use of MySQL strict mode, until you can upgrade your Zen Cart code and your database structure.

Use or add the define, toward the bottom of the file:


(eg: according to the MySQL docs, setting it to a mode like NO_ENGINE_SUBSTITUTION skips strict mode because there are other mode names that handle strict-related things. Again, this should only be a temporary measure until you update your database and query code.)

The define for DB_MYSQL_MODE will work in Zen Cart 1.5.5 and above.
In Zen Cart versions older than 1.5.5, you would need to do more extensive modification to interoperate with newer versions of MySQL. Hopefully you are not doing this! You should really upgrade Zen Cart instead!

Properly Fixing

Also note that turning off STRICT mode is only a temporary workaround. The correct solution is to update your code.

In the case of the example above, there are two options:

a) Modify the database: correct the syntax to match your PHP code’s expectations: ALTER TABLE orders MODIFY COLUMN gift_requested char(1) NOT NULL default 'N';

b) Modify your code: when you perform an INSERT into the orders table, include the field gift_requested to the list of fields being updated (along with its value) so that it will have a value.


NOTE: Setting DB_MYSQL_MODE to STRICT is not the same as strict error reporting. They are unrelated topics.

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 October 13, 2021 by Scott C Wilson (0fea1e9).