How to Manually Install OpenCart


Download OpenCart

Before installing OpenCart on your webhost’s server, you have to first download OpenCart to your computer.  To do this, open your web browser, type into the address bar, and when the OpenCart home page opens, click on ‘Download’ in the top menu bar (refer to image below).

You will then be presented with a list of OpenCart versions available for download and unless you need to download an earlier version for a specific reason I recommend that you always download the latest version.  The lastest version when I posted this was so that is the version I’ve used for the tutorial.

Click on the version you want to download, and choose a location on your computer to save it.  Remember this location as you’ll need to access the file later.

Now that you have the OpenCart download, there are a few ways to proceed…

You need a webserver to host your OpenCart store

No matter which method you choose you must have a webhosting service ready to go.  If you haven’t then you need to arrange one to continue beyond this point.  Just take a note of the following list as OpenCart needs to be installed on a web server with the following attributes.


  • Apache or Windows IIS
  • PHP 5+
  • MySQL

PHP Setting:

  • Register Globals: Off
  • Magic Quotes GPC: Off
  • File Uploads: On
  • Session Auto Start: Off


  • MySQL: On
  • GD: On
  • cURL: On
  • ZIP: On

Without these attributes OpenCart will not work properly or will even fail to work at all.  If you are unsure whether your web server has these attributes then contact your web host and ask.  Mind you, the various web hosts I’ve used over time have each had all of these attributes enabled by default so maybe for most reputable hosts these settings are pretty standard … or maybe I’ve just been lucky.  :)  If you’re interested, I currently use BlueHost for my hosting.  Just be aware that if you sign up with them by using this link then I’ll receive an affiliate commission.

So, at this point you have the OpenCart .zip file downloaded to your computer, you have a web server with the above attributes and your username/password to access your web server (typically via cPanel).

The next steps assume that you already have a webhost and have the usename and password to login to the cPanel of your account.  Typically to access your cPanel you would use your web browser and go to ‘’.  (Substitute ‘’ with your actual domain).

Create a Database

You need to create a database on your web server.

  1. Use your browser to navigate to your cPanel login page.  Enter the username and password your webhost provided you with to access your cPanel.
  2. On the right hand side, locate the section titled ‘Databases’ and click on ‘MySQL Database Wizard’.
  3. Follow the prompts to setup a database.  You will be asked to enter a name for your database, as well as a username and password for access to that database.  The wizard steps you through the process but make sure that you keep a note of the database name, your usename and password as you’ll need them in the next steps.

If you make a mistake, don’t worry.  You can always delete the database before continuing and run the wizard again.

If you are unsure about the process, there is a link to a video tutorial on setting up the database right there on the first page of the wizard.

Upload the OpenCart files to your web server

Remember where on your computer you downloaded the OpenCart .zip file to?  You need to now locate that file and unzip it.  This will unpack a folder that in turn contains a number of files.  In the case of OpenCart version, the unzipped folder contains three text  files (install.txt, license.txt, upgrade.txt) and a folder titled ‘upload’.

Install.txt contains details on how to install OpenCart.

Upgrade.txt explains how to upgrade an existing OpenCart installation.

License.txt outlines the license conditions to use the OpenCart software.

What you need to do is upload the contents of the ‘upload’ folder to your webserver.

The important thing here is to place the contents of the ‘upload’ folder into the folder on your webserver that will correspond to the web address you want for your store.  So, assuming a Linux server, if you copy the files to the root folder ‘public_html/’ then the subsequent web address of your store will be ‘’.  If you copy the files to ‘public_html/store’ (where you have created the sub-folder named ‘store’) then the web address of the store will become ‘http://www.yourdomain/store’.  Make sense?

There are two methods to do this.

1. You can upload via ftp using a program like FileZilla.  The use of a ftp client is beyond the scope of this guide but this method is very simple.  Just download an ftp client (I use FileZilla which is free), follow the instructions on connecting to a remote host (your server), and upload the files.

2. Alternatively you can handle the upload from within cPanel.  Here’s how.  In cPanel on the right-hand side find the section titled ‘Files’ and click on ‘File Manager’ to open an explorer-style window to navigate the folder structure of your webserver.

You might find when using the cPanel method that you can only upload files, not folders.  If so, just create the folders on the server (duplicating the structure as it appears on your computer) and upload the files into the appropriate folders.

Run the OpenCart Installation

Open your web browser and enter the web address of your store based on where you copied the contents of the ‘upload’ folder in the last step.

The OpenCart Installation will start automatically and you will be presented with a screen asking you to read and accept the terms of the license (see image below).  You have to check the agree box and click ‘Continue’ to proceed.

The next screen of the OpenCart installation (see image below) is a check list of the settings required by OpenCart and whether or not those settings are enabled on your web server.  What you are looking for here is a green tick for each of the attributes in the ‘PHP Settings’ and ‘Extension’ boxes and ‘Writable’ for each of the files and directories that are listed in the last two boxes.

If your screen is not full of green ticks and the word ‘Writable’ then you have to adjust the relevant setting from within cPanel, or in some cases contact your web host to have them adjusted.  The status of each of these attributes must be correct for OpenCart to function.

Click ‘Continue’ to proceed.

On this next screen (see image below) you need the information (database name, username, password) that you entered earlier on when you created your database.

In the first box enter these database details in the appropriate fields.

Also in the first box the first information field titled ‘Database Host’ will normally be prepopulated with the value ‘localhost’.  In all but a few cases this is correct so leave it as it is.  If it proves to be incorrect then you will need to obtain the Database Host information from your webhost.

The second box is asking for a username and password that will allow you to access the admin section of your OpenCart store.  The email address will be where automatic notifications generated by your store will be sent to.  You need to enter these now to proceed with the installation but you can change these later on at anytime from within the admin section of your OpenCart store.

Unless you entered incorrect database/user details in the last step you will now see a screen confirming the installation is finished and your OpenCart store has successfully been installed (see image below).


IMPORTANT!  Although the installation is complete, your store will not be accessible until you delete the folder titled ‘install’ from the location on your web server where you copied the contents of the ‘upload’ folder earlier.  So either use your ftp program or the File Manager within cPanel to navigate to that location and delete the ‘install’ folder.

Now when you enter your store’s address in your web browser eg. ‘’ you will see the front end of your store.  It is populated with sample data so you get an idea what the default layout looks like.  In the next tutorials we’ll be configuring your store with your own products and utimately removing the sample data.

If you’ve made it this far then well done!  Manually installing OpenCart just as you’ve done here is about as hard as any of this gets.  From here on everything is much easier.  I think it becomes more enjoyable too because all of the subsequent steps you now take involve personalising your store, creating your products, setting up your future OpenCart store to start running your online business.

Let me know if any of this tutorial is unclear or if I can improve it in any way, and indeed, feel free to post your own comment to help others to manually install OpenCart on their server.

And if you are inclined, just let me know if you made it this far!


 Posted by at 2:01 pm

  57 Responses to “How to Manually Install OpenCart”

  1. Thank you very much this was very helpful. I still had some frustrating moments but I’m very glad you wrote this.

  2. how to get www. before domain with out messing up open cart please

    • Hi Jim

      I’m not sure I understand exactly what the problem is but if it is to do with having your customers view the same page whether they type ‘www.your-domain’ or ‘your-domain’ into their browser address bar then you might have to provide a redirect in an htaccess file.

      Perhaps visits google and search for ‘how to redirect www to non www’ to find a number of pages that explain how to do this.

  3. Its really helpful . I have upload all thing according to your tutorial . Its uploaded finally . But I can’t access my store (website) . its showing some thing like this . I want it on my home page e.g instead of /upload .
    I am very thankful to you if you help me this matter .
    Zain Ali

    • Hi Zain

      It sounds like you’ve uploaded the ‘upload’ folder that came with the OpenCart package instead of just uploading the contents of the ‘upload’ folder. By doing this you’ve installed OpenCart in

      To install OpenCart into your root folder (so you only have to visit you need to upload just the contents of the ‘upload’ folder, not the folder itself.

      Your options probably include moving the installation to the root folder or deleting the installation and reinstalling. I don’t know what would be best in your situation and I suggest a search at the OpenCart forums for some help.

      Let me know how you go.

  4. Hi I have recently purchased hosting for my domain name and I am using the WebplusX5 software provided by my provider to create the web page. They also provided an app for Open cart so to date I have created my website via Webplus and also I have created a ‘shop’ via open cart thinking that I would be able to add a hyper link to images in the site which would when click on take you to the open cart page for that product. Please can anyone advise if this is possible or am I effectively creating 2 websites here?? Sorry I am confused!

    • Hi Susan

      It does sound like you have effectively created two websites. But you can indeed link to your OpenCart product pages from any other website so what you ask can be done.

      Let me know how you go.

  5. When I created my store I have it was setup using an IP address. So, now that the old store will be taken down and we’ll repoint the domain to our IP the site should be good. But there isn’t anywhere in the admin to update the site HTTP or HTTPS. Where am I supposed to do this? I should be able to update those URL’s to the correct domain names.

  6. Hi Gaetan,
    I just wanted to let you know that you’ve done a truly first-class job here and we’re so, *so*, grateful for the existence of your tutorial! You’re awesome!

  7. Very good tutorial, thanks. Very well written and clear instructions. It helped me install OpenCart for a beta test version of my brewing supplies website. Thanks again!

  8. followed it step by step and it was spot on, only for it I wouldn’t have been able to install open cart as I not all that well up in that kind of stuff. So thanks a million, life saver. :)

    • That’s great to hear Brenda. Thanks for letting me know.

      • Do you do anymore tutorials, apart from what is on this site. I am trying to design the website, change things round, adons etc, but not quite sure where to start. or can you recommend a good site for this. Thank You

        • A lot of information and answers can be found by using the OpenCart Forums, Brenda. Sometimes it can take a bit of digging to find what you need though.

          Just yesterday I started writing a section on OpenCart extensions to add to this site so I hope to start publishing parts of it over the next few days. Maybe some of this might help you.

          As to design, I spent a lot of time customising the design of the standard store only to finally give it up in favour of buying a theme from themeforest. It saved me so much time and money and I ended up with a great looking site with terrific support from the designer.

          Make sure to share a link to you site when you go live.

  9. I have had to upload manually and now all I get when I try to access my site to install opencart but all I get is a welcome to your site message and a white screen.
    Please help

    • Nevermind that comment, I fixed that. But now once I get to the second page in installation the Magic Quotes GPC is turned on. How do I turn it off???

      • Hi Melissa
        My understanding is that settings like Magic Quotes can be switched on/off using the php.ini file. This is way beyond the scope of this tutorial but I would suggest that your first point of contact should be with your hosting company. They should be able to help you. This is not something that you fix within OpenCart.
        All the best.

  10. Thanks for the step by step. You’re a lifesaver!!! Sanity saver too. :>)

  11. Hi,
    After following your instructions, when I open the store i see following message in header:
    Warning: session_start() [function.session-start]: open(/var/chroot/home/content/52/9181052/tmp/sess_tcvull7dqdcggppsmr4cvt8kd1, O_RDWR) failed: No such file or directory (2) in /home/content/52/9181052/html/system/library/session.php on line 11Warning: session_start() [function.session-start]: Cannot send session cookie – headers already sent by (output started at /home/content/52/9181052/html/index.php:100) in /home/content/52/9181052/html/system/library/session.php on line 11Warning: session_start() [function.session-start]: Cannot send session cache limiter – headers already sent (output started at /home/content/52/9181052/html/index.php:100) in /home/content/52/9181052/html/system/library/session.php on line 11Warning: Cannot modify header information – headers already sent by (output started at /home/content/52/9181052/html/index.php:100) in /home/content/52/9181052/html/index.php on line 173Warning: Cannot modify header information – headers already sent by (output started at /home/content/52/9181052/html/index.php:100) in /home/content/52/9181052/html/system/library/currency.php on line 45

    and in footer i see:
    Fatal error: Call to a member function get() on a non-object in /home/content/52/9181052/html/index.php on line 99

  12. What does this mean???? It comes up whenever I attempt to enter my website

    Warning: file(/home/mystykal/config.php) [function.file]: failed to open stream: No such file or directory in /home/mystykal/public_html/index.php on line 24

    Warning: Invalid argument supplied for foreach() in /home/mystykal/public_html/index.php on line 26

    Warning: require_once(/home/mystykal/system/startup.php) [function.require-once]: failed to open stream: No such file or directory in /home/mystykal/public_html/index.php on line 34

    Fatal error: require_once() [function.require]: Failed opening required ‘/home/mystykal/system/startup.php’ (include_path=’.:/usr/lib/php’) in /home/mystykal/public_html/index.php on line 34

    • Hi Melissa

      Another error I’ve not encountered so I don’t know what is causing it. If you ask at the OpenCart forums I’m sure someone will know. Alternatively you could contact your web host.

  13. Fantastic. I hadn’t a clue how to proceed until I read your tutorial.

  14. Open cart simply refuses to install. All requirements are ok, it refuses a database connection from remote machine and I also have access to the server and have tried it right on the server machine using it’s browser and local host – “could not connect to database” Obviously something is wrong in the install script as various other different types of database software will connect and install perfectly fine, oscommerce, phpbb etc. for example that all use database (MySQL) have no problems connecting and installing. When it’s using PHP5.2 with all extensions installed and the latest version of MySQL it should work.

    If you cannot install this right on local machine with the database user having full write permissions and all catalog files full write, but other software connects and installs fine then the problem obviously lies in how this software was written. If it’s going to instantly have install problems – what does a person then expect if it ever works? More problems ?

  15. Hello,

    Could you please provide me with more detailed information how to install the Opencart on a local machine? You are describing how to user CPanel and give PHP permissions but how can I do that on the local machine? I would like to setup the store locally and then upload it to certain web host provider.

    Thank You in advance for your support!


    • Hi Val

      Specifics of installing on a local machine are beyond the scope of these guides. As a start though you will need to install appropriate web server software on your machine. On the one occasion I’ve used a local installation I used XAMPP (an integrated server package of Apache, mySQL, PHP and Perl). You can find out more here.

  16. when installing, the “Magic Quotes GPC” was showing as on. I tried to edit the php.ini (found in the open cart root folder) but that already had the line which should have shut this off. Also, I tried editing the htaccess file, by removing commenting # sign on the line which would shut this off. Each time, I tried to restart the install, but the setup page still showed this as being “ON”. Any suggestions? The install completed, but will this cause issues later on? BTW, I am using bluehost. Thanks for this great article!

    • Hi Jarrod

      I don’t know how things might be affected, if at all. Given the mixed reports you have received as to the status of Magic Quotes GPC, I would send the question through to BlueHost support.

      Good luck

  17. Thank you the instructions were very clear and easy to follow. However, I have the following problem:

    Notice: Error: Could not load template /home/xxxxxxxx/public_html/admin/view/template/common/header.tpl! in /home/xxxxxxxx/public_html/system/engine/controller.php on line 71

    Please HELP!

  18. Hi guys i am having serious problems…mainly because i am n newby, so please excuse me. I have loaded OC and then had a problem with the template as above. Having sorted that out, i could not enter my password into ADMIN to enter the site. After removing and reloading TWICE i now seem to have more problems as displayed:
    Warning: mysql_connect() [function.mysql-connect]: Access denied for user ‘zetascoz_suzette’@'localhost’ (using password: YES) in /home/zetascoz/public_html/system/database/mysql.php on line 6

    Notice: Error: Could not make a database link using zetascoz_suzette@localhost in /home/zetascoz/public_html/system/database/mysql.php on line 7

    Warning: mysql_select_db(): supplied argument is not a valid MySQL-Link resource in /home/zetascoz/public_html/system/database/mysql.php on line 10

    Notice: Error: Could not connect to database zetascoz_zetas in /home/zetascoz/public_html/system/database/mysql.php on line 11

    Warning: mysql_query(): supplied argument is not a valid MySQL-Link resource in /home/zetascoz/public_html/system/database/mysql.php on line 14

    Warning: mysql_query(): supplied argument is not a valid MySQL-Link resource in /home/zetascoz/public_html/system/database/mysql.php on line 15

    Warning: mysql_query(): supplied argument is not a valid MySQL-Link resource in /home/zetascoz/public_html/system/database/mysql.php on line 16

    Warning: mysql_query(): supplied argument is not a valid MySQL-Link resource in /home/zetascoz/public_html/system/database/mysql.php on line 17

    Warning: mysql_real_escape_string() expects parameter 2 to be resource, boolean given in /home/zetascoz/public_html/system/database/mysql.php on line 55

    Warning: mysql_query(): supplied argument is not a valid MySQL-Link resource in /home/zetascoz/public_html/system/database/mysql.php on line 21

    Warning: mysql_error(): supplied argument is not a valid MySQL-Link resource in /home/zetascoz/public_html/system/database/mysql.php on line 49

    Warning: mysql_errno(): supplied argument is not a valid MySQL-Link resource in /home/zetascoz/public_html/system/database/mysql.php on line 49

    Notice: Error:
    Error No:
    SELECT * FROM store WHERE REPLACE(`url`, ‘www.’, ”) = ” in /home/zetascoz/public_html/system/database/mysql.php on line 49

    Warning: mysql_close(): supplied argument is not a valid MySQL-Link resource in /home/zetascoz/public_html/system/database/mysql.php on line 67…

    Can anyone please help?

    Thank you in advance!

  19. Hi,
    thanks for the helpful article..i’m having a problem though.. I installed opencart using the one click installer (simplescripts) of my host can see the store at but the admin login page shows me the home page again..please help me out i’m a complete newbie..

    • Hi Pankaj

      Sound’s like something didn’t install correctly, or some files were not successfully uploaded. Have you tried to reinstall? If not then that is the first step I would take to try and resolve the problem. If the problem persists using your host’s one-click-install then maybe try manually. Otherwise put in a support request to your host.

      Good luck and let me know how it turns out.

  20. Hi !

    i can see you are doing a great job here so i was wandering if you can help me 2?

    Here is my problem:

    I saccesfuly uploaded my open cart files to the folder but as you can see if you go to this
    url you will see that it gives me a 404 error and it wont let me procced with the instalation can you help me???
    I am using godaddy as my host provider ( i am telling you this beacuse i did not have this problem on eny other server i tryed to install other aplications )

    Thank you for your time !
    Best regards

  21. It is straight forward installation You have well written guide step-by-step instructions. Well, done congratulations.

  22. Hi !

    I am completely new at this and wonder if you can help – i have an existing site (simple html) that is on the domain i will be using and i would like to replace it with an open cart site – however i would like to have the open cart site finish before i switch. How can i load it and work on it without it being visible to people visiting the existing site and then swap over when im ready?