Ecommerce Templates > General Help > Troubleshooting guide

Troubleshooting guide

We've compiled a list of the most frequent questions that come through our support forum and emails to provide a one-stop-checklist that will hopefully get you back on course with your store.

General questions

I'm lost - how can I get started?
How do I know what version I am running?
How do I add links to individual products and categories?
How do I change the link colors and underlines?
How can I edit the graphics and colors?
I need to change hosts - any recommendations?
Where can I get the updaters?
Can I resell your templates?
How do I add a buy button to my non-store pages?
How do I edit the text on my store?
How do I format my text in the product descriptions?
Why do I get an error on all my store pages?
I add a product to my cart but it shows as empty, why's that?
What is the function of the "Authorize" button in my orders admin page?
Why don't all my categories show up after I've added them through the online admin?
Why am I able to add items to the cart, but when I click checkout I am left with a message stating that page can't be found?
Why do I get this error on checkout - "I'm sorry. We are experiencing temporary difficulties at the moment. Please try your purchase again later."

I'm lost - how can I get started?
Best place to get going is by reading through the appropriate chapter in the User Manual, checking out our help files and posts on the support forum - if that doesn't get you started please post here.

How do I know what version I am running?
When you log into your control panel, the first page you will see after entering the correct combination of username and password is admin.asp or admin.php. At the top left of that page you should find your version number.

How do I add links to individual products and categories?
Once you have your products and categories added through the online admin section, browse your store and copy the URL of the product/category page from your address bar and paste it into the link box you have in your HTML editor. This should look something like this /proddetail.asp?prod=ref001 or /categories.asp?id=1

How do I change the link colors and underlines?
These are set in the style sheet, usually called style.css - you can change the hex values there...(more details)

How can I edit the graphics and colors?
All the templates come with .png files and blank gifs, these can be found in your /images/extras/ folder - the .png files are editable in Fireworks, there's a 30 day free trial available here www.adobe.com. The rest of the colors are cell / div backgrounds and can be changed within your HTML editor or in the css file.

I need to change hosts - any recommendations?
We don't do hosting ourselves but you can find a number of recommendations here on our hosting page.

Where can I get the updaters?
The updates are available here. Free for the first 6 months and $39.95 for a further 6 months, please email us if you have a change of address.

Can I resell your shopping cart software?
For the time being, the only avenue is through our affiliates program or reseller program, which will give you a 20% return on each purchase made through your affiliate link.

How do I add a buy button to my non-store pages?
The first thing you need to do is to get the products on your store as you will need to copy and paste some code.

This is quite simple and is outlined in the User Manual www.ecommercetemplates.com/free_downloads.asp under Advanced Tweaks

Where you need the button to appear place this code:

<form method="post" action="cart.asp">
<input type="hidden" name="id" value="XXXXXX">
<input type="hidden" name="mode" value="add">
<input type="image" src="images/buy.gif" border="0">
</form>

Where xxxxxx is the id of your product.

For the PHP version, change cart.asp to cart.php

How do I edit the text on my store?
All the default language generated by the store can be edited in the file /vsadmin/inc/languagefile_en.asp/php - the most recent additions are always added to the top for people who have already made changes and are updating their store version. Copy any chnages you make to vsadmin/includes.asp / .php so they don't get overwritten by updaters...(more details)

How do I format my text in the product descriptions?
You can add any valid HTML to the product description field, you may want to download and install the CK Editor to maker life esaier.

Why do I get an error on all my store pages?
Please take a look at this check-list:

  • For the ASP version, are you definitely on a Windows server, which supports .asp pages and an Access database? -> Check with your host.
  • For the PHP version, are you sure your host is running a minimum of PHP 4.1 -> Check with your host
  • Have you set your database connection? -> .asp details - .php details

If that doesn't solve your problem, please post on our support forum.

I add a product to my cart but it shows as empty, why's that?
There are 2 possible reasons for this happening:

  • Your cart page is in a frameset -> Remove the page from frames.
  • You don't have cookies enabled in your browser -> In Internet Explorer go to Tools > Internet Options > Privacy

If that doesn't solve your problem, please post on our support forum.

What is the function of the "Authorize" button in my orders admin page?
You'll see this button if someone has gone through checkout but hasn't made it back to your store, this may be because they're just playing around with the cart, have decided at the last moment not to purchase or there was a glitch on the Processor's site. Only hit the authorize button after you've checked with your Payment Provider and are sure the payment has been made correctly. You can set the amount of time that unauthorized orders appear on your store in the admin section.

Why don't all my categories show up after I've added them through the online admin?
This is probably because you haven't added any products to the categories - once you associate a product with a category, they should show up.

Why am I able to add items to the cart, but when I click checkout I am left with a message stating that page can't be found?
If you have selected a payment method that requires SSL like Authorize.NET AIM method, this will mean that by default the checkout phase will look for the checkout page on your site on an HTTPS connection, like for instance . . .
https://www.yoursite.com/cart.php or https://www.yoursite.com/cart.asp

Why do I get this error on checkout - "I'm sorry. We are experiencing temporary difficulties at the moment. Please try your purchase again later."
This is probably becuase you have tripped the multi-purchase filter. If you go to the admin home page, then near the bottom of the list click on "IP Blocking" you should see your IP listed there and you can delete it to allow more purchases.

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ASP version

I'm not receiving email confirmation of orders - what's up?
Why do my orders disappear in the orders admin page?
How do I make my database secure and non-downloadable?
How do I change the order of my products and categories?
How do I add/remove email a friend option?
How can I place products side by side?
Why does the log-in page reappear every time when trying to access the admin section?
I've forgotten / lost my admin password - how can I retrieve it?
How do I check if the session variables on my server are working correctly?
How do I streamline my Access database and possibly improve its performance?
How do I see the real error masked by a 500 error which just shows a friendly error message?

I'm not receiving email confirmation of orders - what's up?

...and if the mails are still not arriving please post in our support forum.

Why do my orders disappear in the orders admin page?
If a payment is not authorized then it will be automatically deleted after the time you specify in your admin main page.

How do I make my database secure and non-downloadable?
You should use a folder that is outside the web root. For instance, when you log in via FTP you might see folders like
/htdocs - your web root.
/logfiles - your web log files
/database - specially for your database files.
If you have a folder like this "database" folder, (often called "private" or similar), then you are very much advised to use it.
If neither of the above is true then you have to ask you host to set the security settings on the database folder so that files can not be browsed, and the database cannot be downloaded.

How do I change the order of my products and categories?
You can select the order of your products through the main admin settings page of your control panel. The order of categories is carried out through the drop down choices in the admin categories page

How do I add/remove email a friend option?
Open includes.asp and find the line useemailfriend=true - change it to useemailfriend=false if you don't want to use this function...(more details)

How can I place products side by side?
There are several layout options available, just make sure the one you choose will fit nicely in your browser - for a full list take a look at this page.

Why does the log-in page reappear every time when trying to access the admin section?
The usual reason is that your store is hosted on a Unix / Linux server and the host is using something like chilisoft.asp which doesn't support an Access database. We do have versions available for Unix / Linux servers so please contact us if this is the case. If that is not the issue, try our session variable test.

I've forgotten / lost my admin password - how can I retrieve it?
If you've forgotten the password to your admin section, then the easiest thing to do is to download your database and have a quick look in the admin table in Access 2000.

In version 6.1 the password is hashed and following multiple unsuccessful login attempts you will be locked out of the control panel in which case you will need to download this reset password file, unzip and upload pw.asp to the root of your store. When you open that in your browser, you will be able to reset your password. It is imperative that you delete the file from your server following use.

How do I check if the session variables are set correctly on the server?
Try this test to see how your session variables are. Firstly, copy this into notepad and save it as a file t.asp

<html><body>
<%session("testsession")="this is a test variable"%>
The test session variable is set.
</body></html>

. . . Now copy this into notepad and save it as t2.asp

<html><body>
The value is now set to "<b><%=Session("testsession")%></b>"
</body></html>

Then upload both to your webserver. Open the file t.asp in your web browser by entering the url http://www.yoursite.com/t.asp and then click the "refresh" button to make sure the page isn't cached.
Then, in the same web browser change the URL to the t2.asp page like http://www.yoursite.com/t2.asp
If the session variables are working correctly you should see something like . . .
The value is now set to "this is a test variable"
If the session variables are NOT working correctly you will see something like . . .
The value is now set to ""
An ASP session should last for 20 minutes by default from the time of the last page refresh. So wait 10 minutes and then refresh that t2.asp page and the value should still be set.

If it's not then it may well be that you are on a Windows 2003 server where the sites are in an application pool. This has a great feature in that if the pool goes over certain resource limits it "recycles" and sets everything to zero again in a manner of speaking. The trouble is that it also loses the session state. And also, on a server there are typically dozens of sites sharing the same application pool, if one of them behaves badly, or if the settings for the pool are not adequate it means that all sites are recycled. In short it's something to take up with the host, showing them the results of the test above and the explanation here so they can work on sorting things out. They can do things like up the resources for the application pool you are in, try putting you in a different application pool and so on.

How do I streamline my Access database and possibly improve its performance?
It might help doing a "compact and repair" on the database.
To do this, first disable your database connection to make sure noone can access your site. You don't want people writing to your database while you are copying it from the server. To disable it all you need to do is set it to something invalid or comment it out in your vsadmin/db_conn_open.asp file.
When you have a local copy of the database open it in Access 2000 and go to Tools -> Database Utilities -> Compact and Repair Database.
Then copy the database back to your site and reset your database connection.

How can I see the real error masked by a 500 error which just shows a friendly error message?

Here's a handy tip for Windows sites that just show the generic 500 Error. The MS, IIS Webserver now uses a file called web.config for all the web server settings. If your site doesn't have a web.config file you can make your own with the following content and upload it to the web root. This wil now show detailed error messages instead of the Generic 500 error...

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<configuration>
<system.webServer>
<httpErrors errorMode="Detailed" />
</system.webServer>
</configuration>

If the site already has a web.config you have to merge the changes. So for instance if the currenct web.config is...

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
<configuration>
<system.webServer>
<asp scriptErrorSentToBrowser="true" />
</system.webServer>
<system.web>
<customErrors mode="Off" />
<compilation debug="true" />
</system.web>
</configuration>

...you would have to add the line to the system.webServer section which already exists so it would be...

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
<configuration>
<system.webServer>
<httpErrors errorMode="Detailed" />
<asp scriptErrorSentToBrowser="true" />
</system.webServer>
<system.web>
<customErrors mode="Off" />
<compilation debug="true" />
</system.web>
</configuration>

If system.webServer didn't exist, just add it like for instance this...

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
<configuration>
<system.web>
<customErrors mode="Off" />
<compilation debug="true" />
</system.web>
</configuration>

...would become this...

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
<configuration>
<system.webServer>
<httpErrors errorMode="Detailed" />
</system.webServer>
<system.web>
<customErrors mode="Off" />
<compilation debug="true" />
</system.web>
</configuration>

In this case the best thing is to make a backup of the web.config file before starting and also when you've finished it's probably a good idea to remove the file or the detailed errors line after viewing the error message reported.

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PHP version

I'm not receiving email confirmation of orders - what's up?
Why do my orders disappear in the orders admin page?
How do I change the order of my products and categories?
How do I add/remove email a friend option?
Why can't I run the createdb.php file?
I've forgotten / lost my admin password - how can I retrieve it?
Why do I get an error running the UPS wizard?

I'm not receiving email confirmation of orders - what's up?
Make sure that the email address in the admin main page is a valid email address on the server. Sometimes emails cannot be sent to an address outside of the domain if the "From" address is not on the domain and valid.

...and if the mails are still not arriving please post in our support forum

Why do my orders disappear in the orders admin page?
If a payment is not authorized then it will be automatically deleted after the time you specify in your admin main page.

How do I change the order of my products and categories?
You can select the order of your products through the main admin settings page of your control panel. The order of categories is carried out through the drop down choices in the admin categories page

How do I add/remove email a friend option?
Open includes.php and find the line $useemailfriend=true - change it to $useemailfriend=false if you don't want to use this function...(more details)

Why can't I run the createdb.php file?
This usually happens when either the database connection hasn't been set correctly in vsadmin/db_open_conn.php or if that has been done then check with your host that your server is running a minimum of PHP4.1.

I've forgotten / lost my admin password - how can I retrieve it?
In version 6.1 the password is hashed and following multiple unsuccessful login attempts you will be locked out of the control panel in which case you will need to download this reset password file, unzip and upload pw.php to the root of your store. When you open that in your browser, you will be able to reset your password. It is imperative that you delete the file from your server following use.

For older versions, if you have phpMyAdmin or something like that installed you can check in the admin table. If you don't have that, or don't know how to use it, try creating a new file called t.php and add the following to it

<HTML>
<BODY>
<?php
include "vsadmin/db_conn_open.php";
$sSQL = "SELECT adminUser,adminPassword FROM admin WHERE adminID=1";
$result = mysql_query($sSQL) or print(mysql_error());
$rs = mysql_fetch_assoc($result);
print "The username is : " . $rs["adminUser" ] . "<BR>";
print "The password is : " . $rs["adminPassword" ];
mysql_free_result($result);
?>
</BODY>
</HTML>

Then, upload this to your web, and put it in the root directory of the store, then open in your browser. The most important thing to do is to remember to delete the file from your web after using it, as otherwise anyone can get your password.

Why do I get an error running the UPS wizard?
When starting with the UPS wizard you may receive an error message like this:
Fatal error: Call to undefined function: curl_init()
... it probably means that the cURL component is not installed on your server. cURL is required for connecting to the UPS server. UPS requires communication over a secure (HTTPS) connection and cURL is the only way to do it really. if it's not available, check wiith your host to see if they would add it. It's quite simple, free and there are details here . . .
http://www.php.net/manual/en/function.curl-init.php

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Dreamweaver

Why do my images not show up when I preview my page locally?
Why can I see the site correctly on my PC but on a friend's there are no images?
How do I define my site?

Why do my images not show up when I preview my page locally?
It could be that you have your image paths set to "Relative to Root" - this probably wouldn't be a problem on your server, but locally it'll more than likely stop the images from showing and the paths not working. A path which is relative to the root would look like this /images/mygif.gif - if it's relative to the document it would be in the form of ../images/mygif.gif - you can choose the form you want by selecting from the drop down in the window that appears when you add an image.

Why can I see the site correctly on my PC but on a friend's there are no images?
This is probably because the the path to your image files is pointing to your hard drive rather than the images on your server, the most likely cause is that the site hasn't been defined...(see below)

How do I define my site?
Open Dreamweaver, and go to Site>New Site. Give your site a name and then browse to where you extracted the template to. If you want to upload your files via Dreamweaver then you'll need to add the FTP information that was given to you by your host.

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