How to upgrade Zen Cart 1.3.9 to Zen Cart 1.5

To upgrade Zen Cart 1.3.9 to Zen Cart 1.5, follow the following steps. (For this tutorial, I assume you are using cpanel web hosting)

  1. Backup your existing Zen Cart 1.3.9 website by logging on to your Cpanel > File Manager and select all files and then click compress and save the zip file. If your zencart is in a folder e.g /zen then select this folder and click compress to zip the files.
  2. Now backup your existing mysql database, go to phpmyadmin in your cpanel hosting and then click the database name on the left and then click export to export the database dump.
  3. Login to your admin and make a list of all the modules that are installed like shipping modules (ups/usps), image handler etc in a notepad file.
  4. Download the latest zen-cart 1.5 from and then using ftp upload the zip file to your public_html folder. Extract the zip file to your desktop as well for later reference.
  5. Using File Manager again, select the zip file and then click extract to extract the files in a folder e.g /newzen
  6.  When you will extract the zip file, it will create another folder "zen-cart-v150-full-release-12302011"  inside newzen so open that folder and then select all the files and move them out of this folder to /newzen folder.
  7.  Now create a new database by going to phpmyadmin and then click import to import the database dump that you exported before, mysql database of your Zen Cart 1.3.9 website (Step 2)
  8. Extract your Zen Cart 1.3.9 backup files and then edit Zencart 1.3.9 backup folder/includes/configure.php and update the path, database name, database user and password and then using ftp upload it to public_html/newzen/includes folder. Similarly, edit the admin configure file by going to Zencart 1.3.9 backup folder/youradminfolder/includes/configure.php and upload it to your public_html/newzen/admin/includes folder
  9. Copy the images folder from your 1.3.9 backup folder and upload it to /public_html/newzen
  10. Now go to and then choose "Database Upgrade".  If Database Upgrade option is not there, then you will have to look at the configure files as the installer was not able to connect to the database.
  11. Delete the zc_install folder and then rename the admin folder. When you rename the admin folder also update the configure file (youradminfolder/includes/configure.php)
  12. You may have made many changes to your languages folder so use the tool (WinMerge) to compare the zen cart 1.3.9 backup folder with the zen cart 1.5 folder and note the files that are different. You may have installed custom template so there will be extra files as well. So copy the custom template folders/files to the new upgraded store.
  13. Re-Install all the modules (Shipping/Payment) and other modules that you had on your old zencart store. (All mods may not be compatible with the new version)
  14. Test everything.
  15. Now move your Zen Cart 1.3.9 files from public_html folder to /oldsite and move the contents of /newzen folder to the root and then update the configure files. And if you had the zencart in a folder then rename the newzen to store or catalog.
  16. You are finally done with the upgrade of your zen cart store.

If you need help upgrading your Zen Cart to the latest version, Hire me on ODesk.