Installation Instructions


ExpressionEngine should be installed first before installing CartThrob. Do not attempt to install CartThrob during the ExpressionEngine installation process if you have not set an encryption key in EE's config file before installation.

ExpressionEngine >= 4.0 is required to run CartThrob 4

ExpressionEngine < 4.0 is required to run CartThrob 3

ExpressionEngine > 2.7 and < 4.0 is required to run CartThrob 2


Please note, if you are doing a fresh install or upgrading from a previous version, it is always recommended that you backup your site's database and files. Always back up your ExpressionEngine database before installing or upgrading new extensions!

Upload the files

Using an FTP program, upload the CartThrob files to the appropriate folders on your website. All CartThrob folders and files found in the "system" folder are intended to be placed in your ExpressionEngine folder, regardless of its current name (system, admin, expression_engine, etc.) All files should be uploaded in ASCII/text format, except images which should be uploaded in binary format.

For CartThrob 2:

Place all of the directories found in system/user/addons into your /system/user/addons directory.

Place the themes/user/cartthrob directory into your /themes/user directory.

For CartThrob 3 and 4:

Place all of the directories found in system/user/addons into your /system/user/addons directory.

Place all of the directories found in the themes/user directory into your /themes/user directory.

Adjust PHP's memory requirements

Depending on your server's configuration, you may need to adjust PHP's memory limit. Either change this in your php.ini file, or using an .htaccess file, add (or adjust) the following line:

php_value memory_limit 32M

Many server installations are preconfigured to use 8 Mb, or 16 Mb of memory out of the box, and that's at the lower threshold of what's needed to run ExpressionEngine, CartThrob and a bunch of other add-ons at the same time. If you install and see a white screen when trying to access the settings, this could be a problem.

Create an Encryption Key

In the control panel, go to Admin > System Administration > Config File Editor. Scroll down to $config['encryption_key'] and enter a strong encryption key. For more information on CodeIgniter's encryption key: "Setting your Key". Use something like 1Password or to generate a strong key.

Install the Module and Extension

Go to the Addons > Modules tab, and install the CartThrob Module and Extension.\ Note: You may need to enable extensions first by clicking the "Enable Extensions" button on the top right of the Addons > Extensions page.

Optionally, you may want to install the CartThrob Order Management module as well for more robust order reporting and management capabilities.

Add Your License Code

In the Global section, you will see the "License Number" section. Please take some time to add your license code to your installation when you first install.

Auto-install Templates

Access your ExpressionEngine backend, and go to the Addons > Modules > CartThrob page. The Installation tab provides an "Auto-Install Templates and Channels" option. If you would like default templates and sample channels/sections set up to handle products and orders, we strongly recommend using these default templates the first time you install CartThrob to get a glimpse of the whole system at work out of the box. Customize from there.

Once you've configured the basic settings and have installed the default templates, take a look at the rest of the configuration settings to get a good idea of what the system can do.