A Step-by-Step Guide to Installing NopCommerce (3+ Ways)
NopCommerce is an ASP.NET open-source platform for setting up e-commerce sites, also known as online stores. Nopcommerce is not only free and open-source but it also sports a myriad of features, among which are multi-store, multi-vendor, rental products, recurring products, etc. But before you can try this powerful e-commerce system you need to install it.
In this blog post we will discuss three installation methods you can use to set up your own nopCommerce store:
- Automatic nopCommerce installation - This method of installing nopCommerce is very straightforward and takes almost no time. However, it is a viable option only if you do not need to make any changes to the source code. It also entails the usage of Microsoft Azure or an ASP.NET hosting provider which provides nopCommerce as part of their control panel.
- Manual nopCommerce installation - This method of installing nopCommerce is a bit more complex as there are a few additional steps you need to follow. However, for this extra effort you will get more flexibility and control over your online store.
- Custom nopCommerce installation - You can also hire certified nopCommerce partners to do the installation for you. In this case, you will need zero technical knowledge.
Before Installing nopCommerce
There are two things that must be done before you install nopCommerce.
- Ensure that you meet the nopCommerce Technology & System Requirements
- Ensure that you have the Windows Permissions configured (if you are going to install nopCommerce manually).
NopCommerce requires 'write' permissions to the following directories:
- \App_Data\installedPlugins.json - after installing nopCommerce
- \App_Data\dataSettings.json - after installing nopCommerce
Here is how you can configure the ‘write’ permission for these directories:
- Right click on the folder
- Click ‘Properties’
- Click ‘Security’
- Choose the user that IIS will use to run your nopCommerce application. You have several options:
I. Choose an Application Pool Identity Account
- Add the Application Pool Identity Account (we are using the DefaultAppPool for this example)
- Click on the ‘Add’ button
- In the ‘Enter the object names to select’ text box, type ‘IIS apppool\defaultapppool’
- Click on the ‘Check Names’ button. Then click on the ‘OK’ button
II. Choose a User Account
Note: Before you choose a User Account you have to set your application pool to use that account.
- Open your IIS Manager
- Choose ‘Application Pools’ from the Connections menu
- Select your Application Pool and click on ‘Advanced Settings’ from the Actions menu
- Find the Identity setting and click on it
- Choose the ‘Custom account’ radio button and click ‘Set’ to set the user credentials
III. Choose the IIS_IUSRS user group
Note: If you do not see the IIS_IUSRS user group, you can add it by following these steps:
- Click on the ‘Add’ button
- Click on the ‘Advanced’ button
- Click on the ‘Find now’ button
- Select the IIS_IUSRS result in the Search Results and click ‘OK’
- Click ‘Edit’ - this will enable you to edit the permissions for this user (for this specific folder)
- Below the ‘Edit’ button you will find the ‘Permissions’ list as well as ‘Allow’ and ‘Deny’ checkboxes
- Mark the ‘Allow’ checkboxes for the ‘Read’ and ‘Write’ permissions
How to install nopCommerce automatically?
For nopCommerce 3.90 and below, the automatic installation of nopCommerce is done through the Microsoft Web Platform Installer.
For nopCommerce 4.00 and above, the only way to install nopCommerce automatically, is installing it in Microsoft Azure.
Essentially, Microsoft Azure will create a Web App and a SQL database for your store. Microsoft Azure will also automatically deploy the latest version of nopCommerce.
Note that this will install a clean version of nopCommerce. If you want to modify nopCommerce and then deploy it to Microsoft Azure, you will have to do it through Visual Studio. (This is something we will discuss in the section ‘How to Install nopCommerce Manually’.)
Installing nopCommerce automatically on Microsoft Azure is very easy. Here are the steps you need to follow:
- Open the Microsoft Azure Marketplace. You can either do this through the Microsoft Azure Website or through the Microsoft Azure Portal.
Note: The screenshots below show how you can install nopCommerce from the Microsoft Azure Portal.
- Click on ‘Web’ from the menu on the left.
- Type ‘nopCommerce’ in the search bar. The nopCommerce app will appear in the results.
- Click on the nopCommerce app. Click on the ‘Create’ button.
- Enter your Web App information.
You will need to choose a ‘Resource group’ for your nopCommerce app. You can either create a new ‘Resource group’ or use an existing one.
You will also need to create your SQL Database and fill in the required information.
- After creating the Web App, the nopCommerce installation process (deployment) will start automatically. This will be indicated on the dashboard.
Note: Keep in mind that the configuration process might take a while.
- Open your newly created online store. You will be redirected to the nopCommerce Installation Page. Fill in your ‘Store information’ and ‘Database information’.
- Click ‘Install’.
How to install nopCommerce manually?
Ultimately, you have two alternatives:
- Install nopCommerce in Microsoft Azure
- Install nopCommerce on a local machine
Installing nopCommerce in Microsoft Azure
You can install nopCommerce in Microsoft Azure manually using Visual Studio. Usually, you will need to do this if you are working with the source code.
Essentially, you first build your project in Microsoft Visual Studio and then deploy it to Microsoft Azure. During the deploy, your files will be transferred to Microsoft Azure. From there, they can be accessed and used by your Web App.
Here are the steps you need to follow in order to install nopCommerce in Microsoft Azure:
- Create a Web App in Microsoft Azure from the ‘Create a resource’ menu.
- Enter your Web App information and click on the ‘Create’ button.
Note: Check the screenshot above for more information - this step is identical to the step in the automatic installation.
- Create a SQL Database. Note that your SQL Database should be in the same resource group as your Web App.
- Publish your Nop.Web project. To do this, you have to right click on it and click on ‘Publish’.
- Choose ‘Microsoft Azure App Service’. Below, you will see two checkboxes: ‘Create new’ and ‘Select Existing’. Mark the ‘Select Existing’ checkbox. Click ‘Publish’.
- Select your newly created Web App. Click on ‘Ok’. Visual Studio will build your project and deploy it to your Web App so it is ready for use.
- Open your newly created nopCommerce store. You will be redirected to the nopCommerce installation page (see screenshot above). Fill in the required information.
- Click ‘Install’.
Installing nopCommerce on a local machine
- Go to the nopCommerce website
- Create an account
- Download the latest nopCommerce version on your local machine
Currently, the latest nopCommerce version is 4.0. Version 4.1 is expected to be released by the end of June 2018. You have three download options (or packages) for nopCommerce 4.0:
-nopCommerce 4.0 with source code - this is a viable option if you are an ASP.NET developer or a store owner who wants to make major changes to their store and, therefore, needs access to the source code. Note that you can also find nopCommerce latest source code on GitHub.
-nopCommerce 4.0 for web - this is a viable option for store owners who have less technical knowledge or do not want to customize the nopCommerce core system. Note that because nopCommerce is fully themable, customizations to the front-end are possible even without the source code.
- 4.0 with upgrade script - this download package allows you to upgrade your existing version of nopCommerce to 4.0.
There are two ways to run your nopCommerce store depending on which download package you choose:
I. If you have chosen the no source code package, you have to run your website with Microsoft IIS (Internet Information Services). Here is how you can do this:
- Open the nopCommerce folder on your local machine
- Copy the files from it and paste them to an IIS virtual directory (i.e. a site root)
- Use a browser to view and configure your website
II. If you have chosen the source code package, you have to run your website with Microsoft Visual Studio. Here is how you can do this:
- Find the .rar file for the source code and extract it to your local machine
- Open Microsoft Visual Studio
- Open ‘Project/Solution’
- Find the folder in which you have extracted your nopCommerce files
- Open the .snl file and run the Nop.Web.project in Microsoft Visual Studio
Regardless of whether you run your website with IIS or Visual Studio, when you run it for the first time, the nopCommerce installation process will start, i.e. you will be redirected to an installation page. Here is what you have to do next:
- Fill in the ‘Store information’ section, i.e. your administration account credentials.
Note: Below this section, you will find a ‘Create sample data’ checkbox - we advise you to mark it.
- Fill in the ‘Database information’ section.
- Choose one of these alternatives for your database:
- ‘Use built-in data storage (SQL server compact)’
- ‘Use SQL Server (or SQL Express) database’ - this is the recommended option. Note that you can choose it only if you use SQL Standard 2008 or above.
Note: Below this section, you will find a ‘Create a database if it doesn’t exist’ checkbox - we advise you to mark it.
- Choose one of these alternatives for the connection string:
- ‘Enter SQL connection values’
- ‘Enter raw connection strings (advanced)’
- Normally, you will go with the first option, in which case you will have to fill in your SQL Server name. The easiest way to find your SQL server name is to open Microsoft SQL Management Studio and copy the server name from the login screen.
- Fill in your database name
- Choose whether to use SQL Server account or an integrated Windows authentication
- If you choose the former, fill in your SQL credentials
- Click ‘Install’
Note: Once you have installed nopCommerce and set up your online store, you will need a good hosting provider to make your website public. Everleap is a viable option which we at Nop-Templates highly recommend.
Need another option? Have us install nopCommerce for you!
If none of the two options we discussed above works for you, you can hire a nopCommerce certified solutions partner to install nopCommerce for you and set up your optimized and customizable store.
We at Nop-Templates.com, have recently started providing nopCommerce customizations, which among other things include installing nopCommerce and configuring your store for optimal performance. We can provide either small theme tweaks or full-blown custom nopCommerce development.
If you are just starting however, you might consider a ready-made theme for your store. This is usually the quickest and most cost-effective way to launch your e-commerce business.
If you choose one of our nopCommerce themes you will not only have your store up and running in minutes but will also sport a modern design and rich e-commerce features delivered by 13 additional (and free!) nopCommerce plugins. You will also get one year of free upgrades and technical support from our world-class development team.
Depending on the modification you need to make to your nopCommerce store, you can choose whether to download nopCommerce with or without source code.
After that, you will have to decide whether to install nopCommerce manually (on Microsoft Azure or on a local machine) or automatically (on Microsoft Azure). The installation process in both cases is straightforward.
If you do not have the time or the resources to install nopCommerce yourself, you can contact us and we will be more than happy to install it for you.
Do you already have your nopCommerce store up and running? What is the biggest challenge you had to overcome during the installation process? Feel free to share it with us in the comments section below!