Installing Hotcakes Commerce


Hotcakes Commerce is a standalone e-commerce CMS that can run your entire web presence.  This article will help you install Hotcakes for the first time.


In order to be able to proceed with the information in this article, you'll need to be familiar with the following prerequisites:

  • Familiarity with administrating a Windows computer and/or server
  • Familiarity with installation and management of Internet Information Services
  • Familiarity with installation and management of SQL Server
  • Prerequisites are installed and configured

Download Hotcakes

Before you can begin installing Hotcakes Commerce, you'll first need to download the installation package and save it somewhere locally.

Create a Folder

Normally, IIS already has a place for you to install websites.  Hotcakes can run from any location on your system, as long as it's configured correctly.  Create a folder specifically for Hotcakes where you'd normally install and run your other websites from.  An example is below.


Extract the files and folders from the installation package you downloaded into this folder.

Note:  In some instances, you may get a security warning from Windows when attempting to unzip the contents of the installation package.  If this occurs, you'll need to unblock the zip file.

Set Folder Permissions

You'll need to assign either Full or Modify permissions to the appropriate user account in Windows for your Hotcakes site to run properly.  The user account you use by default will vary depending on the version of Windows and IIS you're currently running.  The table below will help you select the correct default user account.

In most instances, the user account you'll need to use is:  NETWORK SERVICE

In other cases, a user may have been created for you, such as:  IIS AppPool\AppPoolName

Reference:  How to assign Full/Modify permissions

Determine the Domain Name

In order for your site to respond to requests, it needs a domain name of some kind to respond to.  In cases where you're working on a production site or known project, you probably already have a domain ready, such as  However, when working with Hotcakes locally, you may end up using something else entirely, such as localhost.hotcakes, localhost.hcc, hcctest or hccdev.

In the latter examples, you'll need to modify your local Hosts file to spoof the DNS for the fake domain name.  The reference article below walks you through that.  Once you do this, you'll be able to use that domain when configuring IIS in the next step.

Reference:  How to edit the Hosts file to spoof DNS for a domain

Note:  At this time, Hotcakes is not meant to run under a virtual directory.  So using a domain such as localhost/hotcakes will cause unanticipated issues when you try to view and develop against the site.

Configure Internet Information Services (IIS)

In IIS, all you need to do is add the new website so that it knows to respond to the inbound requests, and where to generate the responses from.  This step is where you'll need that domain name information from above.  Make sure that the Host Name of your new site matches that domain name you just created.

Reference:  How to add a new site in IIS 7

Create a Database


There needs to be a database to run Hotcakes so it can store content, products, users, and more.  This is the backbone of your application.  

You'll want to take note of the database name and user information.  You'll need this for the next step.

Reference:  How to create a new database

Run the Site & Installation Wizard

At this point, you should be ready to view the website and let the web-based installer do the rest of the work for you.  Navigate to your site at this time.  If your URL was localhost.hotcakes, then the link below would take you there.


The first time your site tries to run, it will figure out it needs to install itself, so the initial page load will take a few moments.

The first page of the installation wizard will ask you for some basic information, such as what you want your username and password to be for the site.  Enter those details, including the database connection information from the previous step, then click the button to proceed with the installation.

In a few moments, your site will be ready for you.  That's it!

Have more questions? Submit a request

Need More Help?

Do you need more assistance with this article? Please review your support options.