In addition to a shopping cart software application, such as
PDG Commerce, there are several additional tools or services necessary to operate an
e-commerce enabled Web site. Many merchants may already have one or more of these tools in
place - either being used for a current Web site or for a brick-and-mortar business. For those merchants
who have not already set up these tools and services for other business purposes, or for those who would
like to explore transitioning to a new service, we have provided information below to assist you in making
Web Site Address/Domain Name
One of the most important decisions that Internet merchants are faced with is choosing a domain name
that accurately describes their products or services. A domain name is used to direct users to your site, is
a factor when determining page ranking for many search engines, and becomes a significant part of a
business' identity. Ideally, a domain name is used not only to identify your company by name, but also to
describe the nature of your business and the products or services that you offer. For additional information
and tips on choosing an Internet domain name, we suggest visiting
www.thesitewizard.com or conduct a search for "choosing a domain name" with your
favorite search engine.
Web Site Hosting
After choosing a domain name, the next step is to choose an internet presence provide (IPP), or host.
Once again, this is an important step in setting up an e-commerce Web site, as the host will be responsible
for verifying that your site is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. When choosing a hosting provider,
you will need to verify that their service meets the minimal requirements of the PDG software package
(listed in Installation Guide and User Manual for each PDG product), including a cgi directory capable of
executing the compiled scripts that make up PDG's products and SSL compatibility for providing customers
with a secure checkout option (discussed in more detail below).
In addition, you should research potential hosting providers to ensure that they meet your requirements
regarding support services (i.e. level of service, service hours, etc.), bandwidth requirements, size requirements,
and if you are using an HTML editor such as Microsoft FrontPage,
which requires server extensions in order to construct and maintain your site, that support for your product is
included. For a list of compatible hosts that have been recommended by existing PDG users please visit
. If you would like to verify compatibility with your current host, or a new host that you are considering for your site,
please contact PDG Software's Technical Support staff and we will be happy to speak with the host and verify
Web Site Design
There are several options merchants can consider when determining how to construct their Web store.
With PDG's free plug-ins for Macromedia
Dreamweaver and Microsoft FrontPage,
any merchants who are familiar with either of these tools can fully integrate PDG's applications directly from
within each applications provided interface - without the need of HTML scripting knowledge or programming
skills. For merchants who are familiar with the interface for other HTML editors, a basic knowledge of
creating and inserting text and image hyperlinks is all that is necessary.
Despite the ease with which PDG's applications can be integrated using the solutions described above, some
merchants prefer to solicit the services of a Webmaster for creating and maintaining their Web store. Any
professional webmaster should be able to easily implement PDG's software into your site design, however
if you prefer to work with a Webmaster who is already familiar with PDG's applications, we are happy to pass
on your contact information to some of the many Webmasters who work exclusively with PDG's e-commerce
and shopping cart products. Please contact us
for additional information.
Secure Server Certificate
Many of you have probably noticed the lock or key icon that appears occasionally in your web browser and wondered
what this icon really means and what a merchant needs to do in order to have the same icon appear on their Web
stores checkout pages. The lock or key icon (depending on which browser you are using) is an indicator to confirm
that you are accessing a page protected by "Secure Socket Layer" (SSL) encryption. In layman's terms,
it means that the data being displayed on the page, as well as any information inserted by a customer on the page,
is encrypted when being transmitted from the customers browser to the server and vice versa. It is important to note
that this alone does not guarantee that data on the server is impenetrable, however is does assure customers that a
snooping "outsider" is unable to read the information as it is being transmitted through the World Wide
Merchants may obtain SSL certificates that are issued based on their websites address/domain name, or in
many instances, may elect to use a "shared certificate" offered by a hosting provider. If you choose to
obtain your own SSL certificate, it will allow users to access any portion of your site, including the Cart's checkout
process, via an https:// address (via SSL). If you choose to use a shared certificate from your hosting provider, the host
will provide you with a URL that goes through their own address, frequently something like https://server.host.com/site/,
which then pulls up your site as if you had entered http://www.site.com. While both options offer the same level of
security with regards to how the data is transmitted, the option of having your own SSL certificate issued for your site
address can go a long way towards reassuring customers that their purchase from your webstore is secure.
If you choose to have your own SSL certificate issued, you will first need to contact your hosting provider and
verify which SSL services their hosting plans are compatible with (some hosts choose to work exclusively with a single
provider). The next step is to request a Certificate Signing Request (CSR) from the host - which will ultimately be
provided to the SSL certificate issuer. The issuer will then generate the certificate and mail the information directly
to the server administrator with your host. The last step is for the host to actually install the certificate. Certificates are
available through numerous providers, several of which can be found on our
For those merchants who would like the ability to process credit card and check transactions within their Web store,
an Internet merchant account is necessary. Merchant accounts function much like an ordinary banking account, however
they also allow users to process charges for credit card transactions. Merchant banks typically charge a percentage
of all transactions, to cover their expenses to the actual credit card providers and processors, and may also charge
an additional monthly fee and/or set up fee.
Though a merchant account is what enables merchants to accept credit card transactions, you must also have a payment
gateway in order to link your e-commerce enabled Web site to the merchant account. Your PDG Commerce software allows you
to choose from a number of such providers. PDG Commerce will accept the information that was provided by your customer during
the checkout process, and then
send the information via SSL to the transaction gateway - which then verifies the validity of the credit card and checks that
sufficient funds are available. Once the transaction has been verified and "approved", the gateway sends a response
to your PDG Commerce software as to the outcome of the transactions.
Successful transactions are then logged, an e-mail confirmation mailed to the customer and the vendor, and a
"thank you" page is displayed to the customer. For approved transactions, the gateway will also send the
appropriate information to your merchant account provider to begin the process of transferring funds. For failed transactions,
the gateway sends a "declined" response to your Web site. Your PDG
Commerce software will then display a "credit denied" error page that provides information as to why the
transaction was not approved (e.g. invalid card, insufficient funds, etc.).
A complete list of the Payment Gateways supported within PDG Commerce can
be found on the PDG Software partner page.