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How remotely hosted product images are handled
Creating Product Bundles Introduction to Product Attributes
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How remotely hosted product images are handled

There's no limit to the number of images a product may have. By default, each of a product's images are uploaded to the same website that is hosting the shopping cart software. Since a copy of these images are saved on the store's website, and are therefore locally available, they are referred to as locally hosted images.

locally hosted images
For the purpose of this article, the phrase "locally hosted images" refers to any image files that are assigned to a product and are located on the same website as your shopping cart.

In the Product Editor, a locally hosted image's "Image Path" would look something like this:

What if I want to host my product images on another website?
There are several ways in which a product's large images can be hosted on a different website, or remotely hosted.

remotely hosted images
The phrase "remotely hosted images" refers to any image files that are assigned to a product, but are located on a website other than your shopping cart's.

In the Product Editor, a remotely hosted image's "Image Path" would look something like this:

A remotely hosted image can be set as a product's large image by one of these methods:

1. Product Editor
An existing product image can be changed to a remotely hosted version within the Product Editor by following these steps:
  • Open a product in the Product Editor.
  • In the Images section, edit the Image Path field and enter the URL of the large version of the image.
  • Click any of the Submit All buttons to save the changes.
2. Product Import Spreadsheet
A spreadsheet can be imported to add one or more remotely hosted images to a product by the following steps:
  • Use the Import / Export Center to import products.
  • In the import spreadsheet, include the following Product Image Fields:
    • Import Type: product image
    • Caption: Any desired text, up to 255 characters in length.
    • Display Order: The order in which the images should be listed.
    • Product SID: The SID (System ID) number of the product that the image belongs to.
    • SID: The SID number of the product image. Leave blank to add new images. Enter an existing product image SID to edit that image's information.
    • Url: The URL of where the remote image is hosted.
medium, small and basket images
Several smaller versions of each large product image are created by the shopping cart software, for use in different locations throughout the store. The store will use the URL of the large image to determine the URLs for the corresponding basket, medium and small sized version of each product image.

For example, if a product's large image is remotely hosted at:
large image:

Then, the store will automatically use the following URLs when attempting to display the product's other image sizes:

basket image:

medium image:

small image:

If a product's large image is remotely hosted on another server, then the basket, medium and small versions of the image must also be hosted on that server in the directory structure described above.

http vs. https
Since the shopping cart's storefront pages can be viewed in either a regular "http" or secure "https" environment, it is necessary for the store to change the "http" in a remotely hosted image's URL to "https" when being loaded on a secure storefront page.

The shopping cart will automatically switch the "http" in a remotely hosted image's URL to "https" whenever it is necessary. (Inversely, it will switch instances of "https" in the image's URL to "http" when the image is viewed on a unsecured page.)

potential issues with remotely hosted images
If you chose to utilize remotely hosted product images, be aware of the following potential pitfalls:

1. SSL Certificate Warnings
Since it is necessary for the remotely hosted images to be served in a both "http" and "https" environments, the remote server hosting the images should have an SSL certificate installed on it. Without an SSL certificate, attempts to display images using a secure "https" URL may cause a warning message to be displayed in the customer's web browser.

2. Large Image Popup Window Size
Each product page in the storefront can be set to display all of a product's medium-sized images, with links to open the large version of each image in a popup window. The shopping cart software will automatically adjust the dimensions of the popup window so that locally hosted large images fit within it.

However, since the height and width of a remotely hosted image file cannot be determined, the popup window that contains the remotely hosted large image file cannot be guaranteed to be the right size.

— Last Edited - 02/22/2012 3:44pm PST
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