Shopping online is an experience that everyone now considers as a viable option. The shopping portal that we see today are developed using eCommerce platforms. Magento is one such eCommerce platform that makes it convenient for store owners to set up and configure. It is built on open-source technology and provides online vendors with flexibility and control to manipulate the look, content, and functionality of their store. Magento provides an administrative panel that lets vendors analyze how they are performing with powerful marketing tools, search engine optimization (SEO) options and catalog management. They can tweak these parameters based on their own business needs.
Magento provides an edge over other eCommerce platforms by offering an architecture that helps avoid common hassles that developers face when creating eCommerce websites. The platform offers code reuse, easy maintenance, easy debugging, and good support. Magento also offers multiple themes that can be used based on audience you want to cater, so no need to make do with another theme that has been patched up for your business.
If you want to start using Magento, you can start with Magento Community Edition, which is available for free. Let us take a look at the pre requisites for installing Magento Community Edition.
Magento is an open source platform and runs on a Unix-based Web server. It also needs PHP version 5.2 upwards and MySQL 4.1.20 upwards. To begin any development, you need to ensure that the LAMP stack is installed on your machine. Using LAMP stack means that you will be using Linux as your operating system, Apache as your web server, MySQL as the Relational Database Management System (RDMS), and PHP as the object-oriented web scripting language
For Magento to be used, ensure the following is installed and working.
- Operating system supported: Linux server
- Web Servers supported: Apache 1.3.x or Apache 2
- PHP: 5.2.0 and above with Safe mode off
- MySQL: 4.1.20 and above
Windows and MAC OS are not recommended or supported as the production environment. But, for development environment and learnings, you can use Magento over the local stack, which can be LAMP, WAMP or XAMPP.
When you install Magento using the following steps, after the complete installation a Magento directory will be created in the web server. Here are the steps to installing Magento one step at a time.
The following steps assume that you have access to the web server and it is SSH-enabled. This mean you would access the server using SSH.
- Use SSH and login to your server to reach the web root directory. This is generally the public_html directory.
- Use the wget command to get the full release archive.
- On the server, unpack the entire Magento release archive. You can see the Magento directory under the root directory with all the content of the archive. Here is the command to use in SSH:
cd public_html wgethttp://www.magentocommerce.com/downloads/assets/<version>/<Magentoarchive>.tar.gz tar -zxvf <Magentoarchive>.tar.gz
Set the file permissions for using the Setup wizard
For the Setup wizard to work on the web server, we need to set some file permissions to writeable. Here are the files that need write permissions given:
- file: magento/var/.htaccess
- directory: magento/app/etc
- directory: magento/var
- all the directories under: magento/media
Navigate to the Magento install directory and use the following command using SSH to set these permissions:
chmod o+w var var/.htaccess app/etc
chmod -R o+w media
Creating an empty store database
For creating data and manipulating it, we need to create a store that will keep this information. These activities described need to be performed using PHPmyAdmin or MySQL command line.
- Create an empty MySQL database for the store.
- Create a user for the database such that he has full privileges.
- Note the database name (dbname), db user (dbuser), db user password (dbpassword).
Run the web-based setup wizard
Executing the wizard for Magento is done through the browser.
- Using the browser, access the magento URL for your web server. For example, www.<domain>.com/magento. This URL will start the setup wizard automatically.
- Accept the license agreement and click Next.
- On the Localization page, accept the default country, time zone and default currency. You can always change these settings from the Admin panel for Magento.
- On the Configuration page, provide the following options:
- In the Database section, provide the host as localhost, Database name as the dbname from the MySQL database creation, User name as the db user, and User Password as the db user password.
- In the Web access section, accept the default data that is filled automatically for your installation. You can edit these settings from the Admin panel, if required.
- In the Session Storage section, for typical installation you should select the File System option. Selecting this option ensure that your database does not grow with session data. But, if your site runs on multiple servers, you should select the database option.
- On the Create Admin Account page, provide the name and contact information for the first Admin details section. Provide the login credentials, username and password, for this admin login. Magento will generate an encryption key if none is provided. This key is available for later viewing in the app/etc/local.xml file.
If you feel that you have made an error in any of the setup wizard pages, you can always run the setup wizard again. Before you hit the URL in the browser again, just delete the app/etc/local.xml file along with all the files and directories under var/ directory. Now, if you access www.<domain>.com/magento, it will start a fresh install for Magento.
After you are satisfied with all the information provided, click Next. This completes the Magento installation successfully. You can now access the frontend store using the www.<domain>.com/magento URL and the Admin panel using the www.<domain>.com/magento/admin URL.
This article deals with a typical installation of Magento, but take a course at Udemy.com to understand in detail how Magento installation and configurations can be done from scratch. Magento provides multiple extensions that can be either accessed for free or for a small fee to create a robust eCommerce website for your business.