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First Happy Customer: Free Magento Installation reviewed

So I have got my first review for my Free Magento Installation offer, I’m very proud of it and thought I’d share it with you all.

I Helped Konrad Bloor install Magento for his store East To West. The store isn’t live yet obviously because Konrad is still configuring it and setting up his inventory. Here is what he had to say about the quality and professionalism of my work:

“Ashley’s magento services were just what we were looking for – we’d attempted an install ourselves but just couldn’t make it work. We wanted to use magento but setting it up was very complex, and we’d been coming up against a brick wall again and again.

“He first highlighted something about our hosting that had become incompatible with magento. Once we fixed that with our hosting company, he very quickly gave us a working install with a sample product (testing upload capability) and an obscured admin login to provide some protection against attack. He took care to establish trust, and backed up our existing attempt at installing. We also run a blog from that hosting on the same site, and because he left everything else alone apart from magento, that was still working as I expected. We don’t run cpanel but he figured out our control panel to get everything done without being given any instructions at all.

“I couldn’t be more pleased and would recommend his magento services to anyone – he obviously knows magento very deeply. I would happily hire him again.”

Konrad’s review has been added to my services page, which you should check out if you are interested in help with a Magento install or would like to discuss any Magento related services. As of right now I still have 2 remaining Free installations, with 2 reviews pending, so if you would like to get professional Magento help, and do not mind writing a comprehensive review like Konrad’s, then please get in touch with me.

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Magento Installation: Database server does not support InnoDB storage engine

If you have recently hit a brick wall when installing Magento 1.2.1 on a shared hosting service with the error: Database server does not support InnoDB storage engine then you’re not alone. I came across this today while helping with a Magento install (one of my 5 Free Professional Magento installs). There is not a lot you can do, short of installing an old Magento version and not upgrading in the future, which is not a really good solution at all.

My recommendation was to either:

A) Request that your hosting provider enables InnoDB, which may or may not be possible. I notice shared hosting providers find all sorts of excuses for not supporting InnoDB, there looks to be plenty of reasons to have InnoDB enabled to me. This is really easily done by simply not having the skip-innodb line your mysql server configuration. Sadly though if it is in there, they probably opted to put it in there, and may not be willing to take it out.

or B) Move to a hosting provider that does support the new 1.2.x Magento and modern Mysql storage engines properly. That’s not always as easily done as it’s said though unfortunately. Continue reading Magento Installation: Database server does not support InnoDB storage engine

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A simple way to password protect your Magento store

This post will describe a simple technique to secure your Magento virtual host with basic HTTP password protection provided by Apache. This can be useful if you want to keep users away from the webstore during development, or if you sell products wholesale and do not want unauthorized users to view your catalog/pricing.

To be very clear from the outset, this technique uses basic HTTP authentication, which if used over HTTP (rather than HTTPS) affords no security for the passwords while they are in transit across the internet. If you are interested, you can learn more about the limitations of basic access authentication. As a simple mechanism for keeping people out of a site, it will do just fine. If you store your nuclear missile access codes in a Magento store database, do not use this technique to protect them, please.

Normally when I’m developing a new site I just use virtual hosting and a modified operating system hosts file to prevent people visiting it while it’s in development. I realize that’s not really security, more obscurity, but it has worked fine for me in the past.

Recently I have had a need to more fully protect a site, but also to make it public via DNS records. In a nutshell the steps required are, configure virtual hosting for your webstore, configure Apache authentication, setup a user/password and reload apache. I’ll run through everything in detail below.
Continue reading A simple way to password protect your Magento store

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How to use the MAMP Mysql command line client in a terminal

Coming from a Linux background, one of the things I didn’t like about MAMP was the way it hid away the mysql command line interface. Once you are comfortable using it, the CLI is a powerful and quick method of interacting with a mysql server. I just wanted to share a quick and easy way to access the MAMP mysql command line client on Mac OSX.

Firstly you can run the Mac OSX terminal easily by just typing:

ctrl + space bar (to access spotlight)

Then start typing ‘Terminal’ before you have even finished the little Apple gnomes will have guessed you want to open the Terminal (which of course you do). Start the Terminal by hitting enter when spotlight highlights the Terminal app.

Now that you are in a Terminal you are able to do all sorts of excellent things to your Mac. For now though, we’ll stick to running the mysql client. The client is located in /Applications/MAMP/Library/bin so to run it execute this command:

/Applications/MAMP/Library/bin/mysql -uroot -p

Continue reading How to use the MAMP Mysql command line client in a terminal

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Top 3 Solutions when your Magento Categories are not displaying

Here are 3 quick solutions to try if you do not see your Magento store categories after a fresh install of Magento or an upgrade to the latest version. I wanted to post this because I just recently helped install Magento for someone (one of my 5 free Magento installations) and experienced this. The installation version was the latest Magento version, 1.2.1.2 and product categories did not show up on the frontend after they were added in the administration interface.

The top 3 solutions to this in my experience are:

  1. The categories not added as sub-categories of the Default, Root category.
  2. The Magento store configuration has no default category set.
  3. The category cache requires a refresh.

I’ll cover each of these points in more detail with screenshots, so that if you are having trouble with your categories not showing up you can hopefully solve the problem.

Continue reading Top 3 Solutions when your Magento Categories are not displaying