Archives For Mysql

MySQL related help topics, advice and experience. I use MySQL with MAMP, but also on Linux servers with Amazon’s EC2. I am also using MySQL replication, so will add any experiences I have with that to this category.

Right, so after over a month of putting this off I’m finally going to start writing some Magento Hosting reviews. The first is for Simple Helix. You might remember way back in April when I said I would be reviewing a few Magento hosts, and also running a free Magento hosting competition.

The competition is now over and I will be announcing the winners shortly, thanks to everyone who entered! I’ll compile the list of hosting annoyances you sent in and post it here shortly too. Just to re-iterate my thanks to the two hosting companies that put up prizes, A2 Hosting and Nexcess Hosting.

Enough about the competition, on to the Magento hosting review of Simple Helix hosting. I look at an installation from the point of view of someone doing them all the time. There are a few things I really like about hosting providers in general, the first is SSH access, especially the kind that’s granted by default when signing up. Simple Helix thankfully provide simple clean SSH access (not the ugly cPanel style java applet), which is something that I really appreciate. The other thing I find really helpful is the welcome email – hosting providers always send a welcome email. From a technical point of view I just love it when hosts lay out all of the hosting information in plain text, so I can easily copy paste it, without trawling through screens of fluff. Simple Helix scores points on both of these factors. But I’m sure if you don’t sign up for hosting every month, these kind of things are one off and you don’t really care!

I bet what you do care about is speed, disk space and bandwidth (and possibly support?). So here’s my take on those factors. My initial reaction to the speed question was wow, good – their server pulled the Magento install down at 6MB/s – that’s close over a 10Mbps pipe, so I can tell right away that they have decent internet facing bandwidth. Another indicator of speed is the unzip of the Magento package. If it’s almost instantaneous then you know the hardware is modern, with Simple Helix this was the case. So I knew they had a decent connection and decent modern hardware. The only other question is: how many people do I have to share with! Because that really decides what kind of performance I will get.

Being in New Zealand it’s always difficult to judge exactly how quickly a page will load for users in the Northern Hemisphere. That said, I found the Simple Helix pages loaded really quickly even way down under, and I know there are reports of that not being the case for everyone. One thing to consider is that some users may forget to enable caching for Magento, which is a sure fire way of slowing it down 3-4x, so always enable caching on production installations!

Database setup was incredibly easy, they do not use the standard cPanel style interface, so the usually 3 step process was made simpler and much easier, probably really helpful for people doing their own installations that are not familiar with hosting panels.

The last thing I noted was that Apache mod_rewrite was enabled by default, which I know may seem like an absolutely obvious thing for a hosting company, but I have been surprised by the number of them who do not do this! It is important for Magento SEO to have the rewrites enabled, and to use them, it’ll mean your URL’s can be of the form which will help (hopefully).

The price and specs of their plans; $20 for 50GB bandwidth and 5GB of storage and $50 for 100Gb of bandwidth and 25GB of storage are definitely at the upper end of the shared hosting spectrum. In fact for $75 per month you can actually get an Amazon EC2 server, which is what I do personally and highly recommend. I am working on an EC2 AMI for a pimped out version of Magento (with extremely high performance, data security and ease of use) – details to follow in the next couple of weeks.

So what’s my conclusion, Simple Helix Hosting seems professional, modern, speedy and well configured for Magento. Their plans are $20 or $50, which is on the higher side, but it seems to me they’re worth it. If you’re in the market for Magento Hosting, Simple Helix are well worth trying out.

Update: I just want to add that this review and my recommendation of Simple Helix is based on the short time I spent setting up and testing Magento on their platform. I have since read a fair bit of negative feedback about the stability of their hosting and I can’t really comment on this because I didn’t experience it. So please keep this in mind when you are considering my review. Also, I will add that I’d always recommend doing your own backups and not relying on your hosts backup support.

Magento allows you to disable Google checkout functionality for each product. Under certain situations though (when upgrading from 1.2 to 1.3 for example), the state of your products eligibility for sale through Google Checkout changes.

If you find yourself unable to sell products through Google checkout you can easily enable Google Checkout for your products through the Magento admin interface. However if you have many hundreds or thousands of products going through each one is not an option.

Here is a solution that will allow you to set the state of all your products to enabled for Google Checkout, quickly and easily. Testing has been limited to my own development installation, so as always backup your data before running anything.

Continue Reading…

You need to run PHP 5.2.0 or newer for Magento. This is normally not a problem for MAMP but a recent reader has asked about determining which version is running on their Mac when this error does occur. I just wanted to make a quick post on checking PHP versions in MAMP, because it seems if your Mac has other versions of php installed you can end up having odd results when trying to run Magento in MAMP.

You can determine which PHP version your MAMP server is running by opening the MAMP ‘start page’ and clicking the phpInfo link in the top menu. This will also tell you which php.ini file is being used.

You can also run:

 php -version

Run this in a terminal (, to print the PHP version that is on your PATH. You can determine which php is being run by typing:

which php

To find any php binaries on your Mac you can run the locate command in a terminal:

locate php | grep "[^\.]php$"

The pipe into grep just filters out any files that have php in the path, but are not php binaries, and also removes any files that are of the form filename.php which would otherwise turn up in the search.

You can execute any of the php binaries this command finds with the argument -version to find out what version of PHP it is. This may help you to identify any versions of PHP you have installed that you do not want anymore.

For example:

/usr/bin/php -version
/Applications/MAMP/bin/php4/bin/php -version

If anyone has any other tips for solving this or questions please post them below. Hopefully we can make sure this problem doesn’t trip anyone else up!

Well I have finished another of my free Magento installations and have some more excellent feedback to share. I helped Alan Bold with his Magento installation and here is what he had to say about my work:

“Building a Magento E-commerce site for the first time is tricky! No doubt about it. My biggest worry was web-server and web-hosting performance. Fortunately I came across Ashley’s services and took up his offer of a free Magento installation. If I had to sum up the experience in one word that word would be professional, others could be: fast, efficient and cost effective. Ashley took time to answer all my initial questions and reviewed my chosen web-hosting package. His install was quick (much faster than my test server install) and worked great. I was left with peace of mind that everything was configured correctly and secure, for this alone I will be using Ashley’s service for future Magento sites. $99 is a bargain, cheaper than Magento and well worth it. Thanks Ashley and keep up the good work”

Thanks for the kind words Alan, I look forward to working with you in the future. For any readers interested in help with a professional Magento installation, please do not hesitate to contact me.

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…