If you are a business owner that works in the retail industry, you have probably dealt with things like inventory, stock, providers, supply chain and everything related to selling products directly to costumers.
Moving all of that into the web is a logical step. Internet is the ultimate shop window and sooner or later, every business must face this decision.
Now, fortunately, you are not starting from scratch. Let us tell you why.
What is Magento?
The web landscape got pretty complex in terms of applications tailored to all kinds of needs. One of those are the eCommerce applications that have been built to emulate a store, where you can add products and provide a virtual mall to your users, complete with online transactions and payment systems integration.
Since we’re building City Cloud images with pre-made software, we couldn’t overlook this. In that regard, we are now bringing you one of the most complex ones, Magento.
Magento is a complete eCommerce platform that you can use to base your online business upon.
Here are some of its most important features from their website:
- Catalog browsing and management
- Marketing promotions and tools
- Analytics and reporting
- Product Browsing
- Online Cart and Checkout
- Customer service
And plenty more. Of course, the entire process of converting your business into Magento or any other eCommerce solution, requires that you be knowledgeable about servers, databases and online infrastructure. Or that you hire a trusty professional.
The important thing to remember is that this is a must if you want to remain competitive. Even if you don’t sell online, the publicity and online presence adds value to your company.
Magento as a complex system, requires quite a big of processing power. While it can be installed on a shared web hosting, it’s not recommended.
You will need at least a dedicated server, but you are in good hands since this is City Cloud, home of our dedicated virtual servers platform. We took special care to leave this working even with the smallest configuration so you can start developing and testing right away. We also tossed in Magento sample data as you will see the minute you connect to the default site.
But, what about supporting a great amount of users? Not a problem! You start with the smallest server, and scale up using our platform (with a couple of clicks! I never get tired of mentioning that). Just keep in mind that you should adapt your server configuration to its new capacity if you go up, or down for that matter.
The server comes pre-installed with the following software:
Operating system: Debian GNU/Linux 126.96.36.199 64-bit
Web server: Apache 2
Database: MySQL server 5.x
eCommerce: Magento 1.6.2 (Community Edition)
Additional: Zend server for additional performance. And all modules needed to run Magento (cURL, Graphics Library, etc).
Finishing the installation
To finalize the installation of Magento, there is an additional step that you need to perform. This is because Magento generates an encryption key during install stage that it’s used to save certain configurations in the database.
Fortunately, we have setup everything else and the remaining steps are really straight forward. But just in case, here they are.
1) There are two ways to access the server. Using a dummy domain name, that you can set by editing your client hosts file (usually /etc/hosts on Linux or Windowssystem32driversetchosts on Windows) as an administrator and adding the following:
1.1) Then, just point your browser to http://magentosite.com and follow the installation steps (2).
1.2) Or alternatively, if you have already pointed a domain name to the server IP address, you will have to update the corresponding Apache Virtual host file, which is located in /etc/apache2/sites-available/magentosite.com
There, just change the line:
For (replace as necessary):
Remember to restart Apache 2 with the following command on the server (as root): apachectl restart
2) Follow the instructions. Of particular importance is to enter “/var/run/mysqld/mysqld.sock” (without the double quotes) when asked for MySQL host. And when asked for the “Base URL”, if you don’t have a domain, use http://magentosite.com.
Once you have completed all the steps, you will have your own Magento installation ready to be used.
This is the first step to help your business grow. And while you don’t need a dedicated server for a small website, you can always have a combination of a shared web hosting account (here in City Network) and when your users go to your virtual store, they are then redirected transparently to the dedicated virtual server.
Last but not least, this Magento installation is free but you can always upgrade to their enterprise edition (on the Magento website) to get tailored support and customization.
If you have any suggestions or feedback, feel free to leave a comment or tweet about it. We are always listening.