Magento 2.0.6 Security Update

Magento is one of the best ecommerce platforms for businesses to take their business online! The best thing about it is that the company regularly introduces security patches and takes care of the safety and security of its users.

Recently, it introduced the Magento 2.0.6 security update for the Enterprise Edition as well as the Community Edition. It includes multiple security enhancements as well as a few functional ones. If you have not downloaded the Magento 2.0 release, you must skip downloading it and go for the Magento 2.0.6 update.

Security Enhancements mean a Safer Environment for your Business

Magento has addressed several security issues with its new update. It involves the following:

  • It blocks unauthenticated users from executing PHP code on the server via REST or SOAP API. It means it has become even more difficult for hackers to cause problem to your business by running a malicious code on the server.
  • The company has made the installation code inaccessible after the completion of the initial installation process. The /app/etc directory is not left writeable after the installation which makes remote re-installation of Magento impossible. It means that no cyber-criminal can cause harm to your website.
  • Anonymous users cannot obtain private information of registered customers. The company doesn’t include the cart_id_mask value in the quote_id_mask table making it difficult for hackers to obtain information.
  • Even authenticated users cannot change customer information via SOAP or REST calls. It requires matching of the customer ID with the authentication token to ensure that neither a spiteful employee nor a malicious hacker edits customer information and causes problem to your business.
  • It has resolved a vulnerability that involved cross-site scripting (XSS) attacks in the Authorize.net payment module making the ecommerce platform a better place for its users.
  • Previously, an application error message showed the path of the file where the problem occurred.  But, now Magento doesn’t disclose sensitive information of the file because such information was used against the business by hackers.

If you are downloading Magento 2.0.6, make sure that you are first implementing it in a development environment. It will give you ample time to check whether the update works as per as your expectations. Updating Magento is simpler when you work with it on a regular basis. If you find it time-consuming, consider hiring a managed IT services provider for your day-to-day IT operations. The company will update security patches regularly as well as protect your business from unauthenticated access. Also, it will ensure data back up and proper functioning of the IT infrastructure of your business.

When you require a Magento developer for your business, trust PlatinaIT. We are a premier managed IT services provider for businesses across America. We will protect the IT infrastructure of your business like no other. Call (416) 273-7206 to discuss your IT needs today.

Google Shopping: Improve your Sales with Google AdWords

More customers mean more business! And, who doesn’t want that? Every online retailer wants to increase his sales and grow his business. To increase your visibility among customers, you need them to visit your website and check out your product pages. But, it is difficult to achieve the goal amidst heavy competition. Also, text-based PPC ads do not fare well in this context because they are unable to showcase your products properly. So, what is the solution?

The answer is Google Shopping. Craig Nevill-Manning invented it to enable easy shopping experience and simple price comparison for buyers.  How is Google Shopping different that the traditional text-ads that you use for your business? Well, when you create text-ads, you focus on the keywords and then determine the campaign and ad group. But, with Google Shopping, Google determines when to show your Product Listing Ads or PLAs. It will analyze your website, your feed and your bids among other things to display PLAs.

Why should you consider Google Shopping for your Business?

Online marketing is the future of every business. And, if you want to sell more, earn more and stay in the business for a long period of time, you need Google Shopping. If you are thinking about making a decision, take a look at an important snippet of information from Merkle. According to the company’s Q3 2016 Digital Marketing Report, Google Shopping (PLAs) spending increased 36% year-on-year on a 59% rise in clicks. On the other hand, Google text ad spending hiked 9% on 11% higher clicks.

  • Create Brand Awareness

Out of sight is out of mind! When you want to conduct a long-term business, you need to capture the mind-share of your customers. And, with Google Shopping, you can do the same easily. When your product comes up in the relevant searches, it will capture the attention of users and make them aware of your brand.

  • Grow Revenue

By placing your products in the right place, Google increase the visibility of your business. It shows your PLAs to the customers when they are looking for a similar product. It means it helps you to convert visitors into buyers and increases revenue.

  • Rise in Traffic

As Google Shopping helps you to reach a large amount of people with PLAs, it results in more people landing on your product pages. It leads to more traffic on your website without undertaking any massive SEO expenditure.

How to use Google Shopping to your Advantage?

PLAs are now integrated in Shopping Campaigns and it makes things easier for online retailers. Here’s how you can use Google Shopping to increase your business:

  • Set up Merchant Centre to begin with the process of creating successful shopping campaigns.
  • Build a link between website and Merchant Centre so that all the products in your inventory can be linked to Adwords.
  • Set up a connection between Merchant Centre and Adwords to build campaigns.
  • Make sure that you use high-quality pictures and submit relevant SKUs for quick identification.

With proper understanding of campaigns, you can start advertising your products with Google Shopping. If done right, it will improve brand visibility and result in revenue growth. But, for most businessmen, it becomes difficult to manage the operations of business and take care of online marketing. If you think you need help, consider hiring a reputed internet marketing company. It will ensure that your online marketing budget is put to good use.

PlatinaIT is an X-Cart website design service provider for small business as well as large multinational corporations. We are a one-stop solution for all your IT needs. Call (416) 273-7206 to discuss your IT needs today.

Why Magento better than Shopify

Why Magento is better than Shopify?

Are you looking to transform your physical store into an online one? Do you want to enter the online market and provide a new avenue for your customers to shop and buy? Giving an online presence to your brick and mortar store is now possible with a plethora of e-commerce platforms, the most common being Shopify and Magento.

Shopify and Magento Community Edition are preferred by a majority to create and manage online stores. When it comes to choosing the best platform for your online store, the competition is tough. But, you can make a decision after understanding various aspects of both the e-commerce platforms.

  • The Cost

A good business owner thinks about ROI because, at the end, it is an important factor that makes a business successful. When you are considering the cost factor, you must know that Shopify is a software-as-a-service (SASS) that you can use after paying money.  The basic Shopify plan starts at $29 per month. There is also an option called Shopify Lite that is available for only $9 per month. There are many different Shopify plans to help business owners choose one that suits them the best.

On the other hand, Magento is free-open source software. The community edition of Magento is free of cost. And, you will only have to pay for hosting your store online. The premium edition of the software, the Magento Enterprise Edition, costs $18,000 per year. If you are not well-versed with PHP, you will have to hire a Magento developer. The cost of hiring a developer varies according to your requirements.

Shopify charges you transaction fees if you do not use their payment gateway and opt for a third-party option. Usually, for the basic plan the charges are 2% of the transaction.  When it comes to Magento, the prices are set according to the payment gateway that you use and the plan you select for your business.

Templates are another important thing that can help you make the decision. While both the platforms offers a wide range of free and paid templates, Magento is a clean winner.  There are more themes in Magento and the paid ones start from as low as $1. If you consider Shopify, paid themes start from $80.

  • The Inventory

As a business owner in today’s world, you know that inventory management is a challenge.  When you are ready to take your store online, you must have one inventory database that allows you to manage different marketplaces and channels easily.

Shopify is useful for managing inventory for your brick and mortar store as well as the online store. The e-commerce platform has capabilities to help you sell on major social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. And, it also has a PoS (Point of Sale) solution for your in-store inventory management.  But, if you are planning to sell on Ebay, Amazon and other online portals, your options will reduce significantly and you will have to rely on extensions.

Magento offers real freedom of customization. You can integrate with a number of channels as well as online portals that you consider ideal for expanding your business. There are several extensions available in the market to help you customize your inventory database according to your requirement. The benefit of working with Magento is that it provides customized integrations. It is useful when you are looking to provide unique personalized offers to your customers on the basis of their purchase history. You can even consider different prices for different locations and introduce flash sales with Magento. When you want complete control over inventory management, Magento is the way to go.

  • The Marketing Factor

Got a great product? If you are unable to market it properly, it is of no use. It will not increase your profit and improve your bottom line. Marketing efficiency is extremely important for an online store. A business owner should be able to edit the content on the website and customize it according to his SEO strategy.

Shopify allows you to edit Meta tags as well as add search engine console tags. However, it not possible to make substantial changes to the online stored created with the ecommerce portal. It allows basic level changes only. And, as you are on the company’s hosting, you cannot edit all the aspects of your online store to optimize your marketing strategy.

If you think that Magento can help you in keeping your SEO strategy on track, you are right. As it is an open-solution, your options to customize the online store are limitless. You can conduct on-page optimization easily and edit the Meta tags without any trouble. You can manage the redirects, nofollow as well as canonical tags efficiently with the software making it your favorite ecommerce platform.

If you are a small mom and pop store looking to go online, you can consider Shopify because it is a rather simple ecommerce portal. Even if you do not have any knowledge about creating an online website, Shopify will make things easier for you. It is user-friendly and convenient to use, whereas you may require a Magento developer to create a fully-functional online store with the software.

Remember that Magento proves to be a bit technical in its approach but once you get accustomed with it, it will not prove to be an obstacle for you.  And, when you want to create a comprehensive online store that includes all your products, Magento should be your choice. It is ideal for large retail stores as well as home-based businesses looking to expand their market.

When you want to choose an ecommerce platform for your business, choose Magento to enjoy true customization. And, if you are going to hire an IT professional or a managed IT services provider, Magento seems to be the logical choice because of the creative freedom it offers to you.

Have you decided on an ecommerce portal to build an online store for your business? If you are worried about making the right choice, consult PlatinaIT. We are a one-stop solution for all your e-commerce website development needs.

Small Business E-commerce Solutions

If you own a small business with or without a store and looking to grow, you need a website. We have helped hundreds of small businesses grow via custom built ecommerce solutions. Here is a small video demo of why you need a website and how can it really make the difference.

Magento errors

Magento Common Errors and Possible solutions

Here are some of the common Magento errors and their possible solutions:
Unable to allocate memory for pool” in PHP?

SOLUTION: This is Memory related error linked to APC. To resolve this error, specify you .ini settings, specifically your apc.mmap_file_mask setting.

For file-backed mmap, it should be set to something like:

apc.mmap_file_mask=/tmp/apc.XXXXXX

 

For POSIX-compliant shared-memory-backed mmap, use:

apc.mmap_file_mask=/apc.shm.XXXXXX


While Installing Magento, you might get the following error code:

Fatal error: Maximum function nesting level of '100' reached, aborting!

SOLUTION:  To resolve this issue, you can:

Disable the xdebug extension.
Set the value of xdebug.max_nesting_level to a value of 200 or more. Then restart the Apache server and this should resolve the error.

 

Another common installation error is “Installation fails; cannot create install.log:

Review your setting for open_basedir in php.ini. The Setup Wizard uses the sys_get_temp_dir ( void ) PHP call to get the value of the temporary directory. If open_basedir is set to refuse connections to a directory specified by sys_get_temp_dir, the installation fails.

To resolve the issue, change the value of open_basedir and restart the web server.

Another installation error is fatal PDO error displays:

PHP Fatal error:  Class 'PDO' not found in /var/www/html/magento2/setup/module/Magento/Setup/src/Module/Setup/ConnectionFactory.php on line 44

SOLUTION: Check and make sure you have installed all required PHP extensions. This error usually occurs due to missing some extensions.
Magento install error There has been an error processing your request

There has been an error processing your request
Exception printing is disabled by default for security reasons.

SOLUTION: check for the “errors” folder–> Change local.xml.sample to local.xml –>Open magento/lib/Zend/Cache/Backend/File.php and look for:

protected $_options = array(
‘cache_dir’ => ‘null’,
Change it to:
protected $_options = array(
‘cache_dir’ => ‘tmp/’,
Save it and then create a tmp folder in the root Magento folder. Problem solved!
Check out our popular section for Magento common questions and answers. For complete Magento support, contact us at info (at) platinait.com

 

Project Quantum

Project Quantum – A new revolution in Web browsing

Gone are the times when you web pages were just a collection of text and pictures. The websites these are very dynamic and are made to viewed not only on PC but also mobile devices. Firefox therefore has initiated an new project called Project Quantum. Quantum is an effort from the Mozilla Development community to create the next-generation of web engine and start delivering major improvements to users by the end of 2017. Web Engine is basically the core of the browser that runs all the content you receive as you browse the web.

This would result in much improved and faster browsing experience for both mobile and desktop users. As per Mozilla tech team, Pages will load faster, and scrolling will be silky smooth. Animations and interactive apps will respond instantly, and be able to handle more intensive content while holding consistent frame rates. And the content most important to you will automatically get the highest priority, focusing processing power where you need it the most. Mozilla, the maker of Firefox and Filezilla is trying hard to recover it share from Google Chrome and has recently introduced lot of enhancements for improved user experience. Google Chrome commands the Web browser market experience with over 57% Share followed by Safari and Firefox at 13% while the IE & Edge sits at close to 10%.

starting online store

Getting ready before you sell online

Online selling can be a tough nut to crack but if you to do the right planning and adopt certain strategies, nothing can beat e-commerce business.

Choose your product wisely:

Make sure, the product that you are selling is in demand or you create a unique proposition to sell it (USP).  Finding the right product to sell is often the most important step in creating a profitable and growing company. Make sure there is enough demand for that product. Try to sell a unique product and avoid selling products which are everyone is selling across all platforms. Unless, you have an exceptional price or quality, don’t sell products which are already swarming the online stores.  A good example in this regard would be printer toner business. You search and you would find hundreds of stores selling toners at dirt cheap prices. Unless you price is exceptionally low, you should not consider selling online. You should always have a long-term goal of selling unique items that nobody else sells.

Watch your competition:

It’s always good to keep a tab on your completion. Study your completion deeply and find out what makes them successful. Don’t try to replicate what they do but try to improve upon their good practices. Find out the areas they cater to and also their best sellers and then target your product to the same customer group. Do remember though; Bait and Switch Selling is illegal.

Choose a good e-Commerce platform: 

This is one of the most important towards realizing your dream of starting an online store. Decide if you need a managed hosted store such as Shopify or Bigcommerce or do you want to have your own store. With hosted solutions, you can simply set up your store and pay them a monthly fee. The hosted server provider is responsible for setting up your website hosting and online store. They can also manage your Payment gateway for a fee. However, if your site need customization or you need lot of variation, you can go with popular open source e-Commerce platforms such as Magento, Nopcommerce, Opencart, Prestashop etc. Make sure you have sufficient knowledge om how to operate the store or hire an e-commerce expert with good experience in the online shopping domain.

Selecting a good website Hosting company
A fast loading is loved not only buy google but also users or end customers and therefore selecting the right hosting company is equally important. Not only fast, the website should also be secure and both these factors very much depends on the hosting company you choose. For online store, choose companies who specializes in e-Commerce and avoid general hosting company. Check out the review for Top Ecommerce Hosting companies. Make sure the hosting company offer the essential features such as PCI Compliance, Memcached, SSD drives, excellent backups, easy recovery and most important excellent Technical support.

 

Magento popular questions

Magento Common Questions and Answers

Where Can I find Magento log files:

Sometimes you find that your Server storage is increasing without any major traffic or changes to the site. This can be due to swelling Magento error logs file which are used to log and record errors related to database or files.

You can find them in /var/log within your root Magento installation. The log files are usually two files by default, exception.log and system.log. if you do not see the error log, you can create these from the admin by going to System > Configuration > Developer > Log Settings > Enabled = Yes

How to create XML Sitemap in Magento?

A sitemap is an important piece of information which helps Google and other search crawl and find your web pages. Magento has an built-in function to generate an XML format sitemap containing the URLs for Category pages, Product pages and CMS pages. To create the sitemap, simply go to Catalog > Google Sitemap and add a new sitemap. You can also use third part extensions for better sitemaps such XML Google Sitemap from Amasty or Creare HTML Sitemap

How do I remove index.php from Magento?

If you website is displaying the address in the browser as www.example.com/index.php, you need to get rid of index.php  and it should only display www.example.com as Google treats this as 2 separate pages which same content.  You can write a code in the .htaccess file to fix this problem.

<IfModule mod_rewrite.c>
RewriteEngine On
RewriteBase /
RewriteRule ^index\.php$ - [L]
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-f
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-d
RewriteRule . /index.php [L]
</IfModule>

How can I change the Magento Admin password?

If you simply want to change your admin password, do the following:

Login to the Magento admin, go to System > My account and change the password:

If you forgot your admin password, you can simply recover it using forgot the password option. For advanced users, go to phpMyAdmin via cPanel, click on the Database for your site, Click on the SQL tab and type the following in to the text box:

UPDATE `admin_user` SET `password` = MD5('PASSWORD') WHERE `username` = 'USERNAME';

Here usename is the user for whom you will be changing the password and Password field is the new password.

For complete support on Magento, contact our team. We are an experienced team of Magento developers in Canada and have developed hundreds of Effective e-Commerce solutions for all business needs.

 

Cache Management Magento Admin

Magento Cache Management

 

Magento 1.x and Magento 2.0 are fully baked e-commerce platforms and despite having some many built-in functions, the platform renders amazing speed and performance for any shopping cart website. The Magento Cache management plays a very important role in improving the performance of your website and it is very critical that the cache management is ideally utilized.

Magento uses by default the two level cache. Each cache backend has it’s own roles and functions. APC and Memcached are key/value cache backends, they don’t support tagging (grouping of cache entries). File system and Redis has tagging support. By default, Magento stores it’s cache entries in the file system, you find the cache in var/cache/. so whenever a cache needs to be refreshed, a notice will appear at the top of the Magento admin to flush the cache. Follow the link to Cache Management, and refresh the invalid caches.

In the Magento admin, you see two options:

  • Flush Magento Cache
  • Flush Cache Storage

In some events, the services such as Memcache is shared with other applications using a common location like “/tmp/”.  It removes all items in the default Magento cache (var/cache) and the var/full_page cache that have a Magento tag. Flush Magento Cache on the other hand will basically removes only those entries that Magento reliably tracks as it’s own. “Flush Cache Storage” meanwhile clears everything including one that are shared with others as well.

  • To Flush the cache, follow the steps:
  • Login to Magento backend
  • Go to System and under Tools, click on Cache Management

You can use Flush Cache Storage and Flush Magento Cache option depending upon the requirement.

For more information and Magento Support, please contact our sales team.

 

 

How to Set up Magento Cron job

Cron job is basically a scheduler that enables unix users to execute commands at a given time. The cron job is automated process which runs as per the commands generated.  In Magento, a cron job is very handy and can used for multiple roles such as updating your suppliers cvs on daily basis or downloading the products or sales into your ERP or even small functions as sitemap generation, sending scheduled emails or updates etc.

You can set up Crons job via multiple platforms including:

  • cron job via cPanel
  • via Commands
  • Magento cron task via SSH

cron job via cPanel

Via cPanel, setting cron job is easy. .Go to Cronjob Manager inside the control panel. Make sure no other cronjob has been set up calling the cron.php file of Magento, and if that’s the case, remove it before adding this cronjob. Add a cronjob with the following parameters:
Minute: */5
This means the cronjob will be run every 5 minutes. It is very important that the cron.php file of Magento gets executed every five minutes. Do not change this to a longer interval.
Hour: *
Day: *
Month: *
Weekday: *
Command: wget -O /dev/null -q http://www.YOURDOMAIN.com/PATH_TO_MAGENTO/cron.php > /dev/null

Press Add New Cron Job to finish your configuration.

Magento cron task via SSH

Log in to the server via SSH. Run crontab -e command to add a cron task. At this point you will see a text editor, where you can add or edit cron tasks. Starting from a new line, add the following record:

1
*/5 * * * * sh /path/to/your/magento/site/root/cron.sh

Again, don’t forget to insert your own default folder path!

Save the changes and close the file. If you did everything correctly, crontab -l command will show you the newly created task.

For more information and all your Magento Development needs, please contact Platina IT.