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Lesti FPC on Nexcess Magento Hosting

Step by step guide how to setup Lesti FPC on Nexcess Magento Hosting.

Nexcess offers a full range of Magento hosting options, starting from servers with Shared Resource, Dedicated Servers up to platform specialized for Magento Enterprise.
While packages have a bit higher price that can be easily compensate with quality of service that they provide and technical support which is familiar with Magento platform.

Most interesting thing are Redis Cache & Memcached features that are available even on sheared servers, SIP 200
is lowest package that include those two. So if you have SIP 200 or better package there is no reason why you wouldn’t use all resources that you have and speed up your site significantly.

To make things clear if you have very slow Magento site with bad code and lot of 3rd party modules than there is no trick that would help you. You should simply reconsider fixing those issues first before start any work on optimization and fine tuning.

First step would be to create ticket on Nexcess help-desk and ask them to to create a redis instance on your server for Magento. They usually recommend a combination of Redis for caching and memcached for sessions storage, to get these two often accessed things into memory instead of on disk for performance. Also they can set up a memcached instance for sessions and put those settings in local.xml as well.

Once you have everything setup connect via SSH and test Redis with this command:
redis-cli -ping
if all is good you will get PONG

To flush Redis you can use this command, be sure to replace customer_specific_name in stirng with your customer name:
redis-cli -s /var/tmp/redis-multi_customer_specific_name_cache.sock FLUSHALL
if all is good you will get message OK

Once we have all this set it is time to install Gordon Lesti fpc module (thank you very much Gordon for all your help), it can be downloaded from: https://github.com/GordonLesti/Lesti_Fpc

Unpack zip file and in configuration file:
\app\etc\modules\Lesti_Fpc.xml
change value for ‘active’ node from ‘true’ to ‘false’

From file ‘fpc.xml.sample’ create config faile that we will use ‘fpc.xml’ and open it in editor.
In same time open ‘local.xml’ file of your Magento, Nexcess support already added Redis configuration code into it.
Copy those settings in ‘fpc.xml’ file by replacing code that start with: < ! -- example for redis -- >

Save file with changes and proceed with installation of FPC module via FTP. Once all files are copied open module config file and change value for ‘active’ node from ‘false’ to ‘true’ to enable module. Login into Magento back-end and navigate to System->Configuration->System and under tab ‘Lesti FPC’ you will find module settings. If you are using RWD theme module will work with default settings, in case that you have custom theme some additional directions are needed.
After you complete setup go to System->Cache Managemnt and enable FPC caching, than you can test site speed using your favorite tool.

Cheers !

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MAGMI multiselect issue with Magento 1.9.3

If you updated Magento to the latest version 1.9.3 you noticed that there are many changes done to Magento core and that some of the extensions doesn’t work properly anymore. So be sure to check patch noticed to avoid issues and it is highly recommended to make upgrade on development server first.

One of the issues that you may encounter is that MAGMI does not import multi-select attributes anymore. We found that Magento has changed attribute type for multi-select attributes from VARCHAR to TEXT, probably due limitations that existed with number of available attribute options in VARCHAR configuration (limitation for number of characters per field).

MAGMI still looks for multi-select attributes into VARCHAR attribute type and since it’s not there he can’t assign proper ID to that values. It is possible to replace attribute option labels with attribute option IDs and in that case it might work, however we didn’t had enough time to test this option properly (also modifying CSV file can be very time consuming).

So we decided to created patch for MAGMI that will correct this issue, until official update is available. We are not responsible for any unwanted actions that might be caused by this patch and so far we didn’t encounter a single issue, after extensive use on several big projects.

 

Patch is created by my colleague Dr. Srdjan Janjic, Magento developer at SMDesign Studio 

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USPS shipping service issue in Magento back-end

Since USPS shipping method comes with Magento installation as one of basic shipping methods it is quite normal that we expect it to work ‘out of box’. That was correct until recently ‘WebShopApps’ didn’t patched Magento core module. When you open System->Configuration->Shipping Methods section and tab for USPS you will notice a small message that will inform you that module is patched.

First reported issue after patch is missing shipping options when you want to create a order form Magento back end, for now it is confirmed that issue happen with USA addresses. Quickest way to find out what is happening is to enable ‘Debug’ option and try to create one test order. Key step in this process is requesting shipping and payment methods, after you selected user and added products into cart. If USPS method is missing connect via FTP to server and search for debug file, it should in folder var/report by default. Open file with some editor that can handle XML output (I prefer Notepad++ – with nice plugin to format XML) and try to find what is causing issue.

Settings

So far most common error message is: RECTANGULAR is an invalid container type for a REGULAR package and ALL service.

To resolve issue go back to System->Configuration->Shipping Methods section and open USPS tab, under settings search for ‘Container’ type and switch it to ‘Variable’. Save changes and try to create order again, USPS should appear among other shipping options.

Issue is known for Magento from 1.7.0.2 up to 1.9.2.4, if anyone else notice similar issue but find different error and solution please shear ti via comment so we can help other people that are stuck.

Cheers!

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