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Magento for Beginners: How to install Magento

Category: Magento 1.9

Magento has a pretty good guide for beginners on how to install Magento still, I find many customers coming back to us with common questions like “Which is my Magento root folder”, “Where are my Magento files?”, “Where should I upload Magento?”. I hope to answer some of these common questions along with explaining how to install Magento from scratch.

Point 1: Decide what do you want your shop URL to look like.

Answer this question and you will know exactly where to upload the Magento files. If, you want your Magento shop to appear as soon as you browse your domain name – for example, – then, upload your Magento files to your public_html or www or httpdocs folder depending on your web-host’s naming rules. If, you want your Magento shop to appear as soon as your browse something like this – – then, upload your Magento files to public_html/buyhere/ folder (remember, for some web-hosts it will be www or httpdocs instead of public_html).

Point 2: Decide whether you want to install the sample products or not

Answer to this question is very important. If, you want to populate your shop with some default products, so that you can get a clear idea of all the built in features of Magento, then, you need to import the products BEFORE YOU INSTALL MAGENTO. It is very important that you do this before you start the installation.

Point 3: Get your FTP & MySQL credentials ready.

You will need to upload the Magento files to your shop. Generally, FTP is used for this. If, you are not sure what FTP is then, please contact your web-hosting company and they will give you the credentials and help you get started with it.

Point 4: Do you have URL re-write enabled on your server.

Apache has a plugin called “mod_rewrite” which allows you to decide nice looking (meaning SEO optimized) URLs for your products and categories. Again, if, you are not sure what this is contact your web-host and they will be able to help you.

Point 5: Ensure that you have the right to change the permissions of the files and folders.

After copying the files, before you start the installation process you will need to change the permissions of certain files and folders. Ensure that you have the necessary rights to do it.

Now, lets start with the installation process. Please note that, these steps are valid even on localhost!

  1. Download the Magento files and sample data (if, you want it) from this URL:
  2. Unzip the files into the appropriate folder in your web-server (see point #1 for more details)
  3. Ensure that these folders are write-able: media, var, app/etc
  4. Create a new database for your shop. Remember the credentials. You will need them later.
  5. At this stage, if, you want to install the sample products then,
    • extract the sample data zip and import the SQL file into your new database
    • over-write the media folder in your Magento root with the media folder extracted from the zip.
  6. Browse your shop URL to start the installation process
  7. Follow the wizard, answering all the questions
  8. In the “Configuration” step, enter your database credentials and keep these points in mind
    • If, you are on localhost or a test server then, ensure that you check "Skip Base URL Validation Before the Next Step"
    • If, you do not have mod_rewrite or you are not sure then, ensure that "Use Webserver (Apache) Rewrites" is unchecked
    • If, you are on localhost or do not have a secure URL (https://) URL for your shop then, ensure that "Use Secure URLs(SSL)" is unchecked
  9. In the “Create Admin Account” step, it is best to leave the "Encryption Key" field blank unless you are absolutely sure about what you are doing!
  10. Make a note of the encryption key generated in the "You are all set!" step and that is it! You are all ready to work with Magento.


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