Monday, 24 September 2012

How to use Magento Connect to add Modules and Extensions

Magento has the built-in functionality to install automatically additional modules for your online store. All you need is the extension's key and the script will install it for you in just a few clicks. Following are the steps in details on how to install additional modules/extensions for Magento via Magento Connect. In addition, we will provide instructions how to upgrade existing modules/extensions for Magento.
  • First, you need to log in to the Magento administrator area. Then go to System -> Magento Connect -> Magento Connect Manager.
  • A new page will open for the Magento Connect Manager and you will be asked to provide your administrative credentials again.
  • Once logged in you will see 2 sections: Extensions and Settings. It is recommended to verify the options chosen in the Settings section first.
  • In the Settings section, there are several options where you can configure, but leaving the default values is recommended.
  • The Preferred State option controls the state of the extensions you install. There are 3 states - Stable, Beta and Alpha. For live sites the Stable option is recommended. Setting it to Beta/Alpha gives you the possibility to check the latest versions of the extensions, but this is generally not recommended as extensions in Beta and especially Alpha state might have bugs and could disrupt the functionality of your online store.
  • It is of utter importance to create a backup before downloading extensions or extension upgrades. Following part deals with the information on how to create a backup. This way if an issue occurs after downloading and installing an extension you can revert the changes by restoring a working backup.
  • Once you create the backup, you can access Magento Connect Manager -> Extensions tab. click the link to Magento Connect.
  • This will open a new window for Magento Connect and let you browse the available extensions. There is a search functionality included and modules are separated in different categories.
  • There are various extensions. Some are free and others are paid. In each case, the download from Magento Connect requires registration in order to get the extension key. Instructions may vary depending on the specific extension.
  • Once you have chosen an extension click the Install Now button and choose the Magento Connect version matching your current Magento version. If you are using Magento 1.5 or newer, you need to select version 2.0, otherwise leave Magento Connect 1.0. Read the extension license agreement and then check the box for "I agree to the extension license agreement". Finally, click the Get Extension Key button.
  • You will be provided with the Extension key.
  • This is the key that you will need to copy and paste in your Magento Connect area. Then click Install and then Proceed.
  • The new extension will be automatically downloaded and installed. If there is a problem with the installation, there will be information about it so that you know what should be done to resolve it. After the extension is properly installed, a screen for a successful installation will appear.
  • Once the extension is installed, it is important to go back to Magento admin and adjust its options according to your needs. Also, make sure that your online store is properly functioning and there are no errors.

How to upgrade an existing Magento Extension
In order to check for upgrades for the Magento extensions you can follow the instructions below.
  • Log in to the Magento admin area -> System -> Magento Connect -> Magento Connect Manager. On the Extensions Tab click on Check for Upgrades.
  • The Magento Connect manager will automatically connect to the server and check for available upgrades. If you have, an extension that has a published upgrade they will be colored in yellow and you will be able to apply the upgrade to your Magento module. Note that it is again extremely important to back up your Magento online store before applying the upgrade. From the Actions drop-down menu, you will be able to select the desired upgrade version. Then click Commit Changes to proceed with the upgrade.
  • The chosen upgrade will be automatically downloaded and applied.
  • Once the extension is upgraded you can refresh the page via the Refresh button. Then check the status of your extension. You will find the yellow color has been removed for your Upgraded Extension and the Installed column has changed to the version number you just installed.
  • You can now click Return to Admin and check if any new Configuration Settings for your Extension are available. Also, make sure that your online store is properly functioning and there are no errors.
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