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One day in the life of Magento emergency support team – serious Magento issues and simple solutions

Igor Goltsov

Igor Goltsov

Igor Goltsov

Igor Goltsov

Igor Goltsov is a certified Magento developer. With 8+ years in Magento development and 13+ years in PHP development, Igor now applies his deep insights in ecommerce and expert skills at ScienceSoft. As a senior Magento developer, he contributes to complex projects involving implementation of non-trivial platform’s features.


Magento issues

It was a fatal mistake to open work email before making coffee. As I look through Magento support requests awaiting a response, I strongly feel that I need to book every single minute of the day to solve these emergency situations caused by the lack of regular expert maintenance. Are you interested to know what questions merchants have and what Magento issues they might encounter while operating a web store? Then, I invite you to take on the role of a Magento support team member and survive this day with me.

9 a.m. The server runs out of space

Here is the first problem from a large retailer. They see this message “Session failed: No space left on device” and panic. The store is unavailable for customers, they lose revenue and are at a loss to settle this as soon as possible.

What to do. The way out is rather evident – we need to free some space to return the web store to normal functioning. But here additional information is required to make it right. If the merchant uses a shared server (which is not recommended in any case), we need to contact a hosting company to clear old session files. It all gets easier in case of a dedicated server. Steering clear of an intermediary, we can create sufficient space by ourselves and promptly bring the store back to life.

Fixing this issue once is not enough. To safeguard from it in the future, we need to set up regular web server monitoring to check critical parameters and alert before a problem delivers an incident.

11 a.m. Magento security patch backfires

And I have one more uptight merchant waiting in line. Aiming to eliminate any risk of data breaches, they have installed a Magento security patch. However, the action had quite the opposite effect and crashed the system instead of strengthening it.

What to do. Merchants may not understand why installing authorized security patches leads to negative consequences. By and large, there are two major reasons:

  1. If a web store has been customized, any features have been changed or added, one needs to customize a security patch as well to make it fit into the existing functionality smoothly. It is always better to engage Magento developers at this stage not to deal with the aftermath later. Things get easier if you manage a web store with the default Magento functionality – you can install patches as they are provided in Magento Security Center.
  2. Security patches are issued for specified Magento versions. Merchants may choose a patch incompatible with their Magento installation due to trivial inadvertence and then be taken aback with system crashes.

Having got to the bottom of the problem in this particular case, I delegate the task to my colleague and move further.

1 p.m. Ready-made integration plugin plays false

I’m not surprised to see a Magento issue related to the integration process among support requests. As ecommerce companies grow, they naturally seek to organize their business processes in the most efficient way. Having opted for integrating Magento with a third-party system or the back office depending on the initial goals, they see integration plugins as a cost-effective solution. However, they may later notice that the data flow between the systems is unacceptably slow. Just like in the current support request.

What to do. It happens that ready-made integration plugins can’t handle large volumes of data. The synchronization slows down, which can negatively affect the performance. Imagine you integrate Magento and Salesforce Service Cloud for prompt customer support. A customer makes an order in a Magento online store and contacts a support team to confirm the dispatch. If the record of the order hasn’t been transferred to Salesforce yet, a team member will need to keep the customer on the line until he settles things down. What do we have as a result? Right, a disappointed customer with plenty of lost time.

If the integration plugin can’t cope with the data volume, engaging Magento developers to set the integration from scratch is the only option. A custom solution developed for a specific business will ensure the integrated systems work in sync.

3 p.m. Processing large amounts of product data on a daily basis

A large food delivery service has approached my company for an expert consultation. Each day, its employees have to process thousands of SKUs, which takes the lion’s share of their working time. As a result, they have no time to develop the content or plan functional improvements on the website. Poor time management doesn’t allow the business to evolve especially when aggravated by a high risk of human errors during product data entering and editing.

What to do. Many online sellers choose to import a wealth of product information in CSV files. Though fast, this way features several inconveniences:

  • One needs to add product images separately (again, wasting time on this extra task).
  • If Magento system detects some errors, it doesn’t help identify and fix them.
  • Editing product information is time-consuming as one goes through each specification separately and then imports the file again.

What I would recommend is integrating a PIM system into a Magento-based business. This solution single-handedly tackles the difficulties of efficient product management. It is responsible for the whole journey a product makes in an e-shop – from appearing in a catalog to traveling to a customer in a parcel. PIM serves as a single source of complete product information:

  • Technical details (specifications, guides on the use, how-to manuals)
  • Marketing data (description, media)
  • Customer feedback (reviews, comments)

The figures unveiled by R3 Consulting Partners indicate that companies have seen time-to-market reduced by up to 400% and the number of customer inquiries – by 27% after the implementation of a PIM system.

We will discuss the details of Magento-PIM integration later with the company, and now let’s move to the last Magento issue we’ll take today.

5 p.m. Low traffic due to slow loading speed

Here we have a young apparel company that struggles to get on its feet. It got stuck losing potential visitors because of slow website speed.

What to do. Take any Magento forum, and you will meet sellers complaining about website speed. The reason for concerns is pretty serious – the slower a website loads, the fewer potential customers will wait until it finally opens. Though we have detailed this Magento issue earlier, today’s case is different. Having checked all the ways to speed up Magento, I clearly saw the way out.

Many sellers forget (or don’t know) that they need to optimize their web server on a regular basis. As the website evolves, web server settings must be adapted to changes. Thus, reconsidering them once a month, sellers protect themselves from speed issues. We see from our practice that this sole routine gives a 20-30% increase in loading speed.

End-of-day insights

Oof, it seems like the day has come to an end. We have done a good job and helped many sellers to solve their Magento issues and return web stores to normal operation. Let me give you advice for last – if you doubt your knowledge and experience is enough to fight a problem on your own, you’d better seek expert assistance. Going through trial and error, you risk ending up with more issues, endangering customer experience and pushing them away with bugs.

We will not leave you alone with Magento issues. Out team will stand behind your online store and ensure its failure-free operation.