Chapter 2: Getting Started with Magento

Last modified by David at Varien on Tue, April 29, 2008 19:12
Source|Old Revisions  
The Magento Wiki is managed by a community of contributors, not by the Magento team. The community, which includes some Magento employees, does frequently add new content to the Wiki. While most content is current and accurate, Magento cannot guarantee the accuracy of every article.

This is an old revision of the document!

Magento is developed to take full advantage of the newest technologies available, allowing your site the maximum flexibility without sacrificing speed. In this chapter we will look at the system requirements of Magento, how to download and install Magento on your server, and go through an introduction to the administration panel and key concepts when using the administration panel.

System Requirements

Magento supports more than the following requirements, but only the following are fully tested and will allow for a seamless installation.

  • Linux or another UNIX-compatible operating system
  • Apache Web Server (1.x or 2.x)
  • PHP 5.2.0 or newer, with the following extensions/addons:
    • PDO/MySQL
    • mcrypt
    • simplexml
    • DOM
  • MySQL 4.1.20 or newer
  • A Sendmail-compatible Mail Transfer Agent (MTA) - Magento will connect directly to an SMTP server if you don’t have an MTA
  • We also recommend the use of APC as a bytecode cache for performance improvements. You can find it in the PECL archives here: Other bytecode cache systems are not supported at this time.

If you are unsure if your hosting company supports these specifications, please check with them. You can also view these specifications at: Once you have a hosting environment set up with support for these requirements you are able to download and install Magento to your server.

Downloading Magento

Magento is free to download. simply go to and you will be able to download the software. Magento is available for download in two different versions. The installer version includes only the necessary files needed to begin the installation process and will be all that is necessary for most cases. If you are planning on installing multiple versions of Magento the full version will be more useful, as you will then only need to download the full version once, and will then be able to download the installer version for each new version. To keep it simple, if you are confused about which version to download, use the installer version.

Both versions are available in multiple formats to suit different needs. If you are unsure of which version to download use the .zip format.

Note: If you are a developer and are familiar with SVN you can also checkout the newest version of Magento using SVN. To view the most up to date command please visit

If you have successfully downloaded Magento you are now ready to install the software on your web server.

Installing and Configuring Magento

Installation Process

The first step to installation will be decompressing the files to your computer. Once this is accomplished you will need to use FTP to upload the files to your server.

Note: If you have SSH access and are comfortable with the command line you can also install using SSH. Before you start, please make sure you substitute the version number to the latest version should it be higher then what is used in the reference below. You will then run these commands:

  1. tar -zxvf magento-0.8.16100.tar.gz
  2. cd magento
  3. chmod o+w var var/.htaccess app/etc
  4. chmod -R o+w media

Once the files are uploaded to the server you are ready to create your database. Create a MySQL database and user/password for Magento. This step varies by hosting provider and is out of the scope of this document. Consult your provider’s support/documentation for instructions on how to do this. Make sure to note the database name, as well as user and password, as they will be needed during the installation.

You will then need to ensure that the file magento/var/.htaccess, the directories magento/app/etc, magento/var, and any of the directories under magento/media are writable by the web server. Depending on your installation there may not be any directories under magento/media. If so this part can be skipped, but make sure to change permissions on the .htaccess file and the other two directories.

To do so, navigate to the directory with your FTP client. Then locate the function “Change Permissions” or “Change Mode” in your FTP client and select it. Once you find the function, you must set the permissions so the web server can write to this file. There are two typical ways of representing file permissions in Linux:

  1. As a number (eg, 755)
  2. As a series of permissions categorized into user, group, and other.

If your FTP client uses the first representation, set the permissions on each directory to be 777, or 0777. If your FTP client uses the second representation, set the permissions as shown in the image below.

Once you have the permissions set you should use your web browser to navigate to the Magento installation wizard. If you’ve uploaded the Magento files to, then the wizard will be located here: If you have uploaded the Magento files to a different location, the location of the installation wizard will depend on the directory you have uploaded the files to.

Once you open the installation wizard you should view a Welcome page where you will need to read and agree to the terms and conditions of the license Magento is provided under.

Once you have agreed to the license you will be able to enter in your locale settings for the site. Most options will be intelligently guessed for you, but you’re free to change any settings.

The first settings you will enter will be the Locale, which will be the language used for the site, the Time Zone and the Default Currency.

Note: If you are planning on creating multiple websites and/or stores you will be able to define further locales and currencies for those after the installation process.

Types of Installation

Select Continue and you will see the different options for the installation. If you are not a developer you will want to select the Proceed With Automatic Download button, which will begin the process of downloading the rest of the files for Magento.

Note: If you have installed Magento through SVN, please select the Continue SVN Installation button.

Configuration during Installation

Once you select your option you will see the files downloaded. The time required to download the files will depend on your connection speed. Once the files have downloaded a success message will be displayed. Select OK and you will be taken to the next step of the installation where you will set the default configuration settings for your store.

The first settings you will need to enter will be your Database Connection settings. Your host will likely be your domain name, the database name, user name and user password will be the values you created when creating the database.

Troubleshooting Installation

If you have difficulty with installation you can receive help at the site in the forums.

Introduction to the Administrative Panel

Once you have completed the installation you will be taken to the frontend of your site. To access the administration panel you will add /admin to the end of the base url you specified during the installation. E.G. if you specified as the base url, just go to . Once you are at the login section you will need to sign in using the user name and password you created during the installation process. Select the Login button and you are now in the administration panel.

Overview of the admin panel and sections

In this section we will go through a general overview of the administration panel and the areas available. These sections will all be covered in greater detail in the following chapters, so don’t worry if something is glossed over.

Creating Multiple Websites and Stores

  • Creating Roles
  • Assigning Users
Cache Management

Locales and Languages

Locale Configuration

Language Configuration


Magento 2 GitHub Repository

Magento Job Board - Some sort of tag line goes here

Latest Posts| View all Jobs