Getting Started with Magento

Magento is the next generation of e-commerce! It is incredibly well architectured, fully flexible, scalable, and fun to work with. If you’ve ever thought about creating an online shop, Magento is your choice!

Step 1 – What is Magento?

“Magento is a feature-rich, professional open-source e-commerce solution that offers merchants complete flexibility and control over the look, content, and functionality of their online store. Magento’s intuitive administration interface contains powerful marketing, search engine optimization and catalog-management tools to give merchants the power to create sites that are tailored to their unique business needs. Designed to be completely scalable and backed by an extensive support network, Magento offers companies the ultimate e-commerce solution.”

That’s Magento in their own words. Very cool about Magento is the concept behind it. Due to its high OOP style, you can easily integrate it with your own solutions.

Step 2 – Downloading Magento

First of all we are going to download Magento. Browse to and select your preferred format of Magento. You can choose between a smaller “Downloader” version which will get the files during the installation process and a “Full Release” which already contains all files. Take the sample data as well since they are helpful for getting used to Magento.

Step 3 – Downloading XAMPP Lite

XAMPP Lite is a Take-Run-Delete-Forget-it package which doesn’t require an installation. XAMPP Lite contains Apache, MySQL 5.1, PHP 5.2, phpMyAdmin 3.1 and much more. It is an extra small edition of its big brother.

XAMPP. It brings (almost) everything we need for Magento.

Step 4 – Setup XAMPP Lite

Magento makes high demands on the servers hardware and software. That’s why we need to adjust XAMPP Lite a bit. Some extensions must be loaded in additionally. Within the two files D:\xampplite\apache\bin\php.ini and D:\xampplite\php\php.ini we need to uncomment 4 lines of code.

In both files search for:

  • extension=php_curl.dll
  • ;extension=php_mcrypt.dll
  • ;extension=php_mcrypt_filter.dll
  • ;extension=php_mhash.dll

…and remove the semicolon to uncomment them like so:

  • extension=php_curl.dll
  • extension=php_mcrypt.dll
  • extension=php_mcrypt_filter.dll
  • extension=php_mhash.dll

Step 5 – Replace libmysql.dll

In order to get Magento working we need to replace the libmysql by a newer version. Simply download and copy the included libmysql.dll to the folders D:\xampplite\apache\bin\ and D:\xampplite\php\.

Step 6 – Start XAMPP Lite

Click on D:\xampplite\xampp-control.exe to start the control panel. Within that panel you can launch the Apache server and the MySql server.

Step 7 – Creating new DB

Browse to to open phpMyAdmin. Choose the name of the database (‘magento’ is a good choice ;- ) and click ‘create’.

Step 8 – Installing sample data

Magento’s sample data have to be installed before installing Magento itself. Otherwise there will be an error.

Got to the tap ‘import’ and choose magento_sample_data_for_1.2.0.sql which you downloaded in Step 2.

Then click ok to execute the import. This will take a while (at least 20 seconds). So please be patient and do not interrupt that process.

Step 9 – Installing Magento

First extract magento-1.3.0.tar.bz2 that you downloaded in Step 2 to your htdocs folder: D:\xampplite\htdocs\magento\. Make sure all files are in that folder, including the index.php.

Then open localhost/magento in your browser. Magento will now start the installation wizard. First you will need to accept the license.

Choose your localization and your currency and go on. Under ‘Configuration’ you can leave everything as it is. In a productive environment you would need to enter the admission data you got from your hosting company.

In the next step you need to create your admin account. Enter your personal data and your login information. Your can leave the field for ‘Encryption Key’ blank.

After you’ve confirmed your login Information with ‘next’ you finally finished the installation.

Step 10 – Make yourself familiar with Magento’s frontend

When you click on ‘Go to Frontend’, it will redirect you to localhost/magento/. Now you can discover the store with its sample data, add products to cart or try Magento’s famous one-page-checkout. Just play a bit with your fresh Magento Store.

You learned how to setup Magento and the basics of Magento’s design terminologies. This will help you dive into that wonderful Open Source platform.