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So you’ve installed Magento on your server and your ready to start developing your new store, but your not quite sure where to start. You know you don’t want Google to index your site until it’s ready to go live and you know you will need to configure some initial settings in the system, but exactly what should you do? Here are my steps to configuring your new Magento store for development, once your are ready to go live a couple things will need to be changed back. The things that will need to be turned back on are in BOLD.


To start it’s always easiest to pick an existing Magento theme and install it by uploading the app, skin and media folders your root directory. You should merge these files and if necessary you may need to overwrite some files. Once you have uploaded the theme log in to your backend of your Magento Administration and go to “System”→ “Configuration “→”Design”. Open the “Themes” tab, then enter the identifier of the theme you are setting up (for example: hellocanvas) in the fields: “Templates” , “Skin (Images / CSS)” , “Layout” , “Default” , and then click “Save Config”.

General Maintenance

Clear out the Messages Inbox: System → Notifications. Then Select All and Actions: Mark As Read and Submit.

Go to System  → Index Management, and reindex all of the indexes.

Disable the Cache in System → Cache Management

Finally update all the Configurations, go to System → Configuration

Under General

Update with Locale Options and Store Information.

In Web update Unsecure and Secure Base URLs to be your store’s URL, if you are developing on a development domain you will need to update these URLs when your store goes live.

In Design update your HTML Headers, and make sure Default Robots is set to “NOINDEX, NOFOLLOW”

Then update information in Header and Footer to reflect your business.

In Store Email Addresses update with correct emails for your business.

In Contacts update the Email options with the correct email.

Under Catalog

Catalog go to Frontend and use Flat Catalog Category and Use Flat Catalog Product to Yes.

Under Inventory

If you are not using Magento to manage your inventory then under Product Stock Options change Manage Stock to No. Otherwise leave as is you will update your inventory for products in each individual product’s page.

Under Sales

In Sales, update the invoice and Packing slip with Address & logo.

In Tax, update Default Tax Destination Calculation with correct Country, State, and Zip.

In Shipping Settings, update Origin with address. In Shipping Methods make sure you set up at least one shipping method.

In Google API add your Google analytics account numeber.

In Payment Methods, set up your Authorize.net account or whatever other payment gateway is needed.

Disable Unused Modules, go to Advanced →Advanced.

Disable modules like Find_Feed, Newsletter, Polls, ect anything that won’t get used.

Changing out Logos

First get your logo, open up FTP and go to store/skin/frontend/theme and replace

i. Logo.gif

ii. Logo_email.gif

iii. Logo_print.gif

Next replace the “No Image” default pictures in catalog/products/placeholder/

i. Image.jpg

ii. Small_image.jpg

iii. Thumbnail.jpg

Removing Test Data

Go to CMS → Polls and delete the test poll Go to CMS → Static Blocks and remove or edit the Footer Links (if using a hello themes them you’ll need to replace with the supplied ones in the folder → staticblock) Go to CMS → Pages and remove or edit the About Us, Customer Service, and Home Page pages.

Finally go to System →Index Management and Reindex all your indexes.

When your website is ready to go live make sure you go back through and update your web URLs, Default Robots and remove the Demo Store Notice. I personally always make a list of settings I feel need to be updated when a Magento store goes live, this way I do not miss any and I highly suggest you do the same!

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