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The Magento Guidebook: 2019 Edition

October 31, 2019
Magento Best Practices
Robert Rand
Director of Partnerships & Alliances

Robert is a Magento 1 and 2 Solution Specialist with over a decade of experience in helping merchants benefit from sound ecommerce and digital marketing strategies. He’s highly experienced at harnessing the power of ecommerce technologies and solutions to help businesses of all types and sizes grow and succeed.

Learn to speak Magento! A Glossary of Magento Terms and Phrases

If you’re new to Magento, sometimes acronyms, tech terms, and buzz words can make navigating otherwise helpful and informative content difficult. So, before you dive into researching Magento, here are some common phrases and terms that you may want to familiarize yourself with:

 

Adobe Commerce Cloud: In 2018, Adobe purchased Magento. In 2019, they announced the Adobe Commerce Cloud, a bundling of Magento Commerce Cloud with some of Adobe’s additional products. This is the most expensive licensing option and is generally only a consideration for large enterprises.

Headless Commerce: It’s becoming more popular to use one eCommerce platform, like Magento, to act as your eCommerce backbone, handling customer data, order data, product data, and transactions, but not necessarily to manage the frontend experience that all shoppers see and interact with. In some cases, this is because you’d prefer to manage your user experience and design from a more nimble content management system (CMS) like Drupal or WordPress or a completely custom frontend. In other cases, this is because you want to sell through other sales channels that will be better managed through a different frontend experience. 

JetRails: Mission-critical Magento website hosting with white-glove support. Browse our site to learn more!

Magento 1 (M1): The original version of Magento, which debuted in 2008. This version of Magento has outlived many other software packages, but will ultimately sunset in June of 2020. If you’re a legacy user of the Magento 1 platform, it’s highly recommended that you rebuild your site on a new platform like Magento 2, in order to keep your site safe, secure, and PCI Compliant. 

(Listen to The JetRails Podcast Episode 1 about Magento 1’s End of Life to learn more)

Magento 2 (M2): This version of Magento was released in 2015, and is expected to live on for many years to come. While it bears some resemblance to Magento 1, and does have a lot in common, it’s actually an entirely new platform.  

(Listen to The JetRails Podcast Episode 2 about The Progression of Magento 2 to learn more about the benefits that M2 has over M1)

Magento 2FA: Magento 2FA, or Two-Factor Authentication is used to strengthen the security of your Magento Admin login page by requiring you to use an additional form of verification above and beyond your username and password. Magento 2 now comes standard with a 2FA feature, but for those still on M1, the JetRails 2FA extension for Magento 1 is still your best bet.

Magento 2 Migration: You’re on Magento 1, and you’ve decided to migrate to Magento 2… now what? Keeping in mind that it’s a full re-platforming to go from M1 to M2, you should ideally seek the assistance of an experienced agency or dev team. There is no 1-click migration, although, Magento does provide a Magento 2 Data Migration Tool to help pull over standard information. You still need a Magento 2 theme, any Magento 2 Extensions, and may have custom data that you need to migrate along the way, among other necessary tasks for a successful migration. You’ll also need to address the hosting differences between M1 and M2. Not sure what to do about that? We’ve got you covered. Feel free to peruse this quick article on the differences between Magento 1 and Magento 2 hosting.

Magento Admin: More often than not, this refers to the backend portal where store owners and employees can log in to update product catalogs, fulfill orders, and take other steps to operate a Magento website. This can also refer an individual responsible for conducting such activities. (ie. Mark, our Magento Admin, logged into our Magento Admin panel to update that page for us)

Magento Agency: If you’re looking for a team to build or maintain your Magento website, an agency is often the way to go. While you can get freelancers to do piecemeal work, having a team that includes experts in Magento frontend coding and backend coding, and that’s also keeping up with the latest patches and updates that Magento is releasing, you’re more likely to be setting yourself up for success. Not sure how to pick the best agency? Check out 14 Questions to ask before hiring a Magento Agency an article to help you do just that!

Magento API: Magento has more than one Application Programming Interface (API), including REST and SOAP APIs. By using an API, you can read and write data to and from the Magento database with some checks and balances to keep your website and database safe and healthy. It’s usually the preferred method of connecting other systems with Magento, such as ERP and POS solutions. You can learn more about best practices for managing your Magento data by tuning into Episode 3 of The JetRails Podcast

Magento Association: In 2018, a task force was put together to create a new non-profit association to replace the Meet Magento Association. At Magento Imagine 2019, it was announced that general members of the community could join the new association. There’s already a Slack Workspace up and running as well as a Magento Forums group. While Magento is directly involved with the association, this organization has its own non-profit board and is tasked with helping members of the Magento community at large learn and grow.

Magento Business Intelligence (BI):  In 2016, Magento acquired RJMetrics, a company that provided unique analytics dashboards. While Magento users are accustomed to receiving simple reporting in their Magento Admins, Magento has rebranded RJMetrics as Magento Business Intelligence making it a more direct offering of the Magento brand. 

Magento B2B: In 2017, Magento first released specific B2B features for paid Magento Commerce users. These include features related to Requisition Lists, Company Accounts, Quick Ordering, and Quotations. While you may still need to customize these features to meet your unique needs, they are a springboard for large B2B users. Many B2B users are, however, continuing to choose Magento Open Source, and use Magento Extensions, like Cart2Quote, to meet their needs. Both options can be highly successful.

Magento Caching: When a user visits a page in your Magento website, a lot of code and data need to come together, which can be computationally intense and slow. Caching is crucial to the process. Whether you’re leveraging, a Content Delivery Network like Cloudflare, a caching system like Varnish or Full Page Caching (FPC), or both, you should know that caching is one of the most important factors in your Magento website loading speeds.

Magento Certification: Individuals can become Magento Certified as frontend developers, backend developers, solution specialists, and in other areas of Magento expertise. This is a great step for folks that are experienced and engaged in the Magento ecosystem, however, these certifications, like most, are an acknowledgment that you successfully studied for and passed an exam. We applaud those that take this extra step to help display their Magento knowledge.

Magento Core: The heart of any Magento instance, your core files are what power the native features and functionality of Magento. Best practice is to leave the core pristine and intact, to write extensions which sit outside of the core to create additional enhancements and customizations.

Magento Core Bundled Extension: The Magento team has allowed 3rd party extensions to be distributed with their core software. This includes modules from shipping carriers, credit card payment processors, sales tax management systems, and e-mail marketing systems. In order to do so, Magento’s team had to see the potential for widespread use of these extensions. In essence, core bundled extensions save you from having to install an extension from the Magento Marketplace, provided that there’s a core bundled extension that best-suits your needs.

Magento Commerce: In 2017, Magento Enterprise Edition was renamed “Magento Commerce”, although you will still sometimes find it referenced in documentation as Enterprise Edition or EE. Check out Episode 5 of The JetRails Podcast to learn some key differences between Magento CE and EE, or read our helpful article on Questions to Ask Before Upgrading to Magento Commerce.

Magento Commerce Cloud (MCC): Magento requires properly optimized hosting. In order to further capitalize on this, Magento has begun offering cloud hosting services to its Enterprise customers. Options like JetRails still offer more flexibility and scalability, more comprehensive support and much faster response times. Both MCC and providers like JetRails are considered mainstream options for Magento Commerce users.

Magento Community Edition (CE): This is the free open-source edition of Magento. The majority of Magento websites run on CE.

Magento Community Engineering: More than half of Magento’s core coding is currently being written by the community at large – not by Adobe/Magento employees. Magento, therefore, has staff members that help organize and promote community involvement in providing coding to enhance Magento’s core features. They have a twitter handle (@MagentoEngCom) a Slack Workspace, a GitHub community, and play an active role in events, like hackathons, that promote the open-source facets of Magento.

Magento Connect: The precursor to the Magento Marketplace, Magento Connect was Magento’s previous portal for finding Magento Extensions. Extensions listed in the old Magento Connect site did not go through steps like code review, so we’re glad it’s been mothballed. The Magento Marketplace is a definite improvement from a user perspective.

Magento Cluster: The hosting of your Magento instance can be split up amongst multiple servers. In such situations, a cluster of servers works together to support your website. This can include a variety of servers, such as servers optimized for the Magento application itself, your Magento database(s), Admin server, Varnish caching, Redis WordPress blog, ElasticSearch, a Dev Server, a Staging Server, etc. You may also benefit from multiple servers for a particular function, such as multiple frontend web nodes if your website receives large amounts of visitors to your website. Your web hosting provider should play an active role in sizing-out your Magento hosting environment and recommending the best architecture to meet your specific needs. 

Magento Database: Unlike a SaaS solution, Magento users get direct access to the Magento database. Use that power wisely! If you want to know more about best-practices for Magento database management Episode 3 of The JetRails Podcast will provide some guidance. 

Magento Dev Docs: If you’re looking to step-by-step information about how to do something in your Magento admin, with a Magento API, or through some other Magento resource, Magento’s DevDocs will usually be your first stop. They act as a detailed user guide.

Magento Development: While Magento is based on open programming languages and frameworks, it’s a large application and requires domain expertise and experience in order to maintain effectively. Whether you’re a developer yourself, or you hire an agency, you’ll need to engage in Magento Development in order to launch and maintain your website, including installing security patches and software updates. 

Magento Developer: Otherwise known as a Magento Dev, this is a developer with experience with Magento. Some devs are experts in Magento’s frontend, working with Magento themes and programming languages like HTML and CSS. Others are focused on backend development, working with languages like PHP, and with databases such as MySQL. Some take the extra time and expense to earn certifications from Magento. Not sure how to choose the right developer for your needs? Check out this helpful article on The Journey to choosing Magento Developers.

Magento Enterprise Edition (EE): This is the paid version of Magento, which comes with some extra features and support. Prices start in the tens of thousands of dollars per year, and are dependent on your online revenue. It is now known as “Magento Commerce”.

Magento Evangelist: We’re still not sure how one becomes an evangelist (do you have to start out as a missionary?), but Magento has one, and he’s awesome. If you’re at a Magento event, and you don’t see Ben Marks, you probably aren’t looking hard enough… and you’re missing out big time! Ben’s raison d’etre is to support the Magento Community.

Magento Extensions: Your cell phone is a powerful tool, made much more powerful by apps. Magento, similarly, is made more powerful by the thousands of extensions available in the Magento Marketplace, and by your ability to create your own custom extensions to meet your needs. These are actual pieces of software that plug into your Magento instance, and can directly work with the resources of your Magento store, such as your Magento database. Extensions can impact security, speed, and website maintenance, and can conflict with other extensions and customizations, so be choosy about what you install in your site.

Magento Forums: Do you have burning questions about Magento? Want to share an experience that you’ve had with your Magento site or within the Magento ecosystem? This is a great place to post your questions and thoughts and connect with Magento experts and enthusiasts around the world. The Magento Community Forums are managed by Sherrie Rohde, a long-time member of the Magento Community, who is known to jump in and help users navigate the forums when you tag her in a post (@sherrie)

Magento GitHub: Whether you’re tracking an existing bug or the progress of new features and rollouts, or you want to submit code to be considered for release with a future Magento update, Magento’s GitHub community will be a good hub for you to interact with. 

Magento Go: From 2011 through 2015, Magento experimented in offering a SaaS version of Magento. This is acknowledged as a failed venture, and no longer exists. It’s now generally accepted that the benefits of Magento come down to it being open source. 

Magento Hosting: Magento is an On-Premise (OnPrem) solution. An instance of Magento needs to be hosted somewhere. You can choose between a Magento-Optimized Dedicated Server, a Magento-Optimized Cluster of Servers, or a Magento-optimized Cloud environment like AWS, but as a Magento website owner, you’ll be paying for hosting somewhere, and should have access to that hosting environment – even if the cost is bundled in with other fees from one of your vendors. Whenever a vendor is bundling in critical services like hosting, you should consider if what they’re providing you with meet your needs in regards to 24/7/365 phone, e-mail, and ticket support, scalability for your peak traffic days, and other requirements. 

Magento Imagine: This is Magento’s annual conference and expo, and has been taking place since 2011. It has grown into one of the biggest events in the eCommerce world, with thousands of attendees. After the acquisition of Magento, it was announced that Magento Imagine 2019 will take place during the Adobe Summit. 

Magento Load Testing: Your Magento website inherently has a maximum capacity of web traffic that it can handle. There are several potential bottlenecks that can limit your websites ability to load at normal speed and avoid crashing. Your web host should be able to help you load test your website to identify bottlenecks and limitations, and make sure that you’re ready for upcoming marketing campaigns, holidays, and season increases in traffic. Want to learn more about potential issues that could impact your scalability and uptime? Read this post to understand if traffic spikes could crash your Magento site.

Magento Loading Speed Optimization: Your conversion rate and other important metrics tied to your revenue and the success of your website are directly impacted by your loading speeds. Magento Speed Optimization starts with a Magento speed test, and includes work to optimize both your hosting environment and your individual instance of Magento.

Magento Marketplace: The Magento Marketplace replaced the old Magento Connect website portal as the place to find Magento Extensions. The marketplace has not only been a technological improvement, with better searching and sorting capabilities, but it’s also a safer place to shop. Extensions in the marketplace undergo both technical and marketing reviews, better protecting Magento store owners from extensions that have security vulnerabilities, bugs, and other deficiencies. While it’s not a quality guarantee, it’s much safer than Googling for extensions. To learn more about the journey to entering the Magento Marketplace, listen to Episode 11 of The JetRails Podcast.

Magento Meetups: There are Magento meetups groups around the world. Where the Magento Forums provide a way to connect with others digitally, these meetups provide a way to interact in-person. These include social and networking events, as well as other information sessions hosted by local experts. If there isn’t a meetup group in your area, consider creating one!

Magento Mobile Optimization Initiative: Magento and PayPal are supporting an initiative using technology from HiConversion, a provider of tracking, analytics, and optimization tools for your Magento website. Through this initiative, specific treatments are tested in order to find which mix of adjustments will lead to the highest increase in your conversion rate for mobile traffic. Many agencies that participate as JetRails Partners participate in this initiative. 

Magento Multi-store: Magento allows you to maintain multiple websites and online stores from one Magento admin. This can come in handy if your business has more than one brand, or targets different regions of the world in different languages.

Magento Open Source: In 2017, Magento renamed Community Edition “Open Source”. Depending on the documentation that you’re looking at though, you may still see it referenced as Community Edition (CE).

Magento Order Management (MOM): While there are many systems that can help you integrate multiple channels, an Order Management system like MOM can help you provide customers with an OmniChannel experience. This includes the ability to allow shoppers to Buy Online and Pickup in-store, return online purchases in-store, etc. With Magento, you can still choose an independent order management system like Quivers, but Magento Commerce users may be enticed to consider Magento’s own Order Management offering. 

Magento PageBuilder: Most Magento Open Source stores use a mix of Magento’s native WYSIWIG content editing capabilities and the developers that they have on call to help with landing pages, CMS pages, and other static pages within their websites. Some leverage headless commerce, or at least add a WordPress blog in order to have a more nimble Content Management System (CMS) at their disposal. For Magento Commerce users, there’s another option. Magento had acquired the Bluefoot CMS system in 2016, and more recently has deployed a PageBuilder created by the Magento Community through the Magento Community Engineering program. In essence, Magento took code written by the community through their open source initiative, and made it available to paid Commerce users. It’s a great feature for those users. However, there is chatter from the upper-echelons of Magento about making this PageBuilder available to the Magento Open Source users for a fee.

Magento Partners: There are many types of Magento Partners. These include Magento Extension partners, like JetRails, as well as Solution and Technology partners. Different types of partnerships require different annual fees, revenue sharing, certifications, referrals, and various other commitments. At JetRails, we fully support our partners that are active Magento Partners, but we also recognize that some of the best and most important organizations in the Magento ecosystem forgo paid partner programs. 

Magento Patch: From time to time, Magento releases software patches. These are fixes for things like bugs, security vulnerabilities, and changes that need to be addressed, such as if a shipping or payment system that has a native connector in the Magento platform off-the-shelf has an urgent update. Simply patching is not equivalent to upgrading, and while it can help maintain your site, you will be at risk of falling behind technologically. Magento patching and support for old versions, like 2.0, 2.1, and 2.2 does come with end dates.

Magento Payments: Magento is working on a payments and credit card fraud prevention offering with some very specific partners. This has been described as a resale offering, through which a Magento sales rep will be able to help sell you PayPal/Braintree processing and Signifyd fraud solutions.  It’s anticipated that most merchants will keep their payment processing and credit card fraud prevention solutions independent of this initiative, especially merchants that already have established relationships with merchant services providers.

Magento PCI Compliance: If you accept credit cards on your website, you should know about PCI Compliance. You have a responsibility as a business to take action to keep your website safe and secure from intrusion. If credit card information is stolen from your Magento website (or from your business in general), you could face major fines and repercussions. You should be properly patching, updating and maintaining your Magento store and extensions, upkeeping your Magento hosting environment, following best-practices for limiting and restricting access to resources, and be otherwise proactive about security. Not sure if your site security is up to par and don’t want to be another statistic? Get in touch for a Magento security audit.

Magento SaaS: This is a hybrid of a unicorn, a griffin, and bigfoot. Magento itself does not exist as a SaaS solution. There are 3rd party companies that have forked off of a version of Magento to build their own SaaS platform, but those cease to be Magento and don’t have the flexibility of Magento. 

Magento Sales & Advertising Channels: In 2018, Magento announced their Sales & Advertising Channels as a new way to connect your data between Magento and channels like Amazon’s Marketplace, and Google Merchant Center. Other options for managing this data flow have existed for many years, and historical providers are known to work with many more channels, so you still have options from within the Magento Community like Feedonomics and GoDataFeed.

Magento Security Audit: A PCI Compliance scan is not enough to judge if your Magento website is meeting security best-practices. For a more in-depth look, you should consider a Magento Security Audit, which will look for Magento-specific issues that a general PCI Compliance scan won’t catch.

Magento Server: Whether you choose to host your Magento website on Magento-optimized bare metal server(s) or on cloud servers being maintained in a cloud environment like AWS, your Magento site will need to be maintained in a hosting environment. (See Magento Hosting). Not sure whether physical or cloud servers are best for your business? Read this helpful article on The Pros and Cons of Hosting Magento on AWS vs Dedicated Servers.

Magento Shipping: Magento Shipping, powered by Temando, includes a suite of additional features for managing the shipping options and information that shoppers see and choose between during the shopping process. However, it looks like Temando, the technology provider used to power Magento Shipping, will be decommissioned by Neopost, the company that acquired Temando. Luckily, there are other providers of similar technologies in the Magento ecosystem, like ShipperHQ.

Magento SubReddit: If you want to get unfiltered feedback from the Magento community, you can check out the official Magento SubReddit. Just be warned, many Redditors keep their true identities hidden, so you won’t necessarily be able to easily judge the qualifications of authors of posts and comments.

Magento Theme: The aesthetic look of your Magento website can be heavily customized to meet the goals of your business. Magento includes base themes out of the box. It’s often best to avoid purchasing a 3rd party theme, and start with one of these native themes and customize it to meet your needs. This ensures that your coding is lean, and doesn’t include features that you don’t need which can weigh down your site. It also decreases the likelihood of your theme conflicting with a future Magento upgrade or patch, or with any Magento extensions that you might choose to install.

Magento U: Magento U, in essence, Magento University, is the resource provided directly by Magento to take paid training courses on Magento, get study guides for certifications, find certified individuals, and sign up to take paid exams. There are some free resources too, so if you’re just dabbling in Magento and want to learn more, you may still want to check it out. 

Magento Update: Magento periodically releases minor and major version updates. These include new features, bug fixes, security improvements, and other enhancements. It’s important to stay on an upgrade path in order to stay on a supported version of Magento for which Magento will continue to make security patches and software updates available. Some of the most recent deployments include Magento 2.3 (Major update), and both Magento 2.3.1, Magento 2.3.2, and Magento 2.3.3 (minor updates).

Meet Magento Association: This organization promoted Magento events and learning from 2009 until 2018, but has since been replaced by the Magento Association.

Meet Magento: Magento events around the globe are labeled as Meet Magento. These are typically full-day or multi-day conferences, and often have both technical and business tracks to provide valuable resources to developers, store owners, marketers, and managers. Even though the Meet Magento Association has transitioned to the new Magento Association, events are still being labeled as Meet Magento.

Progressive Web Apps (PWA): One of the most exciting releases to come in 2018 with the release of Magento 2.3 was support for PWA. There was a time when in order to benefit from some of the speed and user-interface benefits of mobile app, you needed a standalone mobile app. With PWA tech, you can benefit from some of this technology without shoppers needing to download and install a web app. With that in mind, PWAs will be different from case-to-case, depending on how you want to leverage this technology. 

SUPEE: Literally, short for Support EE, this is used in the naming convention for Magento patches, like SUPEE-11219, SUPEE-11155, SUPEE-11086, SUPEE-10975, and SUPEE-8788. Ironically, these are patches for Enterprise and Community versions of Magento (ie. Both Magento Commerce and Magento Open Source)

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