Magento issue diagnosis for dummies
This week we are going to talk about how even non-technical webshop administrators can provide first-aid in case of Magento emergencies.
Before we go further, we have to state that this article is not meant for Magento developers or technical experts. If you are a developer then stop reading it right here.
However, if you are someone who does not writes any code but manages a Magento webshop then you are at the right place. This post is only for non-technical or techno-functional store managers/administrators who are responsible for managing and running Magento webshops.
Store managers are generally the first or second line of response when something goes wrong in a webshop. In most businesses, there is always some time barrier between a problem being reported and it reaching the right
person who can solve it. This time gap can be of few minutes with responsive and agile teams and it can even go upto a few days in case of rigid and bigger teams. The longer this time-gap is, the more it can hurt your sales and brand reputation. More
so if the webshop is live and alot of customers are facing issues and alot of people are complaining about it. Webshop managers and administrators should be able to provide first-aid to the problem in such scenarios. Sometimes it can help and keep
things running while the developers find and fix the issue.
Today we are going to list down some steps that we think every webshop administrator should know and follow when any new issue is reported on a live Magento webshop:
1. Collect information about the issue
Try and collect all available information from user(s) facing the issue. The more information and details you have about the issue, the easier it becomes to track and fix it.
Testers and developers can and will eventually figure out the problem and its cause on their own, but providing them with useful insight can help them quickly identify and solve the problem.
If you are in touch with the reporter (one who faced and reported the issue) then try to cover as many of these questions as possible:
- Exact description of the issue
- What exactly were they doing on the site (steps they took) when they faced the problem?
- Did they see any error message or code snippet on frontend?
- Were they using the site as logged in or guest visitors?
- Their details (location, language, OS, Screen size, Browser name and version etc)
2. Replicate the issue
The next step is to try and replicate the issue on your own machine. Use whatever information you received about the issue and see if you can re-create it on your own. If you can show it to a developer then they can fix it and you can even check it quickly once they apply a fix.
If possible, try different browsers and different machines and/or even have a colleague check it out for you. If you cannot see or re-create an issue then it becomes very difficult to explain or fix that issue.
3. Clear browser cache and cookies
Alot of weird issues crop up from old cache or cookies that are stored in local browsers from previous visits. It is always recommended that you clear your dns cache, browser cache and cookies when you see something that should not be there. You can learn it from here.
Many times you will see that the issue was not on the site itself but in your browser cache or cookie. If you see the issue getting resolved by this then you can suggest this to the reporter as well.
4. Clear Magento cache from backend
Magento also stores cache on the server and it is even more powerful when you have Full page cache implemented on the webshop. So after clearing your browser cache, the next logical step is to clear Magento cache. It is quite possible that the reported issue is just because of some old stuck cache.
You can do that easily from admin. Click here to know how to clear cache in Magento 1 and Magento 2. Once you clear Magento cache, check on frontend and see if the issue still persists.
5. Re-index data
Magento uses indexes to keep the data ready and quickly accessible. Every change in product or category data needs to be re-indexed before it is available on frontend. Re-indexing can solve alot of data related issues. You can learn how to run Magento 1.X re-index from here and Magento 2 re-index from here.
6. Login to the backend and look around
Backend also gives alot of information about the issue that the webshop might be facing. You need to be looking at the correction sections in backend. There are also some extensions available that can help you with diagnosing issues. Some helpful extensions are mentioned here.
7. Check in your browser error console
You might not be able to understand everything there (or you might) but the errors do show up there in some form. Read about devtools and consoles available in different web-browsers and learn to read and understand them. Even developers use these tools to debug and fix issues, so these tools can be your friends too.
8. Call up concerned parties
Magento webshops are rarely stand-alone systems. They are connected to and rely on third-party systems for shipping, payments etc. The problem could even be on their end as well.
Contact your payment and shipping providers and check if their systems are still up and running. They are generally involved when there is some issue with order process. If the webshop uses other APIs and integrations then check with them too.
9. If the issue is still there and you still don't know what is wrong then this is a good time to wake up your Magento developers and server administrator and ask them to take a look at the issue urgently.
10. Check logs
While you wait for the developers, you can check the Magento logs at .../var/logs/ folder of your Magento setup. There are log files like system.log and exception.log that are extremely useful and also all good extensions have their own logging mechanism which can help you in finding the issue. You will need access to Magento files on server for this though.
11. Check ownership and permission of Magento files and folders
Processes in Magento need specific user access and permissions to run, read and write correctly. Sometimes the permission or access gets messed up and that can cause issues on the site. You and your team should make sure that recommended permission are set on Magento files and folders.
12. Re-start the server
Re-starting the server can sometimes help with the processes that are stuck for some reason. Server re-start kills everything and then re-starts everything. It is like re-starting your personal computer, just that it affects alot of other users as well. Do this only if you know what you are doing and when absolutely necessary.
If you have completed all these 12 steps and the issue is still not solved then it is time to hand it over to the developers and hope that they can fix it quickly. All you can do now is inform all concerned stakeholders about the issue and keep them updated until the issue is resolved.
Feel free to contact Hungersoft for any of your Magento 1 or Magento 2 related requirements and emergencies.