The most common mistake when working with Magento?
Making changes directly to your live Magento site… without first using a test site.
It’s so simple, but my best advice is to always use a test site before making any changes to your live site, including installing new extensions/themes, making template changes and applying patches.
Of course you don’t intend for any issues to arise on your live site. After all, why not save some time and bypass straight to the live site install, right? Wrong. It’s difficult - often impossible - to predict potential issues in advance. Themes, patches and extensions which work perfectly fine independently can sometimes cause code compatibility issues when combined.
If you discover an issue for the first time on your live site (argh!), you’ll be in a panic scrambling to fix it, while inconveniencing customers who may suddenly have trouble placing orders, browsing and making enquiries. You might dig a bigger hole or cause new issues when trying to solve the problem under pressure.
Using a test site is a quick and easy habit that can save your bacon. It allows you to discover and fix potential issues ahead of time - without impacting on your live site, infuriating your boss or frustrating potential customers.
Here’s what to do:
- Set up a test site (with a current copy of your live site - removing any connections to live accounts like Google Analytics so test orders don't skew your statistics) where you can experiment with site changes away from public viewing.
- Set up an automated one-command process to sync changes to your live site.
- Use your test site each time you make any changes, and have a good browse to make sure all functionality is working as it should.