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Prestashop Implementation Questions

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Approach

I plan to install the software on my shared server; I will apply updates, patches, upgrades as necessary. Any issues with this approach?

 

Two Instances

Is it best to maintain two instances—development and production? Once the site is live, I can apply patches/upgrades in development to validate and then migrate the same to my production site (after backing up of course). I can export/import products, can I do the same for configurations?

 

First Build?

Rather than build out an entire store, I want to create a couple of categories, add some products and test the shopping cart, payment, shipping methods. I want to demonstrate the website/shopping cart are fully functional before spending hours loading products. Is this a good plan? To do, I’ll need to establish merchant & shipping accounts and obtain SSL certificate for my site.

 

Shipping Method

What’s the best method for shipping? UPS or USPS? If shipping is based on weight, should I add additional weight to each product to accommodate packaging (box, tape, packing material, etc.). Can you recommend a high quality shipping extension?

 

Payment Method

What’s the best method for payment? Google Wallet, Paypal, Authorize.net? Assume I will have very small transaction count and want to keep costs low. Can I have both google wallet and paypal? Can you recommend a high quality merchant?

 

Maintenance

Do you recommend manually upgrading the software or using tool such as Softilicous? Installatron? Are there advantages? Disadvantages?

 

Themes

At least initially, I’d like to go with a standard (simple) default theme. I want to get the store up and don’t want to hassle with broken themes due to extensions, etc. How often do themes break with upgrade?

 

Modules/Extensions

How often do extensions break during upgrades? At a minimum, I need the following functionality, can you recommend high quality extensions (side bar nav and carousel).

  1. Need a sidebar navigation mod
  2. Need a carousel mod

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Hello, I can provide you some feedback on your plan, and some general guidance. Good luck, you have a huge advantage over most people who just dive into it without a plan.

 

Two Instances

This is a must. Most people do not do this, and then run into problems when things do not work properly. This is an excellent habit to get into. On the test instance, you could just install prestashop into a subfolder, disable the store so no one else can access it but your ip address, and even protect it with basic http authentication.

 

 

Shipping Method/Payment Method

I don't see any harm in having multiple shipping or payment options. Paypal is highly used since there is no monthly fee, they just take a per transaction rate. Another merchant I personally started using recently was Stripe. Allows you to accept credit cards directly on your website, no monthly cost, and a flat transaction rate inline with most other gateways.

 

Maintenance

I always perform manual upgrades, as it leaves me in control of the upgrade. I've performed enough upgrades that I have a repeatable process documented that I can follow step by step. Unfortunately I have to warn you against using the upgrade module... these forums are littered with complaints.

 

Themes/Modules

Themes and Modules generally break when you upgrade a major release. (ie. 1.3 to 1.4 or 1.4 to 1.5). This happens because the core Prestashop architecture changes and there is little you can do to avoid it.

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