The Magento CMS has a great set of tools for product management and importing, but in cases where the product import count surpasses hundreds, thousands or even over ten-thousands, Magento's weakness surfaces. Its importing capabilities are sluggish and even with Dataflow, its proclaimed data-import enhancement, importing mass product data remains a very precarious undertaking.
The average importing process of 200-300 products, not including the setup of the importable CSV file (which, alone, can take hours), takes about 1-2 hours on an average server, followed by a manual confirming of the imported products due to Magento Dataflow's lack of documentation for errors during importing. The abundance of options to import Tier-Pricing, Configurable Products, as well as Related-, Upsell-, Crosssell-, and many other Products variations and features, furthers its inadequacy in efficient bulk product handling.
Magento's positive reputation among e-Commerce CMS's in combination with its lack of data-entry capabilities, other than its default product creation features, leave room for many commercial plugins and extensions that are equally hazardous and, yet, far overpriced.
Fortunately, after researching and testing the most popular methods in the Magento Community, both Commercial and Free, in search for the most appropriate solution in mass product handling consequently led to, what we think may be, the best and fastest methods to import products in bulk.
Magento Product Importing User Guide:
The bulk product importing tools and methods we will be describing are covered in the following steps:
Magmi, the Free Extension for Fast Magento Importing
For those who haven't heard of Magmi before, it is a free Fast Product Importer extension for Magento, that is free and usable on any of your Magento Data Entry projects. It offers very fast Product Imports, averaging less than 5 minutes per 500 products (which is less time than what Magento requires to index them). You can Download Magmi at SourceForge, where the main extension development occurs, or at Magmi's Github Repository.
In addition to the main Magmi download, you will require the Extra Plugins, which carries the image importing and other useful features. You can find the Magmi Extra Plugins repository here.
After downloading the newest Magmi files you will require access to your Magento websites root folder, typically using FTP or SSH.
- Unzip the downloaded Magmi.zip folder and upload the unzipped magmi folder to the Magento root install folder.
- Once successfully uploaded, you will find its dashboard at
- Next, click on the choose file button (see image) to upload the entire plugin .zip file, and press Upload Plugins. The same can be done with the Utility Plugins, although those are often needed in rare cases.
- Now, you only have to setup your database information to match the target Magento site's database, and press Save global parameters. You can get this data quickly from your local.xml file, in your
Importing Products with Magmi
Magmi is much more tolerant than Magento's Dataflow tool and will therefore create the products even if it fails to find the image or oftentimes even with empty fields that are normally required for Dataflow. The logs during the import process also provide sufficient data to make the debugging much smoother.