It used to be that importing products into Magento was incredibly time consuming and difficult to handle. Whilst recent updates to Magento has improved the Dataflow process it is still not a perfect solution.

To help get round this a project was set-up called Magmi which allowed products to be imported directly, rather than using the Magento ORM. As this evolved it added more useful features and is now the only way that I handle importing products into Magento.

There are a couple of steps that need to be carried out before the system can be used properly. After it has been installed the first thing that needs to be done is to secure the web interface. This can be done using Basic Auth or IP restrictions in Apache. To generate a basic auth password for a .htaccess file you can use this handy tool.

Once you have it secured the next step is to install some extensions to allow you to use some of the more advanced features. To install plugins you download them from here: and then extract them into the plugins folder.

Or you can use plugin packages and you can actually install these directly from the web interface if your server supports it (Thanks Dweeves).

The plugins are really what makes MAGMI so great as they allow you to do things like handle configurable products, categories and other things that standard dataflow and import/export are no where near being able to offer.

For advanced purposes it is possible to leverage the power of MAGMI in your own custom import purposes as part of a bespoke application using MAGMI datapump. We have used this technique for numerous clients when building a direct import from supplier feeds etc.