Maintenance

Your online store needs occasional maintenance checkups just like your car does. Outside of storefront design and product updates, there are some basic tools you can use to keep your store in top shape for thousands of miles.

Contents

Getting Started

There are a number of tools you can use when you need to perform maintenance on your store – close the store during major updates, fix minor database issues, and even implement complicated server-based redirects and custom landing pages all from your Admin Area.

This article covers the maintenance tools that allow various degrees of database maintenance, modification, category re-indexing, temporarily closing the storefront, and functions you can implement to redirect Internet traffic.

Closing/Opening the Store

There may be times when you need to close your storefront for a brief period. For example, you may need to update your product line through an import or make extensive design changes – you probably don't want customers browsing the store while you’re working on it.

To temporarily close your store:

  1. Go to Settings > Maintenance in your Admin Area. article/maintenance-camera show image-closing opening the store-settings maintenance
  2. Click Close My Store. article/maintenance-camera show image-closing opening the store-close my store
  3. To re-open the store when your changes have been made, click Open My Store

Closing the store does not hinder your access to the Admin Area. While the store is closed, you'll see a message at the top of the storefront stating that the store is currently closed to customers, but you will still be able to navigate through it. article/maintenance-camera show image-closing opening the store-store closed message Note that your Add to Cart buttons are disabled when your store is in maintenance mode, so you won't be able to add items to your cart as an administrator. Maintenance mode allows you to make updates to your store without the possibility of an order being submitted.

Visitors to your storefront will be greeted with a default message stating that the site is temporarily down for maintenance and will be back online shortly. article/maintenance-camera show image-closing opening the store-storefront greeting

You can tailor this message by clicking Customize Your Maintenance Message Here.

Closed-Store Options

There are some options you have access to within the Maintenance area that are only active when the store is closed. These options directly affect the Orders database table within the system and thus, can only be modified while the store is closed to ensure that no orders are created during any of these operations. The Closed-Store options are as follows:

  • Auto-Increment current OrderID numbers
  • Remove past orders / delete sensitive data

Auto-Increment current OrderID numbers

Nearly every entity within your database is given a unique ID number for the system to track it by. These IDs are auto-generated by the software unless stated otherwise. For the first customer signing up with your  store the ID number will be 2 (Customer ID 1 is always reserved for the primary administrator). For the very first order placed, the order ID will be 1. However, what if you wanted, for marketing or bookkeeping purposes, your customers IDs to start with 1001?

The auto increment ID tool enables you to increment the ID numbers of specific database tables by factors of 10. This operation can only be done while the store is closed.

From this page, there are two menu options to select from: Table and Numbers to add. From the Table menu, select the database table you want to increment ID numbers for. This can be:

  • Order IDs 
  • PO Numbers
  • RMAs (Return Merchandise Authorizations)
  • Customer IDs

Select one of the 4 tables from this menu. You can increment IDs by 1, 10, 100, or 1000 at a time by selecting a value here and clicking the Add This Value button. There is no effective limit to the number of times you can increment ID numbers.

Example

Say you have 5 customers currently set up in your store (and all are administrators or staff). Before your store opens, you decide you want the customer IDs to start in the 1000 range to make it easier to see which are customer accounts and which belong to staff members. You could do the following:

  1. Go to Settings > Maintenance. article/maintenance-camera show image-closing opening the store-settings maintenance
  2. Click Close My Storearticle/maintenance-camera show image-closing opening the store-close my store
  3. With the store closed, click on the Auto-Increment link in the Maintenance Toolboxarticle/maintenance-camera show image-closing opening the store-auto increment
  4. Select Customer IDs from the Table menu and then select 1000 from the Numbers to Add menu.
  5. Click Add this Valuearticle/maintenance-camera show image-closing opening the store-add this value

Once you've completed the above steps, the next customer who registers with your store will have a customer ID of 1006. Note that the previously-registered customers' IDs will not be affected. Also worth noting is that due to the software's database structure, once a series of ID numbers have been incremented, they cannot be decremented.

Remove Past Orders / Delete Sensitive Data

Volusion is powered by a comprehensive and secure database which will store records related to customers, products, orders, and nearly any other body of data that can be input or displayed within your store (a major exception being full-track credit card data). This data storage provides a historical record for all transactions and transaction-related information.

In some cases, you may wish to permanently remove this data. For that purpose, Volusion comes equipped with the CleanSweep System Maintenance page.

When to CleanSweep

This tool will permanently delete vital data from your store database. It is recommended that you refrain from using the CleanSweep System Maintenance page unless absolutely necessary. This page was designed for use in only specific cases such as:

  • You've configured your store by entering a great deal of test data, which you need to purge from the system before going live
  • You don't use Volusion's order processing system and instead export all data on a regular basis for the purpose of importing that data into a third-party system

Access the CleanSweep System Maintenance page using the following steps:

  1. Go to Settings > Maintenance.
  2. Click Close My Store to temporarily close your store.  
  3. Click on the Remove Past Orders / Delete Sensitive Data link. article/maintenance-camera show image-closing opening the store-remove past orders delete sensitive data  
  4. Under the Remove header, select the following items to delete by checking the box next to each item: article/maintenance-camera show image-closing opening the store-data remove list
    1. Orders - deletes all order data from the Orders table
    2. Customers - deletes all customers from the Customers table
    3. Stored Payment Information
    4. Stored Billing Information
    5. Stored Shipping Addresses
    6. Customer Accounts w/ Invalid Email Addresses
  5. Optionally, you can enter a date in the Last Modified on or Before field to delete any of the selected records (from the list above) that were modified on or before the date specified.
  6. Click the Delete All Data Now button to remove data from the system based on the choices made above. 

Note

This will permanently delete specified data from your store's database. Only use this tool if it's absolutely necessary. Volusion is not responsible for lost data due to misuse of this maintenance tool.

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CDN

You can use the Akamai Content Distribution Network (CDN) to distribute copies of your website to tens of thousands of servers around the world, thus achieving faster and more reliable loads for your customers. For more information see CDN.

Enabling/Disabling CDN

  1. Go to Setting > Maintenance.
  2. Click Enable next to CDN. article/maintenance-camera show image-cdn-enable

And that's it. A copy of your store's content will now be delivered to the CDN. Whenever you update your pages from your Admin pages, the changes will be pushed to these servers immediately. However, if you use FTP to copy images to your site you will need to refresh yor CDN image cache to push them to the CDN, otherwise it could be 24 hours before these images can be seen.

If you want to disable CDN for any reason, click on the Disable CDN link. article/maintenance-camera show image-cdn-disable cdn

Refreshing your CDN Image Cache

If you have CDN enabled, you will need to refresh your CDN Image Cache after FTPing image files to your store to ensure that the CDN servers on the Akamai Content Distribution Network have the latest versions of all your images. To do this:

  1. Go to Setting > Maintenance.
  2. From the Maintenance Toolbox list, click Refresh next to CDN Image Cachearticle/maintenance-camera show image-cdn-refresh
  3. Select the image(s) to be refreshed (i.e. those you have just uploaded) and click Refresh. You also have the option to refresh all product images, although this can slow down your store’s performance during the refresh if you have a large number of products. article/maintenance-camera show image-cdn-select images
  4. A confirmation message will be displayed when the selected images have been refreshed. Click OK to close.

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Refresh Store Admin Session

Your web browser stores site-specific information about the websites you visit in the form of cookies; these can hold a record of the pages within the site you viewed, your login status, preferences, etc. Your browser also stores temporary information within a cache, such as actual web pages, graphics, videos, etc. to speed up the load time of pages you've already seen.

Sometimes, however, having all this material in cache and cookies can be counterproductive and slow down your system or interfere with your ability to navigate the site. From time to time, you may want to start with a clean cache and no (Volusion) cookies.

Clicking the Refresh Store Admin Session link will clear all Volusion cookies and everything in the cache of your browser. You will be asked to confirm that you want continue with the Refresh. Note that no actual data is deleted from your store. You will need to restart your browser and log back into your Volusion store after using this function.

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Resetting your Photo Cache

Your store's product image cache is refreshed every night, making sure that your store shows only current images. However, if you FTP product images to your store you should click on this link afterward to refresh the cache immediately.

  1. Go to Setting > Maintenance.
  2. Click Reset next to Photo Cache.

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Rebuilding the Search Index

This option is used to rebuild the index list for all categories and sub categories within your store. The Rebuild Search Index option should be used after you update the category table using one of the system's import options.

You should also use this option if you change any of the Search or Search Refinement config variables.

Note

Rebuilding the search index can take between a few seconds or a minute - depending on the number and nature of the category structure within your store. The store will be temporarily inaccessible while the re-indexing takes place.

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Reassigning Inventory Control Grid Order

The Inventory Control Grid is a tool for creating variations of products within your store automatically (e.g. a t-shirt product that has 3 different size and color variants). The Inventory Control Grid is discussed in detail in the Product article.

To access the Inventory Control Grid maintenance controls:

  1. Go to  Settings > Maintenancearticle/maintenance-camera show image-reassigning inventory control grid order-settings maintenance
  2. Click on the Reassign Inventory Control Grid Order By link within the Maintenance ToolBox.article/maintenance-camera show image-reassigning inventory control grid order-reassign inventory control grid order by  
  3. Check one or both of the options displayed within the next maintenance page and click the Perform Maintenance Nowbutton to execute the specified changes. article/maintenance-camera show image-reassigning inventory control grid order-perform maintenance

The first of the two control grid maintenance options available in this page is Create All Inventory Control Grids. Executing this option will tell the Volusion system to search for any and all products that have the Inventory Control Grid enabled within their options and will create the control grid. Note that this operation can be very resource intensive and could cause a temporary drop on system performance while the control grids are created.

The second of these two options, Re-assign OrderBy for all Inventory Control Grids, will re-order all child products created using the Inventory Control Grid. This will change the order the product options will display within the storefront for all products using the control grid. Normally, the order product options display buttons can be changed within the shopping cart by altering the Arrange Options By field in each product option. In some cases, especially when performing product imports, products in Volusion using the Inventory Control Grid will not properly update if the option orders have been changed. This maintenance option is in effect, the manual override for use in this case.

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Managing 301 Redirects

URL Redirection enables a web page to be referenced from more than one URL or from one URL to another. A 301 redirection refers to an instance where an inbound link to a particular page references a page that has been permanently moved to a different location on the Web. This is a form of advanced Internet acrobatics that many webmasters and HTML programmers find necessary to implement when making updates to or even migrating whole web sites.

To access the 301 Redirect page

  1. Go to Settings > Maintenance.
  2. Click on the link marked Manage 301 Redirectsarticle/maintenance-camera show image-managing 301 redirects-click manage 301 redirects
  3. Upload a list of 301 redirects contained within a standard XML file, using the Import Redirect XML File options at the top of the page. 
  4. Alternately, manually enter individual redirects, line-by-line within the Redirect Manager table on this page and click Save to make the list of new redirects active. Showarticle/maintenance-camera show image-managing 301 redirects-redirect manager tabs

Importing 301 Redirects

From the main 301 redirect page, insert a list of redirects into your store using a standard, pre-prepared, XML file:

  1. From the main 301 Redirect page, click on the Browse button and select an XML file containing a list of redirects from its location on the local workstation.
  2. Click on Upload to engage the XML file upload.
  3. Note that checking Replace All Redirects will overwrite all pre-existing 301 redirects with the contents of the XML file being uploaded. article/maintenance-camera show image-managing 301 redirects-replace all redirects
  4. Click on Click Here to download the redirects xml file link to view and download the current list of redirects within the system - in XML format.
  5. Use the above option to obtain a basic XML-formatted file which can be used as a template to build custom 301 redirect-based XML files.
  6. Note that this import tool can only read and process up to 5,000 redirects in one XML file. If the more than 5,000 redirects are required to be imported, they will have to be imported using multiple files.

Using the Redirect Manager

301 redirects can also be manually entered line-by-line using the Redirect Manager. The Redirect Manager consists of 3 values for each redirect:

IP Address Security Rules

Source Path This is where the original file or files were located at relative to the store's domain name. Note that only the path and file(s) that follow the domain name in the relative URL should be entered here.
Target Path This is the location the 301 redirect will send all inbound links requesting the file(s) at the "Source Path" location. Again, this generally will be the URL location sans the site domain name.
Delete Simply checking this option and clicking the "Save Changes" button at the bottom of the page will delete the respective redirect from the system.

Note

The Redirect .aspx pages to default.asp. feature will enable a special redirect option for any custom scripts you have created using Microsoft's ASP.Net and uploaded to your store's public directories. When active, when encountering any 404 (page not found) or other error in regards to custom .aspx pages, the system will redirect the browser experiencing the error to your store's default.asp page – effectively redirecting the browser to the storefront.

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Special Settings and Tips

Using a 301 Redirect After Migrating to Volusion

If you need to migrate your store from another ecommerce platform to Volusion, Volusion's file and directory structure will not be the exact same as your previous provider’s. If you’ve spent a great deal of time with their previous service provider, there will be a legacy of custom files, images, product links, etc. that have been indexed by search engines, referenced by affiliates, or blogged that will be contextually lost after the migration.

Volusion's 301 Redirect page allows you to set up redirects to automatically forward visitors, customers – even search engine links – to any specific location within your store.

Example

Let’s say you’re a clothing retailer migrating to Volusion. You have a custom size chart you provide to customers via PDF file. Previously, this file was located within the old system's root directory but will reside in a different location in you Volusion store. You want to make sure any visitor or search engine that has referenced the file's previous link can still find it online at its new location.

  1. Go to Settings > Maintenance.
  2. Click on the Manage 301 Redirects link.  
  3. Within the Redirect Manager table's Source Path field, enter the original file location - (in this case: /size_chart.pdf
  4. In the Target Path field, enter the new file location - in this case: /v/vspfiles/sizechart.pdf
  5. Click Save  to make the new redirect rule active. 

That's it! Now, all incoming links or visitors to the size chart will be automatically redirected to its new location. This rule affects even links for the file reported by Google, Yahoo, or other search engines.

Note

The 301 redirects will only be applicable provided that there is no active file or domain at the location provided within the Source Path field. If this is not the case, the source path will be ignored in favor of the actual file in the source path's location.

Using Wild Cards With 301 Redirects

When setting up 301 redirects, you may need to redirect inbound visitors and links from an entire series of files to those files at another location. There's no need to create a redirect for each and every single file – you can simply use the wildcard character.

For example, to redirect inbound links to custom images on a previous site to the same images now hosted in Volusion (the images in this case number in the hundreds), try the following:

  1. Go to Settings > Maintenance.
  2. Click on the Manage 301 Redirects link.
  3. Within the Redirect Manager table's Source Path field, enter the directory the images were located in, relative to the domain, followed by the wildcard character -  e.g. /images/.*
  4. In the Target Path field, enter the location of the directory currently containing the images, followed by the wildcard character - e.g. /v/vspfiles/images/*
  5. Click the Save  button at the bottom of the page to make the new redirect rule active. 

Done! Inbound links to the images at their original location will now be automatically redirected to their current location on an file-to-file basis.

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Summary

There are many tools that you may want to use regularly to run your business smoothly and efficiently. You are able to close and open your store, refresh store images, execute store maintenance operations, manage 301 redirects, and more - all from your store's central Maintenance page.