The Purpose

Magento is a very powerful eCommerce framework. Magento is setup to handle many of the features that online stores will need to properly function. Most sites find their Magento stores will need some additional functionality. This is where extensions become extremely useful. Magento makes it relatively simple to install third party extensions to your Magento store. These extensions can add a wide variety of functionality to your Magento store. These extensions are available in the Magento Connect store or at third party companies websites and it is usually relatively easy to find an extension that claims to add the functionality that you desire.

The Risks

Extensions are powerful because Magento allows extensions override the site’s core functionality. This allows extensions to change almost anything in your Magento store. While this provides many customization options, it means that extensions can break your website's functionality. For Magento version 1.x, there is currently no code review process to ensure these extensions are well coded. This means that it’s possible to find poorly coded or broken extensions. Many times poorly coded extensions can cause the site to crash or even create security risks on your Magento store. Magento 2’s Marketplace does have a review process for their extensions, and we can say with great confidence that any extension that has the “Top Quality!” badge should be safe to apply, but extensions on a vendor’s site may not necessarily be up to the same standards.

Also, complicated and invasive extensions are more dangerous. The more changes by an extension of Magento's core functionality, the more complicated it's bound to be, and the more problems it can have. This is especially true if the extension makes changes to Magento’s order or payment processes.

The Solution

Since there are no checks to make sure that these extensions are doing what they claim, it is important to make sure you install quality extensions from trustworthy developers. Yes, an extension from a trusted developer may cost more than a lower quality extension, however it will be cheaper, in the long run, to spend a little more money on a good extension, than it will be to pay someone to spend a few hours fixing your site after the lower quality extension breaks your store. Since extensions come with such risk, it is important that you try to find extensions from reputable companies and Magento certified developers. Below are a few ways to find out if the extension you may be considering comes from a reputable developer or partner.

  1. It is important to review the ratings and reviews on any extensions in the Magento Connect store and determine if this extension has caused any problems.
  2. Check to see if the store is a Magento Certified Partner, or that the developers are Magento Certified Developers. Certified developers will know the best practices for creating extensions.
  3. Search to see if you can find recommendations from other companies or developers that have used this particular extension. A simple Google can turn up a lot of information.

Consider possible conflicts that may occur with other similar extensions you might have. If you have doubts as to whether something might work together, you can ask the extension’s support if they know. Also, we are more than happy to help you choose an extension for your Magento store. As a Magento partner, we have a lot of experience with extensions and likely even have some extensions that we could recommend for your needs.

If you would like to talk to us about extensions, extension reviews, or have other Magento related questions, please contact us at help@nucleussupport.com