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Web-Form suddenly missing from e-commerce website (urgent solution needed if possible)

Posted on 2014-12-14
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Last Modified: 2016-03-02
Hello,

I'm posting this question in the hopes that someone can help me interpret something I found online which will hopefully correct a problem with my e-commerce website. Because we are nearing the end of our highest sales months, I'm hoping that the fix is relatively simple for one of you Experts familiar with websites and HTML, etc.

I have an e-commerce website which is built using a freeware web platform called Magento Community. An affiliated website called Magento Connect offers a variety of add-ins.

Several months ago, we installed a web-form add-in to use with a variety of promotional offers. The web-form enables a potential customer to link to our website and on a single screen, provide us with their name and email address (ie without having to go through the shopping cart, etc.). The web-form was working but for some reason (just in the last 3-4 weeks), not only has the web-form gone missing but the back-end web-form management menu is also gone (ie the rest of the dashboard and back-end info is fine).

The Add-In
The following link is to a short (1:32 min) video showing how the add-in was originally obtained and installed:

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nKGUYJGbgrM

The Problem
The add-in was working great and gave us several new customers during 2014 (and was fine when I last looked at it about a month ago). However now, after logging into the back-end and going to:

      System > Magento Connect > Manage Magento Connect

a blank screen results rather than the "re-login screen" (shown at 0:42 in the above video). Furthermore, the new menu-bar heading "Web-forms" (shown at 1:20 in the video) is missing.

Possible Solution
My skills are woefully inadequate to troubleshoot this type of problem and unfortunately, the person who could fix it for me is unavailable. However, a Google search using the terms "magento connect manager blank page" led me to what I hope is a fix. It is located here:

http://www.shdon.com/blog/2011/07/06/magento-blank-page-in-connect-downloader

The issue (posted by user: Niko Zarzani) is identical to the problem I'm having — including the blank-page URL he includes. Apparently he found a solution on his own a day later and fortunately described it in a second post.  I'm pasting his solution here but I don't understand it in the slightest:
------------------------------------------------------------
"I managed to solve my problem reading this post, I hope this answer will be useful.

My magento installation was missing php5-ftp and php5-zlib extensions. Magento calls gzcompress and ftp_connect with the error-suppression operator @ in front. This means there won't be any error messages, neither in the logs.

The following commands did the job.
zypper in php5-zlib
zypper in php5-ftp
/etc/init.d/apache2 restart

Open in new window

------------------------------------------------------------

The "this post" site to which he refers is here:

http://www.shdon.com/blog/2011/07/06/magento-blank-page-in-connect-downloader

If someone could explain this solution and describe the steps in layman terms so that I can implement them myself, I would be very grateful. (For example, where would he have inserted the commands he includes?)

Thanks

*A second associated video (1:39 min) with a bit more information is here:
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vBYzmjhPpS0
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Question by:WeThotUWasAToad
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Accepted Solution

by:
Jason C. Levine earned 500 total points
ID: 40499588
First off, well done on your research.

My magento installation was missing php5-ftp and php5-zlib extensions.

The short version: your Magento installation was working fine but your hosting provider probably upgraded PHP or did something similar to the server environment and now extensions that are required are no longer present.

The best solution given your level of expertise is to open a ticket with your hosted provider and ask them to install the extensions named above.  If you cannot do that, you can attempt to run the three commands above from the server shell (and if you have to ask what the shell is or how to get there, then definitely get your provider to help or hire a web developer to assist).  

The first two shell commands install the two missing extensions.  The third command restarts Apache and presumably loads the extensions installed on the previous two steps.
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Author Comment

by:WeThotUWasAToad
ID: 40499698
Thanks for the comments (& compliment) Jason.
The best solution given your level of expertise is to open a ticket with your hosted provider and ask them to install the extensions named above.
The problem here is that because Magento Community is freeware, direct support (phone or chat) is not available and email support is not too helpful — even during non-holiday-shopping times. I have posted a question on the user forum but with it being mid-December, I'm not optimistic that this avenue will yield the timely solution I'm hoping to obtain.

…if you have to ask what the shell is or how to get there, then definitely get your provider to help or hire a web developer to assist
I've heard of the shell but you are right (unfortunately), I don't know what it is or how to get there.

My quandary is that it's unlikely my usual developer will be available in time for a promotion scheduled to be launched (via several thousand emails) on the 15th and trying to hire someone in that short time is problematic.

I guess my questions at this point are:

1) Are the processes of installing the two missing extensions and restarting Apache something that can be described by specific steps which I could follow?
        OR
2) Does the above involve "intra-operative"* decision-making (ie you don't know what steps will be required until you get there)?

If the former is the case then I'm fairly confident in my ability to follow instructions, but if it's the latter, then I would obviously have to acquiesce. :)

Thanks

*…borrowing a term from my profession of ophthalmology
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Expert Comment

by:Jason C. Levine
ID: 40499843
The problem here is that because Magento Community is freeware, direct support (phone or chat) is not available and email support is not too helpful

Nope.  Your hosting provider may have changed something about PHP.  This may not be specifically a Magento issue...you need your PHP installation changed to have the two named extensions present.  They should be able to assist you.

1) Are the processes of installing the two missing extensions and restarting Apache something that can be described by specific steps which I could follow?
        OR
2) Does the above involve "intra-operative"* decision-making (ie you don't know what steps will be required until you get there)?

1) The steps you found might be specific to a flavor of Linux that you are not running.  "zypper" is a command-line utility for installing packages but it may not be installed or you may not be able to access it depending on how this server is set up and how permissions are assigned.  You may need superuser (e.g. "sudo") access or it may be completely beyond your ability to do (most shared hosting does not allow you to modify PHP).  This is why you need to talk to your hosting support about this question.

2) It might (see above) so I recommend you take an intraoperative timeout and reassess the anatomy and procedure checklist before galloping ahead into the unknown. You're not operating solo, engage with your first assistant (hosting support) and get the help you need.*

* You ain't the only one with surgical experience.
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Expert Comment

by:Gary
ID: 40500828
Do you have shell access? Is this shared hosting or a VPS/Dedicated server
Check the php.ini file if those libraries are commented out.
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