Problems and Tips Between Magento and USPS

So, as a lot of you who currently have Magento know, there are some issues
getting the United States Postal Service (USPS) Shipping Method to “play” nicely together.   First there is the “testing” period with their test server that you have to go through and then you get moved to their live server.  Below is an example email that you receive to take care of this yourself once you move to the live server.  Very little help.

Example

Dear USPS Customer,

Thank you for contacting us.  Congratulations on completing your testing using the U.S. Postal Service’s Internet Shipping Application
Program Interfaces (APIs). Your profile has been updated to allow you access to the Production Server.

1. The Production Server URL is:   http://production.shippingapis.com. For APIs calling the secure server, the URL is

https://secure.shippingapis.com.

2. There is a line of code that refers to “shippingapitest.dll”.  You’ll need to remove the word “test”.

If you are using third party software and need assistance, please contact the vendor of the software.  They should be able to assist you
in obtaining live information using our APIs.

Thank you for using the USPS Shipping APIs.

Some Helpful Tips

  • Be sure to include “http://” in the API URL.   Some emails provided by the USPS have this included in the URL and some don’t.  Make sure it is there.
  • When you go to USPS.com, and register, the name and password you setup is not going to work.   If you go further into the site there is a web tools section.  You must sign up in web tools for access to their API.    https://secure.shippingapis.com/registration/ They will send you a confirmation email, and then give you access to their TEST server, to setup your shipping.  Sometimes, magento does not work with their APITEST server.   Now, in the email that USPS sends you regarding testing out their API, it tells you to email them when you are ready to go to the production server to start using their API for real.  Send them an email confirming you are ready and then they will send you back a confirmation email with the correct URL and a password for the productionAPI.   Plug that into magento and it will work.   The trick is to sign up with USPS web tools, then after they give you the password and url for the test API, email them that you are ready for the Live Server Details.  They give you a new password and url.  Plug that into magento under the USPS section, and it should wo
  • If you have done everything outlined in this post and are still getting the “This shipping method is currently unavailable” message, double check the units used for weight, and the product weight for the products in the cart that you’re using to test the system.   I understand from this post: http://www.magentocommerce.com/boards/viewthread/8695#t31885, entitled USPS – Weight, Pounds, Ounces – Shipping Questions, Weights and Handling Fees that the units to be used for product weights for US located stores is pounds and ounces, with ounces converted to decimal values of a pound, ie 1 ounce = 0.0625.  So it seems that USPS needs a weight value of an ounce or so, and will not return a minimum shipping price estimate if the weight given is too low.

Always remember also that these help tips are also based on all different version of Magento and that Magento continues to correct bugs in their software in every version.   These are just a few helpful tips, and may not take care of your problem.  Contact NeoNexus today and let us solve any of your Magento problems!

Have a great weekend!!

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