Q: How Does Store Locator Plus Handle Large Location List Imports?

Some clients have datasets of 200,000 locations, none of which include latitude/longitude coordinates, only U.S. street addresses. Often customers want to know import limitations to including Google’s limit of 2,500 daily requests.

In order to perform bulk location imports with a CSV file you will need to the Power add-on installed.  The following constraints can keep the locations from loading or cause slower processing.

Browser / Connection Timeout

Most web servers and/or web browsers are configured to only stay connected for a short period of time.   If a browser retains an active connection with your web server trying to load a web page it will timeout, disconnecting the process and often stopping the import file from being processed.

The Power add on splits the processing into two parts.  The first part loads the file on the server.  Once the file is loaded on the server a background process will read the file in “chunks” where it sends requests to Google for location geocoding.   This allows for far larger lists to be imported and processed without running into browser timeout limits.

Your web server (Apache, nginx, and IIS are the most common) will have a configuration setting that terminates the connection and all running programs when it is exceeded.  This is often set to 30 or 60 seconds.

PHP can also have a maximum CPU/execution time setting that will kill any process exceeded the limit as protection against infinite loops or other process problems.

Google Query Limits

If you do not have a Google Maps API Key or an Enterprise/OEM license your web server will be limited to no more than 2,500 geocoding requests per day.

On shared servers this limitation is shared between ALL sites running on the same server.   Some larger hosts, such as GoDaddy, may run tens-of-thousands of websites on a single server.  You may find our site is “thrown in the pile” with the others and have less than a dozen goecoding requests left for your use each day.

As of June 2016 all new sites MUST have an API key.   If you employ the API key you will get your own 2,500 location limit even if you are on a shared server.

To geocode more than 2,500 locations you will need to opt for the “pay-as-you-go” option when you setup your Google API Key.   This is managed and charged by Google

GeoCoding Takes Time

For faster processing or to geocode as many locations as you can in “chunks” it is often best to check the “Skip Geocoding” while doing a CSV import.  This will load all the locations in your CSV file without being encumbered by the slower Google Geocoding process.    Once all locations are loaded us the “Geocode All Uncoded” bulk action.    This will talk to Google in a separate process and geocode as many locations as Google will allow.

Note that only geocoded locations will show up on the locator search results.

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