May 2020: This solution is for an old version of Magento. I have had comments that it no longer works on the current version. You may want to try anyway. If you have a better solution, please reply in the comments and I will publish your link.

Thankyou to Ashley Schroder for helping me fix this problem. I was ready to tear my hair out.

Using Magmi to bulk import products, there were a couple of configurable products that didn’t appear the first time I ran the import. No worries, tried the particular bulk import lines again with add new products only (simple products and then configurable product). That created the configurable product second time around, linked up with all the simple products. Fantastic. And then I found out that the product wasn’t showing in the frontend search or in the category view. The thing that finally made the product show up was the last step: disable the product then enable the product. Here are the troubleshooting steps in order, just in case you hadn’t already tried these.

  1. Are the products in stock? Check the inventory tab of the product. Stock availability — In Stock. If it’s a configurable product, check that at least one associated product option is in stock.
  2. Is the product enabled?
  3. Have you checked that the product is in a category? And not just the root category?
  4. Are your caches and indexes up to date? System -> Cache Management and System -> Index Management
  5. Lastly, if you have done all of that, and your product still isn’t showing in its category, give disabling and enabling the product a try (and all its child products). This did the trick for me.