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How To Make Magento Store Faster Without Touching Code

Wajid Hussain Jan 31, 2017
speed-up-magento

Magento is the most powerful application being used by many of the online merchants out there because of its rich features. Magento has the market share of 23.77% following Woocommerce at 22.14%.

Since, Magento is a big ecommerce platform, it does require ample resources to sustain itself properly. It is essential to have a store that is fast and user friendly.

To make the Magento store load quickly, the main key is configuration. Configuration is important for a Magento store because if it is not done properly, it could result in slow speed leaving negative impact on the customers. Magento has a lot of built-in features to speed up the rendering process.

Speeding up your Magento webstore is really important because it highly impacts on both Search rankings and conversion rates. But it can be quite challenging. To help you through this daunting step, this article will help you out with the things that are required to get the most of Magento’s optimization features.

People Have Become Really Impatient- Nothing New About That, Right?

Before moving on towards the configuration settings and options needed to improve the Magento’s load time, let us talk about the commonly offered solutions to Magento being slow.

Many of the developers during the optimization face either hardware problem or a software problem. As obvious as it may sound, there are certain elements that needs further clarification before you jump to conclusions:

The Hardware Dilemma:  

A hardware problem is that you need to change your hardware or you need to migrate your site on any other server.

But on other side, it is true because running a powerful software like Magento, needs a high potential server. The potential depends on the number of customers your Magento webstore serves at a time, for that you will need something that is in between mid-tier and ludicrous speed OR maybe you would need a more capable software for that.

The Software problem:

Software issues emerge primarily because of bad coding or may be the errors have been injected through a blacklisted or a rogue extension that’s been added by you erroneously or deliberately. If this is the case of errors in the code than the main solution is that you need a developer to go deep in the code, find it and correct it.

Besides the errors, there could be another problem with your code and that is, maybe the code is not efficient in performance as it actually should be in the first place. If this is the problem then this might be the bottleneck in your site’s code. So, address this issue by all means.

Check Configurations For Speed Before Beginning:

Configurations are needed to check the speed of your webstore as you might not be using all the Magento’s built in features that are available to help you out in optimizing the load time.

Many of the Magento stores don’t use these built-in functionalities, later resulting in a slow webstore. Listing down Magento’s built-in features that you need to improve the load times and also will give you information on how to configure them efficiently.

Configuration of Magento Built-in Features For Speed:

At this point when you have to perform any change to the Magento, we must recommend you to make all the changes that you must do on a development site at first.

To make sure that your store functionalities are up-to-date as you expected them to be then perform testing. After testing if you are not satisfied by them then make changings on the production.

The functionalities are listed below in an order of the impacts that are made on your store’s speed.

Caches:

Caches are there to help you out in speeding up your site or your system. And in Magento, caches plays an important role in optimization. They work by keeping the blocks of the HTML codes and then using them on needed time, speeding up your webstore because servers don’t need to generate them again.

If you are using Magento Enterprise version than caching would be a piece of cake for you because it comes with full page cache. But what if you are not using this version. Don’t worry we have a solution for that as well!

You can use some add-on extensions for the Community version to do full page caching. If you use this version and you want to boost up your site then we recommend you to install one of them.

The main issue on some of the stores is that only some of the caches are active. There could be many of the reasons of caches to be disabled. Maybe the extension that you are using is broken when the caches were turned on or may be you are not 100% confident that nothing will get wrong once you turn on the caches.

If you are facing above cases then you should resolve them at once. And before deployment, make sure your website to test in a development environment. After that turn them on and finally utilize the speed benefits as you wanted them to be!

Configuration of Caches:

The below mentioned are the tips and tricks to configure the caches:

  1. Go to System > Cache Management
  2. Select All caches
  3. Select Enable under the Actions dropdown
  4. Hit Submit button and Voila!

Flat Tables:

Magento has two modes:  Database Products and Categories. Magento can use many number of tables to generate the information or it may use one Flat table.

Both of the modes are there for you to use. If your are using Flat table mode then you also have to do indexing that is triggered when you save a product. Using flat tables means that you are not affecting any other things but only the speed of the site for your customers. Make sure to test the flat tables on the development site before making the changings in productions as many of the extensions do not work well with these flat tables.

Configuration of Flat Tables:

The below mentioned are the tips and tricks to configure the flat tables in your database:

  1. Go to System > Configuration
  2. Select Catalog from left
  3. Open the Front End
  4. Change the option to Yes  of the Use Flat Catalog Category and Use Flat Catalog Product
  5. Hit Save and don’t forget to Test

Asset Crushing:

Magento depends on quite a few CSS and Javascript files in order to run, further you can add extensions as well. On the web, you need a connection to your server for each file because every file downloaded comes with overhead. This gives us the idea of packing your assets into a large file instead of packing them into smaller ones.

And yes, Magento does have this option through that you can merge all the Javascript and CSS files that are being used on your site into other files automatically.

Configuration of Assets Crushing:

The below mentioned are the tips and tricks to configure the asset crushing:

  1. Go to System > Configuration
  2. Click on the Developer link
  3. Open up the Javascript Settings and CSS Settings
  4. Set the value of Merge Javascript Files and Merge CSS Files to yes
  5. Hit Save!
  6. The merging of Javascript files also break functionalities, also it depends on the customizations your theme have. Also, make sure that you test.

Database Log Cleaning:

The log in Magento systems contains log that have quite a bit of data about each preview that is on the site. Many times this data is accumulated in the database. This  data can grow to a specific point where each additional log to the database takes the time that it needs to complete.

If your log cleaning is not enabled then your site might get slow after a couple of months but again it depends on the number of people visiting your site or more shortly the site traffic. By log cleaning, you are basically deleting the old entries and  keeping only the newer ones. You might think about data loss. Not to worry Magento’s database logs are not used for much.

Cleaning Database Logs:

The below mentioned are the tips and tricks to configure the database log cleaning:  

  1. Go to System > Configuration
  2. Click on the link on the left bottom named System
  3. Open up the Log panel
  4. Set the following settings
    1. Set Enable Log to Yes
    2. Set Save Log, Days to 7
    3. Set Enable Log Cleaning to Yes
    4. Set Start Time to 0:00:00
    5. Set Frequency to Daily
    6. Enter your email address at Error Email Recipient
  5. Hit Save and don’t forget to Test.

The Alternative Is Here! Disable Database Logs:

Yes, we have here a golden option too. This alternative is here to remove the additional functionalities of your website, let’s suppose you don’t need the functionalities of Recently Viewed Product or Compare Products for not logged in customers then simply just disable these logs. In result, you will get a Webstore which is much faster than before and yes your logs will be clean. To do this, the steps are mentioned below:

  1. Go to System > Configuration
  2. Click on the link on the left bottom named System
  3. Open up the Log panel
  4. Set Enable Log to No
  5. Hit Save and don’t forget to Test.

Disable the Error/Debug Message Logging:

This is the last option in the list and can be done only if you have resolved all the errors on the site. Still, it can be useful to catch rare errors that are not discovered yet by keeping the logging enabled.

But if you disable the logging, it will have a measurable impact on your site speed and performance. Your question might be raised that when to disable this option, we will recommend you to disable it if your site is performing well without much errors.

Disabling Frontend logging

The below mentioned are the tips and tricks to disable the frontend logging:

  1. Go to System > Configuration
  2. Click on the link on the left bottom named Developer
  3. Open up the Log Settings panel
  4. Set Enabled to No
  5. Hit Save and again don’t forget to Test.

Compilation:

The Compilation is a feature in Magento that is – right now – included for legacy support. You might hear this option before but actually, according to us, this is an anti-suggestion. This feature was introduced at the time when there was a hard time for PHP running codebases as large as Magento’s. Now, this issue has been fixed in new versions of php 5.0, so, you don’t need compilation feature as long as your server host provides you the functionality of OPcache.

Voila! You are Done Now!

The above-mentioned options are for your slow Magento Webstore and you want it to run it in faster speed.

Still, you are facing any issue? How much your Magento Website is now after doing few switches? Let us know in the comments.

Wajid Hussain

Wajid Hussain

Community Manager at Arpatech
Wajid Hussain has a vast experience in Magento and PHP fields. He is currently a Community Manager at Arpatech. He keeps himself engaged with latest e-commerce and Magento trends and also happens to be an avid football fan. You can follow him on Twitter at @wajidstack or contact him through e-mail wajid.hussain[at]arpatech.com
Wajid Hussain