By now, you probably know that slow site load times can negatively impact conversion rates on your eCommerce site. Expectations for fast site responses are so high that customers will start to leave your site after waiting just one second. KISSmetrics found that a 1 second page delay could potentially cost $2.5 million in lost sales for an eCommerce site that makes $100,000 per day. So, how do you speed up your Magento site? Here are some Magento speed optimization tips to help get you started.

Image Compression and Frontend Optimization

Research shows that 80-90% of end user response time is spent on the front end (The Performance Golden Rule). To optimize Magento performance, JavaScript and CSS files need to be compressed and aggregated. There are modules available to help you accomplish this. Theme (or skin) images can be compressed with tools like SmushIt. Catalog images can also be compressed with this tool in order to cut down on load times. Image compression can be very helpful, but always be careful not to sacrifice too much image quality for performance.

While sometimes a necessity for custom Magento theming, be very cautious when overriding Magento’s code base. When using custom layouts for your theme be aware of the code that is being overridden or added with the new layout. In custom layouts, be sure to mirror the base Magento queries and product attributes to ensure optimal performance. Hacked store layouts with duplicate or unnecessary Magento queries can be a major cause of slow load times.

SQL queries vs. Magento Data Collection

SQL queries can become expansive operations that can heavily impact speed and page load times. For example, when someone goes to a product category, your site might list 50 products on each page, each with their specific product information. Load time is negatively impacted as each of those fields query the database for the correct information.  With any website that is database driven, you want to optimize how queries are made to that database as much as possible. The more queries you have, the slower the page will load. Whether you are listing products or pulling information for related products, you are calling to the database. Magento Data Collections will optimize your queries to the store database by loading multiple products in a single batch, which is much faster than referencing  products attributes one at a time.

Third Party Modules and Extensions

While many modules available for Magento are powerful and lead to an improved shopping experience, at times these modules are not utilizing the coding best practices to fit properly with the rest of the code base. This issue can negatively impact your site’s performance and can require a lot of custom development to improve, which can be time consuming and costly. It’s important that you always review module code in detail before integrating into your store to optimize Magento performance.

Behind the Scenes Maintenance

  • Ensure you’re using the latest supported PHP version.  Generally speaking, PHP is getting faster and more reliable with each new release.  But like any software, newer versions may introduce bugs, incompatibilities, or performance issues, so be sure to check release notes and thoroughly test the new versions before use.
  • Keep your store’s database clean. Magento stores can become sluggish over time due to a buildup of database logs. The database logs should be regularly cleared out. Magento and event observers for various store modules automatically create database logs to record sessions and interactions. If you’re using an external tracking tool, such as Google Analytics, chances are you aren’t using the Magento tracking as well. Disabling this logging activity will help you to reduce the strain on your site.
  • Enable Magento-based caching. Heavy caching will help to load your site faster as it cuts down on direct requests to the server for files that rarely change, such as CSS, JavaScript, or theme imagery and graphics.

Disabling Unused Modules

Similar to tracking tools, disabling unused modules will cut down on the amount of resources loaded for each page. Modules can either be disabled directly from the Magento administrator or from system XML files for Magento speed optimization. Remember that is some cases, disabling a module from the store administrator will not prevent the entire module from loading. Removing the module through edits to the store XML is typically the best bet.

By following these tips, you should be well on your way to making Magento faster. If you have any further questions on how to optimize Magento performance, contact us today.


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