Magento is designed to be easy and intuitive to use, and for the most part, it gets that job done wonderfully. There’s a reason it’s one of the most popular e-commerce solutions on the market right now, and many people continue to trust its developers on a daily basis, with new deployments popping up all the time.
However, while Magento can work great out of the box and allows you to deploy a site with literally a few clicks and some minutes of your time, things can quickly get complicated and downright messy as your shop grows if you’re not careful. There are many points to be aware of when running a Magento store, and there are some optimization details that you’ll want to consider sooner or later if performance is proving to be an issue on your site.
The good news is that many of Magento’s classic performance issues are common ones that many people tend to run into, and they are not difficult to localize and resolve once you’ve gone through a few guides. All you need is some patience!
1) Proper caching practices
Caching, when done right, can make a huge difference in the way your Magento site runs, and it can often be the sole thing preventing you from having a properly running e-store. There are many articles out there about configuring your Magento’s caching properly, and it’s a bit beyond the scope of the one we’re writing here, but taking just 15-30 minutes to familiarize yourself with the caching technology in Magento can make a huge difference in how you’re running your site(s).
Keep in mind that sometimes caching won’t actually make much of an impact if it wasn’t the primary problem in the first place, but it’s always worth giving it a try before attempting any more complicated fixes.
2) Running the latest version?
This is a simple one, but you’d be surprised how many people ignore it until it’s too late. Running the latest version of Magento at all times can have numerous benefits on both your site’s performance as well as its security. It’s important to ensure that you’ve got the latest version of all relevant tools you’re using as well – if you’re responsible for managing the server where your site is hosted, for example, you’ll want to keep an eye out for new versions of the relevant server software, databases, and so on.
3) Balance your server’s load
If you’re running other sites on the same server, you might want to move some of them elsewhere in order to make more room for your Magento shop. As your operations grow larger, you may find the current server lacking in capacity to handle all requests in due time, and sometimes this can be just a matter of removing some applications from the server.
If you’re not the one managing that server though, you may not have a chance to control it so precisely, but in that case you can hopefully at least rely on the admins to keep it optimized in the first place.
4) Optimize images
Images can make a huge difference on the loading speed of a typical Magento site, and many e-shop owners pay very little attention to this aspect of their sites, when they should be treating it a lot more carefully. Simply shrinking down your images and ensuring that the right level of compression is always used can make a huge difference in the way things are running, especially if your shop is heavier on imagery in the first place.
Just make sure that you don’t go beyond certain aesthetical limits, as nobody wants to look at blurry product pictures that look like they were ripped off from another site!
5) Clean up your database
This can be a bit more complicated than some people can handle, but if you know your way around a database, you should definitely take a look at the one used by your Magento installation and keep it in check. As your store grows larger, your database might get filled up with all sorts of artifacts that you no longer need, making it a good idea to review it every once in a while.
On the other hand, if you aren’t sure that you know what you’re doing, you should probably stay away from your database.
6) Take a look at your extensions list
Last but definitely not least, a very common mistake for Magento site owners is to keep adding on extension after extension, believing that this is the key to making their site more intuitive and user-friendly. This is not only bad from a performance perspective, but it can actually work against making your site attractive to your users too! Never keep too many extensions running at the same time, and clean up the ones you’re not using on a regular basis.