To have a flourishing Magento e-commerce store, one of the things you need to consider is your site’s user experience. You need your store to give the best possible performance whenever users visit.
Many people assume this can only be achieved through custom coding, or expensive investments in dedicated server solutions. The opposite is true. By taking advantage of these tips, you can have great user experience without spending a lot of time and money.
Here are 12 simple but effective tweaks that will significantly improve your Magento site’s performance.
1. Download the latest Magento release
If you want to get the best out of your Magento installation, update it to the latest version. New Magento updates usually have bug fixes that are vital for the overall performance of your site. However, if you have used Wordpress before, there is a high likelihood that you will find updating Magento a bit harder.
Magento has taken this into account by providing in-depth tutorials of how to update your site. Furthermore, it gives you notifications of important updates you need to install.
2. Make use of a CDN (Content Delivery Network)
3. Enable Flat Catalog
If you have a store with more than 1000 items, it is advisable to enable Flat Catalog. This feature merges product data and categories into a single database table, thereby making database queries faster. For you to enable Flat Catalog you will have to go to “Store”-> “Configuration”-> Catalog. Ensure that - Use Flat Catalog category and - Use Flat Catalog Product - are all set to “yes”, then save the configuration.
4. Make use of the caching functionality
Magento comes with a caching solution that can help improve your site’s performance. You can also combine this feature with third-party solutions to achieve better results. For you to enable Magento’s caching system, navigate to “System” then “Cache Management” in your admin panel. Then select all items and set “Enable” before submitting the configuration.
Other forms of caching include browser caching, and page caching. You can also use page caching extensions for Magento such as Brim’s Full Page Cache or LiteMage.
You can merge multiple forms of caching such as Apache2 + Alternative PHP Cache (APC) + Memcache + Varnish Cache in your site, to considerably reduce page load times.
5. Optimize your images
Images take up a lot of memory during page load time because of their data intensive nature. It is therefore advised to have your images compressed before uploading them. There are numerous extensions for doing this, such as through Compressor Extension, among others. You can also edit your images using tools like Photoshop, before uploading them to your site. Don’t forget you can also get thousands of freelancers to help you when it comes to graphic design.
It’s important to note the page load times of e-commerce stores are affected by the product image sizes. It’s important to ensure you optimize all your images so that they take up less room, and therefore require less time for loading.
6. Clean up Magento database and logs
The default configuration for storing logs in Magento is 180 days. This means your site logs will be saved for a maximum of 180 days, thereby increasing your database size considerably. You can change this by navigating to “Stores”->“Configuration”-> “Advanced”-> System then Log. Under Save Log Days you can change to a figure of your liking (we recommend 14 days). Your main aim should be to ensure that logs are stored for a shorter time, which leads to a leaner database that can be queried faster, increasing site performance.
7. Have Magento compilation enabled
It’s advisable to use Magento compilation whenever you are setting up your Magento site for the first time. To do this, you will have to navigate to -System”->“Tools”->“Compilation” and click “enable”. The Magento compilation brings core Magento scripts to the front, leading to faster load speeds. Whenever you want to make changes or modifications to your site’s code, or want to install new modules, make sure Magento’s compilation is disabled. If you fail to disable it, there is a high likelihood of error messages.
8. Configure MYSQL Correctly
MYSQL can be useful when it comes to increasing site performance. It has its own feature “query cache” that helps in generating dynamic page content, thereby improving site load speeds. To make use of this feature, you will have to change my.conf file and php.ini file.
For my.conf file ensure that the settings are similar to these:
query_cache_type = 1
query_cache_size = 32M
For php.ini file, ensure that php_value memory_limit is set to 512M.
9. PHP accelerators
There are many PHP accelerators one can choose from which increases overall site performance. Some of these PHP accelerators include; XCache, APC and eAccelerator. These accelerators improve site performance by caching PHP scripts in their compiled states.
10. Have indexes updated
Indexes are important when it comes to speeding up database queries, and it is important for them to be frequently updated. Magento has a default functionality that updates indexes automatically. However, at times it is required that manual updates be used. To do this, one has to navigate to “System”->“Index Management,” select all the indexes that you want to update, choose “Reindex Data” then submit.
12. Select fast web hosting providers
Finally, one of the main things you should consider when setting up your Magento store online is the hosting you will be using. If you want your site to have great performance, you should steer clear of shared hosting. In as much as they might be cheap, you will eventually suffer because of the overstretched server capabilities. It is recommended you use a VPS server, if you cannot use a dedicated one. In this way, you have your own server with resources. If you are not tech savvy, then you can get open source web panel alternatives which are compatible with Magento, and which you can install on your own VPS.
Still have some doubts regarding Magneto? Are you still not sure whether it will work to enhance your website’s UX? Drop your queries in the comment section below, and we’ll be glad to answer them.