In just a few short months, the holiday season will be in full swing. Your Magento eCommerce store will be inundated with customers on the hunt for Black Friday bargains and Christmas gifts. It’s the most exciting time of year for eCommerce merchants.

But is your store ready for the extra load? Does it provide the experience shoppers expect? Performance is crucial to a great eCommerce experience. There might be certain dilemmas if your store’s page speed is not acceptable.

According to Google, three seconds is the best practice. But unfortunately, according to googles recent benchmark report findings, most of the sites are far away from that. During the analysis of 900000 mobile ad language pages spanning 126 countries, it was found that nearly 70% of the pages analyzed took nearly seven second to display the visual content above the fold of display. It is one of the major obstacles faced by any Store owner. So, let’s take a look at some of the things you can do to improve a slow Magento store.

What’s The Score?

You shouldn’t optimize a Magento store before you know why it’s slow in the first place. If you just dive in, it’s likely that most of your time will be spent optimizing the wrong thing.

You can choose from several excellent free tools to examine the performance of a Magento store, including Pingdom Tools, Google Pagespeed Insights, and GTmetrix.

Google’s PageSpeed Insights is particularly useful because it provides a solid list of solutions to the problems it finds.

Check The Foundations

The number one cause of slow Magento sites is inadequate hosting. A busy Magento store consumes a lot of resources. If your store is slow, it’s probably because it doesn’t have the resources it needs. Your store’s hosting should be the first priority where optimization is concerned — it’ll give you the biggest bang for your buck, and other optimizations are a waste of time if the server isn’t up to the task.

Hosting isn’t just about the server though. At Nexcess we heavily optimize all aspects of our Magento Secure Isolated Platform Servers, from the network to the software stack.

For example, we use the most up-to-date version of PHP 7 with PHP-FPM (FastCGI Process Manager)  and Alternative PHP Cache for the best possible performance. Nexcess has also extensively investigated optimal database configurations, settling on Magento-optimized Percona instances.

Nexcess works with the Magento open source community, both on the Magento project itself and on several security and performance related extensions, including the Turpentine extension, which improves Magento integration with Varnish, a popular web caching solution that can improve Magento performance enormously.

If your store’s hosting isn’t up to the job, there are two solutions: talk to your hosting provider about upgrading, or migrate to a new hosting provider. Migration isn’t as much hassle as you might think, and a good specialist Magento hosting provider like Nexcess will migrate your store to their platform for free.

Code Red

Another common cause of security problem is bad code: often in a theme or extension. There are millions of ways bad code can interfere with the smooth running of a Magento store. Many problems occurring due to dirty code can make your store unappealing and slow down the speed of your store. So, if you suspect that’s the problem, talk to an experienced Magento developer They should be able to help you out and perhaps provide a fix.

Front-end Failings

If the hosting hardware and server-side code aren’t slowing things down, it has to be the front-end: the HTML, JavaScript, and CSS that the store generates and sends to browsers.

The performance optimization tools I mentioned will give you a useful diagnosis of the problem, but let’s look at a couple of easy fixes.

Optimize all images: Images are an important part of selling on the web, but they’re also the biggest component of most web pages. Any weight that can be stripped from images will improve the front-end performance of your store.

The solution: run images through a tool like ImageOptim or to trim some of the weight without reducing image quality significantly.

Reduce the server response time: One of the biggest factors in how quickly your page loads is the amount your DNS lookup takes. The amount of time the DNS consumes also depends on how fast is your DNS provide. If not then it might be the time to switch to a faster DNS service provider.

Monitor site speed: In order to proactively resolve the issues, periodically check the speed of your eCommerce site. If a Page takes more than three seconds to load then it likely needs to be optimized. In order to check and diagnose your store’s speed there are many tools like Pingdom, Google’s PageSpeed Insights etc.

Concatenate assets: Minifying and concatenating static assets like JavaScript files and CSS reduces the number of requests a web browser has to make to your site. This probably isn’t an optimization you want if your site is served over HTTP/2, but otherwise it’s an easy win.

Use A CDN: A content distribution network will put your static assets on servers near to your customers. The benefits are two-fold:

  • Firstly, scripts and images don’t have to travel as far, which leads to faster downloads.
  • Secondly, a CDN lifts some of the load from your server, allowing it to use its resources on more important processes like the checkout.

There is a lot more that you can do to optimize your Magento store, but the performance optimizations we’ve discussed today should be top of your to-do list.

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