“Nowadays Google considers your website/web page speed as a prime ranking factor for mobile and desktop searches.”
When it comes to the eCommerce store owners, nothing worse can happen if it’s the peak time of the shopping season and customers are bombarded with slow loading of web pages and problems with checkout.
Customers always prefer faster loading online stores, and if your store takes more than 3 seconds to load, the store/website owner may lose potential customers and report less revenue.
“Some research has also shown that 47% of customers expect a website to load within two or less than 2 seconds.”
Your website speed is the prime factor that allows Google and other search engines to give it a good ranking in their search results. However, it has been seen that when a website takes 3-4 seconds to load, 27% of the customers abandon the site, which results in low ranking and gives a bad user experience.
Expert Magento developers with years of experience in developing, migrating, and improving Magento stores have devised a formula/set of rules to optimize Magento stores’ speed and accelerate their performance.
“RUMFESIUM RULES” is the formula covered in the Magento Speed Optimization Services to improve the Magento store’s speed and accelerate its performance. The formula can be abbreviated as “RUMFESIUM RULES’.
- Right Magento Hosting
- Update the Magento 2 Version
- Magento Performance Audits
- FPC Configuration
- Enable Varnish Cache
- Switch to Production Mode
- Image Optimization
- Using Good Themes
- Remove Unused Plugins
- Upgrade to new PHP Version
- Lazy Loading
- Extension Audit (3rd Party)
- Speed up MySQL Database
However, this formula might not be the best for all store owners to improve a website’s speed. One can always use Magento Development Services to get the right solution at the right time to prevent further loss from self-experimentation.
1) Right Magento Hosting
Not every hosting plan is for your store. Always check your Magento store’s minimum and maximum requirements, analyze the traffic you expect to get or want to get, and accordingly choose the server or package that will meet your need. Ensure you select the upgradable package as high traffic in the shopping season can crash the site if you do not have a suitable hosting plan.
Recommendation: Always consider cloud dedicated hosting or Dedicated Hosting over shared hosting options. Using premium hosting services will guarantee you fast loading of the website/store for your customers.
2) Update the Magento 2 Version
To stay ahead of the competition and maintain its customers’ trust in Magento, Magento keeps releasing a new version regularly and assures updated technology, better performance, scalability, and more security than before.
If you are an eCommerce store owner, it is highly recommended always to keep your store updated. Upgrading your store to the latest version will fix bugs and help you boost your websites’ speed performance, and reinforce your store’s security.
Word of Advice:
- When upgrading to the latest Magento version:
- Make a complete backup of your earlier store version, including files, folders, and the database.
- Always create a clone of your existing store/website before performing up-gradation
- Analyze your store and keep what’s necessary and delete the rest
- Check the compatibility of your existing theme(s), extensions, and custom codes
- Migrate the data from the cloned database
- Remove outdated and useless data from the database
Install the fresh copy of the latest Magento version on the hosting server for a hassle-free upgrading process
3) Magento Performance Audit
Auditing your stores’/websites’ performance should be the very first step when you want to improvise your stores’ speed.
Magento performance audit provides deep insight into your Magento store. It looks at the entire stack’s performance, including the reports on URL rewrites, database logs, unnecessary extensions, product pages, category pages, checkout page, front-end performance, performance analysis of different pages, cache configuration, and server setup.
Magento Performance Audit helps you identify speed issues within your Magento store, application, server, or configuration.
4) FPC configuration
When a user accesses the store, FPC stores the HTML response of all your website pages except the login page, cart page, and stock status page. It stores the request, and when the subsequent request is sent, FPC skips all the backend process and database queries, makes a cached version of your page, and delivers cached pages to the user instead of running the request of each page every time.
Using FPC to resolve Magento Performance Issues will help you in reducing the server load time. Faster page load improves response time and drastically increases your website speed.
How to configure FPC in Magento?
- First, log in to your Admin Panel
- Go to Stores>Settings>Configurations
- In the Configuration section, you will find several options
- Choose the option “System” in the “Advanced” drop-down menu on the left
- You will see the “Full Page Cache” option; click on it, and you will have it configured
5) Enable Varnish Cache
The very next step you should take when enabling FPC is allowing varnish to handle FPC. FPC is much slower than varnish, whereas varnish is specifically designed to accelerate HTTP traffic.
Varnish cache is a powerful program, open-source HTTP engine/reverse HTTP proxy written in C program. It keeps the copy of the webpage that the first user visits, stores content in the modules called storage backend, and serves all the future requests to give a faster result that boosts the website speed by up to 1000 percent.
Varnish cache gives lightning-speed content delivery and reduces the server activity of searching the web page.
How to Configure Varnish?
- Log in to the Magento Admin as an administrator.
- Go to stores > configuration > advanced > system > full page cache
- Click on varnish caching from the list of FPC
- In the public content, field enter the value in the TTL
Expand varnish configuration, entering the required information about your varnish configuration
6) Switch to Production Mode
Magento 2 has three modes: Default, Developer, and Production.
It is often seen that developers develop a site in development mode and forget to change it to the production model while making it live, resulting in the store’s slow performance.
Important: Consider checking your store’s mode first. Check which mode your store is running on. If you find your store on Default or Developer mode, change it to Production mode. Production mode ensures a great user experience and fast site loading as it is optimized explicitly for better store performance.
7) Image Optimization
When you are the owner of an eCommerce store, you may have 100s or 1000+ product images that might be big, in an unfavorable image format, and poor quality images that will slow down your site’s performance and load time.
Having High quality, small-size images and the correct image format in your website will help your website run smoothly and give a superior user experience.
Image optimization is the process of reducing the size of large-sized images and making them compatible with your website’s platform.
Magento 2 speed optimization tips for Images:
- Use high-quality images only.
- Keep PNG and JPG format for your product images.
- Keep the maximum size of the image to below or up to 5 MB
8) Use Good Themes
Not all businesses are the same; neither do all Magento themes fit all companies. The eCommerce industry is consistently evolving, and to succeed, you have to come up with a unique concept, and Magento default themes might be unable to meet your business requirement.
You can also purchase a theme from a third party if that meets your business requirement. Just make sure the theme is compatible with the latest version of the Magento 2 platform to make your store more visually appealing and give a better user experience to customers.
Always keep in mind the below-mentioned points when deciding to buy a 3rd party or custom Magento 2 theme for your store:
- User Friendly
- Cross-Browser Compatibility
- Technical Aspects
- SEO Friendly
- Load Speed
- Customization Capability
- Blog Support
A big-size file takes more time to load and ultimately affects the website’s speed performance. In addition, files may have unwanted characters, spaces, tabs, and newlines, making the file unknowingly big.
When you have small-size files, they will act fast & download fast.
Don’t worry; the task is not challenging. Instead, it is inbuilt in Magento itself.
You will have to perform another step to enable “CSS minification.”
Go to Store > Configuration > Advanced from the admin panel and then click on Developer to find the CSS settings.
You will see the option of “Minify CSS Files” click on the tab “Yes” (that’s enabled) and then save the configuration to make the changes work.
10) Remove Unused Plugins
Unwanted stuff always occupies space and becomes a hurdle, be it a house, an office, or a website/eCommerce store. When you have unwanted plugins that are not compatible and unproductive for the owner in the latest version of the Magento 2 platform, any HTML request sent by the user will take time to act. Ultimately, the site’s performance will reduce drastically.
To address this issue, you can permanently remove unused Magento 2 plugins from the store to give space to the store and platform and improve your site’s performance with better speed.
Note: Keep only those plugins that are compatible with your current Magento 2 version and your store regularly uses so that they won’t occupy space, and instead of becoming a hurdle, they become one of the reasons to boost your site’s loading speed.
11) Upgrade to new PHP version
As reported by Sanguine Security, “less than 10% of all the Magento stores run on one of the older supported versions of PHP.”
Magento is an eCommerce platform that is written in PHP. PHP keeps releasing a new version with additional features and security patches to meet the latest technology trends.
One of the critical points that are known but not followed by 95% of the store owners and developers is they upgrade a store to the latest version of Magento, but they do not upgrade the PHP version in which Magento itself is built.
Thus, the majority of the store owners, following all the steps to increase Magento 2 website speed, do not get their store performing as well as they want.
PHP has officially released PHP 8 on November 26, 2020, with significant new feature union types, attributes, and JIT compiler used to improve performance significantly.
12) Lazy Loading
You often might have experienced that when you open an eCommerce store or website, all its images and videos start loading at the same time due to which it takes a minimum of around 6 to 10 seconds to load completely; meanwhile, customers leave the site and opt for the other possible options.
Lazy Loading is the concept of loading those images and videos only if a user scrolls through the page.
“Google and other search engines these days give more weightage to website speed for ranking.”
Implementing the lazy loading concept in your eCommerce store will speed up Magento’s website performance. Google will start giving it weightage. You will have a better ranking for your website than before, ultimately resulting in better business revenue.
13) Extension Audit 3rd Party
Revealing the secret: Whenever I am asked by my customers or during a free consultation about how to improve the eCommerce or Magento store’s performance, I always answer, “do these two steps first:
- Check if the store is on “Production mode” and if it is
- Start analyzing and removing the incompatible and bad custom extensions.
It is good that you have a unique business concept, and to fulfill your business requirement, default extensions were not capable enough. Hence, it is obvious you would have gone for custom extension development.
Magento strictly suggests using default extensions to keep your site’s security high and performance smooth.
Follow these steps if you have 3rd party extensions:
- Inspect all 3rd party extensions thoroughly
- Benchmark speed with and without extension
- Find those that take the most time to run or are non-compatible
- Disable the one that is affecting your store’s security and performance
- If you cannot, contact the extension provider and ask them to fix the issue
- If they cannot solve the problem, find an alternative or remove it
- Choose extensions wisely as a wrong extension can be full of bugs that will lower your website performance
- (If no option remains, go for expert extension developers that take care of all the critical points mentioned above to prevent any such issues in the future.)
14) Speed up MySQL Database
A poorly designed SQL query is a threat to the overall performance of your website/application.
Before you start working on speeding up the MySQL database, you need to find queries first. Once you know which questions affect your website’s performance, start exploring the reason and perform the necessary steps to speed up the MySQL database.
You will have to optimize both MySQL queries and Databases. Performing only one will adversely affect your site’s performance.
TIPS and Strategy to Improve MySQL Database Performance:
- Optimize your database
- Normalize your tables
- Use Optimal Data Types
- Avoid Null Values
- Avoid too many columns
- Index all columns used in ‘where,’ ‘order by,’ and ‘group by’ Clauses
- Use full-text searches
- Optimize like statements with Union Clause
- MySQL query caching
This article has shown you the possible recommendations that can be implemented to increase your Magento website’s speed. It is not necessary to implement all; try a basic couple with not much technical knowledge required, and if that does not work, try everything you want to do.
Still, if you cannot find the exact reason your Magento 2 store speed is slow, you should always take help from an expert Magento developer who can help you analyze the core reason and fix the issue. This will save your time and prevent your site from being ranked very low by Google or other search engines.
Would you mind sharing your views, comments, or suggestions, if you have any? We would love to hear from our readers.
Author Bio –
Kristy Davis is a Marketing Manager at i-Verve Inc, an innovative ASP.NET Development Company for web and mobile platforms. She is responsible for the communication, marketing, and business development of the company. Apart from strategic business development, she looks after branding, media relations, and advertising. Kristy also directs and manages sponsorships, marketing training, and events in the company. She has been involved in various high-profile roles in the marketing industry. When she is not making any magic at her desk, you’re likely to find her exploring nature, eating her way through Lakeview and Wrigleyville’s finest cuisine and its surrounding suburbs, or taking a drive along the Western Avenue. Her camera rarely leaves her side.