If you’re a web developer interested in working in e-commerce, Magento should definitely be on your radar.
Experts and famous e-commerce players regard Magento as one of the major platforms for running online stores. Magento is a top choice of mid-sized and large companies, as the CMS enables serving thousands of visitors simultaneously and provides broad opportunities for customization and scaling. In turn, this often leads to a bunch of problems related to the overall performance of such sites and, in particular, their speed.
Every Magento migration company is aware of possible troubles and searches for efficient solutions to overcome them. In this post, we’ll consider some classic peculiarities of Magento, issues that may occur if you use it, and tips on addressing them.
But first, let’s look at what Magento is.
Magento Is for Powerful Online Shops
Prominent online B2C and B2B merchants often opt for Magento as a highly flexible and fully customizable CMS owned by a trustworthy brand, namely Adobe. Nowadays, more than 315,000 online shops and storefronts are powered by Magento.
These are e-commerce stores with thousands of visitors and hundreds of orders per day, or sites with unordinary features that can’t be crafted using simple store builders (i.e., that require custom solutions). HP, Canon, Nike, Christian Louboutin, Ford, and Jaguar are among the big names.
All these businesses have a huge potential for further growth. Thus, they must be prepared to scale their websites to cover new markets with specific features such as
- Allowed payment methods
Magento can ensure this path of a shop’s evolution, especially when seasoned devs maintain it.
In its essence, Magento is a complicated platform with a somewhat twisted architecture. Not to mention that, in terms of code, stores built on Magento 1 differ from those on Magento 2 like black and white.
Yet the platform’s primary strength is its capability to support large-weight enterprises and allow them to build custom solutions. The latter include freedom in UX\UI, creating advanced progressive web apps (PWAs) as a step toward store optimization and headless commerce, among other things.
However, excellent capabilities may bring about a great deal of concern about a store’s performance.
Why Performance Matters
There are two primary reasons behind fighting for the higher speed of an e-commerce website.
1. Impact on Customers and Leads
The thing is, nobody will waste precious time on a sluggish site since it’s so easy to find another one with satisfactory parameters. There’s a clear correlation between the speed and bounce/cart abandonment rates of online stores. Therefore, to avoid the leak of irritated clients, online retailers should constantly track and fix performance issues.
2. Impact on a Website’s Ranking
To put it mildly, Google doesn’t appreciate slow websites. When a search engine detects a site that loads slower than is required, its rank then drops. This point is also relevant if we bring up a Magento site’s performance and usability on mobile devices.
5 Major Magento Performance Issues and How to Tackle Them
Although various bottlenecks, lags, and weaknesses can occur in numerous parts of an online store’s back end and front end, we’ll consider a few of the most frequent ones. Then, we’ll share proven ways to resolve them.
1. The Wrong Operational Mode
First and foremost, it’s essential to check whether the website is in Default, Developer, or Production mode. It’s common for staff to forget to switch the mode after either fixing something or installing the store.
- Default mode is designed for configuring and testing Magento before giving customers an opportunity to use it.
- Developer mode is necessary to deeply configure, analyze, and repair Magento.
- Production mode is suitable for the usage of a store by customers. It’s already optimized enough to bring an acceptable user experience.
Unlike the third, the first two modes do not give the needed level of performance. Thus, be sure to switch to Production mode.
2. Caching Is Not in Use
Without implementing caching strategies, the exact requests to the server will be processed every time like the first time. On the contrary, with the integration of a full-page cache (for example, through Varnish or Redis), a team can reach a much faster store response. Each identical request will be saved and won’t be processed in the back end; thus, it will return instantly.
Of course, caching doesn’t affect dynamic pages/parts of pages (for instance, a cart page). But by delivering cached versions of the homepage or some page parts like the header and footer, an online store will perform far more impressively.
3. Media Are Not Optimized
An e-commerce shop contains tons of images and sometimes videos demonstrating products. All these multimedia files significantly slow down Magento’s speed. There are several tactics for dealing with such an issue:
- Optimize images in terms of their weight before uploading. Of course, it’s vital to find a perfect balance between quality and size (try TinyJPG or Kraken.io).
- Upload files that fit the exact requirements of different fields. If a concrete area needs a 200 by 200 resolution, the 500 by 500 photo is unnecessary.
- Use a CDN (content delivery network) or AWS (Amazon CloudFront) instead of a traditional hosting for the swifter delivery of content to consumers’ devices.
4. Using a Default Search Functionality
The basic search function on Magento websites is organized in a way that considerably slows down loading speed (it’s complicated and massive). In turn, Elasticsearch, as a separate system for searching and navigating through categories, makes stores faster.
Moreover, it offers a number of extra options:
- Multilanguage support
- Advanced search
- Indexing features
Maybe that’s why Elasticsearch has become a mandatory feature for Magento starting from the 2.4.x versions.
5. Cutting-Edge Technologies Are Neglected
Finally, there’s an actionable method to optimize the speed of an online shop as well as improve its mobile usability: rebuilding the website as a PWA.
Remaining a website that runs in browsers, a progressive web app gains key advantageous features of a mobile app. Among them are lightning-fast loading (due to smart cashing tactics and other new approaches in web development), handy UX/UI on smartphones, and the ability to operate in offline mode.
In some points, native apps are even surpassed by PWAs, as they are cheaper in development and don’t require downloading and installing on users’ phones, but users can access these websites via shortcuts on a home screen.
The Problems (and Solutions) Don’t Stop There
Frankly speaking, there are dozens of other problems worth attention and no fewer reliable tactics of resolving them. Software engineers should also
- Search for bottlenecks in third-party modules
- Monitor the newest Magento versions to update in time
- Get rid of unused scripts and plugins
- Optimize CSS
- Try Gzip compression and lazy loading of images
- Use more recent extensions
- Reconsider a hosting provider, and so forth
One thing is clear. After implementing at least several strategies, the speed indicators of a Magento online store will increase, leading to a better perception of the website by users.
Alex Husar is chief technology officer at Onilab. For over eight years, he’s been working on Magento migration and development projects as well as building progressive web apps (PWAs). Alex is an expert in full-stack development who shares his expertise and in-depth knowledge on modern technologies and computer software engineering.