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9 Tips to speed up Magento websites (Simple changes anyone can do)

by: Tim Richardson

on: 14th January, 2019

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This is part of a series of articles we’re writing on how you can speed up your Magento website. In this article, we’ll be looking at ways you can speed up your Magento store you can do yourself with no technical knowledge.

Our other one will be looking at what your developers can do to speed up your website.

Why website speed is important

We know and are continuously told that website speed is important. With studies showing each second, a website takes to load, directly correlates to the chance of a sale or conversion.

 

kissmetrics-loading-time-slow

Google now takes speed into account when as part of its mobile ranking algorithm in July 2018. Mobile traffic (especially for eCommerce websites), is now more prominent than desktop traffic from desktops (check your stats in Google Analytics from Audience > Mobile > Overview).

GA-view-device-split

With Magento being one of the most popular eCommerce content management systems (CMS), we’ve put together tips that need no technical skills, mainly through the Magento backend, to speed up your Magento store.

1. Switch on flat catalogue

By default, Magento stores attributes, catalogues, products etc. in different database tables. When it needs to search through, having multiple tables like this hinders the speed the website will return results.

A flat catalogue, on the other, combines the product and category data into one table, making it quicker to return results search.

In Magento 2, to change this you would:

Navigate to Stores > Configuration > Catalog.

Then change the use flat catalog and products to yes, and save.

 

flat-catalog-and-products-magento-2

2. Reduce image sizes

One of the largest parts of the page, that takes up the most disk space/loading times are images.

You can check this by taking a look at what the largest file sizes are when a page is loaded, if you’re using Google Chrome, you can open up a page on your website, right click and choose to inspect. Along the top of the section that pops up, go to Network then hard refresh the page (CTLR + F5). This will then freshly load all the elements for the page if you filter by size, the biggest file sizes are generally images. Here’s an example taken from our home page.

isev home page network load time

See all those ‘jpeg’s’ under type – all images. The bigger the file size, the longer it takes to load.

We’ve worked on websites where there were speed problems, having checked the page load, there were images that were over 2MB in size! (for clarity, pages should aim for under 1.5MB).

Yes, you want to show high-quality images, but there is only so much quality people will be able to see on their screens.Reducing the file size (up to a point) will not impact the quality of what people will be able to see.

There are a number of ways you can undertake this, depending on the size of your website, it may be a daunting task, put a little time aside each week and run through 10 products and reduce their image sizes.

If you’re really reluctant to go through your existing products, make sure that you’re optimising your new product images going forward. Google has released a couple of tools that make this easy called Squoosh and smaller-pictures.

3. Clear database and logs

Magento, like many other CMS’s, keeps log files, from when a web page is loaded to when somebody uses the checkout.

These are normally used for finding errors that need to be fixed, they can, however, take up a lot of room on the server and slow your website down.

By default, Magento will store these log files for 180 days (6 months), what you could do instead, is only keep the last 30 days to clean up space.

To change the log frequency in Magento 2, head to:

Stores > Settings > Configuration > Advanced > System.

Expand the Admin Actions Log Archiving and then set the daily frequency as you see fit.

4. Update the Magento indexes

The indexes are used to speed up MySQL queries on the website.

You can clear this by heading to:

System > Tools > Index Management

magento-2-indexes

You’ll have a screen like this where you can clear the indexes from.

You’ll have a screen like this where you can clear the indexes from.

5. Limit extensions to essentials

Extensions can help evolve our website, opening up more customisability and options. You will likely have a number of extensions and modules that improve it, however, like with other CMS’s, more does not equal better.

Each extension will come with its own set of files, which need to be requested and loaded onto a page, these extra requests slow your website page speed down.

Limiting to only the essential extensions helps reduce this load time, making your website faster.

To see your current list of extensions:

Store Configurations > Advanced > Advanced

What you want to do is audit the extensions you are using and put them into three categories

  • Essential – Ones that are actively used and needed.
  • Not needed – Ones that you no longer use.
  • Unsure – The others where you’re not sure what they do or if you need them.

For any you don’t need, you will disable them. For the extensions where you’re unsure of what they do, ask your Magento team and then decide from there if you need them.

6. Merge and minify Javascript and CSS

Javascript and CSS make up various parts of how your Magento website works and is layed out, they are needed to make your website work the way it does. There are multiple files that will exist and control different elements of the page.

The more Javascript and CSS files your website has, the more files need to check (HTTP request), the longer your page takes to load. What you can do is merge the Javascript and the CSS files into a singular file, to reduce the number of request and the load time.

In Magento 2, there is an inbuilt way of doing this, without the need for additional extensions, to do this:

Stores > Settings > Configuration > Advanced > Developer

Change the merge/minify to yes, save config.

magento-2-css-and-javascript-minify

7. Don’t use Javascript bundling

This is only available in Magento 2. Magento 2 can group Javascript files together to reduce the number of requests a browser needs to make when loading a page. You would have thought that the fewer requests needed, the faster the load time – this isn’t the case with Javascript bundling.

This is because the bundled Javascript file can end up pretty big in size, which reduces speeds, especially on mobile. To turn Javascript Bundling off, go to:

Stores > Configuration > Advanced > developer >Javascript Settings and set Enable Javascript Bundling to No.

8. Disable shipping methods you don’t use

Magento comes with the ability to sync/integrate/use various shipping carriers by default such as FedEx, UPS and so on, which are all enabled by default

However, even if you don’t use these integrations on your Magento site, whenever someone goes to thier cart, it generates a request to the couriers, which results in higher load time for the basket.

So the solution is to disable the courier options you aren’t using, which then stops the need for the requests to be sent, speeding up the website load time. You can do this by:

Stores > Configuration > Sales > Shipping Methods and changing the Enabled for Checkout to No and saving.

9. Get fast Magento hosting

One of the biggest contributors to your websites speed will be your hosting. Imagine it like building a hosue, you need a good, solid foundation, otherwise, without it, your hard work will all go to waste.

You should ideally have your website on either Magento dedicated or VPS hosting.

Avoid using cheaper shared hosting as the resources are shared among other websites, which then directly impacts the performance of your website, resulting in lost customers and sales.

What you need is a dedicated resources, that can be managed for your website, preferably where what’s needed can be adjusted when required (such as AWS hosting)

If you need help with your website speed and support, drop us a message and we’ll be happy to help.

 

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