We know, and are continuosly told that website speed is important.
There are studies showing each extra second a website takes to load, a measurably lower chance of a sale or conversion.
Now, with the recent announcement from Google, saying that the website speed will be part its mobile ranking algorithm in July 2018, and that mobile traffic (espeecially for eCommerce websites), is now more prominent than desktop, this is something to start sorting out.
With Magento being one of the most popular eCommerce content management systems (CMS) (and our favourites), we’ve put together some tips for how to speed up your Magento website.
1. Update to the latest version
You should always ensure the latest updates are installed to your Magento store as they generally contain bug fixes, which are essential for keeping your website secure.
As well as this, the latest releases will also normally include improvements and patches that help with performance.
You can find the version of Magento you’re running by logging into the admin area and at the bottom of the page, you’ll see it.
You can find the latest version of Magento here.
2. Cache management
Caching is when certain common elements or entire pages are stored locally, so when you try to access them, they load quicker as there is no need to load the entire page from the server.
There are two that we’ll look at:
First off browser caching, this is where the most recently downloaded web pages are temporarily stored locally on disk.
So as you go back through previous pages (e.g. category page to product page, then back to category), the previous page can be pulled from the local storage, rather than having to pull from the server again.
To utilise this, you’ll need to add code snippets to your .htaccess file, which will tell the browser to check the cache, before requesting it from the web server.
Second is server-side caching, this helps speed the website up by caching elements of the page on the server so they can be loaded from there, speeding the loading times up.
There are a number of ways to do this, one of the previous ways we’ve implemented this was with REDIS, however, depending on your circumstances might change what we’d recommend.
3. 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.
4. Compress and reduce image sizes
One of the largest parts of the page, that takes up the most disk space/loading times are images.
There are a number of times we’ve seen pages take up several megabytes (for clarity, you should be aiming for pages under 1MB), and the amjority of the time, it’s due to large image sizes.
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.
5. Use a CDN for media
As we mentioned above, images are one of the elements that take the most space on a web page.
A CDN (Content Delivery Network)has parts of your website stored and different locations around the world.
Having your media on a CDN would then help speed up the loading of the images for people browsing internationally.
This is something you should look at if you have regular international customers.
Check your Google Analytics to see where your traffic is coming from.
Simply head to Audience > Location > Geo and this will list which countries your traffic comes from.
Once you have this, checking your website speed for other countries can then help you decide if you need a CDN for there. There are also some tools that you can use such as Sucuri.
6. Clear database and logs
Magento, like many other CMS’s, keeps log files, from when a web page is loaded to when when somebody uses the checkout.
These are normally used for finding errors that need to be fixed, they can however, take up alot 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.
7. 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
You’ll have a screen like this where you can clear the indexes from.
8. Limit extensions to essentials
You will likely have a number of extensions and modules on your website to improve its functionality, however, like with other CMS’s, more does not equal better.
Each extension will come with it’s own set of files, which need to be requested and loaded onto a page, these extra request 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
Any you don’t need, change to disable and then save config. If you’re unsure about what the extensions do, ask your Magento team (or alternatively, give us a call).
9. Merge JS and CSS
In Magento 2, there is an in built way of doing this, without the need of additional extensions, to do this:
Stores > Settings > Configuration > Advanced > Developer
Change the merge/minify to yes, save config.
10. Get fast Magento hosting
One of the biggest contributors to your websites speed will be your hosting. You should be on either Magento dedicated or VPS hosting.
You should avoid using cheaper shared hosting as the resources are shared among other websites, and could impact your websites performance, losing you customers and sales.
If there are any of these points you are unsure about changing or editing, or if you need help with your website speed and support, drop us a message and we’ll be happy to help.