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July 3, 2015

5 reasons why your Magento store could be running slowly

Few things can be quite as irritating as a backend administration system which takes its time to load. Even worse so when speed affects your customers’ experience and ability to shop! You are not just losing your own time by suffering from a slow website, you are also losing potential sales.

Magento is a finely tuned application which, when setup correctly and kept up to date by an experienced team, can deliver an exceptionally quick user experience (both back-end and front-end).

There are a number of common causes as to why your Magento setup could be running slowly. Some fairly simple and some which can be technically complicated. Here, I will run through five of the top problems we come across when auditing new customers’ websites:

Extension overload

I’ve talked about Magento & Third Party Modules before but it remains one of the top problems that we encounter when auditing any new customer’s website. We often find too many modules have been added to a site when they are just not needed. Modules can be good at solving a particular problem or restriction you have but they usually come with other functionality which you may have no use for, meaning there is an unnecessary load being added to the system. We also find that there are modules on the site which are no longer being used and which can be removed.

Advice: Disabling a module in the Magento admin does not disable the module like you may think. It only stops the output. You will need a developer to fully remove a module from the system for you to make it inactive.

Core code hackers

As mentioned above, Magento is a finely tuned application. It has been created and tested by some of the best development masterminds in the world, so why would we want to disrupt their great work? Experienced Magento developers know to never develop in the core code of Magento. However, time and time again when auditing a site and doing a side by side comparison of an original install of Magento against a new customer’s website, we find traces of code editing! In some cases, it may be to only achieve a small change. In any development changes we make, we never involve the core code.

Advice: Unfortunately, unless you are a developer there is no way of you knowing whether or not the core code of your Magento has been tampered with. Indicators are often slow response times and continuous Magento errors.

Magento full page cache (FPC)

Magento’s FPC can make a real difference when it comes to improving site speed, but what is it? In brief, Magento Full Page Caching enhances performance by storing the most recent versions of primary pages on the server. Caching pages improves server response times, reduces load and increases sustainable traffic. If you are not running Magento Enterprise, full page caching is not a standard feature. There are however 3rd party caching solutions available to deliver this.

Advice: If you are running on Enterprise, you can check if your full page cache is enabled in the Magento admin. Simply go to ‘System’> ‘Cache Management’ and at the bottom you should see Full Page Caching as enabled.


Magento specific hosting

Who you are hosting with, what type of hosting solution you are currently on, and how the solution has been setup, can all profoundly affect your Magento solutions operating speed. Although you do not see it, when you select a link on the front-end or press ‘save’ in the admin, Magento has a lot of work to do to process this information and present you with the next page in a timely manner. An unsuitable server solution can impact how long it takes for these processes to run and a frequent issue we find is that Magento has been setup correctly but the server has not been given the same attention to accommodate the demands of Magento.

Advice: Engage with your developers to review server set-up.

Reliance on third party applications

Many Magento stores use PayPal or independent review platforms like Feefo to generate buttons and content on their website. The information being requested from these third parties is often so minute that you wouldn’t think your system is talking to another system to render that content. However, it can become very noticeable when the host is running slowly and therefore very important that these links are kept up to date.

Integrations with CRM, EPOS, ERP’s etc. can also impact on how effectively your website loads. It often takes a keen developer’s eye to run through error logs to distinguish the cause of these problems.

Advice: Ensure your developers are regularly reviewing these applications to make sure they are functioning correctly and are up to date, not to mention removing any that are no longer required.

We understand that these are only some of the reasons your Magento install could be running slower than normal. Nonetheless, we hope that this will give you a starting point in identifying the issues you may be facing. If the issues you are having persist and your development partner is unable to identify or correct the issue, we will be happy to help. We offer a one-off Magento Technical Audit. The service uncovers known, unknown and potential future problems which you may not yet be aware of.