How to Speed Up Magento Website: 10-Step Guide

When a website is running slow, it turns customers away.

The statement is so true today as websites are packed with so many features that often take a toll on performance. If you have noticed that it took too long for pages to load, you'd probably lost a customer or two.

Slow eCommerce websites are a bane of sellers’ operations. The problem is not in the number of features a website has but in the right optimization of back-end processes. The task is to always look out for problems and solve them immediately.

 Importance of Website Speed by Google

The article will help you better understand when it is time to address issues and which techniques can guarantee that your store will perform smoothly, even under high loads. We are going to walk you through the main steps of speeding up your Magento website:

  • the importance of having a lightning-speed website + real examples
  • how to determine that your website needs a speedup + some useful tools
  • useful tips that will optimize Magento speed
  • key takeaways

Why Website Speed Matters: Real Examples

Magento Website Speed: Impact on Business

People hate waiting. With the advent of the internet and online shopping, the problem was partially solved. Customers now find a product, place an order, and pay for it, all within seconds. Expectations to online stores are high, and if they fail to keep up with customer needs, they struggle to convert visitors into customers and bring revenue.

Website speed has a direct correlation with the conversion rate, and the statement is proved by the statistics. Only a second delay in page loading decreases conversion by 7%. Of all the people who face poor website performance, 79% of them will never return to the site again.

There is another research that is dedicated to website speed and conversion. According to Singleston Consulting, 35% of all website visitors are unlikely to buy a product from the company, and 66% admitted that poor website performance influences their impression of a company.

The Akamai company states that even milliseconds count. Pages that loaded in 2.7 seconds showed the conversion rate of about 12.8%, while pages that loaded in 2.8 seconds faced the decrease in the conversion of about 2.4%.

The above examples illustrate the importance of a high-speed website in the eCommerce industry. Underestimation of it can lead to a poor conversion rate, which will result in insufficient revenue.

How to Determine Low Website Speed

Why is Magneto so Slow: Main Reasons

How can I determine if my website is sloping?

That is another important question. If a website shows fast load time when you access it, it does not mean that it loads fast when your customers are attempting to make a purchase. There are a lot of factors that influence overall website performance for end-users, as the distance between users and servers and even which device and browser are used to access a website.

If you are serious about your eCom business and do not want to leave a chance to faults and mistakes, make sure to run the Magento speed tests regularly. There are two main solutions that can help measure the speed of a Magneto website:

  • PageSpeed Insights – official solution by Google that can be used to determine the page load times of desktop and mobile websites. Aim for a score of 90 and above. If you see the result of 50 and below, it is an indicator that you have to work on speeding up Magento.
  • Test My Site – another solution by Google with broader functionality. It provides insight into site speed, compares it against competitors, and recommendations on how you can tackle the identified problems.

If the above tools show that your website needs a speed up, do not postpone the solution of the problem. Better yet, entrust the task into the hands of professionals who will make a comprehensive site audit and provide a detailed optimization report.

10-Step Magento Speedup Guide

Speed Up Magento in 10 Steps

The speed of an online store that is running on Magento can be slowed down by different factors. It can require you to perform a set of actions to improve page load time and overall performance. In general, you will need to address the following issues and make sure that they don’t interfere with your store:

  • eliminate deceleration extensions
  • configure server properly
  • SRT and TTFB
  • set operating mode
  • JavaScript Bundling
  • minify JS and CSS
  • Varnish vs built-in caching
  • disable unused extensions & solutions
  • CDN
  • reindexing
  1. Eliminate Decelerating Extensions

Extension audit should be the first step in the journey to the lightning-speed Magento website. Very often they interfere with each other and slow down the whole store. We understand that no website can run without extensions, but it is up to you to choose the ones that will run without a hitch. The fewer custom modules you have, the higher the chance your website will perform fast.

One of the ways to test how each extension impacts load speed is to turn them on and off one by one and test performance at each step. This way, you will be able to define the ones that are slowing down your website. If you detect such modules, try finding alternatives that are developed by trusted extension development companies that are more likely to benchmark them before release.

  1. Configure Servers Properly

This step is a complex one and consists of different issues that should be addressed. Here are a few tips on how to guarantee that the server will provide the highest performance:

  • Hosting provider – very important to choose Magento hosting provider that will be able to meet your business requirements. The main advice here is not to settle on the cheapest variant. The server is the main factor that predetermines the future performance of your online store and how it will cope with high loads. Also, when moving from Magento 1 to Magento 2, it is important to extend resources.
  • Latency – the location of your hosting and the distance from it to the core audience also influence how a website will perform in that region.
  • VPS – when choosing this option or a dedicated server for hosting, it is crucial to optimize the software and database that run on the server.
  • MySQL query cache – It should be on your list of steps for website speed audit. Many servers have query cache disabled by default, which slows down Magento performance. By enabling it, you will speed up your store significantly.

GoMage Magento PWA Theme

  1. SRT & TTFB

These are very important concepts in web development as they directly influence website speed and its ability to convert customers. What is more, they influence eCommerce stores on Magento.

  • Start render time (SRT) – the moment when after the initial request to a website users see the first content that loads. It is the moment when on the white screen appears some element. It might be a logo, colored background, text, etc. It is the first thing that users see and how fast they see it defines their impression of the site’s speed. Perfect STR is about 1 second. If it takes longer than that for a website to show the first elements, there are obvious problems with its optimization.
  • Time to first byte (TTFB) – directly influences SRT. TTFB measures how long it takes from the moment when a user makes an HTTP request to the time when the browser gets the first byte of the page is downloaded to the browser. In accordance with Google guides, optimal TTFB should not take more than 200 ms. It might be a good idea for your website to operate within this number.
  1. Set Operating Mode

Wrong operation mode often underlies poor performance. It is often overlooked by those who have moved from Magento 1 to Magento 2. The latter can work in default, developer, and production mode. Out of the three, the latter has the highest speed. The first two modes are designed for development and debugging. This aspect is often ignored, though it mostly becomes the main reason for low speed.

To make sure that a website operates you will need the following command:

php bin/magento deploy:mode:show

If it identifies that there is a need to switch between the modes, use the following command:

php bin/magento deploy:mode:set production

  1. JavaScript Bundling

It is another thing to avoid when working with Magento 2. How can something that was designed to speed up Magento bring reverse effects? The answer to the question lies in numbers.

The JavaScript bundling feature creates a single file from all the JavaScript files to lower the number of requests. It is supposed to make page load time shorted, thus decreasing the time users wait for content to appear on their screens.

When working with the feature, remember about two things. HTTP eliminates the need for bundling. Secondly, when you group JS files, it creates a high-weight file that can reach up to 10-15 MB. It takes much more time to upload that file than to upload the code in small pieces.

Did you know that the best way to speed up Magento is to turn it into a PWA?
Check the article Magento PWA: Features, Technical and Business Insights. You will learn what Magento PWA is, how to build a progressive web app, and how it influences the website speed.

  1. Minify JS and CSS

As Google has strict ranking rules, except for being SEO optimized, a website should also be fast. JS and CSS minification is one of the ways to speed it up. The feature is exclusive to the second version of Magento and allows you to minify CSS and JavaScript files.

Use the Developer settings section in the admin panel and enable the feature Minify JavaScript Files by turning the toggle to the “on” mode.

This setting can only be enabled in the Production mode, so be sure to check it before trying to make any changes.

  1. Varnish vs Built-In Caching

Except for built-in, native solution, the second version of the platform offers an additional type of caching – Varnish. Even though Magento 2 can run it as a native solution, you need to perform a few extra steps to enable it on your website. There is no silver bullet for all, as some experts say in favor of Varnish, while others advise using built-in caching. Here is how to decide whether to enable Varnish or go with the native cashing system:

  • Can you install an additional solution directly on the server where your store is running? If the answer is no, go with built-in caching.
  • Does your store rely on SSL? If you are using such a solution, it can take time and a few workarounds to make the two work alongside.

All in all, you should also remember that the more third-party software a store relies upon, the more points of failure it has.

  1. Disable Unused Extensions & Solutions

Magneto comes packed with the support of different solutions that can slow down a website. In case you do not use some of them, it is better to disable these solutions and decrease the load on the server.

Start with shipping methods. The platform has some shipping options enabled by default. By constantly sending requests, they slow down the check out process, and your customers get frustrated with your store. If you do not use some options, make sure they are turned off.

The same goes for extensions. If you have some that you are not using at the moment, turn them off.

  1. CDN

Content Delivery Network (CDN) is another solution that is worth your attention. With the option being disabled, Magento 2 loads all static content from the website server. By opting into CDN, your website will use it instead. The content is delivered faster, which spikes website speed. What is even better, the latest Magento versions have native support for CDN, so you do not need to rely on third-party extensions.

  1. Reindexing

This is a very important feature for any online store. It starts every time you create a new product listing and save it. It cannot be turned off completely. Instead, you can schedule it for your off-peak hours when a fall in speed will not impact your sales.

Speed Up Magento: Key Takeaways

No matter the industry, website speed plays a crucial role in its ability to convert viewers into customers. In eCommerce, it is especially important as it takes seconds for visitors to make an opinion of your store or either buy from you or turn for your competitors.

How can you speed up a Magento website?

Here is a 6-step program for speeding up Magento:

  1. Check how your website is performing
  2. Learn what might impact the speed
  3. Eliminate unused extensions and options
  4. Choose only extensions of reliable developers
  5. Do not try to save on hosting providers
  6. Optimize database, caching, and servers

Better yet, get qualified help in identifying the main reasons for low website speed.

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