Ecommerce and Retail, Technology

Improving Magento Performance and Your Business Results

Magento is recognized as a top e-commerce platform, powering up to one-third of all online retail websites. Its massive user base and developer network create an ecosystem where, without much technical expertise, almost anyone can get an e-commerce site up and running quickly.

However, there’s a downside: Magento can be heavy and slow if not properly optimized. This can be a real turn-off for today’s fast-paced customers who expect quick response times from the websites they visit. In fact, according to a recent survey from Clustrix, 50 percent of individuals would shop elsewhere if a website has slowly loading pages.

Growing demand for website speed has moved improving Magento performance to the top of the list for most professional developers. Let’s look at three ways companies can improve the performance of their Magento platform.

Reduce requests

The total number of components on a given page has a significant effect on response times. The more individual components, the more individual files the web server will have to retrieve and render for the user. Combining multiple JavaScript and CSS files will greatly reduce the total number of requests each page needs to make, thus drastically shortening page load times. Ideally, it’s best to minimize the total amount of data your site needs to display for each page-view – the total size of the page-request. But, even if that stays the same, reducing the total number of component and file requests will have a noticeable performance improvement.

Implement a Content Delivery Network (CDN)

Content Delivery Networks allow you to offload your site’s images and other static content to data centers that are close to your customers. Reducing travel distance means content will get there faster. Simultaneously, by off-loading your content from your website database, you free-up resources to allow even more concurrent users, with even better page-response times. Your database server works best and most efficiently when it can stay focused on creating, updating, confirming and completing transactions. Hosting read-only in your database creates an inevitable unnecessary load and bottleneck for high-traffic e-commerce sites.

Properly configure your database server

Magento makes identical queries to the database server each time a page is viewed, even though not much changes in these queries over time. The data must be retrieved from the disk or storage media, sorted and manipulated, and then returned to the client. The result: dips in performance. MySQL offers a built-in configuration parameter called query_cache_size that tells the MySQL server to store the result of the query in memory, which is much faster than accessing from disk.

Reducing requests, implementing a CDN and configuring the MySQL database server, should improve Magento performance; however there is still more businesses can do to optimize site performance overall. To do so e-commerce site administrators need to reevaluate that backend MySQL database completely. Here’s an example of when scaling MySQL hits the wall:

magento mysql performance

(Re)Assess your Database

Many new e-commerce sites initially use a MySQL database. It’s a time-tested proven database for small sites. Therein lies the issue. MySQL databases have their limits. Many MySQL databases can’t keep up with the growing demands of fast-growing e-commerce websites, despite optimized Magento performance. While sites using MySQL may scale easily from zero to 200,000 users, they may choke when scaling from 200,000 to 300,000 users because they simply cannot scale incrementally with load. And we all know, if a website cannot support commerce due to a faulty database, the business’ bottom line will suffer.

  • Consider a new solution – Luckily, there’s a solution: NewSQL databases preserve the relational concepts of SQL but add the performance, scalability and availability components that are missing from MySQL. NewSQL databases allow businesses to achieve the performance they need for their key applications, such as Magento, while using solutions that are friendly to developers already well entrenched in SQL.
  • Leverage a scale-out approach – NewSQL is a relational database that boasts the horizontal scaling functionality, the assurance of ACID transactions and the ability to process large volumes of transactions with optimal performance. Such functionality ensures that the customer shopping experience is hassle-free by reducing or eliminating any digital delays they might otherwise endure. Meanwhile, decision makers can analyze data for insight into ways to specifically target shoppers with cross-sell and up-sell opportunities.

Unprepared e-commerce sites simply will not function properly if they’re not equipped to handle heavy loads, especially during periods of increased traffic. By leveraging a scale-out, fault-tolerant SQL database, you can ensure that your e-commerce site can handle any amount of traffic in almost any situation, as well as provide customers with a seamless shopping experience.

Leveraging a scale-out SQL database also enhances Magento performance. The great benefit of a scale-out SQL database is that it can linearly grow reads, writes, updates and analysis as more data points and devices are added. When scale-out architecture meets the cloud, new applications can easily absorb the addition of new customers and increased transaction volume.

And ideally, that NewSQL database can transparently distribute queries across multiple database servers, while automatically load-balancing your site’s workload. Here’s an example of a NewSQL database, ClustrixDB. It’s running six server nodes, distributing both write and read-queries across all six nodes, while keeping a close watch on system resource utilization and query execution times:

Clustrix NewSQL

Ensure an ideal customer experience

If you’re a business owner, you’ve got to do all that is within your power to ensure an ideal e-commerce experience for your customers, regardless of how much traffic your site is handling at any point in time. After all, when it comes to online shopping options, today customers have endless choices – one bad experience could drive them away.

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