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How To Improve Your Magento Site Speed: 10 Tips

10 Tips for Magento site speed

Before we look at how to improve your Magento site speed, it is vital to know why speed is so important. Understanding the value and benchmarks will help you understand how to budget and prioritise this type of work.

A slow store means lost sales and unhappy customers

We live in a world of increasing connectivity and choice. Website users now expect them to be fast to load and easy to use. This is especially true on mobile devices when 3G/4G  signal could be a) costly and b) limiting to the performance a customer can expect. 

Backlinko analysed the speed of  5 million desktop and mobile pages. The research showed that the average mobile web page takes 87.84% longer to load than on desktop. On average it took 10.3 seconds on desktop and 27.3 seconds on mobile.  

46% of users say that waiting for pages to load is what they dislike most about browsing on mobile.

Imagine if your Customer Service team took a 27.3-second break between answering any question or after finishing each sentence. In fact, imagine having to scroll down 27.3 seconds after each of the paragraphs in this blog! You’d be off and we wouldn’t blame you. 

It’s not just goodwill and loyalty that you risk losing with a slow Magento store, it’s also costing you conversion. 

Recent research by Content Delivery Network (CDN) provider Akamai Technologies revealed three pieces of alarming information:

  1. A 100-millisecond delay in website load time can hurt conversion rates by 7% per cent 
  2. A two-second delay in web page load time increases bounce rates by 103% per cent
  3. 53% per cent of mobile site visitors will leave a page that takes longer than three seconds to load 

How do I test my Magento site speed? 

Use Google PageSpeed Insights for a quick and easy test method. If you are looking for more in-depth (but still free) site speed tests, then try GT Metrix or Lighthouse.

How To Improve Your Magento Site Speed: 10 Tips

Why is my Magento store so slow? 

After 10 years of building, optimising and managing Magento stores, we see some common pitfalls. These are often caused by:

  • Images being too large
  • Still being on Magento 1
  • An unfriendly hosting environment/configuration
  • Slow hosting
  • Poorly-written code 
  • Too much Javascript 
  • Misconfigured databases
  • Still being on Magento 1 
  • Oh, and did we mention… Still being on Magento 1

Firstly, it’s important not to rush into making changes based on a free Magento site speed report, but build out a proper strategy to improve your store’s site speed. So what should you do?

10 ways you can increase your Magento site speed

Magento websites are highly complex, especially when they are working alongside a suite of plugins and extensions. Small issues can cause larger issues like a domino effect.

If you need help with executing anything, our team of Magento developers and solutions specialists are on hand.

1. Improve your hosting 

Invest in a premium and supported Magento hosting provider. Using cloud hosting with a 100% dedicated vCPU and increased memory will give your Magento hosting a huge speed and stability boost. 

Getting the correct balance of hosting resources can be difficult, so please get in touch if you have specific questions.

2. Migrate to Magento 2

If you are using a Magento 1 store and wondering why it is getting slower and slower, check out our article Why is my Magento 1 site getting slower?. There’s not much you can do except fight fires and it’s time to either migrate to Magento 2 or another platform

Magento site speed difference M1 and M2

Out of the box, Magento 2 stores are around 40% faster than Magento 1 and the guest checkout speed has been halved. 

3. Make sure you have the latest versions of everything

Developers at both Magento and other Magento specialist companies like Aheadworks work hard to keep versions, extensions and plugins up to date. Having out-of-date technology within your stack can cause lags that in turn cause other issues. 

If you have website support, make sure they are being proactive with updates or that your internal team has a process for rolling out updates. 

4. Get a (free) Magento audit 

Automated reporting tools can sometimes be misleading or cause more issues in the long run. An experienced Magento expert will be able to highlight changes, tools and tactics that will save time and hugely increase your chance of speeding up your store.

Magento has a number of quirks that can negatively affect site speed. Although we’ve tried to cover some general top tips in this blog, we also have a Free Magento Website Audit service.

5. Get rid of unused Magento features

Magento comes packed full of features, many of which aren’t used by store owners but are left turned on or unmanaged. Disabling core features and modules that are surplus to requirements will speed things up.

Typical Magento modules you may not be using:

  • Extra languages
  • Offline shipment and payments
  • Backup, Captcha, RSS
  • MSRP, Send Friend, Weee
  • Multi-shipping, Checkout agreements
  • Product types
  • And others, depending on your store

Disable features like:

  • Reports from observers
  • Event reports
  • Plugins
  • Layout elements

An easy way to do this is to log in to your CLI and run the following:

bin/magento module:status

You’ll get a list of enabled modules, and a list of disabled modules. Work your way through the list of enabled modules and check if you really need them running.

6. Install a Content Delivery Network (CDN)

A Content Delivery Network (CDN) is a great way to improve your Magento store’s site speed. CDNs use a network of servers to deliver elements of your site like images, video and JavaScript to spread the burden of loading files on a user’s device.

We recommend trying out Fastly.

7. Make database optimisations 

Databases are where your data is stored, and when a request is made (i.e. a user presses a button), it serves the required information. 

Without optimisations, databases can become bloated and disorganised. This in turn slows down the site and will decrease site speed. Without a technical background in Magento, we’d recommend our Free Site Audit.

8. Ensure caching is active 

Magento strongly recommends that all cache via; Systems > Tools > Cache Management, is active. A full guide is available via Magento’s documentation. Magento also recommends that you use Varnish Cache to further reduce server response time and the usage of bandwidth.

9. Read Magento’s Advice 

Magento’s own guide to improving site performance and best practices is packed full of helpful tips. There are dozens of things to try out in pursuit of that elusive site speed goal. 

Check out the Magento Practice Guide here. 

10. Optimise JS and CSS

If you’re not a developer you might have to skip this one, but it can make a big difference! You can use a tool to do some of the work like the Amasty Google Page Speed Optimizer for Magento 2 (£209), but often it is a case of rewriting code and optimising manually. 

Bonus: Build a Progressive Web Application (PWA)

Aim for the stars and start planning a Magento Progressive Web Application (PWA). In short, a PWA is a pinnacle in site speed. As one guide to PWA’s states: PWA’s combine new technologies with established best practices for creating reliable, accessible, and engaging experiences. They give users a native-like experience with a user-friendly opt-in installation flow.

Conclusion: 10 ways that you can increase your Magento site speed

Firstly we’d recommend you set a target, calculate the return on investment that site speed improvements may bring and then use this info to set yourself a budget. This will help guide your decisions throughout the process and track successes. Whether you use our Free Magento Audit, an automated tool or talk with your Magento specialist, we’d recommend taking advice from someone with an in-depth knowledge of Magento before heading down a rabbit hole of changes.

Although there are some easy wins to be had, the more difficult steps can be frustratingly slow without a guiding hand.

Good luck and thank you for trying to make your Magento store faster and in turn, making the internet a better place. Less time loading = more time for things that really matter.