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Magento’s Scalability and Performance: An Analysis

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Magento, a highly flexible ecommerce web development application and is preferred by a majority of ecommerce website owners as well as developers. The reason is that it is an open source e-commerce solution that offers a variety of benefits and a lot of flexibility to an ecommerce web design. Magento helps to develop an effective e-commerce store that is well suited to the requirements of a business and thus helps to generate maximum ROI. Scalability and performance are two of the most important factors of any web application. Although Magento has a lot of wonderful features to offer, but the question is- can it scale up to many thousands of orders per day or huge catalogs? Discussed below in detail is the scalability and performance of Magento.

The old versions of Magento had some issues with performance. To make Magento fast and scalable, it requires some knowledge of the underlying software stack like web server and PHP configuration. It also requires some custom development to optimize Magento’s caching for the specific use. Read further and you will find out how to get the most out of a single server.

When it comes to a web application, everyone wants to have the shortest loading time possible, which is what we mean by performance. According to the research done by Amazon and Google, a hundred milliseconds of delay can already reduce conversion rates. Performance is important for projects large and small, therefore, it deserves some analysis.

Scalability is another concern of the users. Users ponder whether their e-commerce store will remain fast when there are visitors on the site? Consider this scenario as the online analog of standing in line at the cashier: if there is only a single consumer, he can go to pay directly – so performance is good. But when there are many consumers, everybody has to wait to get his turn. And a single cashier cannot scale up to a super market needs.

Now if we talk about Magento, this means offloading some parts of the shop to a separate server, or even moving to a fully-fledged cluster system. However, setting up a cluster system is not only difficult but also takes a lot of time. Follow the below mentioned points to improve the scalability and performance of your Magento store.

• First and foremost, ensure that you enable block caching where it makes sense. Magento can cache the Block output of your pages. So when the next user requests the same block, the output that was previously calculated can be returned. It would not require going through all the database queries and model calls again. This can be really helpful for the pages that do not change too often but are somewhat expensive to calculate. This feature is not enabled by default as it is up to the user to select the right cache to suit their use deployment.

• Try to make fewer HTTP requests in your theme. This is because having many HTTP requests to load a single web page can severely mar the performance. Even enabling the keep-alive or using a content delivery network would not help much. Reducing the number of HTTP requests will not only improve the performance but it will also help in improving the scalability a bit. It is better to use image sprites by which you can put all the icons, buttons etc. that you have in your theme into one file. This file can be downloaded quickly, then just show parts of this large image where you need it. However, doing this requires a bit of CSS skills.

• Last but not the least, use FastCGI to run PHP. With FastCGI, a separate internal daemon is run on the web server that is contacted by the web server only when execution of PHP is required. Thus you do not need to carry the PHP load for all requests. To set up the FastCGI, you need to make some changes to your server configuration. But rest assured that the benefits will be huge.

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Varun Bhagat is a technology geek and works in PixelCrayons as a Sr. Technology Consultant. He possesses in-depth knowledge of different web development technology and helps our clients to choose the best technology as per their needs.

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