As one of the most powerful eCommerce platforms available, it’s no wonder that Magento remains incredibly popular.

After all, its high degree of customisation, scalability and flexibility make it a popular choice among business owners of all sizes.

However, a common complaint among eCommerce operators is that from time to time, Magento can become cumbersome and sluggish.

This is naturally a major concern for any site owner, as it could result in carts being abandoned and an unsatisfactory user experience.

It’s therefore not uncommon for business owners to want to figure out how to speed up Magento.


Thankfully, there are several tips and tricks to take into consideration that can ensure Magento sites run smoothly and efficiently. In this article, we’re going to focus on some of the most common reasons why Magento might be slowing down, and what you can do to improve those all-important bounce rates.

Before we start - a health warning

Some of the recommendations we make expect you know what you are doing with the development of your website, and that you have the required website development skills - and in particular Magento development skills.

If you are unsure of any of the tips we provide - please do not take any action and please refer to your qualified Magento developer to help you.

How to speed up Magento

1) Install the latest version

It is crucial that you are running the latest Magento version, as important updates to the platform often contain bug fixes and tweaks that can help improve performance. To do this, install a fresh version of the Magento file tree, run the installer contained in the file tree on top of your existing, outdated database, and then move any themes and/or custom extensions from the old version to the latest one.

But, as with all software work - back your website up first - just in case you need to rollback to the previous version.

2) Cache management

There are lots of different types of caching that can be utilised with Magento. Many eCommerce developers have success combining them - such as NGINX + Memcache + APC + Varnish caching.

While Magento comes with its own inbuilt caching module, some third-party tools appear to achieve better results. To ensure all forms of caching are enabled, navigate to the ‘Cache Management’ tab under ‘System’.

3) Merge JavaScript and CSS files

Magento 2 has an inbuilt feature that allows you to concatenate your JavaScript and CSS into one file. This helps reduce the total amount of HTTP requests, and will in turn help to decrease the loading time of your pages.

To do this, navigate to System, then to Advanced, then Developer. Here, you should find both JavaScript Settings and CSS Settings. The option to merge files can be found under each of these headings. Once a merge has been performed, you will need to clear the cache to refresh the site before your users can avail of the benefits of merging.

3) Inspect your third-party extensions

Magento is widely used because it is reliably programmed by experts; in all honesty, there isn’t much room for improvement within its core code. However, this isn’t necessarily the case for extensions, particularly the ones that can be downloaded and installed for free.

Some of these third-party extensions can really slow your site down, so it makes sense from time to time to perform an audit of each extension. Try turning modules on or off before clearing the cache, and make a note of whether it makes any discernible difference to the speed of your site.

If you turn off an extension and immediately find that your site performs better, you’ve found a culprit. From here, it may be helpful to contact the vendor of the extension to let them know you’ve discovered a performance-related problem. If you don’t get a satisfactory response, don’t be afraid to look for alternatives; ask for refunds or write reviews detailing how a particular plugin affected your site.

4) Magento Website development: consult an expert

If your design or development skills are lacking, cumbersome code could be letting your site down. Clickingmad could help you achieve the site your brand deserves. If you’re tired of slow loading times, abandoned carts and poor user experience, you could benefit from having one of our web design experts take a look at how and why your site is suffering from poor performance. In no time at all, our team can perform tweaks and offer advice on how to speed up Magento.

5) Optimise server/system requirements

Server and system requirements are important when it comes to speeding up your Magento website. It’s worth bearing in mind that Magento is a powerful platform, and sometimes shared hosting simply won’t suffice. To enjoy better loading times, you should host your Magento eCommerce site on fast high availability hosting or a dedicated server. This way, your site won’t be competing with others for resources, allowing for a faster, more streamlined user experience.

6) Enable ‘Flat Catalog’

Database read speeds can seriously slow down your Magento site. To fix this issue, you should enable ‘Flat Catalog’. To do so, navigate to the back-end of Magento, before heading to the ‘Catalog’ tab, which can be found under ‘Store > Configuration’. In the ‘Storefront’ section, you should see two fields: ‘Use Flat Catalog Category’ and ‘Use Flat Catalog Product’. When you change these two fields to ‘Yes’, you should begin to notice a discernible inmprovement to how your site responds after you refresh the cache.

If you are unsure how to do this, consult your current Magento website developer.

7) Choose your theme wisely

There are thousands of different Magento themes to choose from, each with its own merits. However, just because a theme is attractive, it doesn’t mean your site is going to benefit from it. Complex themes can cause long loading times, which will ultimately have customers bouncing straight back to their search engine.

Choose a lightweight theme that strikes a balance between usability and speed. If you’re struggling with high bounce rates, you might be surprised at how much your theme is currently impacting loading times.

8) Optimise site images

It’s not uncommon for eCommerce sites to have thousands upon thousands of product images. If these images aren’t correctly optimised, you could find that your Magento site starts running sluggishly. Images should be compressed to strike a balance between quality and loading times. There are several third-party image optimising plugins that can be utilised to batch-perform the task for you.

Still uncertain of how to speed up Magento? Allow us to take a look

At Clickingmad, we understand that implementing changes to the back-end of Magento can be a nerve-wracking task. After all, one simple click could cause severe issues to your site, resulting in downtime as you scramble to undo the changes. Remember to always back up prior to making any changes to your site, and if you’re uncertain about how to go about implementing these changes, it might be more prudent to consult the Clickingmad.

We’re Magento website development experts and we are here to help businesses achieve their potential online. If you require help and assistance with your existing Magento eCommerce site or would like to discuss a new development, please feel free to contact us today and we’ll be happy to discuss your requirements.

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