The average Magento site is both larger and considered mission-critical. While JetRails clients enjoy industry-leading Magento hosting speeds, we recognize that it takes more than optimized infrastructure to get a robust eCommerce website loading quickly and efficiently. That’s why, for our latest #CommunityCollaboration article, we asked Magento development experts about their favorite tools to speed up Magento. Here’s what they told us:
A Magento site is a complex web of Magento’s core, Magento extensions, theme files, and other customizations. At JetRails, we highly recommend New Relic to devs that want to have an easier time monitoring the performance of Magento sites that they’re working on so that performance issues can be addressed more quickly and efficiently.
Tarandeep Kharbanda of RaveDigital told us that “New Relic is a must! We use New Relic in all of the Magento implementations we do. Using New Relic we can monitor the Magento performance, configure alerts for any abnormal behavior, review server logs and instances where SQL is slow, and so on.“
Zach Stutzman of InteractOne similarly shared that “When optimizing for Magento we like to use NewRelic to first look for any major issues with the hosting environment or application. From there we like to audit 3rd party extensions and look to minimize overhead. Once we know the hosting, application, and 3rd party code has been reviewed and optimized we then proceed to finer tuning performance with code (CSS, HTML, JS) minification, bundling, and caching.”
Like New Relic, Blackfire is a monitoring tool, however, these tools are different enough to be used in tandem with each other. Blackfire is a PHP profiler and automated performance testing tool. It’s really good at monitoring how your code is behaving and how it’s consuming resources. Blackfire can automatically detect code issues that are impacting performance, security, or quality metrics, and suggest paths to resolve such issues. It can help you validate your code in dev or staging environment before that code ever makes it to your production environment.
When working together, an alert from New Relic about a slow page, for instance, can trigger Blackfire to help analyze and resolve the detected problem.
Igor Ludgero Miura of Imagination Media reported that “We use Blackfire to profile the backend code and Google lighthouse to profile the frontend code. Profiling the code we can identify the scripts and pieces of code that are taking too long to respond or to process a request, and optimizing these pieces we make introduce a general performance improvement.”
While New Relic and Blackfire are fairly common in the Magento ecosystem, another respondent was quick to call out Tideways, a solution that’s built to help you find broken code, slow pages, errors, and crashes, with real-time alerts.
Joe Rollinson of BestWorlds shared that “Our favorite performance optimization tool is Tideways. Unlike New Relic, you can get full transaction tracing at the PHP and DB level on demand instead of waiting for a transaction to be unsatisfactory. The visualization that Tideways offers helps identify the biggest opportunities for improvement when trying to improve Time To First Byte.”
Content Delivery Networks
This is another favorite at JetRails, where we’ve been Cloudflare hosting partners for many years. We’ve written the dominant extensions to integrate Cloudflare into your Magento admin. While Cloudflare is best known as a content delivery network (CDN) provider, they also offer solutions that range from web application firewalling to load balancing.
Tarandeep from RaveDigital said “Cloudflare has plenty of options to help your website health as well as security. It also improves site performance with the help of Edge cache, Image optimization, CDN, and various other resources it has.”
Artem Pugachev of Mobecls also weighed in, submitting that “CDNs show good results. There are lots of companies that offer such services, but we choose Cloudflare as it is a quite usable and effective service.”
If you’re interested in a more thorough look at the benefits of using Cloudflare for your Magento site, check out this article on The Benefits of Cloudflare for Magento Websites.
At JetRails, we provide the most flexible fully-managed Magento optimized hosting you’ll find. A key part of that flexibility is allowing you to choose the CDN, WAF, IDS, and other solutions that make the most sense for your use case. While Cloudflare is a go-to for our team, we also support other CDN solutions, from Cloudfront to Section, Sucuri, and Akamai. It was, therefore, no surprise that, when we asked about speed optimization, Fastly came up.
Kris Pursel from DotcomWeavers said “Fastly’s CDN and image optimization is unlike any other. They are the Cadillac of content delivery tools. Beyond the tool’s incredible installation and performance, they are also comprised of a top-notch team to assist you with any questions or needs.”
Speed tests are hugely important for identifying bottlenecks in your loading speeds. JetRails provides a basic TTFB test and can help with more thorough testing. If time to first byte (TTFB) is over 300 ms or is inconsistent, it is recommended that development teams look for issues that stem from your theme and other intricacies of your Magento site. Any application performance monitoring (APM) tools discussed above, like NewRelic, Blackfire, or Tideways, can provide visibility into the underlying problem.
Artem of Mobecls suggested GTMetrix, explaining that “We use this tool to see the whole picture of the website speed health. If something isn’t ok, this tool will show if there are areas to focus on.”
GTMetrix reporting can help you uncover a wide range of speed issues, from elements of your website that are failing to load or are redirecting, to images that should be better optimized.
It’s one of many tools, like Webpagetest, KeyCDN’s full-page speed test, Pingdom Tools’ website speed test, and Dareboost’s web quality & performance report. These all provide information about opportunities for your web host and web developers to speed up your site. Be sure to also keep an eye on reporting from Google as well, such as Core Web Vitals reports in your Google Search Console account, and reporting from ThinkWithGoogle test my site, Google PageSpeed Insights, and the Web.dev website performance tools.
Magento sites rely on a variety of caching solutions to deliver a properly-optimized experience for shoppers.
Artem from Mobecls suggested that “Cache management is the key point if we speak about Magento speed. Properly configured Varnish is a must.”.
We completely agree and even provide a Varnish Extension for Magento 2 to all JetRails users. Varnish both speeds up sites and helps to conserve server resources, so it’s a win-win for our clients.
However, it’s important to note that while a full-page caching (FPC) solution like Varnish is crucial, in the long-run, you may even consider browser-based caching via a progressive web app (PWA) frontend.
Redline13 + JMeter
At JetRails, Magento load tests are part of our core offerings. It’s how we make sure that your sites remain scalable. It’s important whether you’re on our dedicated servers or even our elastic autoscaling AWS environments. That’s right, even sites hosted in autoscaling environments can have bottlenecks, whether those stem from a recent extension you installed or some other dependency.
Remember that, just because your site didn’t bottleneck in the past, doesn’t mean that it can’t in the future. That’s why load tests are important, they’re how we definitely find out if the current version of your site is ready to meet your peak traffic levels.
Joe specifically pointed out that at BestWorlds “We love Redline13 combined with JMeter scripts for load testing.”
Redline13 provides an open architecture for building and running load tests for those times when you don’t have a fully-managed host like JetRails. Similarly, Apache JMeter is an open-source Java application for load testing functional behaviors and measuring performance.
While we expected all of the submissions to be specifically software-driven, one came in that was out of those bounds, but absolutely worth sharing.
Tarandeep of RaveDigital said that “I know we are looking for tools. However, step 1 to optimization is to follow the best practices. There are plenty of best practices recommended by Magento which need to be followed. If you don’t follow them initially, later you may end up seeing performance issues as well as unwanted issues which are not easy to reproduce or debug.”
We couldn’t have said it better ourselves. We actually devoted an entire episode of The JetRails podcast to How to know if your Magento site is healthy because, too often, best practices aren’t adhered to.
Did you find this article helpful or insightful? If so, be sure to check out some of our other #CommunityCollaboration articles, including: