A Step-by-Step Guide for developers to Reanimate a Magento Site
October 25, 2021
Optimizing a Magento website can be a challenging task. Many developers may find it hard to complete successfully. Furthermore, many techniques and tricks take a lot of time to learn. As such, the focus of this article is to help all web developers in one way or another. As such, relatable information is present for everyone to engage in regarding approaches to service convenience and problem-solving that can help improve the efficiency of daily tasks. Generally, “resuscitation” projects an operation theatre situation: a medical lamp, patients, and doctors.
Although everything is being done quickly in an operation theatre, there is complete harmony to ensure that the patient’s life can be saved. Although developers don’t save human lives, they do provide a solution to users for the problems they face online. By engaging in regular tasks concerning Magento site optimization, our team faces this situation every day. In essence, we are performing a kind of resuscitation through our services: we help websites become more optimized to suit user needs. Through our field experience, we have formed a complete checklist that developers can use to optimize websites faster, better, and more efficiently than their current approaches. The article will refer to the following sections in detail:
- Why Choose Magento For Your Website Projects?
- First Indication of Something Being Wrong With the Website
- How to Optimize a Magento Website
- Step 1: Check the Infrastructure
- Step 2: Analyzing External Services
- Step 3: Checking the Site Load
- Step 4: Read the Time To First Byte (TTFB) Parameter
- Step 5: Turn on and Configure Page Caching
- Step 6: Analyzing Errors Present on the Website
- Step 7: Optimizing Website Content
- Step 8: Checking Integrations with External Services
- Step 9: Monitor the Site Status
- Give the client the best website which won’t require them to self-meditate
Why Choose Magento For Your Website Projects?
Magento is a highly popular e-commerce development system that allows you to organize and sell products online easily. Usually, large stores and organizations with product listings in hundreds of thousands prefer using Magento. Currently, there are more than 100,000 active sites that are powered through Magento.
The ready-made and open-source modules ease development and help developers to implement any business idea with ease. Similarly, the site will perform better on Google rankings and advertisement as the number of errors can be minimized through Magento-based development. Products that competing companies sell are ranked based on relative website performance. Thus, the better the performance, the higher the search result ranking of the website.
First Indication of Something Being Wrong With the Website
Usually, no client is aware of the exact issue with their website. Instead, they prefer suggesting that either their orders have declined or the website is not running properly. However, the fewer orders may be caused by website issues such as poor load times, errors in order processing, and blank pages. Therefore, the only orders a business in such a situation will receive are from customers who can successfully steer through the order process and place a successful order.
In any such case, the development team has to first follow the essential checklist to identify the exact problems with the website. Then, each of these problems has to be fixed to ensure that the website can return to its optimum performance. Such a strategy can ensure that the orders on the website can increase and the client’s eCommerce services can expand.
How to Optimize a Magento Website
Step 1: Check the Infrastructure
First, it is necessary to analyze the website’s infrastructure. This infrastructure includes the environment in which the code is executed and the extent to which the current settings are suited to the website’s resources. Sometimes, the website requires more RAM consumption than is available. In such cases, if multiple visitors use the site simultaneously, it gets overloaded, causing the website to malfunction for some of the users. Next, the developer must determine how the issue can be resolved. For example, do you need to optimize the website or add more RAM to the server resources?
If problems are apparent in the website’s infrastructure, the logical step is to first solve them before checking other aspects of the site. If the code environment, including the programs and the operating system, are not optimal, other problems on the website cannot be resolved effectively.
The operating system refers to the environment in which the website operates. Usually, it forms the software end of the website environment. It is like the air that supplies oxygen to the human body. Thus, functional maintenance of the website is impossible without a working environment and operating system. Outdated or dead operating systems that do not receive regular upgrades suggest moving the website to a new infrastructure. This new infrastructure is easier to compute and configure than the outdated one.
Next, the hosting, server and SSL are checked. The latter is essential for an HTTPS connection on the website. Without an HTTPS connection, Google is likely to ignore the website causing massive ranking reductions. In most cases, the SSL certificate is free and can be customized easily. There are many articles on the internet that help connect the SSL certificate to your website as well.
The configuration of the SSL certificate must be done correctly. Otherwise, external services won’t consider it optimum and may cause issues with the payments you receive. You can use specialized online services to help with the SSL configuration quality checking as well.
Step 2: Analyzing External Services
Next, our team focuses on the external services connected with your website. For example, some stores display a Google map location of their store on their website. There are a few common issues here. For example, the mandatory Google API key must not be missing from the map. In some cases, the card does not open because the key is missing.
Step 3: Checking the Site Load
A significant cause of concern after checking the external services and the operating system is the site load. Usually, it refers to the orders being placed every day and the number of unique daily site visitors. I prefer using Google Analytics for this purpose as they provide graph-based information related to all such queries. This information can help the developer understand the current website load and how the website will respond if the site load increases. The developer must communicate the findings with the client and suggest improvements to help with the website performance in peak load times. This information may include the expected times of high site load, such as during significant discounts and promotions.
Step 4: Read the Time To First Byte (TTFB) Parameter
The wait before receiving the first byte from the server is called the Time to First Byte (TTFB). Usually, it refers to the time taken from your initial click on the website’s link on Google to the search screen disappearing. Remember, the initial load starts as soon as the screen turns white after clicking the link. This initial response configuration is essential to check how the main pages of the website function when the user tries to access them. The underlying cause of the delay has to be computed this way.
The newer version of Magento allows a TTFB of less than a second. Comparatively, the older version had a longer TTFB. However, this refers to the time for the website pages not cached already on the client’s computer. With proper caching arrangements, the time to the first byte can drop to only 300 milliseconds. This method can provide a temporary fix to slow website pages.
Step 5: Turn on and Configure Page Caching
Page caching is an integral part of website optimization. Remember, Magento is built on caching, which is the primary function of the system. Practically, everything that can be cached is cached by Magento. Once the user places a request, such pages are pulled quickly.
The static pages where the content doesn’t change much are cached immediately. Thus, the page only needs to be generated from the web server the first time it is generated. Then, it is cached and can be served from it. Magento adds the footer, header, and other menu items to the cache as well. The cache generation takes between 1-2 seconds. However, regeneration of the cache is not necessary until the page has some changes. Also, formed pages can be placed in the cache as well for visitors to access directly.
Sometimes, websites have completely turned off the caching system. This issue occurs in cases where the developer is unaware of how the cache system works. The team must consider what the developer has changed on the website and add the necessary code to reserve and fix the issue. Once this step has been completed, the cache can be activated, significantly improving the website’s performance.
Another situation is where the previous developer has left some issues on the website. For example, they added a code that didn’t work but was not entirely removed from the website. Now, that code is causing issues to the website due to the increasing website load. One such issue is with database queries where the previous developer has mismanaged the catalog page. Here, thousands of requests were being generated for a simple page-generation query. Consequently, the website was overloaded and did not work well if there were multiple users. Only a tiny change in the code fixed this issue and helped the website improve significantly.
Once the cache issue is fixed, the developer must check each page to ensure no additional errors due to the code change.
Step 6: Analyzing Errors Present on the Website
There are two places where errors occur in Magento stores. First, the var/ report folder, and secondly, the exception.log file. The latter usually rotates logs, so they are short-term only. However, previous developers may fail to clean the report causing multiple files referring to a single type of error. To remove the issue, the files are grouped, and the critical ones are used to rank the degree of dangers that the website is facing. Then, when the major bug is fixed, all minor bugs fix themselves.
Additionally, corrections may lead to further complications that were previously hidden. Thus, the advised approach is to consider what will happen when you fix a bug beforehand. With the consequences in mind, select the best approach to fix the bug that will not block some other function of the website or clog the server.
Similarly, wild bugs exist as well. For example, one site we worked on required mandatory mention of the website language before the homepage can be accessed. Once the language was added from the backend system, the site started working perfectly. However, it’s still unclear how the visitors accessed the products if the home page was not accessible!
Step 7: Optimizing Website Content
Also, everything must be configured properly when the browser is caching it. If there are any changes to the website, they must be reached. Without changing such files, the new version of the website will not be visible to the user.
Similarly, there is a static content signing feature in Magento as well. A Unix Timestamp line is added to the address of the static file. This timestamp is updated every time. Therefore, when something new is created on any website page, it is redownloaded based on the changed timestamp.
Step 8: Checking Integrations with External Services
Many outside and external services are integrated with the website to perform certain functions. Therefore, it is important to check if these services are integrated properly. Otherwise, the order processing system and the payment system may not work well.
Additionally, the developer needs to check if an external service has been bound to a specific IP address of the current server. If that is the case, moving the site will make that service dysfunctional. Therefore, it is important to check for such IP addresses, register new IP addresses for the service, and ensure no orders are lost.
Similarly, third-party systems may be used by large websites for stock management. Such stock data may be collected from different sources. If the website breaks down, these systems may start selling products on the website that are not available. New arrivals may not show. The developer must collect as much information about the integrations to ensure that they are properly configured.
Usually, documentation left behind by the previous team can be really helpful. This way, it is easier to determine the exact external services that a website is using. In extreme cases, the new developers may contact the past developers to identify the source of the issues on the new website. Information can also be collected bit by bit to analyze the code and understand where any outside service is being used.
Step 9: Monitor the Site Status
After fixing all errors, it is important to monitor if the site is working fine after the interventions are performed. All issues with the website have to be monitored to ensure that if the client contacts about some problem, you know the underlying reasons for it. This way, service quality can improve manifold.
The state of the infrastructure can be monitored by certain services as well, for example, when the SSL expires or the load on the RAM. Similarly, the operations of the application can be controlled as well. This way, all resources can be considered distinctly and corrected in severe cases. Such monitoring gives a holistic picture of the problems present on the website.
Notifications from these services in the form of emails can keep you updated about the issues you face. Also, the bot writes are more convenient and focused on the right details than manual reports. This way, the problems can be identified and solved easily.
You may use applications like Zabbix and Influxdb to monitor the infrastructure, whereas Tideways and New Relic can be used to monitor the site’s status. They allow real-time monitoring and provide detailed metrics to make calculated decisions.
Give the client the best website which won’t require them to self-meditate
Usually, clients who try to fix their website themselves are like patients who don’t go to the doctor. Such patients implement anything they find online, which can make the issue much worse than it initially. Therefore, the client should hire specialists to get the job completed perfectly and in minimal time.
If you are a site owner and reading this article, please get in touch with certified developers who can give you the right diagnosis of the problem and solve it effectively. Don’t do something that the developers advise you not to do. Let them fix the functionality of the website for you.