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Book-review "Magento Performance Optimization How-To"

Everybody wants a fast Magento shop, but performance-tuning is a vast area requiring a lot of expertise. Luckily enough there are numerous practices that aid Magento performance without requiring too much knowledge. A great bunch of those practices is bundled in this ebook "Magento Performance Optimization How-To" by Nayrolles Mathieu.

Performance basics for site owners

Magento sometimes seems slow, especially on a shared hosting environment. But there are numerous steps that a site owner can take to improve performance, without hiring a performance expert. Tricks include enabling the Magento cache (which should be considered the very basic of performance-tuning) but also enabling the Magento compiler and merging CSS and JavaScript.

Beyond basics

The 56-pages ebook goes beyond basics as well: It covers not only concepts for site owners but for developers as well: Things like APC, tmpfs, session-storage, load balancers and even MySQL tuning pass by. Ofcourse, only briefly because topics like MySQL tuning can easily fill up an entire book. By touching every subject briefly the ebook gives a good oversight of what is important.

Good advise but little warnings

One word of advise when using the tips given in Nayrolles ebook: Be careful when making changes. For instance, the Magento compiler might give your Magento application a boost. But any change made after the compiler has been enabled might destroy your site. The practice of updating PHP-files should be: Disable the compiler; make the changes; recompile everything. It is vital to know this before enabling the compiler.

Also other tips might need more description: For instance, using a tmpfs-filesystem for the Magento cache is cool but if your cache grows larger, make sure to check upon the tmpfs-filesystem frequently so that it doesn't fill up to 100%. Also, the advise to disable the Magento caches for Web Services, EAV and Collections might improve speed in some situations, but yet enabling them might improve things for others. Testing and benchmarking is key.

Overall opinion

While some warnings are missing, our overall opinion on this book is quite good: It gives site owners at least an overview of what is important to know. Tuning details (like needed for MySQL tuning) can be found elsewhere, logically. This is certainly a guide that could help site-owners to get started with performance.

The ebook is available with Packt Publishing.

Posted on 18 April 2013

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