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3 steps to make Magento site ready for the holiday season

The holidays are just around the corner. If you own or maintain a Magento site you need to be prepared. You need to make sure your store can handle peak season traffic.

Below I will outline 3 steps to take to prepare Magento for this holiday season.

 

 

 

Make Magento ready for the holidays in 3 steps:

 

  1. Security audit.
  2. Optimize performance.
  3. More CPU, more RAM.

 

 

1. Perform security audit.

 

It is no surprise any site can be hacked. It would be a disaster if your Magento site got compromised during the holiday season. You want to avoid that and here is what to do:

 

a. Install the latest security patches.

Magento releases the security patches regularly. There are many online tools that could show you what patches you are missing. I suggest using the official Magento security scan tool. It is free you just need to create an account on magento.com.

The scan tool will also tell you what other security issues you have:

Magento Security Scan Report Magento Security Scan Report

Make sure you fix as many of them as possible before the holidays.

 

b. Scan site and server.

Magento scan tool can also identify security holes in your server. For example it warns you if you are using TLSv1.0.

Once you know the issues contact your hosting company or your system administrator and ask for help. You would not want some bad guy to exploit your site vulnerabilities during the important holiday season.

 

 

2. Optimize Magento performance.

 

During peak season your site will be under high load. It might slow the online store down to the point when checking out would be impossible. You need to speed up Magento before it is too late. Here is how:

 

a. 3rd party extension audit.

Custom plugins make your site slow in most cases. Here is an example.

Make a list of all 3rd party extensions you installed. Disable them one by one and benchmark speed with webpagetest.org. Once you find an abuser contact its vendor and let them know about the performance problem you discovered. Ask for a patch.

 

b. Time to first byte (TTFB) optimization.

TTFB is how long Magento takes to generate page HTML. This is the main performance metric. You want it to be around 0.5s. Again webpagetest.org will help you measure it.

I wrote an article on how to audit TTFB. It is for Magento 1. If you are using M2 the procedure is almost the same:

  1. Enable profiler. Magento 1 and 2 comes with default profiler but there are a few free ones out there.
  2. Study profiler trace. Inspect it line by line and identify code blocks or template .phtml files that take most time.
  3. Optimize code. See if you can spot unoptimized PHP code. An example would be loading Magento model inside a loop.
    Magento unoptimized code example Magento unoptimized code example

Interested in other optimization tips? Here I shared 20 field proven techniques to make Magento faster.

 

3. More CPU, more RAM.

 

I recommend to increase CPU and RAM resources during the holiday season. Talk to your hosting company and switch to better plan just for the peak season. If you use cloud then all you need to do is just to click a few buttons.

With more CPU cores and more RAM you will be able to handle more clients and orders. Magento thrives on powerful hardware. Especially Magento 2.

 

Those were my 3 tips to prepare for this holiday season. I am sure you have some more. Share them in comments!

 

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