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5 reasons your Magento backend is slow

Are you struggling with slow Magento admin panel?

I will tell you 5 reasons why admin panel is not as fast as It could be.


NB: These reasons apply to both Magento 1 and 2.



Magento backend is slow because of:


  1. Slow hosting server.
  2. Outdated or misconfigured server software.
  3. 3rd party plugin breaks performance.
  4. Custom admin theme.
  5. Incorrect Magento configuration.



1. Hosting resources are not enough


You need powerful server to run Magento. This e-Commerce platform is complex with many features. It needs resources to operate smoothly.

Check server CPU usage graphs. Does it hit max all the time? The is the first sign you need to upgrade.

See if there are any scripts or daemons running in the background. They might eat up all available resources. Ask your system administrator to monitor. Or do it yourself:

  • Login to server ssh (secure shell).
  • Issue top command. You will see a screen like this:
    SSH top command SSH top command
  • See what processes are at the top. Consult with your hosting if some of them could be disabled.



1.1 SSD disk is a must


Admin panel page requests cannot be cached. Because of that they read/write to disk a way too often than frontend requests do. You might want to use the fastest disk technology available - Solid State Disk (SSD).

Consult with your hosting if they utilize SSD. Most do but it wouldn't kill to make sure. Pay a small monthly fee for SSD if you need to. It will make a difference between a fast Magento backend and a sluggish one.


2. Misconfigured or outdated server software


The server setup plays an important role in performance. From my experience the main bottleneck here is MySQL database.

I audit sites that run on poorly configured DB too often. Slow DB = slow queries = slow magento backend.

Consider hiring a linux system administrator guru to optimize your setup. Ask him to check if you run the latest OS release with all the latest packages. That is very important. Software performance improves over time. A simple nginx or apache upgrade might make a difference and speed up admin significantly.

Check this Amasty research on how to make your server Magento optimized.


3. 3rd party extension slows you down


Not all plugins are written by experts. Many are coded by below average programmers. Poor coding = poor performance.

Do a quick test. Uninstall all custom extensions and leave only those that came with Magento. Do you see an increase in backend speed?


3.1 Time to first byte optimization


Want to dive even deeper - use Magento profiler to audit time to first byte (TTFB). Explore server side profiler xhprof.

There is a great M1 plugin Aoe_Profiler. It uses visualization to help you understand what code block or function call eats the most page load time.

For those running M2 you can check out Mirasvit Profiler. It is free and it helped me a lot on a couple of slow Magento 2 sites.


4. Custom admin theme is the reason


Magento backend ( and frontend ) performance highly depends on theme files. Do you run a non-default Magento backend theme? Quick way to find out:

  • Magento 1: Check app/etc/local.xml file and look for similar lines:
  • Magento 2: Look into app/design/adminhtml directory and see if there is a folder besides Magento.

Here is how to see if a custom admin theme slows down the site:

  • Install a fresh copy of Magento. The same version as you already have.
  • Install all the extensions you have on the original store. (Except ones that change the backend theme).
  • Compare two admin panels.


5. Incorrect Magento configuration


A simple change in Magento configuration might bring backend performance problems.

I will give you an example: Magento 2 CSS/JS merge/bundle option at Stores > Configuration > Advanced > Developer. If enabled it slows down backend and frontend. It does so because it needs to scan through hundreds and hundreds of static files.

Here is the 3 configuration mistakes that greatly affect admin speed:


1. Keeping internal cache disabled


This sound obvious but I came across it way too often on client's stores.

Magento cache is disabled Magento cache is disabled

The scenario: an outsourced developer turns it off to test a few things and forgets to put it back on. The store owner is unaware of it and is left with super slow Magento backend.

You think it never happens? I myself fixed more than a couple of slow Magento admin panels by simply enabling cache at System > Configuration > Cache management.


2. Magento 2 CSS/JS merge/bundle in developer or default mode


This is Magento 2 only. I have already mentioned this one. It doesn't apply to production mode. But in developer mode it can turn backend into a very slow turtle. And frontend too.

The reason is simple: on every page request static files are dynamically generated. When in production mode they are materialized. Depending on the complexity of your theme you might have as much as 50s page load time(!)

How to fix? Go to Stores > Configuration > Advanced > Developer > Javascript Settings and CSS Settings:

CSS/JS merge/bundle CSS/JS merge/bundle

And set JS/CSS merge/bundle to No.


3. Complex cache/session setup


Magento can be configured to use different storage media for cache and session files. Many people recommend going with Redis. Many suggest memcached. Some use APC.

I say - reset to defaults and see. This could speed up magento backend and frontend. Just benchmark default vs your custom cache configuration.

What happens: redis, memcached and APC are all complex software. With many flags and settings. Set one wrong and you break performance. And if you don't benchmark you won't even notice it.

Donald Knuth, the famous computer scientist, said in 1974 Turing Award Lecture:

"The real problem is that programmers have spent far too much time worrying about efficiency in the wrong places and at the wrong times; premature optimization is the root of all evil (or at least most of it) in programming"

This hold true for magento speed optimization.





Magento backend might be slow because of:

  • You over optimized it. Reset to defaults.
  • You installed 3rd-party poorly coded extension.
  • You run it on a cheap slow hosting plan.

Deal with the mentioned points one by one and performance will improve in 90% cases.


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One thought on “5 reasons your Magento backend is slow”
  • Mark Warner

    Very intellectual tips and good analysis. Many developers and users often find this issue while developing a website using this platform. As per my point of view, keeping the internal cache disable helps a Magento website to perform in the perfect and most efficient way possible. Good article and looking forward to reading more this kind of articles in the future as well.