Magento with Varnish

Is Varnish right for you? Varnish isn’t the be-all and end-all of Magento performance. Its great to offset load from bots & window-shoppers – but it shouldn’t be your first port of call to actually making your store faster. In fact, implementing Varnish should be the last performance modification to your store. Only drop it in once you are seeing the page load times Magento is capable of delivering without it (Eg. <600ms page load times). Your store still needs to be fast As Varnish still requires at least a single page load to prime the cache, it means your un-cached performance still needs to be very good. A vast majority of unique URLs (layered navigation hits, search queries etc.) will never really end up being served from Varnish unless either: a) Your TTLs are so high, that a search query from 4 days ago is still valid today b) … Continue reading

Benchmarking your Magento store

We get asked this quite a lot by normal store owners who want to see how good their host really is. However, our Magento Benchmark service is only really aimed at web hosts themselves. So to answer a popular question (albeit briefly): There isn’t a standardised test – as there is a myriad of different testing procedures. ApacheBench / Siege Will test PHP performance and PHP processing concurrency only (results are skewed by caching) GTMetrix Will test the overall page load time for 1 user (however, the template weight/complexity has a bigger effect on this than server performance) Pingdom FPT Much the same as GTMetrix (the results for this are even more skewed though, as it downloads ALL content in the CSS files too – not indicative of real-world load) Apache jMeter Will test PHP performance, concurrency, static content delivery, template performance and can replicate real-world browsing habits of customers; … Continue reading

We’ve turbocharged your Magento stores!

As our customers will be aware, we are in the middle of a massive system-wide upgrade, moving to an entirely new platform for performance, see But we haven’t forgotten our current hostees, far from it. Over the past few days, we have been reviewing the types of stores and more importantly, the type of load generated from those stores. From this information, we were able to tweak performance by a large margin! We have been able to reduce overall system load by around 25%, whilst increasing performance by around 50%! The downside The increased performance has come at a marginal cost however. It has been noted that administration tasks with stores with large catalogues (import/export) can sap performance from the front end users. As a result, administration operations from Magento have been intentionally slowed down – to keep your shoppers’ experience at its best! With our new platform – … Continue reading

Magento benchmark performance results are in – sonassi is still the fastest

MageBenchmark (Magento Benchmark) was launched as planned on Monday August 31st. After every single Magento host was painstakingly contacted, few actually replied and felt they were up to the challenge. Those brave Magento web hosts, from Sonassi in Manchester as far as Magento E-Commerce in China, were tested and without further ado, here is the unOfficial Magento Benchmark performance results: Sonassi consistently performed best for the first four classes of 1,2,5 and 10 concurrent users, based on a trading window of 8 hours per day, that is a sustainable load of 288,888 requests. ProContractors and ActiveVPS did equally well and performed very positively in the 20 and 30 concurrent users bracket. After Sonassi just re-invested a vast amount of time and money into new hardware; the hosting product range will exclusively be Magento hosting and nothing else, we are only going to get better. If Magento is the platform for … Continue reading

3 days until MageBenchmark goes live

Almost 8 weeks ago, we invited all Magento hosts to take part in a project we oversee. In the spirit of a little light-hearted competition, MageBenchmark ( / aims to sift the wheat from the chaff and show who can really help your Magento store boom. Fast, reliable hosting can be the key to your store’s success, but without a measure for comparison, it can be difficult to select a host. Well, MageBenchmark has filled that gap allowing hosts to promote their service, whilst being measured for performance by a non-biased third party. Monday 31st of August is the launch date and we invite you all to come and have a look for yourself.