November 23, 2021
 Prepping for holiday traffic with Magento

You’ve ordered the stock, set up your sales, and uploaded photos of your new products. Now you’re ready for the holiday season. But is your Magento site holiday ready?

Some preparation is needed to have a good Magento holiday selling season. The Magneto ecommerce store is a memory hog, especially version 2. It requires a PHP memory limit of at least 756MB. Multiply this by several hundred users and your server is going to rapidly run out of RAM and crash.

To make matters worse, out of the box PHP is slow, thereby making your website and store slow. You need caching, you need to optimize, and you need auto scaling. You also need the best Magento hosting you can get.

Keep reading to learn how to get your Magento store ready for the holidays.

Types of Content & Caching

To best prepare for the Magento holiday traffic, you’ll need to understand the three content types and the distinction between them.

  • Static Content
  • Event-Driven Content
  • Dynamic Content

1. Static Content

Static content includes HTML versions of pages, images, CSS. You want to try to use this as much as possible. By converting PHP to HTML, you can get several hundred times the performance.

2. Event-Driven Content

Event-driven content is content that’s static for an unknown amount of time and then it changes. It could change twice a year, a few times a month, or 500 times an hour. Examples would be things like stock prices or sports scores.

This unpredictability makes it hard to cache. A cache that updates twice a year is going to use a lot less resources than one that updates 500 times an hour. Your goal should be to make it update as infrequently as you can get away with.

You may even opt to temporarily disable some event-driven content during the holiday rush or just remove it all together. You should use event-driven content sparingly.

3. Dynamic Content

Dynamic content really is uncachable because it’s always changing. Examples would be things like unique query strings, logins, randomized pages, and JavaScripts. This is hard for your server to process and makes your Magento ecommerce website slow.

You want to try to avoid using dynamic content as much as possible. In fact, you should aim to not use it at all on your home pages or any other high-traffic pages.

Dynamic Caching

We’re using a Magento ecommerce website to handle the holiday traffic. Since Magento is dynamic in nature, we have to deal with that. To help with the dynamic uncacheable content, there is Memcached, Redis, and Zend Opcache.

You generally don’t use Memcached and Redis, you normally pick one or the other. Memcached tends to be simpler to set up but offers less features. Redis is more advanced but harder to set up. You’ll also want to use FCGI or PHP-FPM to boost the overall performance of your pages.

Ways To Prep Your Site for Magento Holiday Traffic

Since PHP is significantly slower than HTML, Magento has something called full page caching which turns your PHP pages into HTML. To enable the various types of caches, go to:

Magento > System > Tools > Cache Management

Be sure to enable full page caching. Next, you’re going to want to look at where this is storing its cache. Is it on a slow SATA drive or is it on a fast SSD or NVMe drive? Even better yet, why not use your server’s RAM for some of the caching with Redis?

You should also experiment with the other types of caches in the Cache Management page. See what types of caching don’t break your site. The more types of caching you can use, the better to prepare for the Magento holiday traffic.

Having said that, it’s best to try and not have too many caching plugins, as they can conflict with one another. If you stick to the built-in ones in the Cache Management page, it should be relatively safe.

You’ll also want to make sure your store is ecommerce holiday ready. This will help you weed out things like cart abandonment.

Marketing and Selling

The holidays are a critical time of year for Magento ecommerce stores.

Make the most of it by preparing your marketing and sales strategies well in advance. There are many things you can do to optimize these areas. For instance, improving your checkout process and tracking your campaigns will help you in preparation for spikes of Magento holiday traffic.

For more information, learn how to increase ecommerce sales by checking out our holiday selling ecommerce tips.

Magento Holiday Prep is Easier With Nexcess

During the Magento holiday rush you want the best Magento host. As you examine hosting solutions, ask these questions:

  • Does the host provide staging sites or do they have a clunky site clone process?
  • Worse yet, do they make you do the clone?
  • Will your store scale as the traffic increases during the holiday season?
  • Do they offer performance testing and support to troubleshoot site speed issues?

Some hosts offer auto scaling. This is a great tool that you can use to prepare for the Magento holiday traffic. That way, if you get a surge of traffic, your site won’t crash. It will scale and stay fast.

Nexcess offers auto scaling and Redis to keep your site fast and reliable for the Magento holiday rush. We also offer best in class support, so we can help you with the technical aspects of setting up an amazing Magento store.

Come check out our plans to get started today.

Brian Corson
Brian Corson

Brian Corson graduated from U of M where he studied web development. As a developer, he worked for a national healthcare provider where he maintained databases, CMSs, web applications, virtual servers, and containers. Since then, he's transitioned to be Linux System Administrator for Liquid Web where he fights hackers, optimizes servers and websites, and troubleshoots networking issues.

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