As I’m sure you’re aware Magento is a fantastic ecommerce package that’s ideal for either someone starting out in ecommerce or a company that’s been trading for a number of years.
However Magento’s largest problem is that it’s very resource intensive so much so that Microsoft should have written it. At Nimbus we have a number of tactics that we use on our customer’s Magento sites to improve performance.
The most important part is having the right hardware behind the site. Web hosts that offer unlimited bandwidth and disk space are the ones to avoid first as you can be sure they are overselling their servers. This type of hosting works well for basic brochure web sites but anything database intensive like Magento will need something a bit more powerful.
All the packages from Nimbus run on premium hardware from HP that uses Intel Quad Core processors, fast SAS (SCSI) hard disks and blisteringly fast memory. The cloud software we use prevents us from overselling our hardware so the specifications that we quote our customers are what we guarantee.
Check out our hardware blog article here http://www.nimbushosting.co.uk/blog/you-must-have-standards
What Magento likes is lots of memory especially for the database. By tuning MySQL you can optimise the performance by keeping lots of the indexes and data in memory. This reduces the amount of time it takes for MySQL to find certain records, which in turn improves page load speeds.
Apache is great for the majority of basic web sites out there but as soon as things get intensive then there’s a great alternative, nginx. Pronounced (Engine X), it’s designed as a lightweight webserver that has simple configuration and ideal for running intensive web sites like Magento. It uses less memory and less CPU resources basically doubling a server’s capacity.
The process of optimization never stop and at Nimbus we are constantly evaluating new methods. As we discover and evolve the ideas we roll them out to other customers who can benefit from these new achievements.