Magento Webinar: Optimizing SEO for Improved ROI

April 19, 2011 · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Featured, Magento Cart 

A Webinar Presented by Zeon Solutions and Magento

Optimizing SEO for Improved ROI

Traffic acquisition and search engine optimization (SEO) strategies are a major consideration when evaluating an eCommerce website. The truth of SEO is that it’s best addressed before implementation. However, even sites that are already deployed can attract more customers and recognize revenue benefits by implementing a well-structured SEO plan.

Join your peers as the SEO experts from Zeon Solutions detail the importance of building your website with search engine optimization in mind. The webinar will walk you through best practices for new site development, existing site redesign and post-launch SEO activities.




Presented by Zeon Solutions and Magento

Date: Wednesday, April 27 @ 11am PDT
Registration: https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/546881272

Developers: New Packaging Extensions in Magento 1.5 Explained

March 15, 2011 · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Featured, Magento Cart 

Packaging Extensions on 1.5

Packaging extensions using 1.5 has some minor syntactical changes from previous versions. Please see our new documentation on packaging an extension using Magento 1.5.

The significant changes are:

§ When packaging extensions, the channel field now uses the single word community. Extensions packaged prior to 1.5 use the words magento-community in the channel field.

§ When packaging an extension, you now have the option to package your extension for Magento shops that are 1.5.0.0 & later version (2.0) or for shops pre 1.5.0.0. (1.0)

§ When you click on the Save data and Create Package button to generate the tar.gz package file, the 2.0 extension file is now created in the var/connect directory. The 1.0 extension file is generated in the var/pear directory. This means there are two individual files – one for 1.0 and one for 2.0.

IMPORTANT NOTE: For broader extension support for free (unpaid) community extensions, it is best to package using pre-1.5.0.0 option. When uploading the 1.0 version from var/pear — Magento Connect will make the 2.0 version for you. If you wish to only support 1.5 and higher versions of Magento only then only upload the 2.0 file from the var/connect directory to Magento. If you are trying to create separate packages (such as to upload both a 1.0 and 2.0 version to your site for a PAID extension, or if you want different version numbers for different releases) then you must select both options when packaging which generates both 1.0 and 2.0 file types.

Make sure that you add this information to your extension description so that merchants are aware of the supported versions of your extensions.

Additionally, if you have previously uploaded a 1.5+ (2.0 only) extension and would like it to have support for Pre 1.5 (1.0) as well, repackage the existing extension with a new version number but be sure to upload the file from the var/pear directory when adding to Magento Connect. This will update both versions but also give you a 1.0 version for Pre 1.5.

Incomplete Extension Information

If you have previously attempted to upload an extension and that extension is listed as pending/incomplete, you can still recover this extension by properly packaging the extension using a new version number and uploading the update under the existing extension.You cannot use the same version number.

What’s the difference between 1.0 and 2.0 Extensions?

You may have noticed that Magento Connect Marketplace now has both 1.0 and 2.0 extensions. If you are on a Magento shop prior to 1.5, use extensions labeled as 1.0. Systems 1.5 and later use the 2.0 extensions. It is important to be aware of the differences.

Beta vs. Stable Extensions

If you package and uploaded a Beta or Alpha extension – please add this information into the extension description. It’s important for the community to be aware that they’ll need to change their stability settings on the back-end of Magento Connect Manager. Magento Connect Manager’s Preferred State defaults to “Stable” extensions and attempting to install a beta extension with this setting results in a “Not Detected” error message as the system is not detecting the Stable extension.

To change this setting:

1.Select System->Configuration-> from your store’s admin panel.

2.Log into Magento Connect

3.Click the Settings tab

4.Use the pull-down menu to select your perferred state (stable, alpha, beta)

5.Click Save

If you have any questions about Magento Connect or looking for updated information, please check into our Connect Community Forum. This forum has all the latest information on extensions, guidelines, as well as any issues that you as a developer, may need to be aware of.

As always, feel free to if you have any questions.

Rhonda

Become a Magento Contributor

February 16, 2011 · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Featured, Magento Cart 

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Greetings Magento Community,

Do you develop on Magento? Do you want to contribute to Magento’s core?  Do you like collaborating with others on new features and enhancements? Then you should sign up to be a Magento Contributor.

Since our Imagine Conference, I’ve been getting many requests for information on how we can make this happen. We get requests in every day. Today alone, I am working on requests for over 10 developers who are interested in contributing, and you can too!

What does this mean to you?

When you become a Magento Contributor, we’ll provide you with access to our SVN repository where you can commit changes, and access to our ticketing system if you’d like to provide a patch. Our core team looks at these changes, prioritizes the contributions, and and makes implementations based on those suggestions.

How Do I Get Started?

Just send an email to Magento Contributors. As I receive these requests, I’ll respond with our basic guidelines. Click the link to fill out and sign the Magento Contributor Agreement and send it back to us. I’ll request access, and notify you with your access credentials. That’s all there is to it.

We’re very excited to kick-start this program and are looking forward to seeing what great contributions are going to be made to our fabulous products. We love the idea of collaborating with you, to make Magento a better and stronger product. Our community is what makes Magento so great!

As always, if you have any questions, feel free to email me directly.

Magento Announces Apple iPad and Android Support for Magento Mobile

February 16, 2011 · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Featured, Magento Cart 

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Branded Native Storefront Applications on iPhone, iPad and Android

Last May Magento announced Magento Mobile for iPhone, a powerful application that enables merchants to create unique, branded experiences for their customers on their iPhones.  In that time companies such as The North Face and Easton Bell Sports have built custom-designed mobile experiences that extend the power of their Magento stores to the iPhone.

Now Magento is expanding Magento Mobile to the iPad and Android platforms.  Like the iPhone version, Magento Mobile for iPad and Android enable merchants to create branded, native storefront applications that are deeply integrated with Magento’s market-leading eCommerce platform.  Now merchants can provide the best shopping experience possible to customers based on the device they are using.  And of course, Magento provides an industry-leading mobile web shopping experience for any customer that does not have your native application installed.

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Product Features & Benefits

  • Seamless Storefront Integration
    With the new Magento-mobile admin, you’ll bring the functional powerhouse of Magento eCommerce to your mobile commerce channel, including full integration with your store’s catalog, checkout, inventory, reporting, and much more!
  • Manage Multiple Devices
    Easily manage multiple devices with a single installation. Coming later this year, easily extend your mobile presence to the iPad and Android devices.
  • Hassle Free Submissions
    Supporting a native app can be time consuming and tedious, so we manage the submission & support lifecycle for one low monthly fee. We manage the complexity of mobile apps so you can focus on running your business!
  • Fully Customizable
    Deploy new device-specific features and branded themes with just a few clicks. Quickly update the colors and appearance of your app with the new Magento mobile admin, even after customers have downloaded your app.
  • Engage Your Customers
    If you want to build deeper relationships with your most profitable customers, smartphones are the way to do it. From geo-targeted push notifications to immersive native experiences, mobile apps unlock new opportunities that will take your business to the next level!
  • Low Cost of Ownership
    Magento’s cost-efficient approach allows you to bring best-in-class mobile experience to your customers without the high price tag. Pay only for the features and devices you want while Magento handles the ongoing maintenance of your app in the iTunes marketplace.

Pricing

Magento Mobile is available immediately for a one-time fee of $799 and a monthly fee $69 per platform.  Learn more at www.magento.com/product/mobile.

Magento Go and the Magento Go Developer Platform

February 10, 2011 · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Featured, Magento Cart 

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At Magento, our vision is to be at the core of eCommerce. Over the past 3+ years, Magento has realized that vision, enabling success for 90,000+ merchants, 350,000+ community members and thousands of developers, designers and systems integrators.  Magento is now so core to eCommerce, the name is more frequently Googled than the term “eCommerce” itself.

Despite Magento’s growth, momentum and reach, huge numbers of merchants are still stuck on the outside of the Magento ecosystem. These merchants lack the size and technical sophistication to deploy Magento. They have don’t have the resources to engage our partners and they don’t want to deal with infrastructure issues. As a result, they’ve been unable to benefit from what this platform and community have to offer. It’s time to bring those merchants on the inside.

Introducing Magento Go, the next evolution in eCommerce

Coming in February, Magento Go is a hosted, SaaS service designed for small and emerging merchants who want the benefits of selling online, without the complexity of managing servers and software. It provides them with a robust platform at a cost that any small business can afford.

Magento Go includes these key benefits for small and emerging merchants:

  • PCI Level-1 certified solution
  • Fully supported by our team of experts via email and/or phone
  • Complete Design Control
  • Industry-Leading SEO
  • Support for Multiple Languages and Currencies
  • Powerful Coupon and Discount Tools
  • What you know and love about Magento
  • And much, much more

We’re so excited to launch Magento Go and introduce Magento to a whole new class of merchants that will be able to participate in the Magento revolution. To learn more, visit www.magento.com/go.

Introducing the Magento Go Platform, a Platform as a Service (PaaS) Offering

As you know, Magento leverages the power of the broader ecosystem to deliver the best results for merchants. So as we began creating Magento Go, we knew that an “off the shelf” SaaS offering wouldn’t suffice. We needed to take Magento Go to the next level. Actually, we needed to enable all of YOU to take Magento Go to the next level.

That’s why we’re creating the Magento Go Platform, a Platform as a Service (PaaS) solution that will enable developers to build applications for Magento Go, just as you have built for our deployed editions. The energy & creativity of the Magento development community meets the SaaS environment, that’s what the Magento Go Platform is all about!

With Magento Go and the Magento Go Platform, we are extending the Magento ecosystem to the cloud.

The Magento Go Platform features a full range of APIs that will expose all of Magento’s functionality, both front-end and back-end, to developers. The Platform uses best of breed open standards, such as OpenSocial and OAuth, and developers can use any programming language to create applications.

Magento Go Apps will work both on our SaaS and our deployed products of Community, Professional, and Enterprise Edition – enabling developers to write applications once and deploy them across all of Magento’s solutions.

The Platform is currently in beta, visit magento.com/go/developers to learn more.

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Magento, at the core of eCommerce

Of course, our deployed products will continue to be at the core of Magento’s business. But, we envision a future in which merchants, partners and developers move seamlessly between multiple deployment models to realize their business goals.

Today’s announcements move us in that direction positioning Magento at the core of eCommerce, wherever eCommerce is happening.

Magento CE 1.5.0.1 stable Now Released

February 10, 2011 · 1 Comment
Filed under: Featured, Magento Cart 

Due to a flaw in the design of the Alternative Image Storage module that caused a potential security vulnerability Magento are releasing Magento CE 1.5.0.1 and are pulling this feature in order to refactor it and will rerelease it in future releases.

If you are already running CE 1.5.0.0 please upgrade as soon as possible to this version
To see a full list of features and fixed issues please visit our release notes page. Diff files are available here.

The release is available on our download page and via SVN

Magento Preview Version CE 1.5.0.0-beta2 – Now Available!

January 23, 2011 · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Featured, Magento Cart 

We are happy to announce the availability of Magento Preview Version CE 1.5.0.0-beta2 for download.
This release is a preview version. It is likely unstable and NOT recommended to be used in any production environment (for more information about preview releases and the new community edition release process can be found in this blog post). This release is NOT available for upgrade through Magento Connect Manager unless upgrading directly from versions CE 1.4.2.0-rc1,beta1, CE 1.5.0.0-alpha1, CE 1.5.0.0-alpha2 or CE 1.5.0.0-beta1, The release is available on our download page and via SVN.

Some of the key new features in this release include:

§ Improved Import/Export functionality for Products and Customers

§ Ability to add and manage composite products when creating or editing orders from the admin

§ Alternative media storage using either the file system or the database

§ PayFlowLink HSS integration

§ Upgraded Zend Framework to 1.11.1

§ Enhancements to the core API including exposing shopping cart API

§ And much more…
To see a full list of features and fixed issues please visit our release notes page. Diff files are available here.
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Please report all issues with this release in the bug tracker.

Download here http://www.magentocommerce.com/download

Server Optimization for Big Shopping carts and Blogs

This article has all the optimization techniques , Performance tuning tips and guidelines that are required for any larger servers database, big ecommerce stores, Blogs, CMS Systems etc.

When getting ready to deploy and configure the Big shopping carts like Magento , there are some general technical environment components that must be taken into consideration to create an optimized setup.  These range from physical hardware selection and network throughput, to the underlying Open Source stack, which are key underpinnings which help drive own configuration components.

Some of the Settings that we applied for some of the carts and blogs and achieved a great performance boost.

This Article is based on Magento Performance White paper :http://www.magentocommerce.com/whitepaper Thanks to Magento Team for publishing this wonderful article

When trying to achieve the optimal setup, please take the following into consideration:

Environment Components:

•  Hardware:

With a large amount of concurrent users the sufficient amount of RAM is highly critical to handle all incoming connections. Faster, modern systems with multi-core CPUs, high front side bus speeds and fast hard drives, preferably at 7200RPM and above, will generally speed up the entire application.

•  Network:

Insufficient network I/O throughput and latencies in the internal network can significantly impact performance of a multi-server setup. Outbound connection latency may hurt the customers browsing the store frontend.

•  Software:

Since Magento is a PHP application that runs on the LAMP stack. Therefore, current, up-to-date and well-configured versions of the Linux Kernel, Apache, MySQL and PHP will provide better performance results. Proper configuration of the web-server, the database server and PHP itself is required in order to achieve optimal performance results. While Upgrading MySQL you need to check the big Bug list for your selected version, so only prefer Stable versions. If that is a Beta version then these may be cases that your server and database will crash.

Magento Configuration Components:

•  Proper cache backend

•  Handling sessions with fast storage

•  Directory structure optimization

•  Flat frontend catalog

•  Magento Enterprise Edition cron scripts

•  Rebuilding indexes

•  Admin panel separation

•  Proper search type selection

•  Frontend layout complexity

•  Number of HTTP requests on the page

•  Using parallel connections

Proper Database Configuration

Proper MySQL configuration is one of the most important aspects of configuring any application. You will be wondering to know that Optimizing the MySQL configuration can provide up to a 70% performance. An incorrect configuration may result in the web-server spending more time in idle loops waiting to retrieve data from the database.

As an additional note, the default MySQL installation, even in later versions, is configured to use far less resources than average hardware can provide.

Let’s quickly go through the most important directives in the MySQL configuration file, my.cnf, and their recommended values.

The formulas that can be used for all the calculations can be found in the template file bundled within a MySQL distribution package like (my-huge.cnf, my-innodb-heavy-4G.cnf, my-large.cnf, my-medium.cnf and my-small.cnf

MySQL is improving its performance from its newer versions like 5.1 is 15 times Performance compare to 5.0.

So if you are using a MySQL 5.0 or 4.0 then you are wasting your Server resources.

•  Available Memory

MySQL have Database Engines like InnoDB, MyISAM, so each has its own requirements, Magento uses InnoDB as its primary table storage engine type. InnoDB, unlike MyISAM, can use the in-memory buffer pool to cache table indexes and data. Less disk I/O is needed to get data from hard drives when the value of the in-memory buffer pool is set higher. A general recommendation is to set this parameter up to 80% of the available RAM for a dedicated database server. In cases where both the web-server and the database are running on the same machine, it is recommended to split the entire memory pool into two parts, each having its own primary assigned portion (e.g. on a single server with 6 GB RAM installed it can be split to have 2-2.5 GB used by MySQL, with the rest left for the web server).

The key parameter in this section is innodb_buffer_pool_size, which should be set to use as much available memory as possible:

Server Type                                        innodb_buffer_pool_size

combined web and DB server,   6 GB RAM 2-3 GB

dedicated database server,         6 GB RAM 5 GB

dedicated database server,         12 GB RAM 10 GB

•  Multi-threading

Today’s servers typically have more than 1 CPU installed, with 2 or more cores each. The InnoDB engine can effectively use multiple threads to serve more concurrent connections.

innodb_thread_concurrency should be set to a value equal or greater than 8, even for a single CPU. The recommended value is calculated with the following equation:

2*[Number of Total CPUs]+2

thread_cache_size allows for the caching of a client’s threads when a client disconnects, and to reuse them when new connections are created. The recommended value is from 8 to 64, and depends on your max_connections number.

thread_concurrency can be simply calculated as [number of CPUs] * multiplier . The multiplier value is between 2 and 4 and should be determined by testing the different values and benchmarking for the best results in your environment.

•  Built-in Caching

table_cache( deprecated in MySQL 5.1) or  table_open_cache( Available in MySQL 5.1 or greater) is the number of tables that can be simultaneously opened by MySQL. A value of 1024 will be sufficient for most, if not all, Magento Enterprise Edition sites.

Having the query cache enabled may result in significant speed improvements when you have a large amount of identical queries, which is the case for any eCommerce application frontend. The recommended values for a Magento database server are query_cache_size 64M and query_cache_limit 2M

•  Buffers

A sort buffer is used for optimization of sorting in ORDER BY and GROUP BY queries. 8M is the recommended value for a Magento Enterprise Edition database.

•  Slow queries logging

Logging slow queries might be useful for debugging purposes, but it should be disabled in production use.

•  InnoDB storage

The InnoDB engine works with a single data storage file, which usually grows in time. It’s a good idea to have its initial state configured to be at least twice as large as the Magento database size, and innodb_autoextend_increment should be set to a fairly high value in order to avoid frequent data file extending operations.

InnoDB supports transactional operations by using transaction log files. Transaction log files are generally configured in groups of 2. The bigger the size of the transaction log file, the less often it performs I/O operations on primary storage files. However more time will be required to restore a database in the event it would be necessary.

Do not use multiple InnoDB table spaces unless you are sure you know the benefits in your particular hardware setup.

Apache Web Server Configuration

The most commonly used Apache configuration provides PHP support with mod_php. This Apache configuration loads a large number of modules. However, most of these modules are not necessary in order to run Magento. This becomes more relevant in a multiserver setup, where different tasks can be split on different nodes and each node has to be configured to perform its specific task the best.

The minimum required list of Apache modules is:

•  mod_expires – generates content expiration and cache control headers

•  mod_deflate – compresses content before it is delivered to the client

•  mod_mime – associates the requested file with its type and behavior

•  mod_dir–serves directory index files

•  mod_rewrite–is used to support Search Engine Friendly URL’s

•  mod_authz_host–is required to limit access to specific files

•  mod_authz_user–might be required in a staging environment to setup password authentication, but on a live site it is not necessary

With all unused Apache modules disabled by commenting out the corresponding ‘LoadModule’ lines in httpd.conf, it is possible to cut memory consumed by Apache, which will allow more concurrent connections to be handled with the same amount of RAM.

Another important component is setting an optimal number of running Apache processes. The best method is to create the required number of Apache processes when the web server is started. This number should be calculated by measuring the memory amount consumed by Apache under the maximum load.  This is currently the best threading method as mpm_worker cannot be safely used with PHP, and the process of forking every new Apache child in mod_prefork mode is an expensive operation.

Also note that ServerLimit and MaxClients values should be specified explicitly to prevent running out of physical memory and going into a swap file, causing a sever breakdown of webserver performance. MaxRequestsPerChild can be set to default value (4000).

Under a heavy load keeping persistent connections becomes disadvantageous, thus the KeepAlive directive should always be set to off.

mod_deflate allows to compress the content before sending it to the browser. Magento .htaccess file already includes the necessary settings to enable the compression. Please make sure to uncomment this section in order to decrease the page load time.

Additionally, you can take advantage of eliminating directory structure scans for .htaccess files by moving all .htaccess directives into appropriate <Directory> sections of the main httpd.conf file.

In order to reduce the I/O throughput on Apache web-nodes in a multi-server setup, it is advisable to use a load balancer capable of handling all of the logging activity, instead of having the activity handled by Apache backends.

Apache and MySQL Conclusion: An optimized MySQL and Apache configuration shows 55-70% performance increases on dynamic pages (that is most of the pages in the URL’s list). The homepage results are less affected as the default Magento setup has cache enabled by default

and caches make fewer queries to the database on hitting the homepage. Default Apache and

MySQL configuration is not able to handle higher concurrencies (100 concurrent sessions) resulting in the results for that concurrency varying a lot between tests.

Accelerating PHP

PHP is an interpreted scripting language. The process of running a PHP script includes a few steps – reading a script file from the hard drive, parsing and compiling bytecode, and finally running that bytecode.

Realpath cache configuration

Optimization of file I/O is not only limited to using faster hard drives. It is also highly recommended to increase the default realpath_cache_size and realpath_cache_ttl values in php.ini settings. Based on tests the recommended values are realpath_cache_size=32k and realpath_cache_ttl=7200 on production servers.

Bytecode caching

The process of reading PHP scripts from disk and compiling them can be eliminated by enabling PHP accelerators.  PHP accelerators cache compiled bytecode, resulting in less file and system I/O. Well known PHP accelerators eAccelerator and APC are tested and fully compatible with Magento. Their built-in shared memory can also be used as Magento cache storage.

php.ini configuration

To reduce the memory usage and speed up PHP performance you can enable in php.ini only the minimum set of PHP extensions required to run your application. The necessary extensions are:

•  PDO_MySQL

•  simplexml

•  mcrypt

•  hash

•  GD

•  DOM

•  iconv2

•  SOAP (if the API is to be used)

Conclusion: Adding a PHP accelerator provides a performance boost from 42% on simple pages (homepage) to 500-600% when different PHP-files are used (URL’s list). APC accelerator

provides good results, but from our tests eAccelerator is 15-20% more efficient.

Caching On Magento

Magento is able to cache frequently-used data utilizing different cache backends.

When installing Magento the filesystem is set to be used as the cache backend by default. Using a cache backend will always improve the performance of Magento, and while the filesystem cache is the most reliable storage with unlimited size, it will not provide the best performance.

Magento can also work with the following cache backends that provide better performance than the filesystem cache backend:

• APC – a bytecode cache for PHP, andalso provides a shared memory storage for application data

• eAccelerator  – a PHP accelerator that can also cache dynamic content

• memcached  – a distributed, high-performance caching system

Please make sure that if you are using APC, eAccelerator or memcached, you configure them with enough memory to include all cache data, otherwise they may purge required cache hierarchy structures and break the cache.

Conclusion: It may be required to disable the built-in Magento cache (that is enabled after installation by default) during active development, but please make sure that

caching is enabled on production sites as disabled cache makes the store frontend 5-6 times slower and less responsive under load.

Conclusion: The APC cache backend improves the results, which are 2-3 times better than the default filesystem cache backend. The memcached cache backend shows 10-15% better results than APC. And from the tests the eAccelerator cache backend shows the best results which are 5-10% faster than memcached.

Handling Sessions

Magento uses PHP sessions to store customer session data.

The default method is to use filesystem storage, which works well if you are using a single webserver. Its performance can be improved by configuring a tmpfs in-memory partition to avoid extra hard drive I/O activity.

In a clustered environment with multiple web-servers, the first option for handling sessions is to use a load-balancer capable of associating client requests to specific web-nodes based on client IP or client cookies. If you are in a clustered environment and not using a load-balancer capable of the above, it is necessary to share the session data between all the web-servers. Magento supports two additional session storage types that can be used in this case.

Storing session data in the database (though it is fully supported) is not recommended as it puts  an additional load on the main database, and therefore requires a separate DB server to handle multiple connections efficiently under load in most cases.

memcached session storage is free of these disadvantages. memcached service can be run on one of the cluster servers to provide fast session storage for all web-nodes of the cluster. memcached session storage doesn’t show any performance improvements when used in a single-server configuration though, because of extra overhead processing compared to raw filesystem session files.

Conclusion: The default filesystem storage shows the best results on a single-server setup. The memcached session storage shows slightly different results (1-2% worse) and it can be considered an option in a clustered environment with a simple load-balancer setup. The database session storage should be used only in a clustered environment and only if the memcached storage cannot be used for some reason.

Directory Structure Optimization

Optimizing directory structure can also help fine tune Magento Enterprise Edition performance.  It is highly recommended to use the Zend Framework distribution bundled within Magento Enterprise Edition as it is tweaked to significantly reduce the number of system calls required to  locate a file in the directory structure.  This is accomplished by commenting out all extra require_once directives within the configuration file. The additional require_once calls are not required because Magento Enterprise Edition implements its own autoload function that handles all necessary file requests on demand. Recent Magento Enterprise Edition versions (since version 1.3.x) include the Magento Enterprise Edition Compilation Module (Mage_Compiler) which provides extra optimization by placing all the files in one directory and combines the most used classes in a few single files.

Conclusion: Enabling Magento Enterprise Edition Compilation Module provides a 10-15% additional performance boost.

Flat Frontend Catalog

Starting in Magento 1.3.x the Flat Frontend Catalog module was introduced. The Flat Frontend Catalog module maintains an additional set of database tables to store catalog data in a linear format, with extra indexes that facilitate executing database queries on the frontend catalog pages.

Flat Frontend Catalog structures were implemented for both category and product data. Flat Categories are recommended for any Magento installation for improved performance, whereas the Flat Products is designed and recommended for catalogs that have over 1,000 SKU’s.

To enable one or both, first go to your administrator panel and navigate to System ->  Cache Management. Under Catalog click on the Rebuild button next to Rebuild Flat Catalog Category or Rebuild Flat Catalog Product. Note: If only Flat Catalog Categories are used there is no need to rebuild the Flat Catalog Product.

Navigate to System ->  Configuration, click on Catalog and select the Frontend tab. Choose Yes next to the appropriate selection of either Use Flat Catalog Category or Use Flat Catalog Product.

Conclusion: Enabling the Flat Catalog module does not add much to the homepage test results as the default homepage does not contain product listing information and the categories menu is efficiently cached by default. However, when it comes to browsing the frontend catalog the performance gain is around 2-3% on smaller catalogs and reaches 8-10% on larger catalogs with complex category structures and large numbers of products.

Admin Panel Separation

Admin panel operations are in general more resource consuming than the frontend activities. Often they require increasing PHP memory limits or having extra extensions compiled into PHP. Therefore, having a dedicated admin server can help make admin panel operation faster while not impacting the frontend configuration and performance. The separation can be done by specifying different base URL’s on a global level, and for frontend websites and stores. Each separate domain name can then be served by a separate server.

Proper Search Type Selection

Magento supports 3 search types that can be selected in configuration – LIKE, FULLTEXT, and their combination. FULLTEXT search is known to be faster and puts less load on the database.

Number of HTTP Requests Per Page

In order to improve page load and processing time it’s important to reduce the number of HTTP requests per page. Magento allows for combining multiple JavaScript files and stylesheets into a smaller number of files. This is fully under the control of a theme developer through the flexible system of theme layouts, instead of directly including JavaScript files from within the templates.

This is an example of the proper way to reduce the number of JavaScript file includes:

<reference> <action method=”addJs”><script>custom_js/gallery.js</script></action> <action method=”addJs”><script>custom_js/intro.js</script></action> </reference>

The example layout file above will combine those 2 scripts in a single file that will be added to the page with one request to js/index.php?c=auto&f=,custom_js/gallery.js,custom_js/intro.js.

Using Parallel Connections

Browsers can load page elements in parallel. Specifying different domains in the Magento Enterprise Edition configuration (under System ->  Configuration ->  Web) for media, skin and JavaScript URLs will help to speed the page rendering time in the browser, as most browsers are limiting the number of downloads to 2-4 parallel threads per domain name.

You can find the detailed list of website design best practices at the Yahoo Developer Network at http://developer.yahoo.com/performance/rules.html

Media and Static Content Delivery

Though Apache is a fast and reliable web-server, there are other web-server options that are known to serve static content and media files more efficiently, consuming less memory and CPU time.

Widely used are nginx, lighttpd and tinyhttpd. These are multiplexing web-servers, which don’t have built-in scripting languages support, but can handle thousands of simultaneous connections per server.

Additional Performance Gains

Static content delivery can be improved using a caching reverse proxy, such as Squid, or an HTTP accelerator like Varnish. A reverse proxy can locally cache content received from Apache to reduce the load on the Apache backends.

Another way to reduce your server load and to get smaller network latencies is using a content delivery networks (CDN). Most CDN’s support pushing media content through a simple API and can be integrated with the Magento backend quite easily.

Scalability

Magento is designed to utilize benefits of running a multi-server setup in a clustered environment. Web-nodes are not limited to be of exactly the same type. There might be different nodes performing different tasks (frontend servers, static content and media servers and a separate admin panel server).

Scaling DB nodes

Magento works with a database in a manner that easily allows separating database connections for read and write activities. Each particular module can use its own connections if needed, which is fully customizable and can be easily set in app/etc/local.xml.

The following configuration snippet shows how to setup 2 separate connections to master and slave DB servers:

<config>

<global>

<resources>

<default_setup>

<connection>

<host><![CDATA[master]]></host>

<username><![CDATA[writeuser]]></username>

<password><![CDATA[writeuserpwd]]></password>

<dbname><![CDATA[Magento Enterprise Edition]]></dbname>

<active>1</active>

</connection>

</default_setup>

<default_read>

<connection>

<use></use> <host><![CDATA[slave]]></host>

<username><![CDATA[readuser]]></username>

<password><![CDATA[readuserpwd]]></password>

<dbname><![CDATA[Magento Enterprise Edition]]></dbname>

<model>mysql4</model>

<initStatements>SET NAMES utf8</initStatements>

<type>pdo_mysql</type>

<active>1</active>

</connection>

</default_read>

</resources>

</global>

<config>

Scaling web-nodes

Magento can be scaled over any number of additional web-servers, which will allow for the handling of more concurrent requests by simply introducing new web-nodes when the number of page views and visitors grow. When the number of visitors grows, doubling the number of web-nodes can provide up to 60-70% performance increase.

Physical Servers

Our results show better performance on physical dedicated servers than cloud environment.

Software Versions Used

CentOS release 5.3 (Final) Linux 2.6.24-23-xen SMP x86_64 GNU/Linux

mysqlVer 14.14 Distrib 5.1.36, for redhat-linux-gnu (x86_64) using readline 5.1 PHP 5.2.10 Apache/2.2.3

memcached 1.2.5 SIEGE 2.69 Magento Enterprise Edition 1.3.2.3

If you still have any questions you are always welcome to contact us or comment.

X-cart vs Magento Commerce Stats for October 2010

November 1, 2010 · Leave a Comment
Filed under: eCommerce, Featured, Magento Cart, Shopping Carts, Xcart 

X-cart vs Magento Commerce Stats for October 2010

According to Compete.com below are stats listed for X-cart and Magentocommerce.com

Magento Commerce with 181,982 Unique Visits

X cart at 36,466 Unique Visits

x-cart-com-magentocommerce-com_Oct_2010

Sites_x-cart_com vs magentocommerce_com

Magento Mobile Launches

September 11, 2010 · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Featured, Magento Cart, Shopping Carts 

Mobile commerce has been growing quickly, and there is significant demand for merchants who want to mobilize their business.  And although Magento has provided mobile web optimized themes (WAPs) since 2008, a majority of retailers want engage their customers with the rich & personal features that only mobile apps provide.  However, the cost and time to build, integrate, deploy and manage these native apps for various popular devices is significant, and therein lies the basis for our product. Magento Mobile will enable our over 70,000 merchants to easily create branded, native storefront applications that are deeply integrated with Magento’s market-leading eCommerce platform.  The product includes a new administrative manager (available for free on Magento Connect), a native iPhone app that is fully customizable (colors, images, buttons, etc), and a service where Magento manages the submission and maintenance process for the iTunes App Store.  Magento Mobile is compatible with previous versions of Magento, including Community Edition 1.3+, Enterprise Edition 1.6+, and Professional Edition 1.8.

Launch Customers

Many of the world’s top retailers and emerging brands will be deploying apps through Magneto Mobile in the very near future. OKSkate is currently live in the app store (download here), with more apps to come from The North Face (EMEA), ‘47 Brand, The Miami Dolphins Store, Smart & Sexy, and many more.

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Click image(s) to expand

Launch Partner:  PayPal Mobile

PayPal is investing heavily in mobile-payments technology, and we’re pleased to announce that we’ve worked closely with PayPal to integrate their new product, Mobile Embedded Payments (MEP), into Magento mobile.  Merchants who already use PayPal will benefit by offering a native payment experience that drives higher conversations.

Product Features & Benefits

Seamless Storefront Integration
With the new Magento-mobile admin, you’ll bring the functional powerhouse of Magento eCommerce to your mobile commerce channel, including full integration with your store’s catalog, checkout, inventory, reporting, and much more!

Manage Multiple Devices
Easily manage multiple devices with a single installation. Coming later this year, easily extend your mobile presence to the iPad and Android devices.

Hassle Free Submissions
Supporting a native app can be time consuming and tedious, so we manage the submission & support lifecycle for one low monthly fee. We manage the complexity of mobile apps so you can focus on running your business!

Fully Customizable
Deploy new device-specific features and branded themes with just a few clicks. Quickly update the colors and appearance of your app with the new Magento mobile admin, even after customers have downloaded your app.

Engage Your Customers
If you want to build deeper relationships with your most profitable customers, smartphones are the way to do it. From geo-targeted push notifications to immersive native experiences, mobile apps unlock new opportunities that will take your business to the next level!

Low Cost of Ownership
Magento’s cost-efficient approach allows you to bring best-in-class mobile experience to your customers without the high price tag. Pay only for the features and devices you want while Magento handles the ongoing maintenance of your app in the iTunes marketplace.

Sign up and Pricing

Getting setup with Magento Mobile is quick and easy.  There is a one-time setup fee of $799 and an annual maintenance fee of $699 (or $69 monthly).  More details on pricing and installing Magento Mobile are available at the new Magento-mobile product page.

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