Well, it’s almost halloween and if you aren’t afraid yet, you should be! The holidays are quickly approaching, and all of our developer stacks have had their noses to the grindstone for months now preparing our merchants for the most vital time of year. It’s important to us that during the holiday season that our client’s sites are stabile and able to handle traffic at peak hours. Preparation is key to making the holiday season successful. If you’re a Magento merchant selling online these are the questions you should be asking yourself, and tips you should be following before the holiday season. So follow this list and check it twice!
The Magento Holiday Performance Checklist
1. What’s Your Back-up Strategy?
You may already have a back-up strategy in place, so make sure you connect with your Systems Integrator or technical team. You need a plan outlining who will be the point person(s) helping with your “Disaster Recovery Strategy”, and share your plans with your solution and hosting partners so that every know what to do in the worst case.
2. What is your scale and replication strategy?
On the busiest online shopping days of the year – Black Friday and Cyber Monday, respectively – you need your back-up plan in addition to a deployment strategy for standby hardware to accommodate load spikes.
3. What will happen under peak load scenarios?
By now you should have arranged your holiday sales projections. Take those numbers and those from your predictive load testing to ensure your system hold its own at capacity. Your system will need to be able to survive under the peak loads of visitors who are browsing your site and customers buying items. Magento’s Expert Consulting Group can lend a hand with their predictive load testing services.
4. What is the timing of your scheduled process?
Your routined back-ups could bring your site down during the peak season. Your process (ie. database backups, and batched imports or exports) shouldn’t happen during your busiest times or days.
5. Enable Application-Caching Features
With Magento Enterprise Edition you can cache configuration, layouts, blocks output, translations, collections data, web-services configuration, and full pages (exclusive to Magento EE). You have the option to enable and disable all these types via the Magento Admin Panel, and all can help you with improving system performance.
6. Do you use a Content Delivery Network (CDN)?
Our friends at Peer 1 Hosting provide our merchants with CDN service, which stores copies of your files on datacenters globally. Once a site visitor accesses your site the server near you will respond to the page request. Offloading these static pages can help you serve more users and improve your sites responsiveness.
7. Do you have out-of-date promos or product pages?
Clean-up all of your inactive pages to help you save space and improve performance during peak times.
8. Have you set time limits?
During the busiest season of the year you don’t want your customers to keep items in their abandoned carts indefinitely. It’s suggested that you set a time limit on shopping cart lifetime values, say 30 or 60 days. Conversely old order data should be archived from last year to make more room for orders and transactions this year.
9. How many promotions should you be running at one time?
The number of promotions you’re running concurrently should be limited during the peak season. The more promo rules you have set, the more times your system has to run calculations at check out, which slow site speed. Use customer segmentations to target specific customers with conditional promotions.
10. Set Price Rules in Advance
If you’re a merchant using catalog price rules, be aware that Magento EE takes time to update price rules so plan accordingly.
11. Don’t Flush the Cache!!!
This is one of our biggest pet peeves, when merchants think flushing the cache will solve their problems. If you must do so, refrain from flushing the cache or re-indexing during peak hours.
12. If you’re not using it, disable it
Your Systems Integrator should disable the Magento features you aren’t using, things like giftcards and wishlists can hinder performance if they aren’t in use.