Fooman Speedster

In our last post we looked at increasing page speed and its importance on the World Wide Web. So in a natural progression from that we’re looking at how to increase page speed on the Magento platform.

At first glance you might think that there is little that we can do to speed Magento’s load time short of increasing the power of the server that the site is hosted on. But in actuality the changes that we recommended in our last post are just as applicable here. But there is one big piece of good news, someone has already done the hard work for you!

How can this be you might ask? Well there’s a handy little extension called Fooman Speedster that will automatically compress or minify both your Javascript and CSS files in what will provide a massive boost to your site’s page speed. Best of all setting up the extension is remarkably easy.  Let’s take a look.

To begin you need to download the extension from http://www.magentocommerce.com/magento-connect/fooman-speedster.html Installation is pretty straightforward through Magento Connect.

If you’re using Magento Connect 2.0 then you’ll need to make sure that both the file /lib/minify/m.php and the containing folder are writeable. The same should also be true of /var/minifycache.

And then you’re pretty much done with your changes and your Magento site will load much faster than it did before due to reduced file size. If you’ve got Magento then there is no reason not to install Fooman Speedster, so give it a go.

If you’re trying to install through an older version of Magento Connect or on a site with multiple stores more information can be found on the extensions official page.

Increasing Page Speed

With the Internet becoming ever saturated with a plethora of sites for just absolute very topic and category imaginable maintaining every competitive edge is absolutely vital. Once such area that is often overlooked is the speed at which your site loads. It’s not hard to believe especially if you think about how any sites you personally have closed simply because they took far too long to load so why would your site be any different?

Additionally it’s also important to remember that more and more users are viewing sites with mobile devices such as phones and tabs which use data connections. Speed here is also vital (not to mention having a separate mobile version of the site)

So what are some of the things that you can do to increase your page speed? The first is to save all your images for the web if you’re using software such as Adobe Photoshop which will automatically compress the file size to maintain quality as much as possible but greatly shrink the file size. Images are after all where the longest load times are experienced. This has a considerable impact on load times.

Next is compressing or minifying your javascript or css files. The technology used does not have to be invented but minifying is essentially compressing your javascript and css files so that they retain all the information but sport a far smaller price. How can you minify your javascript files? It’s actually pretty easy and free as there are a host of sites that can be found online to do the job for you.  Taking these steps will allow you to greatly reduce the size of your site and boost site load times.

You might also want to minify your html code which will greatly shrink your site even further, but it should be noted that on many platforms the html generated is actually dynamic. What this means is compressing such content is not possible because it’s generated on the fly. This doesn’t mean you can’t take steps to do so as certain blocks or chunks of html might be static in which case they can be minified.

So give these suggestions and try and see how your site improves. Some sites that you can use to check your performance are:

To measure page size and load time: http://tools.pingdom.com/fpt/
The Google Tool for doing the same thing: https://developers.google.com/pagespeed/