Magento E-Commerce is beautifully, delightfully……slow.

Update: Since writing this post, Magento has had several updates, and I have found a couple of excellent web host for Magento that speed things up a lot. I have used and been satisfied with both the speed and support of Simple Helix and WiredTree for Magento web hosting.

My experience with the Magento E-Commerce Software (thus far):
I don’t even remember how I ran across Magento, but I think it was somewhere between Tripping over CRE Loaded oscommerce but after falling into the Hell of Zen Cart. I had just about called it quits with open source shopping cart software. The typical, cookie-cutter shopping cart solutions: Zen Cart, CRE-Loaded (and many more) are all based on the ancient oscommerce framework, and hardly any of them offer anything new, or stable for that matter.

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And then I…. tripped into the pearly white gates of Magento E – Commerce. What a beautiful open source software. This software is different though. It has an actual company backing and supporting the it. I thought I had totally hit a gold mine and after reading up on the software, I knew I did!

….don’t count your chickens before they hatch. It doesn’t matter how aesthetically appealing a website is to the eye, if it isn’t functional (fast, I should say, because Magento is a billion times more functional than its predecessors) then it isn’t worth crap. I installed this sweet new software onto a shared dreamhost server and boy was I un-impressed. I don’t even know what to compare the speed to. I guess you could say it was as slow as I was jumping off the diving board for the first time when I was a wee lad of 13 (I kid). A more accurate comparison would be like watching ants in an ant farm build their tunnels. Enough of my lame analogy’s for now. But it is slow!!!

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What a let down…
Reluctant to give up on the software though, I just paid $100 bucks (per year) for web hosting. They brag about being able to host Magento. I haven’t had time to experiment with the actual speeds, but I sure do hope it goes quick. Magento is awesome! ……awesome if it will go fast of course.

Importing Products
Throughout my time watching the ants build their tunnels, I think I discovered how to mass import products into the new store. The site went so slow that I couldn’t ever confirm or deny that my testing was right.

Later… I’ll update my findings as well as any tips or tricks associated with the perils of setting up this beautifully wicked software.

If you’re looking for some Magento Support, I blog frequently about Magento problems and solutions here:

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About Jeremy Blake

Jeremy is a self-proclaimed socially-awkward penguin living in Utah. He makes money online. As he sleeps.

  • I feel your pain, unfortunately.
    Real slow on my host’s server. Ready to throw in towel on support also.
    With a company backing it, not sure if it’s begging for paid support since the community forums are light in attendance.
    Nonetheless, could be a great program. I like aspects to it but have loads of questions on layout,going unanswered, also unfortunately.
    Would really like to hear more thoughts on Magento.

  • The community support is a shame. It’s just about as slow as the software. On the other hand, a lot of things have changed since version 1.0. I’m now running version 1.1.3 on a dreamhost shared server for one of my company’s and (about 130 products) and it’s running surprisingly quick. We’ll see what happens when we get a surge of traffic though. We haven’t launched yet.

    As far as your quest for support goes: you may try hanging out in the Magento chat room. I’ve found quite a few answers to my questions with people that are willing to share their knowledge with me if I do the same for them.

    Also, feel free to shoot me an email with a specific problem you’re having. I’ve been through the ropes a few times with this software over the last little bit and have learned a lot. If I know the answer to your question, I’ll post it here on my blog so the rest of the world can benefit.

    Thanks for checking out my blog. I’ll try to post more tips on specific Magento related problems I had and overcame.

  • rak

    been looking around for a dreamhost alternative, but found this tip from a ‘silver’ magento host:

    might try that before i switch.

  • Right on man! Thanks for the tip. I skimmed over your link, but I’m going to read more in depth tomorrow. I’m sure there are some things worth knowing for sure.

  • rak

    my next choice would have been Mediatemple, but they also seem to be slow (or not at all, as they don’t have PHP5) so i’m now left with 3 options, these are their demos:

    with a table of performance:

    that table came from this thread, all three companies talking to eachother about speed:

  • I stated this:
    “I’m now running version 1.1.3 on a dreamhost shared server for one of my company’s and (about 130 products) and it’s running surprisingly quick.”

    Above. That statement no longer holds water. Since I stated this, I’ve gone back to the safe ground – SimpleHelix. Do not set up magento on dreamhost. You’ll be sorry. Definitely a waste of time.

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  • Orion

    I have been playing with 1.1.6 and its still REAL SLOW.
    Its still slow with one user even after a couple of tweaks!

    I’m looking for another free/open source cart and I’m not sure which cart I should use. Its seems real hard to find a cart that is ready to use, well documented, easy to mod and with a responsive community. I have been looking in to Satchmo (built with django/python) and it seems the best thing I have found so far. There is also Opencart.
    Drupals ubercart seems buggy at version 1.5 which I think its supposed to be a stable version (1.6 just came out yesterday)

  • @Orion
    Have you tried hosting your store at SimpleHelix? I have a few stores that are running (pretty much) flawlessly on my SimpleHelix hosting plan. The stores are snappy, and the customers seem to love the experience. They have even compared the shopping experience to Amazon’s.

    As far as searching for another open source cart, I honestly doubt you’re going to get very far. I searched high and low and Magento was the best I could find. They continue to improve and the support is slowly getting better. You can find quite a few tips on my new blog http://HowToInstallMagento.Com.

    Best of luck.

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  • I had problems with the slowness and I know they can be resolved with the right hosting configuration. Unfortunately a lot of hosts just don’t have the expertise and/or willingness to jump through the hoops required.

    I want to love Magento but I wrote an article on my opinions here:

    • Hey Carey,

      Great article! Thanks for sharing.

      I have grown to love Magento, but hate the people behind it (in a way). Support on the forums is scarce, and some complications are enough to make me want to jump out my window; but overall, I’m quite happy with it, especially when compared to oscommerce or zencart.

      It seems that between paying $40+ bucks more a month for hosting, and recent Magento updates, my stores seem to be running very quick.

  • There’s no “magical” hosting for certain software, it all boils down to server resources made available to you and connection speed and price. some of the “magento specific” hosting offered in this blog are nothing more then resellers for companies like Softlayer for example.

    If you are planning to run a serious e-commerce business which has a need of Magento complexity or has a real potential should FORGET about shared hosting and its fake “unlimited” offers altogether.

    Second you should look for a company that actually OWNS a data center and has physical not only virtual access to servers. People that can actually walk up to a server hub and take a look at it.

    Stop being cheap and let go the few bucks of a difference a month you think you are saving by buying the price and not a product/service itself.

    Read reviews for the hosting company you are interested in. is usually a safe spot for it.

    good luck.

  • I came across this great post about magento. my site is hosted on and it is somewhat faster than the rest of the hosting companies but that doesnt not mean light speed since magento itself is slow.

    I hope they(varien, magento ppl) realize that enterprise or even high traffic sites would multiply their bounce rate because of slow speed…i’m struggling through this.. i think i probably have the most optimized magento cart yet at times its unexplainably slow at product loads. Do your testing before you jump in the magento boat…Great post btw…

  • I’m an entry level web developer for my company, and I worked with magento before. My God is it slow. I know its good, but its not worth the trouble we go through with our client. There’s a lot of features on magento that aren’t there, that should be there… like printing shipping labels.

    But besides all that, I can tell magento is a powerful piece of crap. It consists of OOP, which means so much flexibility when working with the code. But overall, its not worth it. Maybe in a year from now they’ll find a way to make it faster. At least I hope so. I wanna use it for my own sites.
    .-= Afro Radio Head´s last blog ..Black Comedian Blog – And the 30 Day Challenge And Social Bookmarking =-.

    • Totally agree. However, I think they’ve released some updates recently that have made it much quicker.

  • Thomas

    The right hosting and and extensions installed can get Magento moving pretty quick!

  • Uncomment gzip in htaccess, enable mysql cache. HUGE IMPROVEMENT!

  • We had a similar experience with speed. This extension was born out of a lot of sleepless nights creating a solution for our clients. It serves up to 100x more requests and creates faster Magento server response time (up to 90%) than default slow Magento installations. Plus you use less servers, perfect if you’re using Magento Enterprise.

  • Hi Jeremy,

    I’ve created a blogpost with “101 ways to speed up your Magento e-commerce website” ( It contains many tips on how to improve the speed of your Magento store on the level of the server, Magento config and Magento templating. Hope this helps you out. Let me know if you have additional tips, I’ll add them to the list!

    • Looks like some good tips in the post. Thanks for sharing.

  • Sean

    So, after getting page loads down under a second with all that tweaking and server upgrading, has anyone come across a fix for the next problem that surfaces. Somewhere around 17-20 items being added to the cart, response time going into the cart and submitting for payment takes 60-90 seconds. Time taken with more items goes exponential after that. If you blow the cache, it speeds up for a little while. Customers are getting annoyed.

  • Jed

    Here’s another option to consider. Full Page Caching with the LightSpeed module from

    LightSpeed sits in front of Magento and determines whether or not the visitor needs a dynamic page, if not, the page is served from LightSpeed and the request doesn’t even hit Magento. A full configuration of LightSpeed will even allow you to hole punch around small areas of the page that need to be dynamic, but still serve a majority of the page from LightSpeed.

  • After tuning your webserver, PHP and MySQL the next step to making magento fast is full page caching. Brim’s Full Page Cache is easy to install and support block updates (for things like recently viewed products and shopping cart) right out of the box. We have been able to get cached pages served in under 100ms!