Speed Up Magento with Lightspeed

Magento is an amazing ecommerce platform, but there is one glaring issue that haunts every Magento developer. It’s slow. Excruciatingly slow. There’s a few things you can do to help with the page load times like using the built in caching system, combining your javascript and css files, using Memcached, etc. Those fixes can definitely help, but they’re not going to make a significant difference. Magento Community Edition needs full page caching, and until then, you’re stuck with 3rd party modules that can solve this problem. We looked at several full page caching modules and decided to purchase TinyBrick’s Lightspeed based on some positive reviews.

What is Lightspeed?

Lightspeed is an extension that offers full page caching for Magento Community edition. It works by taking a snapshot of the page when it’s first loaded. The next time a browser requests that page, Lightspeed loads the snapshot instead of the full page with all the server side scripting and database calls. The result is insanely fast page load times that will make you and your customers very happy.

How Much Faster is Magento with Lightspeed?

Lightspeed will make your Magento store run fast. Like, really really fast. Don’t believe me? Thanks to magespeedtest.com we can show you how much of a performance boost you’ll get with Lightspeed.

Magento Page Loading Time Comparison

Comparison of Magento with/without Lightspeed Installed

As you can see, the longest loading time during our test with Lightspeed installed was 2.37 seconds compared to 7.33 seconds without it. The shortest time was .19 seconds compared to 2.84 seconds. Now ask yourself this, would you rather wait 2.37 seconds? Or 7.33 seconds? Your customers feel the same way!

Installing Lightspeed

Lightspeed is actually really easy to install if you follow the installation guide. The instructions make it seem like you’re going to have to be an expert, but it’s not that hard if you have some experience installing Magento extensions. Before you do anything though, make sure you backup Magento.

Once you’ve uploaded the files, you then need to update your .htaccess file to use lightspeed.php instead of index.php. You’re going to want to modify these two lines:

DirectoryIndex index.php
DirectoryIndex lightspeed.php

RewriteRule .* index.php [L]
RewriteRule .* lightspeed.php [L]

If you have customized the .htaccess file then you’ll to do a find and replace for index.php. After you’ve done that, refresh your cache and you should be good to go!

Hole Punching in Lightspeed

There are some cases that you want to load dynamic content on the page instead of the static HTML. For example, most shopping sites have a shopping cart widget in the header area that shows how many products are in the cart. Fortunately, the creators of Lightspeed have a way around this through “Hole Punching”. Hole Punching allows you to dynamically load parts of your theme while still serving the user with the cached version of the page. You will need to know your way around Magento to figure this out, but here is a good tutorial on Hole Punching.

What Are You Waiting For?

Lightspeed is the number one extension we install for our clients. The longer you wait to improve your Magento performance, the longer your customers wait for your product and category pages to load on Magento!

Install Magento Lightspeed