Magento Tricks and Tips

Below are a few tricks and tip to help improve performance of Magento on our our servers.  Please make a backup of your configuration and files before adjusting any of these settings.
Enable XCache in Magento
By default, Magento stores the cache on the file system. This is not optimized for performance as disk IO is usually a large bottleneck in any server, even with faster SSD disks. The speed can be greatly improved by using a fast backend cache in Magento. has enabled XCache on its servers by default, but you must configure Magento to use it. XCache is a fast, stable PHP opcode cacher and fast backend that has been proven and is now running on production servers under high load. XCache overcomes many of the problems found with other opcode caches such as being able to run with new PHP versions.
To use XCache as a fast backend cache, simply add the following to your ./app/etc/local.xml:

Replace username_ with your actual username.

one caveat when using Xcache is that the implementation of Xcache backend provided by Magento is not fully compatible with the Zend 2-level caching. Therefore, when using Xcache you should edit the file ./app/code/core/Mage/Core/Model/Cache.php, and change the following section (around line 181):

case 'xcache':
   if (extension_loaded('xcache')) {
      $enable2levels = false;
      $backendType = 'Xcache';

To prevent future upgrades to overwrite the changes, you should create a local copy/override of that file in ./app/code/local/Mage/Core/Model/Cache.php.

Magento Caching

Goto Magento Admin -> System -> Cache Management
Tick the following items:
  • Configuration
  • Layouts
  • Block HTML output
  • Translations
Untick the following items:
  • Collections Data
  • EAV types and attributes
  • Web Services Configuration

Remove Home Page Elements
Goto Magento Admin -> CMS -> Manage Pages -> Home -> Custom Design
  • The "Layout Update XML" box is pre-populated with functions and calls, all of which can be removed without any apparent problems, according to a number of other Magento users.

Enable Flat Categories and Flat Products (V 1.3+)
Goto Magento Admin -> System -> Cache Management
  • Under Catalog click on the Rebuild button next to Rebuild Flat Catalog Category or Product.
Goto Magento Admin -> System -> Configuration
  • Click on Catalog and select the Frontend tab. Choose Yes next to the appropriate selection of either Use Flat Catalog Category or Product.