By default Magento comes with enabled caching thus avoiding repetition of some of the heaviest operations. However, this is not always enough for Magento to run fast.
Speeding up Magento is not always an easy task and commercial extensions for this purpose are expensive. That's why we will offer you two easy to follow steps which can significantly increase Magento Performance:
1. Enable the compiler which comes with Magento by default. You can find it in Magento admin panel, System, Tools, Compilation. Just click on Enable and Run Compilation Process after that.
This option compiles all Magento installation files and creates a single include path. It will speed up pages 25-50% according to the official documentation.
However, enabling the compiler may cause some issues such as reporting missing php files which cannot be included. This may force you to disable the compiler. This can be done similarly to enabling it - go to admin panel, System, Tools, Compilation.
2. If the above improvement is not enough next step is to install a third party extension. We will use the freely available Fooman Speedster. Its extension key is:
To install it follow these steps:
First, from Magento admin panel go to System, Magento Connect, Magento Connect Manager. There paste the above key and click on Install.
Next, add the following line to your Magento .htaccess:
RewriteRule ^(index.php/)?minify/([^/]+)(/.*.(js|css))$ lib/minify/m.php?f=$3&d=$2
The above will force all requests to be processed through the extension frontend called m.php. In order this processor to work properly please do the following:
a. Change the permissions for the directory lib/minify/ to 755 recursively. These are the correct permissions if your webserver runs under your user and php is in suexec as in most shared hosting environments. Alternatively, you can leave the default 777 permissions.
b. Ensure that the caching directory 'var/minifycache/' is writable. In most cases 777 permissions are sufficient. Then open a few times your Magento and check if files such as minify_67fe988157635b14d2f1e076727899d2 have appeared in the directory in question.
The above optimization steps are the fastest and easiest way to an optimized Magento.