Make your Magento store blazing fast with Varnish

As you all know Magento is notoriously slow. We have tried several caching systems and found Varnish to be the best so far.

Using the Turpentine extension by Nexcess setting it up becomes reasonably straightforward!

Magento Turpentine

You can get the extension here: https://github.com/nexcess/magento-turpentine

Using Varnish all your pages will be fully cached. Turpentine uses a smart hole punching ESI block system to make sure all dynamic blocks are also loaded properly.

When using Varnish + Turpentine for your Magento store, your load times will probably go down to about 0.03 seconds or so.

If you need any help with the implementation, don’t hesitate to let us know!

Magento CMS Revisions tip. Keep a backup of your changes.

The problem: Accidentaly removing or messing up CMS content

We have probably all experienced it more than once: You have been working on a CMS page or block in Magento for up to a couple of hours, only to find out that you or a colleague accidentally changed the content and saved the, now broken, CMS content..

You will have to go to great heights to restore the content. Maybe retrieve the page or block content from a Magento backup, or in the worst case, you’ll have to re-create the complete CMS page or block from scratch.

We have experienced this multiple times and I can tell you it’s not pretty, and a complete waste of time.

 

The solution: Magento CMS Revisions by Plugin Company

To solve the issue mentioned above, I have been looking on the internet for a suitable Magento CMS version control system. I compared a couple of Magento extensions and eventually settled for the Magento CMS Revisions extension by Plugin Company. This extension makes sure that after each save of a CMS entity, a new revision is created which in turn can be restored with the click of a button.

Some of the extensions features are:

Restore CMS pages and blocks with one click

It literally takes only a single click to restore a Magento CMS Block or Page with this great extension, making using this version control system as simple as can be.

Preview CMS pages in the browser

Another great feature is that you can preview any CMS page revision in the browser on the front-end. This allows you to check the content in your actual Magento webshop first, before deciding to restore the page. You can even choose in which store view you’d like to display the preview.

Load CMS blocks directly into the editor

Of course it’s impossible to preview a CMS block on the front end, because it can be inserted in many places of the same web shop. Luckily you can load the content of a block directly into the editor, including title, url key and of course the blocks content. This way you can preview and edit the revision before restoring it.

See who did it!

One of my favorite features is that you can exactly see who edited a page or block and when he or she did it. Because every time a Magento CMS page or Block is saved, a revision is created with the content of the current save, with the name of the person who created the revision. If there is somebody accidentally changing things for the worse, you now have a chance to help him or her doing it properly :)

 

They also offer great support

Initially encountered a small issue with the extensions ACL configuration. I’m happy that the issue was solved within a couple of hours after I contacted the Plugin Company Magento support team. You should definitely check them out, and don’t forget to check out their blog if you’re a Magento developer!

Magento – Change attribute sets of products

You might have noticed that by default, it’s impossible to change the attribute set of a product, once it has been added to one. At first you don’t even notice this, but once you want to change the attribute set you find out it’s impossible. It seems very strange that this is not possible in Magento, luckily there is a community built solution for this issue!

To modify a products attribute set, just follow the following steps. First search for ‘flagbit change attribute set’ on Magento Connect, or using Google. Don’t feel like searching? Just use this link: http://www.magentocommerce.com/magento-connect/flagbit-change-attribute-set.html

Download and install the extension first. After that you will be able to change the attribute set of a product through the product list page in the Magento Admin environment.

Dead simple and very useful!