Magento Full Page Cache (FPC)
The best way to speed up your Magento eCommerce site is by using a full page caching system. There are several of these available but what makes Bolt so good is that in the majority of cases, the Magento framework isn't loaded and no DB connection is made! This massively improves page load time and allows your server to handle many more requests!
Bolt can be used on any server; be it a dedicated server, a VPS or even a shared server. It's used by FishPig.co.uk (in combination with Opti, see below) and allows us to keep our hosting costs way down while still having a fast and responsive site.
Bolt vs Varnish Cache
Bolt works in a very similar way to Varnish in that it sits right in front of Magento and intercepts requests, only letting through requests that haven't been cached. This is why both Bolt and Varnish can generate such quick speeds. Neither cache will connect to the Magento database or load any Magento files if it can load the request from cache. This allows really low page times and time to first byte (TTFB) times of less than 500ms!
The important question however, is which cache is faster on Magento: Bolt or Varnish? Both are good and really fast but the benefit Bolt has over Varnish is that Bolt was written purely for Magento. This allows it to be really optimised for the system it is caching and be really clever about what is cached and what isn't cached. Bolt also has a very easy to use GUI in the Magento Admin that allows you to configure which modules are cached and which blocks are hole punched. There is no coding skills required to configure Bolt at all!
Bolt and Other Magento Full Page Cache Extensions
The majority of Magento FPC extensions work inside the Magento application. This means that even if a request can be loaded from the cache, a connection to the Magento database first has to be created and 100's of Magento files have to be loaded. This means you will never achieve truly impressive speeds with these other extensions. As Bolt sits in front of Magento, it can skip the database connection and loading the Magento library completely when it can load a request from the cache. This will always make Bolt faster than other FPC extensions.
If you clean your whole cache, it can take a while for it to warm up again. To combat this problem, Bolt automatically cleans specific pages of your cache at particular times. As an example, each time you save a product or a CMS page in the Magento Admin, the related cache files will be cleaned. Should you need to flush the Bolt cache, you can do so via System > Cache Management in the Magento Admin.
You can also clean the cache of specific URLs simply by adding ?___refresh=bolt to the URL in your browser. This will trigger a cache refresh for that page.
Hole Punching in Bolt
Bolt now includes it's own hole punching service that can be configured from the Magento Admin. To do this, select System > Configuration > Bolt > Hole Punch. From here you can enter the names of Magento blocks that you want to be hole punched - it's that easy! Once you have made a change here, you should refresh your cache to ensure the changes are put live.
The most common hole punch configuration is for the top links block (account links, checkout/cart links etc) and the mini cart block. To add these to the hole punch, use the block names 'top.links' and 'cart_sidebar'. For the top links block, you should set this to be punched when both items are in the basket or a customer is logged in. For the mini cart, you should set to be hole punched when there are items in the basket.
Go Even Faster by Adding Opti
Have Your Say...
If you have used Bolt - Magento Full Page Cache and want to share your opinion, you can leave a review by clicking here.
- NickHave worked with Ben several times now. Very pleased with him and his extensions. Purchased Bolt and Opti together. Bought Opti just because I trust his products/service. Site is faster, much faster.
- Shawn JAMAZING EXTENSION! Bolt is an absolutely necessity for Magento, unbelievable increase the speed of our website. I am extremely pleased with the performance of this extension and the support provided by Fishpig!
- Darren NewtonI am not the sort of person who spends month on buying "frilly" extensions, after all we all expect to look around the net and find it for free!, However I was using other extensions from Fish Pig and was impressed with the products and service from Ben, so when it was suggested I though "hey why not". I am using a Joomlart theme and they are heavy and slow, but this is something I have lived with because I like the look.... But now since installing Bolt the page load speed is more than just a little bit quicker, it is now LIGHTENING fast.
- PedroWe were using another Full Page Cache and all their modules add ons.
We have a high graphical website, so the site speed is always on our top concerns.
We liked to give a chance to Bolt, and i must say WOW.
The site now it is really flying compared with prior FPC.
Ben was very helpful in all regards and we got Opti, Smush.it and No Bots.
The whole combination with the Expertise of Ben, made us a very glad and happy Customer.
One of the best extensions and services we got so far.
Highly Recommend Ben and his extensions and services!
- Iain ShuttlewoodReally pleased with my purchase. Has definitely sped up my site and the advice from Ben was excellent. He went above and beyond, making small amendments to my site for me to improve it. Would recommend the software and Ben to anybody. I also purchased Opti and the two combined worked perfectly.
- Mike GExtremely pleased with the speed of this extension. I had a slight problem with it when it was installed as I have a complicated store setup, however Ben was quick to rectify that by rewriting part of the extension to suit my specific stores needs. I recommend Bolt and I also recommend Ben the developer for his awesome support. We use this extension with Opti also
- SerhiyI am very pleased with my purchase; extension works really well and my pages are flying... and i want to thank to Ben, who's been really helpful with support and fixing a few issues related to my site. HIHGLY RECOMMEND!!!!
- works goodI use Bolt and Opti. And it really is way faster than before.
- Michele B.One of the best improvements I've ever seen on a store. It's now insanely fast, whereas it was quite possibly the slowest website I had ever built. This along with Opti are a must have for any decent sized store (and any store, period).
Plus support is very corteous and answers quickly, both for this and other extensions. Definitely one of the best experiences I've had in a while.
- Dan F.After dealing with slow magento speeds for the past year I was excited to see Fishpig launched an affordable full page cache extension. I'd had good experience before with Fishpig giving me some help with their Magento/ Wordpress integration.
I couldn't be happier with Bolt, some of my configurable products have thousands of simple products attached and used to take 10-15 seconds for the page to load. With Bolt, those product pages are loading in about a second and many of my CMS pages are well under a second. Ben has also been very helpful, solving a couple small hiccups for me quickly and with good communication.
I highly recommend Bolt and Fishpig.
- Pete WilliamsI finally replaced mturbo with BOLT and could not be happier. It was an easy switch and only took Ben form FishPig about 15 minutes to complete. Since then, I have warmed the cache and can confirm that my site is majorly faster than before and I can't wait to see how this affects my conversion rate and google ranking.
Great support from Ben and thank you for a very quick turn around
- Dean RoyalAfter using Opti to great effect, I was eager to try Bolt on my new side project (small budget so a slow server). Ben told me that it was much faster than Opti and could also be used at the same time (disable Opti cache and just use the minify features). I can attest to the quality of Bolt as my site is now super fast.
Before installing Bolt, ensure that you have disabled your Magento compiler and cache.
You can install Bolt just like any other Magento extension by uploading the .tgz file in your Magento Downloader (Magento Connect) or by extracting the files and merging them with your site using FTP.
After installing Bolt, open up your index.php file and add the following to the top (just after the <?php tag):