The usual suspects — 5 configuration fixes to maximize your peak sales

How to fix — and prevent — the 5 most common configuration issues for Adobe Commerce sites

Too often we forget that regular maintenance is the unsung hero of ecommerce site performance. And one often-overlooked aspect of site maintenance is periodically checking for configuration issues. Configuration issues that go unnoticed can evolve, especially right after you’ve installed a patch, implemented a new extension, or made changes to your site.

While configuration issues are typically easy to fix, they can have a negative impact on your site’s performance and security. Your site could crash due to increased traffic to your digital storefront during a promotion or holiday event, slow web pages could lead frustrated customers to exit your site and play right into the hands of a competitor, or it could simply take longer for your team to perform routine maintenance tasks.

The good news is that the five most common configuration issues facing merchants this year are relatively easy to spot and address, especially when you’re aware of the possible symptoms. If you promptly fix these issues now, you can prevent unplanned downtime and lost sales when it counts.

Read on to become an expert on the five most common Adobe Commerce configuration issues, what they look like, and how to handle them fast.

Issue 1 — Fastly Cache is not configured to serve stale content

Impact: Slow website performance, broken pages, or timeout errors due to network delays.

Once your site has been accessed once, caching can increase performance speed during future visits by utilizing a copy of the objects needed to load a page rather than re-fetching the information through the content delivery network (CDN). When these objects expire in cache, however, the CDN has to fetch a fresh copy from the origin, which can lead to loading delays or even a timeout response if the origin is unresponsive.

Instead of showing customers slow response pages from the origin or an error page, which can damage the user experience, Fastly provides an option to serve a stale copy while the new content is being fetched in the background. An object will transition from being active to stale when its freshness lifetime, or time to live (TTL), expires. But this doesn’t mean that the content is deleted or inaccessible. Rather, the stale object can be presented so that the user won’t experience an interruption in the page’s load time, giving the CDN time to revalidate the newest version of content with the origin server.

Learn more about how to enable Fastly’s stale content option here to keep your Adobe Commerce site running smoothly.

Issue 2 — private blocks are uncacheable
Impact: Reduction in performance due to site failing to cache private content blocks.

As customers continue to demand more personalized and seamless shopping experiences, it’s crucial that developers efficiently cache private content for faster retrieval in the future, such as checkout or payment information. Since caching is essential to improving overall site performance, any slowdowns could be attributed to uncacheable content, such as private blocks containing the _isScopePrivate variable.

Although this variable may appear in private blocks from third-party customizations, the property is now obsolete and not necessary for dealing with private content. When the _isScopePrivate variable makes a block uncacheable, it generates and sends unnecessary AJAX requests to your site’s server, causing significant slowdowns and impairing overall performance. Instead of relying on the server, Adobe Commerce handles private content in the client’s web browser since this customer data is specific to an individual user.

Overall, making your private blocks cacheable again will require two steps. First, you’ll need to go and check if your blocks are rendered as private content, per the directions here. Then, you need to make sure that _isScopePrivate is no longer used in your code and delete the variable if you see it. These steps will reduce the number of AJAX requests due to non-cacheable blocks, freeing up the server to handle more business-critical scenarios.

If you’d like more guidance, please refer to this support article.

Issue 3 — end-of-service for minor releases

Impact: Mounting quality issues, security, or performance degradation due to a lack of patch implementation on your site.

Adobe’s development team continually works to ensure Adobe Commerce delivers the highest levels of security and performance for you and your customers. These critical improvements address emerging vulnerabilities and can accelerate your sales through improved customer experiences. In general, keeping up with patches and using a supported version of Adobe Commerce is the best way to protect your site and take advantage of the latest functionality and performance enhancements.

If you’re unable to access the latest patches — and your site is experiencing performance issues — your version of Adobe Commerce may have passed its end-of-service deadline.

Fortunately, fixing this issue is straightforward. Conduct an upgrade of your Commerce version to the next supported release. This will ensure that your site has the latest security patches and your team can leverage the most impactful features and functions.

As a reminder, Adobe Commerce 2.3 ends software support on September 8, 2022, followed by Adobe Commerce 2.4.0 - 2.4.3 on November 28, 2022. Learn more about Adobe’s software lifecycle policy and our 2022 release strategy.

Issue 4 — services don’t meet system requirements

Impact: Using outdated or incorrect software versions may lead to PCI compliance issues and security vulnerabilities.

The underlying technical stack services supported by Adobe Commerce are critical to running your digital storefront with ease. When a merchant allows one or more of these software dependencies to go out of date, the consequences may not be apparent until it’s too late. Whether that involves exposing your site to unknown security threats or failing your next PCI compliance audit, it’s better to be safe than sorry when it comes to keeping your tech stack up to date.

For anyone who may suspect that one or more of their services are using unsupported versions, we recommend taking the following actions:

Issue 5 — images aren’t optimized

Impact: Slower page loading speeds can lead to higher web page bounce rates and lower rankings in search engine results.

Although you might want to show off your product images in full resolution, the reality is that a customer will likely click off your web page if your pictures are slow to load. Image optimization, which balances quality with file size, increases site performance and reduces the bandwidth needed to load an image. If you proceed to run your digital storefront with unoptimized images, the resulting image cache copies can consume disk storage and overload your back-end servers.

To maximize the benefits of optimization, we recommend Fastly Image Optimization (IO) to process your images as efficiently as possible. When you enable Fastly IO, you can take advantage of deep image optimization, which turns off the built-in resizing feature in Adobe Commerce, reduces disk space utilization for your Cloud instance, and offloads the work to Fastly’s CDN service. You can also use their adaptive pixels ratio feature to allow images to become responsive to multiple device screen sizes and resolutions, ensuring an optimal user experience.

To learn more about configuring Fastly IO, please read this developer guide.

Find and fix problems faster

All the issues described in this post cause noticeable “symptoms” that can prompt a technical investigation, and Adobe is working hard to make it easier to detect them before they affect customers and business users. In addition to running our Site-Wide Analysis Tool to catch these issues, we also recommend the following articles for further reading: