In the following post we review the Full Page Cache Magento extension by Extendware. It is the most popular module produced by the company and at the same time one of the most reliable FPC solutions for Magento. If you are not familiar with this group of extensions, they reduce First Byte Time and database load, increase web server request rate, and make Magento storefronts much more user-friendly. Therefore, Extendware Full Page Cache is a must have Magento module for every successful ecommerce website.
Being one of the best in class extensions, Full Page Cache by Extendware makes Magento super fast and increases search engine ranks. Besides, it reduces server response time as well as hardware requirements, making your online storefront more user-friendly: browsing, adding items to cart, and checking out become essentially faster.
Note that the company offers a 30-day refund policy, so if you are dissatisfied with the module (we don’t believe that there are such merchants), you can take your money back – $199 or $149 if the discount is still offered.
Before we proceed to the detailed explanation of module’s core benefits and features, take a look at this
As for core benefits of the extension, they are:
- Reduced Database Usage. The module handles about 90% of all requests in memory, touching the database for just 10% of all action. A super fast primary cache is used, so there is no need to make a lot of calls to the database slowing down page processing. In case of the default Magento cache, a few hundred database calls per every transaction are made essentially slowing down your page response time. Therefore, Extendware Full Page Cache is a must have Magento solution.
- High Hit Rate. The higher number of requests is loaded directly from page cache instead of the database – the faster your ecommerce website is. This is called a cache hit rate, and in case of Extendware FPC it far surpasses current and previous Varnish solutions.
- Advanced Flushing. With the Extendware Full Page Cache Magento, you can easily flush the entire cache, certain groups of pages (product, category, cms pages), or specific pages. Consequently, the extension works in a very precise manner, since you don’t flush what you don’t need.
- Easy Configuration. Go to the Extendware store, purchase the extension, install it, and enable the tool in your backend – it is the whole configuration. Of course, there are several more tricks available for more advanced customizations, but the basic procedure is extremely easy.
- Product Catalog Sorting. Product Catalog Sorting is fully supported by the module. Thus, it is possible to seamlessly change the sort order in the catalog, correctly caching the default category sort order.
- Advanced Customizations. Being extremely easy to configure, the extension supports various advanced customizations, so you can utilize it for lots of different environments with all possible requirements. We describe the module’s configuration options in the backend section of this post.
Now, let’s take a look at the extension’s structure and describe its core features. Extendware Page Cache consists of 3 page caches: Primary Page Cache, Secondary Page Cache, and Lightening Page Cache.
Primary Page Cache is a cache that never connects to a database and does not generate any sessions but handles almost all requests to your store.
As for Secondary Page Cache, it offers the hole punch support used after a product is added to a cart. Another use case for this type of cache is customer logging into the store.
In its turn Lightening Page Cache turns ecommerce storefront into static pages. Note that the Extendware Full Page Cache Magento extension offers two versions of this cache: Simple and Advanced. While the Simple version is available by default and is about 2x faster than the primary cache, the Advanced version is is up to 200 faster and can be activated only with the help of Extendware specialists, so you have to contact support for this feature.
It is necessary to mention, that you can request new features for your module. Just contact the Extendware team and share your thoughts about possible improvements.
- Multiple cache support. Three cache types available in Extendware FPC are described above.
- Multiple backend support. The extension supports eleven different cache backends for maximum flexibility.
- Multiple store/domain/language support. Extendware Full Page Cache Supports multiple stores, domains, and languages. Cross-site cache tainting and other similar issues are eliminated.
- Multiple currency support. The module provides support for multiple currencies, so your visitors rapidly gets only relevant data.
- Mobile-friendly tool. You only need to specify useragent patterns and the cache will be segmented accordingly.
- Reduced server response time. The extension increases the performance of your ecommerce store by decreasing server response time.
- Support for 3rd party tools. Extendware Full Page Cache fully supports all possible third party extensions and addons carefully caching them.
- Multi-level hybrid cache backends. This is a relatively new feature that provides the ability to fully leverage low memory environments. It enable you to get the advantage of a memory based backend with the storage capacity of a hard disk.
- Increased requests per second. By decreasing latency, the module increases requests per second: by 100+ times in case of the primary cache and by 50+ times in case of the secondary cache.
- Hole punch support. This feature (available with the second level cache) helps to cache pages with dynamic content. There are 11 hole punches available by default, and you can easily create more.
- Advanced Flushing. As for the aforementioned advanced flushing, it is also among core features of the Extendware FPC Magento extension.
- Catalog Sorting. Also mentioned above. Note that there are a lot of other similar solutions that cannot manage catalog sorting correctly, so Extendware offers almost unique opportunity..
- Most Precise Caching. The extension offers advanced page cache rules, block disqualifies, cookie disqualifies, etc. So you can cache exactly what you need. Other content is left intact.
- Automated Processes. Tagging and flushing are performed automatically when update products, categories, and cms pages, essentially simplifying your backend routine. Besides, the cache works in the most effective way since it contains all the necessary items.
- Header and Footer Widgets. Both display such data as page cache status, used cache level (1 or 2), and the expiration of that FPC. Besides, all non-cached or hole punched data can be outlined in red.
- SSL Support. The HTTPS configuration is fully supported by the module.
- CDN Support. The extension fully works with content delivery networks, so you can combine it with our CloudFlare Control.
- Product Views. Note that some caches distort the product view log, so you get incorrect statistics. In case of the Extendware Full Page Cache Magento module, you will never face this problem.
- Support for Various Web Server Technologies. You can freely use Nginx, Apache, or another server technology, since the extension is Web server neutral.
- Compression. Extendware FPC supports compression, so you get maximum storage space.
Extendware Full Page Cache offers many more features, so let’s dive deep into the extension’s backend to see how the module works. Before we proceed, take a look at these reviews:
To configure the extension go to Extendware (top bar with tabs; between Reports and System) -> Manage Extensions -> Page Cache -> Configure. You will get 5 tabs of settings: General, Auto Tag / Flush, Advanced, Miscellaneous, and Developer.
In its turn, the General tab is divided between two sections: General and Injector / Hole Punches. In the General section, enable/disable primary, secondary, and lightning cache, choose cache backend, specify servers, cache lifetime, and turn on/off compression.
In Injector / Hole Punches, enable/disable the cache, specify its lifetime, and turn on/off compression.
Now, let’s take a look at the next tab – Auto Tag / Flush. It consists of three sections: General, Automatic Tagging, and Automatic Flushing. The first section allows you to enable or disable tagging support.
In Automatic Tagging, specify CMS, Product, and Category modes as well as block tags.
As for Automatic Flushing, choose mode, it provides the ability to choose mode (real-time will flush the cache without delay), enable/disable Magento block cache and parent products flushing, specify linked products to be flushed, enable parent category flushing and add custom tags.
Next, you choose product events, stock quantity change mode, category events, and CMS events.
The Advanced tab is divided into 5 sections: Behavior, Caching, Segmentable, Injectors / Hole Punches, and Cache Key.
The first one contains the following options: Recently Viewed Products, Exclude Bad Requests, Record Product Views, and Cache Re-entry (experimental).
In Caching, specify Page Rules and Content Disqualifiers.
In Segmentable, add User Agents and Cookies.
Injectors / Hole Punches lets you create a list of injectors.
As for the Cache Key section, it allows to enable/disable Sorting and Design Key statuses as well as specify Ignored Parameters, Tax Class Information, and Translated Customer Groups.
Miscellaneous settings are divided between two sections: Runnable Disqualifiers (Uri Filter RegExps, Cookie Names, and User Agent Rules) and Logging (status, Excluded Bad Requests, Max Log Size, Max Log Age, and Max Log History).
In Developer settings, you add IP Access Rules and enable/disable Footer Widget, Output Headers, Deleting Over HTTP, Hole Punch Hints, Refresh Cache Sync, Debug Log, Flushing Log, and Demo Widget.
To check how the Extendware Full Page Cache Magento extension works on frontend, visit the extension page and click “View private demo if extension” button. You can compare how the website works with the extension and without it.
Extendware Full Page Cache for Magento is not only one of the fastest solutions of its kind, it has the most advanced settings and can be customized according to all possible ecommerce requirements. At the same time, it is extremely easy to configure the module: you only have to install and activate it. And $200 is a quite reasonable price for the tool ($150 is the discount is still available).