Seven Ways to Make MODX Fly

by Ryan Thrash

Published on May 29, 2014

Having a fast website today is critical, but what happens when you begin to suffer from your own success? Here’s a few ways you can make MODX sites fly, resulting in better conversion and stickiness for your site visitors.

The Importance of Performance on the Web

A significant part of winning online is having a site that gets information to visitors fast. MODX has long been a leader in this due to site builders being able to control 100% of what comes out of it without hacking the core. But it doesn’t matter if your site loads too slowly, or worse, crashes under load.

The following tips are the basics of what we have learned from years of helping people get the most out of MODX with our MODX commercial support services. While there’s many more things you can do to optimize performance, these will usually make a noticeable improvement to any site where the following MODX best practices have not been employed.

Dealing with Image & Thumbnails

Dealing with image thumbnails happens for many sites, and for a lot of people that means phpThumb is involved. Unfortunately, while it’s a very functionally-useful piece of code, it is not the most optimal when it comes to scaling even moderatly busy sites. In fact, phpThumb can crush even the largest of servers out there, especially when its evil sidekick, the Cache Manager Plug-in, is left on in production.

Tip #1: Avoid or disable phpThumb Cache Manager. While the Cache Manager Plug-in can be useful, it’s also easy to fall into unintended misuse/abuse, leading to the destruction of any chance of your site performing well. Avoid it unless you really, really know what you’re doing.

Tip #2: Use pThumb to generate thumbnails. Jason Grant did a great job creating this more performant alternative to generating thumbnails with scaling in mind. It is a drop in replacement for phpThumbOf so all you have to do is swap them out.

Millions Rely on MODX

In 2005, MODX could power a fully mobile-responsive website using HTML5 and CSS3, even though those technologies weren’t invented yet. And with MODX today, you’re ready not only for what you need now but also what comes next.

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