The usage statistics posted on various websites suggest that a very large percentage of web developers prefer Laravel to other PHP frameworks. In addition to being a modern web framework, Laravel has been evolving consistently to meet the emerging web application development trends. The libraries and tools provided by Laravel help web developers to automate common web development tasks like database operations, session management, authentication, file system management, routing and unit testing. Each new version of Laravel further comes with several new features to accelerate custom web application development.
But the additional features impact the performance and speed of Laravel applications adversely. A large percentage of visitors nowadays abandon websites that do not load in 3 seconds. Also, Google considers loading speed as a key search signal while ranking websites. Hence, the developers have to speed up Laravel applications to prevent user abandonment and get more search engine traffic. Many developers reduce page load time by opting for the lightweight version of Laravel – Lumen micro-framework. But a PHP programmer can easily improve the performance of Laravel applications by following some simple techniques.
7 Laravel Performance Optimization Tips to Speed up Laravel Applications
1) Take Advantage of Artisan Optimization Commands
Laravel enables developers to simplify web application development by running useful commands through a robust command-line interface – Artisan. The developers can even speed up Laravel applications by running specific Artisan optimization commands. These commands enable developers to make the Laravel application load faster by improving optimized files, compiling commonly used classes into a single file, combining all configurations into a single file, and creating a route cache file.
2) Switch to Eager Loading
Laravel makes it easier for programmers to work with multiple databases and perform common database operation by providing Eloquent object relational mapper (ORM). Eloquent affects the performance of Laravel applications by adopting lazy loading approach. The approach retrieves data only when the code references it explicitly. Hence, the application has to execute additional queries to retrieve and deliver data. The developers can easily speed up the Laravel application by adopting eager loading approach instead of lazy loading approach. The eager loading approach does not require the applications to execute additional queries by retrieving data along with related object models when the query is executed for the first time.
3) Remove Unnecessary Services and Plug-ins
A PHP programmer can easily disable a number of services without affecting the web application’s functionality. He can easily disable the unused services by adding comments to specific service providers in the config/app.php. Likewise, he must assess the Laravel plug-ins and identify the plug-ins that are not required by the web application. Each plug-in affects the speed of Laravel applications by loading additional files and libraries. The programmers can easily reduce the number of files and libraries being loaded by removing the irrelevant Laravel plug-ins.
4) Pre-compile Web Application Resources
While writing web applications, programmers often store website assets in multiple files to modify and update the code quickly. But the additional files impact performance of the Laravel application adversely after deployment. The developers can easily speed up the Laravel application by storing website assets in lesser number of files. Laravel even enables developers to pre-compile the website assets by running Artisan command. The developers can run artisan commands to pre-compile the website assets, along with unifying frequently-used classes, configuration files, and routes.
5) Implement Caching
Laravel makes it easier for PHP programmers to work with various caching systems and back-ends by providing a unified API. Hence, the developers can easily improve performance of a Laravel application using robust caching tools like Rediss and Memcached. They also have option to cache both routes and configurations by running specific Artisan commands. They can run Artisan command to move routes to the controller, cache the routes, and refresh route caches. Based on the requirements of the web application, the PHP programmers can implement caching in a number of ways.
6) Execute Code through a JIT Compiler
As computers do not understand PHP code natively, the programmers use compilers to interpret the PHP code and compile the code into byte code. The code compilation process affects Laravel application’s performance and user experience. A web developer can easily accelerate PHP code compilation by replacing Zend Engine with a robust just-in-time (JIT) compiler with HHVM. In addition to being an open source virtual machine, HHVM also compiles PHP code through a JIT compiler. It even compiles the PHP code quickly and once.
7) Compress Response Data
The Laravel PHP programmers can easily make the Laravel application load faster by compressing response data. They can use Eloquent ORM to retrieve all data to be displayed to the end user through a single query. But the additional data will impact the application’s loading speed and increase bandwidth consumption. The developers can easily compress the retrieved data using view models. The view models create multiple subsets of the data model and send data elements to the client gradually. The developers can even use libraries like Fractal to accelerate response data compression and object model data conversion.
The PHP programmers must evaluate and improve performance of Laravel applications throughout the development process to improve its user experience and search engine visibility. They can easily speed up the Laravel application by implementing these simple Laravel performance optimization tips and best practices. However, the developers must keep in mind specific project requirements while implementing these performance optimization techniques. The developers should also compare Laravel 4 vs Laravel 5 to choose the best features for their project.