Are you looking for successful ways to speed up Laravel performance while working on your project? You’ve come to the right place!

Laravel is a popular open-source PHP framework that’s known for its robust security and simple yet sophisticated coding architecture. It’s a great choice for building cutting-edge web applications capable of driving revenue and propelling businesses forward.

Still, Laravel performance can get slow if you don’t use the right optimization techniques.

Luckily, there are numerous hacks to maximize Laravel performance. We’ve rounded up a list of the most effective optimization tips that you can follow.


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Why Is Laravel Performance Optimization So Important?

Developers must pay great attention to the performance of every Laravel application before releasing it to ensure its success. It’s one of several qualities a Laravel developer should possess.

Optimizing Laravel performance with code tweaks and commands can help achieve this, and can have a major influence on your app’s efficiency as well.

Is Laravel Slow?

Laravel is a fast framework that comes with a boatload of features and functions (e.g. Memcache, database support, Redis, etc.) to help with performance. Laravel also lets software professionals produce robust code with relatively little effort to meet their project goals big or small.

Since data is stored as key-value pairs in the server’s RAM, users can cache as much as they like to maintain their apps or sites in a fast and smooth manner. Based on Google Trend, Laravel is currently the most popular backend tool for PHP.

Laravel's popularity on Google Trend
Laravel’s popularity on Google (Image Source: Google Trend)

The recently released Laravel 9 offers new performance improvements. For instance, it has minimal PHP specifications and requires Symphony 6.0 which runs 20.65% faster on PHP 8.1. The new design for the route:list command now reduces the messy view of complex commands. Laravel 9 also includes a more efficient Query Builder Interface, and many more features.

Nevertheless, some factors contribute to a slow Laravel performance. Many developers have poor habits, such as uploading a large number of heavy images, using old PHP versions, compiling massive volumes of unneeded data, or neglecting to remove unnecessary files from their projects.

Laravel’s sophisticated MVC PHP architecture and associated libraries provide an excellent blend of security, performance, and usability. That’s why it’s a good rule of thumb to learn some Laravel optimization hacks to achieve higher performance.

Website Speed Matters

First impressions are lasting ones for any brand image. Website speed is the first impression you make on your website visitors. Did you know that about 50% of online customers abandon websites that take more than three seconds to load?

Laptop screen with internet speed test arrow
Website Speed (Image Source: Cuso Magazine)

Website speed (aka website performance) refers to the amount of time it takes a browser to load fully operational web pages from a specific website. Therefore, it has a direct impact on user experience (UX) and conversion rates.

Website performance also affects your SEO ranking on search engines. If multiple sites offer the information your visitor seeks, faster web pages will appear first. If your site is sluggish, it will be less likely to rank high in Google search results.

Accordingly, you should invest some time in applying effective website performance optimization solutions.

Benefits of Laravel Performance Optimization

While you might have designed a fantastic Laravel application, there is always room for improvement to reach perfection. Increasing your Laravel performance has a number of benefits:

  • Boosting business growth: Improved Laravel performance means a more efficient website or application. As a result, your chances of reaching a wider audience increase.
  • Smoother development environment: The performance optimization tips for Laravel listed below help developers save more time on coding, execute tasks faster, and consume fewer resources.
  • Handling traffic better: Learning how to cleverly use the Laravel queue system helps your website in managing request numbers as it grows and fetches a large amount of traffic.

How to Measure Laravel Performance

You’ve put in a lot of time and effort to make your snazzy web app work, but if it’s slow, no one will use it and you’ll be like a bear with a sore head. This is where Laravel performance testing comes in.

You can use a variety of tools to perform performance tests on your precious creation. Let’s take a look at three of them.

1. Blackfire.io

Blackfire.io website homepage screenshot
Blackfire.io (Source: Blackfire.io)

Blackfire.io is an intuitive web app profiler that identifies essential pathways so you can concentrate on the important areas of your PHP app.

It includes multiple performance monitoring features and displays memory usage, CPU time, as well as I/O. Blackfire.io also allows you to sort function calls and pathways to see how your Laravel application works.

2. Laravel Dusk

Laravel Dusk logo featuring a white crescent on the left and hands typing on a laptop on the right
Laravel Dusk (Source: ELSNER)

Laravel Dusk lets you test your application and check how it functions from the user’s perspective. You don’t need to install Selenium or JDK to use Dusk as it includes Chromedriver by default.

With a developer-friendly API like Dusk, you can automate browser testing, precluding the need for the rigorous processes required by ChromeDriver and PHP WebDriver separately.

Moreover, Dusk stores screenshots and browser console output of the failed test so that you’d be able to fish out any bugs.

3. LoadForge

LoadForge website homepage screenshot
LoadForge (Source: LoadForge)

Tailored for Laravel, LoadForge scans your website automatically, identifies problems, and provides comprehensive graphs along with performance statistics for every page.

In Chrome, LoadForge allows you to capture browser actions and subsequently convert them into a LoadForge test. This way, you’ll be able to create a realistic user experience by simulating them logging in, navigating your website, or even placing orders.

How to Optimize Laravel Performance (17 Methods)

In this section, we’ll go through some of the best ideas and tactics with a fine-tooth comb to help you improve your Laravel performance.

1. Route Caching

Route caching is an excellent feature, especially for apps with a large number of configurations and routes spread across the code. It’s a group of routes packed in a single command to help reduce the tedious task of charting your routes manually. As a result, your website’s pages will load a lot faster.

Route caching allows Laravel to retrieve routes periodically from the pre-compiled cache rather than having to start from the ground up for each new user.

Use this command to cache the routing data required:

php artisan route:cache

Keep in mind that the cache expires when the user leaves your site. It’s also important to run that route cache command every time after making structural changes (e.g. routes files and config) to your website, as any modifications made afterward won’t take effect.

If you want to clear the route cache, run the following command:

php artisan route:clear

2. Optimize Composer

Laravel uses a separate tool called Composer to manage different dependencies. When you initially install Composer, it loads dev dependencies into your system by default.

These dependencies are useful for developing a website. But once your site is fully operational, they’re no longer required, and in fact, they’ll only slow it down.

When utilizing Composer to install packages, use the --no-dev and -o parameters as follows to remove dev dependencies:

composer install --prefer-dist --no-dev -o

This command allows Composer to create a directory for optimizing the autoloader and boosting performance. It simply requests the official distribution to be retrieved and packaged, with no dev dependencies.

Be careful not to eliminate any runtime dependencies. This could jeopardize your website’s performance or even cause it to crash.

3. Reduce Autoloaded Services

The goal of Laravel is to make the development process as breezy for devs as possible. When you launch Laravel, for example, it auto-loads a large volume of service providers listed in the config/app.php file to help you get started with your project quickly.

While this is a beneficial step by Laravel, you won’t need to use all of these services for building an application.

Take the REST API for instance. You don’t require services such as View Service Provider or Session Service Provider. In addition, many developers don’t follow the default framework settings. You can simply disable services that are superfluous to your needs (e.g. Pagination Service Provider, Translation Service Provider, Auth Service Provider, etc).

You’ll be able to improve the speed of your Laravel applications by applying the same principle to other apps. Just make sure you don’t remove any important services, and double-check everything before you drop the hammer.

4. Use Artisan Commands and Cache Effectively

Artisan is a popular command-line tool that comes with Laravel. It makes it easy for developers to carry out recurring and complex tasks automatically. Website creators can also use it to conduct tests and generate commands.

Using Artisan commands cleverly can amp up your app performance. Below, we’ve listed several of the best caching commands you can utilize.

Configuration Caching

Cache config is an excellent command to get a speed boost. It compiles all of your application’s configuration values into one file so that the framework can load faster. All you need is to run:

php artisan config:cache

Note that you shouldn’t execute the config cache command during local development. This is because configuration settings may need to be changed often throughout the development of your app.

To clear the config cache, run this command:

php artisan config:clear

Views Caching

The view cache is another aspect of the application that contains a cache. The view cache stores generated Blade templates to increase the speed of your project. You can use the artisan command below to compile all views manually and optimize performance:

php artisan view:cache

Remember to clear the cache when you upload a new code; otherwise, Laravel will use your old views and you will spend lots of time trying to troubleshoot this. Run this command to clear the view cache:

php artisan view:clear

Application Caching

This is the main cache in Laravel. It saves all the data that you cache manually in your app. Using Laravel’s cache is a smart approach to speed up commonly accessed data and optimize Laravel performance. If you use tags or multiple cache storage, you can flush only certain elements of the cache.

Here’s the artisan command to clear the Laravel cache:

php artisan cache:clear

Keep in mind that this command won’t delete any route, config, or view cache located in the /bootstrap/cache/ folder.

5. Reduce Package Usage

As an open-source framework with a populous community, it’s only natural to see more and more packages released or new versions in existing packages in Laravel. You’re free to use them and their features directly in your application.

You must include these packages in the composer.json file. Laravel will subsequently install them along with their dependencies.

Nevertheless, there are a few factors to be considered before adding new packages to any application. They aren’t all designed for the same purpose, for instance. Some packages are also created to perform a broad range of functions.

When you include packages with lots of dependencies, the application’s size grows, and its performance eventually suffers. That’s why it’s essential to review the dependencies closely before adding any package.

6. Upgrade to the Latest Version of PHP

Just like any other bit of code or software program, it’s always best to update your PHP version to the most recent release.

The primary reason to use an up-to-date PHP version is security. For two years, every PHP release receives security patches and bug fixes. Your system could be jeopardized if you continue to use earlier versions that are no longer being maintained.

Many developers may also be unaware that the older a PHP version gets, the slower its performance becomes. To boost efficiency, the current PHP release has outstanding performance improvements such as faster execution of requests, enums, fibers, and inheritance cache.

Here at Kinsta, we use the latest major PHP version (PHP 8.1) for all environments so users can benefit from the platform’s extensive capabilities and optimize their apps for maximum speed and efficiency.

7. Use Queues

Offloading sluggish tasks to a queue job is a simple technique to rapidly maximize the speed of your Laravel application.

Sometimes you don’t need the information in the UI right away. In this case, such tasks can be postponed and run later in the background by a separate process (e.g. sending an email). This can significantly increase the performance of your app’s online requests.

Example of using queues to send emails (Image Source: GeekFlare)

Laravel supports a variety of queue drivers such as IronMQ, Redis, Amazon SQS, and Beanstalkd. It additionally includes a built-in queue worker that can be executed using the following command:

php artisan queue:work

You can add a new job into the queue using this method:

Queue::push('SendEmail', array('message' => $message));

Use the method below via Carbon if you want to defer the execution of one of the queued jobs. For example, say you want to schedule a job that sends an email to a client 10 minutes after they create an account:

$date = Carbon::now()->addMinutes(10);

Queue::later($date, '[email protected]', array('message' => $message));

8. Use the Deployment Tool to Appeal to All Commands

Okay, we realize that this isn’t a pure performance tip for Laravel, but it’s a wonderful time-saving technique for developers that is as important to improving productivity.

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Deployer is a PHP-based deployment tool that allows you to deploy your code to different servers. It includes scripts for popular frameworks, such as Laravel, Symfony, Zend, Magento, CakePHP, and more.

If you didn’t deal with Composer before to administer your project dependencies, you’ll familiarize yourself with Deployer quickly. Use this tool to automate all of your machine deployment operations, such as launching the server, cloning to a remote server, and monitoring a remote host.

Deployer has settings for executing migrations, seedes, and optimization functions in Laravel applications with a single command:

php deployer.phar deploy production

9. Use Lumen for Small Projects

There are occasions when developing a small application (e.g. mobile or Angular apps) doesn’t demand the use of a full-stack framework like Laravel. In this scenario, consider using Lumen instead.

Lumen is a microframework developed by the same creator of Laravel. Like a lighter version of Laravel, Lumen is all about speed and performance for microservices. It requires minimal setting and alternative routing parameters when building web apps, allowing for a faster development process.

For example, Lumen can handle 100 requests per second. You can also integrate tools or packages from third parties to get new features. Moreover, Lumen supports all platforms and allows you to upgrade to Laravel.

10. Leverage JIT Compiler

PHP is a server-side language that requires interpreters to translate the code into a bytecode, which the computer can understand.

This process takes a lot of time and consumes a lot of resources. That’s why programmers go for scripting engines like the Zend engine to execute C subroutines that must be repeated every time an application is executed, which slows down your app.

For the sake of efficiency, devs use the just-in-time (JIT) compiler to repeat that procedure just once. HHVM, which was invented and is widely used by Facebook, is the preferred JIT compiler for Laravel. Etsy, Wikipedia, and dozens of other sites use it as well.

11. Make Use of Eager Loading

To interact with databases enjoyably, Laravel provides a fantastic object relational mapper (ORM) called Eloquent. It enables you to relate the tables and deal with all CRUD functions in PHP in a simple format.

When you retrieve models from a database and then perform any type of processing on their relations, the relationship data is “lazy loaded“. This means that the data isn’t loaded until you access the relationship.

You’ll wind up running N+1 queries to find your response with lazy loading, as illustrated in the following example:

$books = AppBook::all();

foreach ($books as $book) {

echo $book->author->name;

}

To optimize Laravel performance and resolve the N+1 query problem, Laravel can “eager load” the data as shown below:

$books = AppBook::with('author')->get();

foreach ($books as $book) {

echo $book->author->name;

}

12. Compress Images

Images play an important part in a website design. They’re essential for enhancing the user experience (UX) and boosting search rankings.

A website’s average loading time is two seconds. Heavy images decelerate a site’s loading speed. If you have a slow website, there’s a big chance that you’ll end up losing many visitors.

Image compression minimizes the size of your original image without sacrificing its quality, helping in optimizing site speed. For this reason, Laravel offers neat options for compressing photos such as TinyPNG, reSmush.it, or ImageMin.

13. Use a CDN

Using a content delivery network (CDN) can truly optimize Laravel performance. By loading static content from a CDN server rather than directly from the machine on which your files are hosted, data reaches your audience more rapidly.

In other words, it caches the most recent version of your site to a global network of cloud servers. Therefore, even if your visitors are geographically distant from your location, they’ll still be able to access your website quickly.

Kinsta CDN is powered by Cloudflare and provided free of charge. It allows your website’s cached files to be delivered from your primary domain rather than a secondary CDN domain, boosting your SEO ranking.

Kinsta CDN additionally assists in removing unwanted components from your JavaScript (JS) and CSS files. This greatly reduces the amount of time it takes for your site’s pages to load and reduces bandwidth consumption.

14. Minimize JS and CSS Code

Give a kick to increase your Laravel performance by minifying your JavaScript and CSS files before proceeding with the assets bundling process.

This minification step removes any unnecessary code from your application such as whitespace, comments, and variable renaming using shortened names. If necessary, you can resize your images to create thumbnails.

As a result, you’ll improve your UX while also decreasing HTTP calls.

15. Employ Asset Bundling

There are several tools available for compressing and bundling files like Javascript and CSS into a single one like Laravel Mix and Laravel Packer.

All Laravel applications include Laravel Mix by default. It’s a user-friendly API used for creating Webpack builds for your PHP apps, using a range of common JavaScript and CSS preprocessors.

Assuming you require a certain collection of style formats for your application file, you may enter something like this:

mix.styles([

'public/css/vendor/normalize.css',

'public/css/styles.css'

], 'public/css/all.css');

Now, Laravel Mix will generate an all.css file from the normalize.css and style.css files automatically. Therefore, instead of getting each style sheet separately, you can combine them into a single all.css file.

Laravel Packer is a command-line tool that can be installed via Composer. It lets you reduce and bundle your JS and CSS code. However, it’s more difficult to use than Laravel Mix.

Even though this tip is great for pumping Laravel performance, merging a lot of files will make it huge and eventually have the opposite effect. To solve this issue, use Laravel Mix to shrink your files down by running this command:

npm run prod

16. Limit Included Libraries

Laravel gives you the freedom to add as many libraries as you want. While this is an awesome feature, adding a boatload of libraries puts a lot of pressure on your application’s performance. It can also affect the entire user experience.

It’s therefore vital to scan all of the libraries’ data currently in use within the code. You can find these libraries in the config/app.php file. While examining the libraries, remove the ones that you know are no longer useful to you.

It’s also a good idea to review composer.jsonfor unneeded dependencies.

17. Consider Using New Relic

New Relic is an application performance management (APM) tool integrated by developers in their Laravel apps. It’s used to analyze and monitor stats reflecting their performance to optimize efficiency and avoid interruptions in real-time.

New Relic can assist you in assessing your Apdex score and measuring how your app compares to competitors in the market. It also enables you to create alert policies depending on your criteria.

If you don’t want to sign up for a third-party service, you can use Kinsta’s APM tool. It can assist you in finding PHP performance bottlenecks on your WP site at no extra charge.
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Summary

Laravel is a fast-growing PHP framework, and there are lots of tutorials available for all kinds of users to learn Laravel regardless of their knowledge level.

When it comes to user experience in the digital world, performance is a critical factor for establishing a strong online presence. It’s no surprise that organizations are devoting more time and resources to providing a high-quality UX.

If you’re a Laravel developer, you can feel confident that by using the methods outlined above, you’ll notice a significant improvement in performance and be able to maintain a smooth-running application.

What other methods have you used to speed up your Laravel apps? Let us know in the comments section below.


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