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Key reasons why you need a Magento code audit

Jul 21, 2021 Jan Guardian 7 min read

Magento is reputed as one of the most powerful ecommerce platforms worldwide. Its ability to create robust integrations essential for omnichannel operations makes it the platform of choice for leading global businesses like AsusTek Computer and The Hewlett-Packard Company.

But operating a Magento store without a clear understanding of its architecture can be disastrous. Magento’s complex nature requires a professional approach to ensure stability and security. Failing to do so will leave you battling a slow Magento site with poor search engine rankings and a low conversion rate. Does that mean you need to invest in hiring an in-house developer?

The answer isn’t as simple as yes or no. While hiring Magento developers will surely help, the average salary of a Magento developer in the United States ranges between $104,223 and $119,698, excluding the overheads of hiring and managing an employee.

So what can you do if you don’t have the budget to hire a developer to maintain your website? The next option is to look for an experienced agency to conduct a Magento code audit for your store.

What is a Magento code audit?

A Magento code audit is a comprehensive evaluation of the source code of a Magento store, that consists of assessing all core and custom code to identify bugs and security loopholes, and conducting a thorough performance review.

Most audits take anywhere from 1 to 3 weeks to complete, after which you are presented with a comprehensive report detailing the problems in your website code and actionable steps to address them.

Magento code audits usually consist of a detailed analysis of the following components:

  • — Magento core
  • — Third-party code
  • — Database

Magento core

Magento’s architecture follows the concept of modularity to help developers introduce new functionality and override the existing one in the platform without editing its core code. This helps protect the integrity of its code and facilitates development practices.

Nevertheless, there are times when inexperienced developers and those new to the platform choose to edit the core code instead of developing extensions to override the inbuilt modules. A thorough audit of Magento’s core code helps identify problem areas and avoid downtimes with future platform updates.

Third-party code

Using poorly developed Magento extensions can leave you struggling with website performance issues. Even if you’re using extensions from reputed developers, using too many or ones that are incompatible with each other can hurt your page load speed significantly.

Adobe strongly recommends developers to follow the Magento coding standard when developing extensions to ensure consistency and the maintenance of best practices. A careful audit of custom code and third-party extensions installed on your website will help identify issues like poorly written JavaScript, excessive requests, and other factors that can negatively impact your website usability.


Although Magento’s database is rarely the bottleneck in website performance, it cannot be ruled out. Especially for old stores that have been operating without maintenance for years, the site database can get bloated and start underperforming.

A database audit helps detect current issues by evaluating vital performance metrics and identifying common security vulnerabilities like loose user permissions. Once identified, you can implement measures to make the database fast and secure.

Here’s why you need a Magento code audit for your store

Better performance

Website performance is crucial to delivering a user-friendly shopping experience, and a slow-loading website can directly affect your company’s bottom line. Accurately diagnosing performance issues requires a thoughtful and deductive approach.

Several factors contribute to website performance, including server-side elements and the frontend and backend code. Everything from misconfigured cron jobs or indexers to more complex JavaScript bundling issues can lead to a slow Magento site. Therefore, knowing where to look is crucial.

Excessive use of third-party extensions or using poorly developed ones can also lead to slow websites. Carefully analyzing each of these aspects and using a process of elimination to locate and resolve bottlenecks is the best approach to achieving top-tier website performance.

Poorly written and unoptimized JavaScript introduced by third-party themes and extensions is one of the primary sources for poor site performance. Similarly, extensions making unnecessary or excessive database requests can also create a bottleneck at the database.

While eliminating such extensions is the easiest way, an audit can help identify and address problems arising from other areas like delayed server response times, website cookie usage, DOM element size, and HTTP requests due to third-party code.

Once problematic extensions are identified, you can choose to remove or replace them entirely. When substitution and elimination aren’t possible, Magento consulting agencies can help you optimize third-party code to suit your website by tailoring themes and extensions to your business needs.

Prevent crashes

A website that crashes out of the blue can be disastrous, especially during peak traffic hours. Each hour of downtime can result in hundreds or thousands of dollars in lost sales and damage your business reputation.

A custom-designed 404 page with alternate ways to contact your business and links to social media can help soften the blow and reduce the impact of a crashed website. But you still risk losing sales if customers head over to your competitors’ website to place their orders.

Several factors can lead to a crashed website, including:

  • — Inadequate hardware resources
  • — Running outdated versions of software
  • — Cron issues
  • — Unoptimized database
  • — Incorrectly installing or updating extensions
  • — Compromised website.

While some of these are easy to fix, most require a thorough understanding of the platform. You can independently address hardware issues or outdated software issues. However, estimating hardware requirements and updating software versions are always best left to the experts.

Failing to do so can lead you to overspend on unnecessary server resources or suffering from new website errors due to incompatible software. Therefore, a Magento code audit will help you identify your website shortcomings accurately and address them effectively with professional recommendations.

Eliminate vulnerabilities

Ecommerce stores are prime targets for exploits due to the wealth of confidential information they possess. Every day, thousands of hackers globally deploy scripts to scan the internet for vulnerable websites in an attempt to find security loopholes.

Once detected, they exploit those vulnerabilities to access customer data, assume customer identities using stolen passwords or session tokens, and inject malicious redirects into the website. This can be catastrophic for a business as they risk suffering PCI compliance issues and potential lawsuits from their customers.

Something as rudimentary as incorrectly configured filesystem or database permissions on a server can provide hackers access to website data and the ability to insert malicious code. Poorly developed extensions can also introduce vulnerabilities and lead to code injections, authentication issues, and data exposure.

A timely audit can help identify such issues preemptively and prevent potential catastrophes. A typical Magento code audit consists of testing core modules and third-party extensions for code integrity and checking for code that introduces unnecessary overrides over Magento’s core functionality.

Enhance website UX/UI

Magento allows merchants to introduce unique functionality to their websites and enhance their usability. It provides a modular architecture that bundles core functionality into discrete modules to help developers modify or replace them without affecting other areas of its code.

However, functionality at the cost of performance is counterintuitive to your UI/UX design endeavors. Therefore, judiciously choosing and installing extensions is vital to maintaining fast page load times and ensuring a seamless user experience.

A code audit can help you improve website performance, prevent crashes, and eliminate security vulnerabilities by identifying problems in your website code. These factors combined create a net positive effect on your website’s user experience.

Improve website SEO

Google’s core web vitals emphasize performance. They recommend optimizing a website for three metrics vital to a good user experience — page load time, interactivity, and visual stability. If you’ve been struggling to increase your website rank on Google’s search results pages, a Magento code audit can benefit your business tremendously.

Several factors contribute to a high page ranking, including:

  • — Website performance
  • — Accessibility and usability
  • — Quality of content

A Magento code audit helps you identify areas of improvement in the performance and security of your website, allowing you to meet Google’s recommended targets. An improvement in those aspects can affect your search engine rankings positively and help you decrease your reliance on paid traffic for sales.

Wrapping up

Downtime can be expensive, and a compromise in your website security can bring your business operations to a grinding halt. To avoid such an outcome, you should opt for a Magento code audit.

It would be best if you looked for an agency that demonstrates strong expertise with the platform and offers multiple Magento-related services, including development, maintenance, and support, to help you address potential issues in your website code once it has been fully audited.

Several Magento agencies offer packages that include a security and SEO audit in addition to the code audit. Opting for those can help reinforce your marketing endeavors and give you peace of mind knowing your website is entirely secure and optimized.

Whether you’re preparing for an upcoming holiday season or looking for insights into your store, a Magento code audit will help you ensure your website is ready to deliver a seamless shopping experience to your customers.

About the author
Jan Guardian
Chief Business Development Officer @ Staylime

Jan is the Chief Business Development Officer at Staylime, a Magento design and development company headquartered in Redwood City, California. He is responsible for developing and leading the sales and digital marketing strategies of the company. Jan is passionate about ecommerce and Magento in particular — throughtout the years his pieces have been featured on Retail Dive, Hackernoon, Chief Marketer, Mobile Marketer, TMCnet, and many others.

Abode Sales Accredited
Magento Association
HubSpot inbound certified
Microsoft data science professional