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Performance Tuning / Introduction

Note: You are currently reading the documentation for Bolt 3.1. Looking for the documentation for Bolt 3.5 instead?

This page contains a few tips and pointers to optimize and tune your Bolt website when putting it 'live'. When developing Bolt, you usually have different settings than you would use in a production environment.

Use config_local.yml

Regardless of how you 'deploy' a site with Bolt, you've undoubtedly bumped into the nuisance of keeping environment specific settings in sync between your development version, and the 'live' production site. To make this a bit easier, you can use a config_local.yml, that you can place right next to the 'regular' config.yml. Any setting you make in this file, will overrule a setting made in config.yml.

If you use a version control tool like Git, you can put the config.yml file into the repository, but you shouldn't commit config_local.yml. This way you can bring most of the configuration under version control, but your database credential isn't included.

You can edit this file through the Bolt backend as well, just like the regular config. To get there, use the button on the edit screen for config.yml:

Disable debug

Disable the debug toolbar, that gets appended to every page request. This toolbar shows a lot of useful information, but once a website is put into production, you should turn this functionality off:

debug: false

Doing this shaves a few milliseconds off each request, so your site will become slightly faster.

The debug information is not visible to visitors who aren't logged in, but it's good practice to take extra precautions by disabling the toolbar.

Make sure debuglog is disabled as well, and Bolt is set to display no errors. We do this, so that whenever something bad happens (like a database that crashes, or the server has some malfunction), no sensitive information will be shown to the visitors of the site.

debug_error_level: 0

    enabled: false

Check mail settings

Be sure to set up the mail settings correctly. If your site has any forms, make sure they still work. If possible, use a proper 'smtp' server, instead of PHP's plain 'mail()' fallback.

Set up thumbs

You can configure Bolt to save all requested thumbnails as files. To enable this feature, do the following:

  • Create a folder thumbs in the web root of your website, and make sure it's writable to the web server.
  • Set save_files: true in the thumbnails: section of config.yml.

Doing this means that thumbnails will be saved as actual files, with the exact same name as will show up in the url. By default Bolt caches the results of each 'thumbnail' request, so it doesn't have to resize images on each request, but there is a certain overhead in this. If files are saved to thumbs/, any request to a thumbnail that's cached completely bypasses the PHP layer entirely, which uses significantly less resources on the server.

Configure the backend path and other branding

The default path to the Bolt backend is /bolt, but this can be configured in config.yml. Doing this has a tiny benefit when it comes to security, because bots and crawlers won't be able to use the default location to try for passwords, but it also looks professional, for your clients.

The news shown on the dashboard can be pulled from an alternate source. Check https://news.bolt.cm/ for an example of how this source should look. If you use the bolt JSON extension (bolt/jsonaccess) as the source for the news you will also need to fill out the news_variable.

You can also customize the backend favicon and the various apple-touch-icons.

    name: Bolt
    path: /admin
    provided_by: [ supercool@example.org, "Supercool Webdesign Co." ]
    news_source: http://news.example.org
    news_variable: news
    favicon: /files/icons/favicon.ico
    apple-touch-icon: /files/icons/apple-touch-icon.png
    apple-touch-icon-72x72: /files/icons/apple-touch-icon-72x72.png
    apple-touch-icon-114x114: /files/icons/apple-touch-icon-114x114.png
    apple-touch-icon-144x144: /files/icons/apple-touch-icon-144x144.png

This is what it will look like in the Bolt backend:

Make sure Google can find the site

If you've used a robots.txt to prevent Google from indexing the development version of the site, make sure it's disabled in production.

To further increase the correct indexing of your site, make sure you have a sitemap.xml, and that your HTML contains the required meta tags. Two extensions to help with this are:

If your site is accessible on more than one URL, or just with and without the 'www.'-prefix, you should set the canonical manually, to prevent duplicate content in Google:

canonical: www.example.org

SQLite only: Running analyze on your database

If you are using SQLite you can run the analyze; command on your database to make expensive queries quicker. For more information on this please see the issue on GitHub or the details in the SQLite docs.

Optimize the autoloader

On complicated sites or slow servers, optimizing the autoloader can more than halve the time needed for a request. Run composer install -o in the bolt directory to optimize your autoloader.

Putting it all together

Combining the tips mentioned above, here's a full example of what your config_local.yml could contain.

# Database credentials.
    driver: mysql
    databasename: bolt
    username: database_user
    password: 'hunter42'

# Canonical URL
canonical: www.example.org

# caching settings
    config: true
    templates: true
    request: false
    duration: 10
    authenticated: false

# Thumbnail settings
    default_thumbnail: [ 160, 120 ]
    default_image: [ 1000, 750 ]
    quality: 80
    cropping: crop
    notfound_image: view/img/default_notfound.png
    error_image: view/img/default_error.png
    save_files: true
    allow_upscale: false
    exif_orientation: true

# Branding options
    name: Bolt
    path: /admin
    provided_by: [ supercool@example.org, "Supercool Webdesign Co." ]
    news_source: http://news.example.org
    news_variable: news
    favicon: /files/icons/favicon.ico
    apple-touch-icon: /files/icons/apple-touch-icon.png
    apple-touch-icon-72x72: /files/icons/apple-touch-icon-72x72.png
    apple-touch-icon-114x114: /files/icons/apple-touch-icon-114x114.png
    apple-touch-icon-144x144: /files/icons/apple-touch-icon-144x144.png

# Debug settings
debug: false
debug_error_level: 0

    enabled: false

# Mail options
    transport: smtp
    spool: true
    host: localhost
#    username: username
#    password: password
    port: 25
    encryption: null
    auth_mode: null
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