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Fixing Magento’s slow backend when using AheadWorks plugins

First of: this isn’t a rant for AheadWorks: they offer great plugins which save us lots and lots of time.
However: there is something to mention here. When I was using the Blog and the Advanced Reports modules, I noticed a serious drop in performance in the backend. All of a sudden it took 10 seconds longer to load! Commenting out the awall_exts  and awall_upds  observers in app/code/local/AW/All/etc/config.xml  seems to fix it. So what gives?

Of course it took me some debugging and backtracing to get to this point. By using the excellent AOE Profiler I quickly noticed that these two observers where taking massive time in the page load, but the memory usage was very low:

Screen Shot 2015-05-13 at 10.55.55
When you backtrace the call stack of this event, you’ll notice that some point AW_All_Model_Feed_Abstract::getFeedData()  is called, which executes a cURL request to http://media.aheadworks.com/feeds/extensions.xml . Even though this function has a timeout set to 1 the error response of the curl request states that it waited 5 seconds for the timeout.
But why wasn’t my local development machine able to retrieve this file? When I open it in the browser it downloads in a jiffy!


It turns out that – since I always work from within Vagrant – my cURL request that was executed by PHP from within Vagrant couldn’t correctly resolve the host. Although I don’t know exactly why this is, it’s easily solved by adding the correct IP address of media.aheadworks.com manually to my /etc/hosts  file in my Vagrant machine.
At the time of writing this is , so my line in my hosts file looks like this:

But please note that when you run into the same problem and try to fix it to check if this IP-address is still correct.

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2 thoughts on “Fixing Magento’s slow backend when using AheadWorks plugins”

  1. baristuran says:

    Thanks for your blog.
    I resolved problem like this:
    Change this function ->

    public function getFeedData()
    return false;

    /*$curl = new Varien_Http_Adapter_Curl();
    ‘timeout’ => 1
    $curl->write(Zend_Http_Client::GET, $this->getFeedUrl(), ‘1.0’);
    $data = $curl->read();
    if ($data === false) {
    return false;
    $data = preg_split(‘/^\r?$/m’, $data, 2);
    $data = trim($data[1]);

    try {
    $xml = new SimpleXMLElement($data);
    catch (Exception $e) {
    return false;

    return $xml;*/

  2. Alex says:

    Thanks for sharing these tips, these tips helped me a lot to fix my store loading issue, Option 2 is very important. I have selected cloudways magento hosting, https://www.cloudways.com/en/magento-managed-cloud-hosting.php, having the best hosting won’t let you go technical and fix your issues.

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