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Magento memory leaks and custom options

August 30th, 2012

Most software, if not all, has memory leaks. Some are really bad at collecting garbage, other manage it better, but not enough. Magento had its problems since the beginning, and a lot of them have been fixed in the latest releases (using 1.6 to test this). However, it still has a long way until all major memory problems are gone. A simple test, like the one below, will reveal what I mean (put it in your magento root and run it from the CLI):

require "app/Mage.php";

for($k = 0; $k < 100; $k++) {
    echo $k . "\t" . (memory_get_usage()/1024/1024) . "\n";

This will show the current iteration and the memory usage. Replace “123” with a real product id – first, use a simple product, with no custom options. My result looks like this:

0 - 8.3790
99 - 8.3794

Looks good, very good actually.

Now try it with a product that has custom options. Not more than 5-6 options, but stuff a dozen values in one or two options. My test shows these numbers:

0 - 8.9398
99 - 17.5057


Along the way, you’ll see that the garbage collector kicks in and memory is freed, so max memory usage (for me) doesn’t exceed 20M. Cool, everything seems acceptable, and it seems that the old memory leaks have been fixed (read more over here, here and here ).

Now let’s try something different. Importing a few hundred products from a CSV. All products have custom options, usually the same, but with different values. The code could be summarized like this:

$options = $this->_getOptions($row);
$product = $this->initNewProduct(); //just inits the product with all the required data
        ->setAttributeSetId( $attributeSetId )
        ->setCategoryIds( array($someIds = 123) );
if( $options && count($options) ) {


To me, this looked fine and should have worked. I didn’t care it ran out of memory after 60-70 cycles, I could live with that. However, after approximately 20 hours of intense debugging, trying to figure out why the options aren’t showing up correctly on the frontend I decided to check the products in the admin. I had a huge surprise when I’ve noticed that for the second product, I had the first product’s options and the (correct) second product’s options. For the third, I had the first, second and third option sets. And so on, the last one was a complete mess. At some point Firefox couldn’t even load the interface anymore, there were simply too many options. Now that’s a memory leak for sure!

So, is there a fix? Seems like there was one, tested it for 3 products and it worked fine, no more leftover options. Initially, I was doing this:


but it didn’t work, although gc_collect_cycles() helped keeping the memory growth under control.

So I added the following lines:

unset($product, $options); //instead of just unset($product);

and voila – all custom options have been created correctly. Haven’t really analyzed why this did the trick and why it didn’t work without it. Either way, I’m happy the code works and I hope this will help someone else someday.

  1. Nathan Lewis
    | #1

    Thanks. Saved me some time. My issue had to do with website 1 custom options bleeding over into website 2 when importing data.

  2. | #2

    It is because for some bizzare reason getOptionInstance returns a singleton. This has indeed been a nuisance for me doing imports as well (and yes I use essentially your solution).

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