Performance improvements

How to optimize your Meteor application for higher performance when you start growing.

This guide focuses on providing you tips and common practices on how to improve performance of your Meteor app (sometimes also called scaling). It is important to note that at the end of the day Meteor is a Node.js app tied closely to MongoDB, so a lot of the problems you are going to encounter are common to other Node.js and MongoDB apps. Also do note that every app is different so there are unique challenges to each, therefore practices describe in this guide should be used as a guiding posts rather than absolutes.

This guide has been heavily inspired by Marcin Szuster’s Vazco article, the official Meteor Galaxy guide, and talk by Paulo Mogollón’s talk at Impact 2022 titled “First steps on scaling Meteor realtime data”.

Performance monitoring

Before any optimization can take place we need to know what is our problem. This is where APM (Application Performance Monitor) comes in. If you are hosting on Galaxy then this is automatically included in the Professional plan and you can learn more about in its own dedicated guide article. For those hosting outside of Galaxy the most popular solution is to go with Monti APM which shares all the main functionality with Galaxy APM. You can also choose other APM for Node.js, but they will not show you Meteor specific data that Galaxy APM and Monti APM specialize in. For this guide we will focus on showing how to work with Galaxy APM, which is the same as with Monti APM, for simplicity.

Once you setup either of those APMs you will need to add a package to your Meteor app to start sending them data.

For working with Galaxy APM and optimizing your app through the data there, don’t forget to visit the Meteor APM guide.

Galaxy APM package

meteor add mdg:meteor-apm-agent

Monti APM package

meteor add montiapm:agent

Finding issues in APM

APM will start with providing you with an overview of how your app is performing. You can then dive deep into details of publications, methods, errors happening (both on client and server) and more. You will spend a lot of time in the detailed tabs looking for methods and publications to improve and analyzing the impact of your actions. The process, for example for optimizing methods, will look like this:
  1. Go to the detailed view under the Methods tab.
  2. Sort the Methods Breakdown by Response Time.
  3. Click on a method name in the Methods Breakdown. Assess the impact if you improve the selected method.
  4. Look at the response time graph and find a trace.
  5. Improve your method if you feel it is the right moment to do so.

Not every long-performing method has to be improved. Take a look at the following example:

  • methodX - mean response time 1 515 ms, throughput 100,05/min
  • methodY - mean response time 34 000 ms, throughput 0,03/min

At first glance, the 34 seconds response time can catch your attention, and it may seem that the methodY is more relevant to improvement. But don’t ignore the fact that this method is being used only once in a few hours by the system administrators or scheduled cron action.

And now, let’s take a look at the methodX. Its response time is evidently lower BUT compared to the frequency of use, it is still high, and without any doubt should be optimized first.

It’s also absolutely vital to remember that you shouldn’t optimize everything as it goes. The key is to think strategically and match the most critical issues with your product priorities.

For more information about all the things you can find in Galaxy APM take a look at the Meteor APM section in Galaxy Guide.


Publications allow for the most prominent aspect of Meteor, live data. At the same this is the most resource intensive part of a Meteor application.

Under the hood WebSockets are being used with additional abilities provided by DDP.

Proper use of publications

Since publications can get resource intensive they should be reserved for usage that requires up to date, live data or that are changing frequently and you need the users to see that. You will need to evaluate your app to figure out which situations these are. As a rule of thumb any data that are not required to be live or are not changing frequently can be fetched once via other means and re-fetched as needed, in most cases the re-fetching shouldn't be necessary.

But even before you proceed any further there are a few improvements that you can make here. First make sure that you only get the fields you need, limit the number of documents you send to the client to what you need (aka always set the limit option) and ensure that you have set all your indexes.

Methods over publications The first easiest replacement is to use Meteor methods instead of publications. In this case you can use the existing publication and instead of returning a cursor you will call `.fetchAsync()` and return the actual data. The same performance improvements to get the method work faster apply here, but once called it sends the data and you don't have the overhead of a publication.

What is crucial here is to ensure that your choice of a front-end framework doesn’t call the method every time, but only once to load the data or when specifically needed (for example when the data gets updated due to user action or when the user requests it).

Publication replacements

Using methods has its limitations and there are other tools that you might want to evaluate as a potential replacement.

Grapher is a favorite answer and allows you to easily blend with another replacement which is GraphQL and in particular Apollo GraphQL, which also has an integration package with Meteor. Finally, you can also go back to using REST as well.

Do note, that you can mix all of these based on your needs.

Low observer reuse

Observers are among the key components of Meteor. They take care of observing documents on MongoDB and they notify changes. Creating them is an expensive operations, so you want to make sure that Meteor reuses them as much as possible.

Learn more about observers

The key for observer reuse is to make sure that the queries requested are identical. This means that user given values should be standardised and so should any dynamic input like time. Publications for users should check if user is signed in first before returning publication and if user is not signed in, then it should instead call this.ready();.

Learn more on improving observer reuse

Redis Oplog

Redis Oplog is a popular solution to Meteor’s Oplog tailing (which ensures the reactivity, but has some severe limitations that especially impact performance). Redis Oplog as name suggests uses redis to track changes to data that you only need and cache them. This reduces load on the server and database, allows you to track only the data that you want and only publish the changes you need.


While methods are listed as one of the possible replacements for publications, they themselves can be made more performant, after all it really depends on what you put inside them and APM will provide you with the necessary insight on which methods are the problem.

Heavy actions

In general heavy tasks that take a lot of resources or take long and block the server for that time should be taken out and instead be run in its own server that focuses just on running those heavy tasks. This can be another Meteor server or even better something specifically optimized for that given task.

Reoccurring jobs

Reoccurring jobs are another prime candidate to be taken out into its own application. What this means is that you will have an independent server that is going to be tasked with running the reoccurring jobs and the main application will only add to the list and be recipient of the results, most likely via database results.

Rate limiting

Rate limit your methods to reduce effectiveness of DDOS attack and spare your server. This is also a good practice to ensure that you don’t accidentally DDOS your self. For example a user who clicks multiple time on a button that triggers an expensive function. In this example you should also in general ensure that any button that triggers a server event should be disabled until there is a response from the server that the event has finished.

You can and should rate limit both methods and collections.

Learn more about rate limiting


The following section offers some guidance on optimizing performance of your Meteor application when it comes to the database. You can find these and more information in other places that deal with MongoDB performance optimization, like on the official MongoDB website. These are all applicable, and you should spend some time researching into them as well. The guide here offers some initial and most common patterns.

IP whitelisting

If your MongoDB hosting provider allows it, you should make sure that you whitelist the IPs of your application servers. If you don’t then your database servers are likely to come under attack from hackers trying to brute force their way in. Besides the security risk this also impacts performance as authentication is not a cheap operation and it will impact performance.

See Galaxy guide on IP whitelisting to get IPs for your Galaxy servers.


While single indexes on one field are helpful on simple query calls, you will most likely have more advance queries with multiple variables. To cover those you will need to create compound indexes. For example:

    pageId: 1,
    language: 1,
    date: 1
  { unique: true }

When creating indexes you should sort the variables in ESR (equity, sort, range) style. Meaning, first you put variables that will be equal to something specific. Second you put variables that sort things, and third variables that provide range for that query. Further you should order these variables in a way that the fields that filter the most should be first.

Make sure that all the indexes are used and remove unused indexes as leaving unused indexes will have negative impact on performance as the database will have to still keep track on all the indexed variables.

Find strategies

To optimize finds ensure that all queries have are indexed. Meaning that any .find() variables should be indexed as described above.

All your finds should have a limit on the return so that the database stops going through the data once it has reached the limit, and you only return the limited number of results instead of the whole database.

Beware of queries with n + 1 issue. For example in a database that has cars and car owners. You don’t want to get cars, and then call the database for each car owner, instead you want to use only two queries. One where you get the all the cars and second where you get all the owners and then match the data on the front-end.

Check all queries that run longer than 100ms as there might be issues.

Do not use RegEx for your queries as these queries have to go through all the data to do that match.

If you still have issues make sure that you read data from secondaries.

Beware of collection hooks

While collection hooks can help in many cases beware of them and make sure that you understand how they work as they might create additional queries that you might not know about. Make sure to review packages that use them so that they won’t create additional queries.


Once your user base increases you want to invest into query caching like using Redis, Redis Oplog and other. For more complex queries or when you are retrieving data from multiple collections, then you want to use aggregation and save their results.


Vertical and horizontal scaling

There are mainly two different ways of scaling: the vertical and horizontal one.
  • Vertical scaling boils down to adding more resources (CPU/RAM/disk) to your containers, while horizontal scaling refers to adding more machines or containers to your pool of resources.
  • Horizontal scaling for Meteor projects typically includes running multiple instances of your app on a single container with multiple cores, or running multiple instances on multiple containers.

Container autoscaling

It is important to be ready for a sudden spikes of traffic. While all the other measures mentioned here will help, but a certain point it becomes impossible to support more users on one container and additional containers need to be added to support these users. Today most hosting solutions offer scaling triggers that you can set to automatically scale up (and down) the number of containers for your app based on things like number of connection, CPU and RAM usage. Galaxy has these as well. Learn more about setting triggers for scaling on Galaxy.

Setting this is vital, so that your application can keep on running when you have extra people come and then saves you money by scaling down when the containers are not in use. When initially setting these pay a close attention to the performance of your app. you need to learn when is the right time to scale your app so it has enough time to spin up new containers before the existing one get overwhelmed by traffic and so on. There are other points to pay attention to as well. For example if your app is used by corporation you might want to setup that on weekdays the minimum number of containers is going to increase just before the start of working hours and the then decrease the minimum to 1 for after hours and on weekends.

Usually when you are working on performance issues you will have higher numbers of containers as you optimize your app. It is therefore vital to revisit your scaling setting after each rounds of improvements to ensure that scaling triggers are properly optimized.


During development, it is very tempting to add packages to solve issue or support some features. This should be done carefully and each package should be wetted carefully if it is a good fit for the application. Besides security and maintenance issues you also want to know which dependencies given package introduces and as a whole what will be the impact on performance.

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