If you’re worried that your WooCommerce store loads slowly, you’ve already lost a ton of potential customers.
Nearly 70% of customers say that page speed influences whether or not they make a purchase.
So WooCommerce speed optimization is important if you want to see an increase in your sales.
This post will show you what you can do to optimize WooCommerce speed—it'll also cover:
WooCommerce Speed Optimization: 11 Practical Ideas
As an eCommerce store, you should optimize your website to load within 3 seconds.
This way, you get the best out of your store conversions.
Here are a few ways you can speed up your Woocommerce backend:
1. Set up a CDN
Content delivery networks help you store the static files you have on your eCommerce sites like your images or CSS snippets.
These networks are servers scattered across the world and it’s great because when your users are closer to these servers, your site will load faster.
This is because it sends the content from the nearest server to them. It is why we strongly recommend setting up one especially if you plan to have a global store.
You can set up a CDN for free on Cloudflare when you’re trying to optimize WooCommerce speed.
2. Prevent brute force attacks
Brute force is when hackers try to break into an eCommerce site either through random password guessing or other methods.
Because of the magnitude of requests sent through log-in attempts to your servers, it can lead to a slow WooCommerce load time.
A very solid way to prevent these attacks is by adding a DNS firewall plugin that’ll block out any bad requests coming in. One you can try out is Scuri or even Cloudflare.
You can also use multi-factor authentication for your admin login and set up Captcha to kick out the bots from accessing your store.
3. Update PHP version & increase memory limit
Your WooCommerce store relies on WordPress which is entirely written in PHP.
As we earlier mentioned, updating your store to the latest version can significantly increase your speed.
Since updating to the latest PHP engine version (PHP 8.0) might result in other compatibility issues, we recommend first updating to a staging environment before pushing to production.
You can do this directly from your web server host.
Once you update your PHP version, you need to increase your store’s memory.
You can do this by either contacting your web host company or changing lines in your PHP code.
4. Cache WooCommerce to speed it up
Install a caching plugin on your store so it automatically generates certain static pages that your users will see every time they visit your store.
This way, your servers won’t have to bear the burden of always generating new pages every time there’s a visit.
Your otherwise slow WooCommerce store will also find it faster to load.
However be sure to exclude the cart, checkout, registration, accounts and product pages.
Since these are dynamic, you can display incorrect information when they are cached.
5. Update themes and plugins
We don’t recommend enabling auto-updates to avoid new feature compatibility issues with your store.
So to manually update your themes and plugins on WooCommerce, download the most updated version on your account dashboard.
Rename the theme folder on your server and then upload it from your WordPress dashboard.
Please upgrade your WordPress to the latest version before doing this.
6. Avoid too many plugins
How many plugins are too many? Since plugins are notorious for their frequent HTTP requests, we recommend keeping it under six if you’re on a shared hosting plan.
If you’re on your own hosting service, use at most 20 to optimize WooCommerce speed.
Remember, with plugins, it’s never about how many. It’s about the quality. So look for those that are highly compatible with WooCommerce, reliable and have low-security threats.
7. Use only recommended WooCommerce caching plugins
Don’t just install any plugin to help with your caching. Instead, look for very responsive plugins that are highly compatible with WooCommerce.
Some we recommend include; WP Rocket, WP Super Cache and W3 Total Cache.
8. Use a naturally fast theme
While there are popular themes you can choose from, speed has to be your top criterion.
You can track just how fast your current theme is by using the Google Lighthouse speed tool. Then weigh it with the other options you have.
Some of the fastest WooCommerce themes we recommend are - Astra, Kadence, Storefront and Shoptimizer.
9. Choose a high-quality hosting service
Your WooCommerce hosting is important because that’s where you store your files and other web-related data.
Choose hosting services that are specifically designed for WooCommerce stores.
These types of services usually have extra features or processors. We recommend using GoDaddy, SiteGround, or Kinsta hosting service.
Also if you’re migrating from a shared hosting plan or worried about getting the right hosting service, start by looking at the reviews.
See what other stores are saying on review sites, Trustpilot, Facebook groups and more.
10. Disable AJAX cart fragments in WooCommerce
AJAX cart fragments show you an updated version of what you have in your cart. They show you a preview when you tap on the cart button.
Unfortunately, while it’s very functional when paired with a slow hosting service, it can take several minutes to load your cart.
This is why we recommend you disable it in order to optimize WooCommerce speed.
You can do this by visiting your WooCommerce settings section from your WordPress dashboard.
11. Enable lazy loading of images
Rather than manually compressing, you can maintain image quality by lazy loading.
With lazy loading, you’re able to defer the loading of images that aren’t immediately important to the user’s experience.
Some images might already be doing this on your website. So you can conduct an audit to be sure you need this by using the Google Lighthouse tool.
This tool will also show you some images that might need this on your store along with how much storage you’d be saving.
Be sure to leave the right placeholders so your website doesn’t look weird before the load.
8 Reasons Your WooCommerce Store Has a Slow Speed
To solve your site speed issue, we need to look into the culprits slowing down your WooCommerce store. After extensive research, we identified these eight major causes:
1. You don’t split your product pages
Having a large product catalog is great for business.
But when you have all of it on very few pages, it’ll take time to load each of the product images.
And slow down your overall site speed.
Separate products into their respective categories or make each page shorter.
Here’s how Root Science does it:
2. There are countless plugins running
Individually, plugins are super useful. But they have the potential to slow down your site because plugins are extra code.
So, when they start to compound, the additional code you have on your site increases exponentially.
This means there’ll be more HTTP requests to your server.
Sometimes, these plugins aren’t even compatible with each other.
All of this can lead to a slow WooCommerce store.
3. Every part of your WooCommerce store caches
Caching ideally helps your users load previously loaded pages faster.
It works because your caching solution creates static versions of your store.
But, if it always caches every part of your page, it means all your dynamic pages are saved too. That is counterproductive.
To optimize WooCommerce speed ensure your caching tool doesn’t include pages like the checkout, basket and product pages.
4. Your themes have too many complex components
Extra CSS styling sheets and code that make it look pretty can demand you to do WooCommerce speed optimization.
It’s because tons of styling can slow down your site.
A great reason to get suspicious is when there are carousels, videos or heavy animation on your site.
To be sure your theme is the problem, you can run a load test with Pingdom. Once you enter your URL, sort by load time and filter by theme.
You can also test out different themes in staging and compare their load time with your current theme.
5. The store’s database is getting too large
Naturally, you’ll be storing data from your customer orders to previous product catalogs.
While it may not have an effect now, over time, you’ll have a large storage.
This storage will start causing your site to lag.
We recommend migrating this data to another cloud storage if they are essential or carry out frequent cleanups.
6. You’re on a shared hosting plan
Shared hosting is cheap but that means other sites are hosted there too.
If multiple stores all have to share the same server, your store can slow down during peak sales periods like Black Friday.
This is because there’s too much traffic from all ends bogging down the servers.
You can always scale your own server hosting and avoid any potential lags.
So we recommend migrating if this is the case for your store. Use cloud servers too and not locally hosted servers.
7. Using non-optimized images
Every product image on your store adds up to your load time.
Since you’ll be using at least three images for a single product, when you don’t optimize them, they lead to a slow WooCommerce site.
One way to do this is to make your images adaptive to whatever screen your users use.
Just be sure to use percentage when setting the width instead of pixels.
Also, be sure to use either JPEG, PNG or even better, WEBP formats for your pictures.
They automatically use special compression without compromising the quality of the image.
8. Your configuration is out of date
Like your phone and PC software updates, you’ll need to constantly update your WooCommerce configuration.
This is because new updates come with new features, lesser load time and an overall improved performance.
So it’s important to always update your themes, plugins and other store configurations.
How to Speed Test Your WooCommerce Store
We recommend trying a speed test before trying out the strategies we shared above and after optimizing.
Before optimization tests will show you specific areas you might need to focus on as well as those you shouldn’t prioritize.
The tests after the optimization will show you how effective your attempts have been.
You can run speed tests on your WooCommerce store by using load time testing tools.
Some we highly recommend are Google’s PageSpeed Insights and Pingdom.
Simply enter your store’s URL and wait to get the results.
How to Optimize Your WooCommerce Admin Panel
You need to also optimize your WooCommerce admin panel because it’s the central area of your store.
It’s also a great way to avoid future site loading issues from stemming up. So here’s what you can do:
1. Frontend optimizations first, backend later
The most important step is optimizing your code.
This is because even when you take out the plugins you no longer use and stick to a better theme, there will be traces of code left.
These stylesheets and scripts that have been existing will still take a chunk out of your storage.
The same thing applies to your own written code.
So we recommend reviewing your HTML, CSS and other front-end optimizations first.
Minify your CSS by taking advantage of the WP Rocket plugin.
It will provide suggestions on where to start and do the optimization.
2. Remove bloat and update regularly
WooCommerce recently updated its plugin for WordPress and unfortunately, it comes with a lot of unwanted features that cause “Bloat”.
Bloat could even be an accumulation of all the unwanted features during every version update or install.
These bloated features that won’t be in use, end up slowing down your admin panel.
So we recommend removing these features and scripts you’ll no longer use to optimize WooCommerce speed.
You can use the disable bloat plugin to get started and do it regularly to keep things tidy on your end.
3. Disable object and database cache
Since we rely on a lot of plugins on WooCommerce, caching isn’t an exception.
Unfortunately, when you don’t properly configure your caching plugin, it can further slow down your site.
And that’s because it caches your objects and database which is really just more pages.
So in your caching plugin, check that you’ve disabled the object and database caching option.
4. Remove plugins with high resource usage
When choosing what plugins to take out, look at what exactly they consume.
Some plugins affect your overall load time while some take a significant chunk out of your memory and resources.
They do this by generating too many requests and sending multiple database queries, which in turn lead to a slow WooCommerce site.
You can use tools like WP Hive to be sure whether the plugin you want to disable affects your resources or not. Also, be sure to install only lightweight plugins.
5. Disable dashboard functionality that’s not needed
Another thing that causes bloat is the multiple unused functions on your current WooCommerce dashboard. They could be in the form of features or even ads.
These functions keep running on the backend of your admin panel and cause a significant lag in your load time.
We recommend disabling them. And you can also do this with the disable bloat plugin.
Optimize WooCommerce Images for Web
Here are some tips on how to optimize your WooCommerce images for a better load time;
- Compress your images, particularly in a lossless format (if you edit your images in Photoshop, saving it for the web is a great way to do this)
- Stick to the WebP, JPEG and PNG formats
- Resize your images to smaller dimensions (focus on your main image and your thumbnails)
- Use a CDN so that your images load faster wherever they are
Optimize Your Website Code for WooCommerce
Your code also requires regular optimization so it doesn’t make unnecessary requests to your servers. Some ways to optimize it include;
- Download the HTTP/2 protocol (known to help numerous simultaneous file downloads)
- Cache your frequently used data so you don’t always have to load them
- Use a profiler to help scan for potential improvements you can make to your written code.
Bring your UX up to speed
A slow Woocommerce site will invariably increase bounce rates.
But even otherwise, 98% of visitors who visit an eCommerce site, drop off without buying anything.
Why: user experience issues that cause friction for visitors.
And this is the problem Convertcart solves.
We've helped 500+ eCommerce stores (in the US) improve user experience—and 2X their conversions.
How we can help you:
Our conversion experts can audit your site—identify UX issues, and suggest changes to improve conversions.
**This post was written by Moses, a digital entrepreneur who geeks out on online marketing and write about it for B2B SaaS companies that appreciates blog content borne out of hands-on experience.