Tutorial,  WooCommerce

How to increase WooCommerce site speed effectively?

Site speed is cash for an eCommerce website. The quicker your WooCommerce website is, the better the shopping experience. Nowadays, store performance is so crucial that it can determine whether your WooCommerce store succeeds or fails. When a website takes longer than 3 seconds on average to load the first page, users have been found to seek out an alternative store.

A faster page speed ensures a better user experience. A better user experience means good SEO, better checkout completion rates, and more joyful visitors. This, in turn, increases conversion, leading to more sales and revenue. It always keeps you one step ahead of your competitors who have slow-loading sites.

Now that you’ve understood why speed is important for your WooCommerce store, now let’s discuss how can you achieve it.

High-quality hosting services

Hosting is the foundational architecture that handles your traffic and relevant data. It boosts your site speed and gives a better user experience to your users while surfing your site. You need to choose your hosting service depending on your budget, size, and goals, and also you need to ensure your hosting provider offers maximum uptime.

Hosting Provider Variations

An increasing traffic base and thousands of product pages can slow down your website. Moreover, for special events such as festivals, deals, discounts, and offers, your hosting provider must be able to handle this growth without affecting the site’s loading time. 

An important thing to consider is to select a host with a server located majorly in the geographical areas your customers live. That means, if most of your customers are in the UK, select a host server with data centers in the UK.

Choose a fast and lite Woocommerce theme

You need to create your site nice and attractive to grab the attention of your customers and visitors, you also need to consider your site should load faster without interruption. Rather than using a muti-purpose WordPress theme, a WooCommerce theme that meets your market niche will be a good fit.

A fancy theme with lots of built-in features can sound great, but it may flop in actual usage. Fancy styles and jazzy effects often come at the cost of performance. That’s why, try to avoid the themes overwhelmed with complex layouts, flashy animations, and other unnecessary features.

To decide on a theme, it will be good if you list down all the features you need in your online store. Then go for a theme that covers most of your feature requirements. This will help you cut down dependency on bloated multi-purpose themes and third-party plugins.

Increase the WordPress Memory Limit

WordPress default memory is set to 32MB for PHP. If it runs into any crunches, it’ll automatically upgrade this limit to 40 MB (for a single site) or 64 MB (for a multisite).

But this memory limit won’t be enough for running a WooCommerce site. Your store can exceed the limit at some point and get a fatal error message on your dashboard. Such as-

“Allowed memory size of xxxxxx bytes exhausted”

It’s recommended to increase this limit to 256 MB. Always do a backup of any file before you edit it. In case something goes wrong, you can replace the edited file with the original one.

There are two possible options to adjust this memory limit. You can change it by yourself or contact your hosting provider. You can configure the limit following these steps below-

Edit your wp-config.php file :

  • Go to wp-config.php, which by default is located in the WordPress root folder.
  • Find the line at the very end of the file: /* That’s all, stop editing! Happy blogging. */
  • Just after that line, add the following line: define(‘WP_MEMORY_LIMIT’, ‘256M’).
  • Save your changes.

Edit your PHP.ini file :

  • If you have access to the PHP.ini file, change the maximum allowed memory limit
  • For example, if the line shows 64M, change it to 256M
    memory_limit = 256M; Maximum amount of memory a script may consume (64MB)

Edit your .htaccess file :

  • If you don’t have access to PHP.ini access the .htaccess file and paste the following code into it:
    php_value memory_limit 256M

Use Optimal Numbers of Plugins

WordPress has 55,000+ free plugins in its repository. There are even more premium plugins out in this ecosystem. Adding too many plugins such as SEO plugins, backup plugins, CPU plugins or bloated plugins can slow down your WooCommerce store.
WooCommerce functionality can be expanded with its wide range of free and premium WooCommerce extensions. Choose plugins that perform multiple functions, also try not to use plugins with similar functionality. Like, its not a good idea to use multiple plugins for SEO, rather choose a popular plugin that serves most of your purpose.

Optimize the WooCommerce Website Images

Images are the core elements for a WooCommrce site. Attractive and high-quality images need to use in an e-commerce store to display the products and the relevant description. High quality images could be of large size, and if the images are not optimized in a proper way. 

Follow these 5 rules to optimize images for your WooCommerce store (and the web in general):

  1. Choose the right format for your images (JPEG, PNG, SVG, WebP).
  2. Compress the images efficiently using the right tools.
  3. Use responsive images to optimize delivery for various devices.
  4. Lazy-load offscreen and hidden images.
  5. Offload image delivery to fast CDNs.

You can compress the images before uploading them to your online shop. These are some of the top online image compression tools:

  • Compressor.io
  • Squoosh.app
  • Shrinkme.app
  • Kraken.io
  • Imagify.io
  • TinyPNG

Do you have many images already up on your site? Then you can use a WordPress plugin to automate image optimization. Here are the ones that consistently performed the best in my experience:

Optimize unused scripts and styles on your site

Most WordPress themes and plugins load scripts and stylesheets on all your site’s pages. They load these assets even when they’re not used on the page. So, you need to load the resources conditionally. 

For example, it’s unnecessary to load scripts related to payment gateways on your store’s homepage. Restrict this type of script load only on checkout and order confirmation pages.

If you want to know which assets to eliminate, look at the waterfall chart in your website speed test report. It’ll give you an idea about the unnecessary assets that are being loaded.

The Network tab under Chrome browser’s DevTools is also a good place to get started. It’ll give you a comprehensive view of how and what a web page loads.

Start by optimizing your homepage and landing pages, since these are the first points of entry for most of your users.You can use wp_dequeue_script and wp_dequeue_style functions to remove scripts and styles you don’t need. An easy way to achieve the same is through a plugin called Asset CleanUp: Page Speed Booster.

Cache WooCommerce to speedup

Caching is temporarily storing resources (cache) from one request so that subsequent requests can be executed quickly. The cache can be stored either on the server or on the user’s device.

Server Caching: The server is responsible for generating the web page, server caching allows it to recall how that web page looks like so that it won’t generate it again the next time.

This saves more time because the server won’t have the trouble of constructing the whole page again. And since a WooCommerce store is dynamic, you must ensure that it’s static to speed it up.

Browser Caching: Browser cache is responsible for remembering how a web page looks like so it won’t have to ask the server to send the web page all over again.

This is especially good for visitors who visit multiple pages because all static files like stylesheets and JavaScript files can already be stored by the browser. This speeds up the viewing of the pages even if it’s done frequently.

There are several free caching plugins available in the market. You can use them to remove all the unnecessary data from your WordPress site like cache scripts & styles, and minifies HTML.

  • WP Super Cache
  • LiteSpeed Cache
  • WP Fastest Cache
  • WP-Optimize – Clean, Compress, Cache
  • W3 Total Cache

 Disable Get Refreshed Fragments AJAX Request

When a user makes any changes to their shopping cart, WooCommerce uses the Get Refreshed Fragments AJAX request to update the shopping cart contents dynamically. Refreshing the cart page without reloading it seems great from a user experience perspective.

But most times it slows down websites, mainly those hosted on shared servers. Plus, a lot of sites don’t end up using this feature.

You can use the free or Disable Cart Fragments by Optimocha plugins to disable this taxing request.

If you disable this request, then it’s recommended to enable the option ‘Redirect to the cart page after successful addition’ in your WooCommerce → Products settings panel.

Enabling this behavior will ensure that the user is redirected to the Cart page after adding a product to their cart.

Clean Up Your WooCommerce Database

database is an organized collection of all your website’s data. In a WooCommerce store, it includes:

  • Site content such as product pages, categories, tags, user data, reviews, site-wide settings, theme, plugins, etc.
  • Transaction data such as order details, payments, inventory, etc.

Every time a user visits your store, they’re requesting your site content, which is mostly static and doesn’t change much. But when they’re placing an order, they’re making a dynamic request. If you don’t optimize your store’s database, it may take too long to process these requests. Ultimately, a slow server response time leads to a slow website. Hence, you must clean up and optimize the database by removing unnecessary junk.With time, your database accumulates many spam comments, copies of post revisions, deleted posts, trashed comments, etc. Cleaning up your database will unload a considerable space for your WooCommerce store to run faster and more smoothly.

You can use WordPress plugins to clear up your database. Such as –

  • WP-Optimize
  • WP Rocket
  • WP Clean Up Optimizer
  • Advanced Database Cleaner
  • Clean Up Booster

Summery

A fast WooCommerce store boosts user experience, SEO, revenue, and ROI. If your website loads fast, it instantly makes a strong first impression. Customers also consider fast websites to be professional and reliable.

Creating a fast website is a continuous process. You have to regularly monitor, test, tweak and update your WooCommerce store to keep your webpage speeds high.

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