The FASTEST Shopify Themes

Speed Is Really Important for Ecommerce Conversion Rate

In This Post We Share The FASTEST Shopify Themes & Why We
Recommend Them

The Best Shopify Themes for Conversion, Speed & Fast Load Times

Theme Name

Why Recommended?

Website Link

The FASTEST Shopify Themes 1

The Turbo Theme from Out Of The Sandbox is generally accepted as the fastest Shopify theme all round. It was designed from the ground up to be lightning fast.

The FASTEST Shopify Themes 1

A game-changer, as they call it, the Flex theme was released at the end of 2019 from the Out Of The Sandbox team and is in some ways a followup or sequel to Turbo Theme.

The FASTEST Shopify Themes 3

Shoptimized is another one of those themes built with a focus on conversion rate optimization and as part of that mission speed optimization is built into the theme.

The FASTEST Shopify Themes 4

Boostertheme isn’t as mature as some of the Out of the Sandbox themes but it’s still lightning fast.

The FASTEST Shopify Themes 5

Shella is a multipurpose Shopify theme that’s super-fast and highly responsive, sporting some premium features for a really solid price.

The FASTEST Shopify Themes 6

Plak make some pretty bold claims on their homepage about being the #1 fastest theme but that’s probably debatable as site speed is more than just the theme itself.

The FASTEST Shopify Themes 7

Well, we just had to include Shopify’s best seller for 2019! Yes, Fastor is the one. It’s a great, cutting edge Shopify theme that’s super fast and offers plenty of features that’ll make your head spin!

The FASTEST Shopify Themes 8

Debutify is a Shopify theme optimized for all niches and designed to boost the conversions and overall performance of your website or online store. It’s, in fact, considered the highest converting Shopify theme that you can get for free and that’s also suitable for all types of products and industries.

Why are Some Themes Fast, and Some Slow?

Faster themes have a handful of characteristics that give them an advantage over slower ones: 

  • They contain less code, which means they get processed faster on the server. 
  • Their file size is smaller, which makes them easier to download. 
  • They don’t rely on jQuery JavaScript library.
  • They have cleaner CSS and inline CSS so the site can render faster.

All of these characteristics enable the server to download and render the site faster from the server, also taking the load off the browser so it can assemble the page easily and in less time. 

Slower themes usually need to download more JavaScript and frequently use off-shelf libraries and APIs, not necessarily optimized for speed such as Google Maps APIs and Google Fonts. 

When setting up your Shopify store, one of the first decisions you need to make is choosing your theme. Of course, the theme of your choice should be customizable, have a beautiful and responsive design, and simple navigation, among other things, but one feature that’s often overlooked is theme speed

Did you know that a site’s bounce rate worsens with each second the page takes to load? 

The average bounce rate of pages that take 2 seconds to load is 9%, whereas the average bounce rate of pages that take 5 seconds to load is 38%. Let’s give you some more eye-opening statistics related to page speed. 79% of online consumers won’t return to a slow-loading site, 46% of mobile users say that slow load time is what they dislike the most when browsing the web, and even a 100-millisecond delay in load time lowers conversion rates by 7%! 

Given that page-speed is a crucial part of user experience and an important ranking factor, you need a fast and reliable theme for your online store. This is why we chose and reviewed the 8 fastest Shopify themes that can give you a better spot in search results but also bring you more conversions and revenue.

What Should I Consider When Choosing a Shopify Theme?

Before we go over the themes one by one, let’s see the key features that the best and fastest Shopify themes should include.

Website Speed

As we already mentioned, site speed influences your Google rankings, and with that, your visibility, conversation rates, and user experience. The faster your site is, the better ranking it will have and the more customers it will bring.

This is why in this article we included only the fastest Shopify themes available in 2021, while also paying attention to design and flexibility.

Design and Flexibility

Speed is not the only precondition for a successful online store, as the store’s design is another important factor. That is why in our quest for the fastest Shopify themes, we were looking for those with appealing designs that online consumers will appreciate. And not only that, but we also ensured that the themes are flexible and customizable so you can show your creativity and create the online store just as you’ve envisioned it.

What Makes a Theme Fast?

Well, a fast theme is a small theme. A fast theme has a clean CSS and fewer CSS files that are easily downloadable when the page loads. There is also less pressure from the javascript of the browser which makes the page display much faster.

A fast theme essentially has a fast rendering speed. Shopify, as one of the fastest e-commerce platforms, also offers hosting services with good infrastructure that contributes to the speed of your online store. That is why the fastest Shopify themes are quick to download and render very fast.

Turbo

Turbo's landing page

We can’t mention Flex without mentioning Turbo, its more affordable counterpart. Turbo is another super popular theme choice created by the award-winning team of developers called Out of the Sandbox.

Why is it so popular, you might ask? Well, the name of the theme says it all! Turbo offers amazing speed and performance power for your Shopify online store. As feature-packed as it is, this theme is perfect for online stores of all sizes. If you have a shop with a huge inventory, you will feel the benefits of the super-fast loading speed and caching functionality that will dramatically improve your user experience.

Sport and Ludicrous Speed Modes

How about a Shopify theme that comes in two-speed modes? Well, Turbo is built and optimized for speed, but when it comes to the performance setting, it enables you to choose between two options: Sport and Ludicrous.

In Ludicrous mode, the page preloading uses advanced methods to attempt to predict the next page the user visits and starts loading that page in the background. However, certain third-party apps might crash with this mode, which is why you can also choose Sport. This mode offers all the performance capabilities of the Turbo Shopify theme, without the preloading page technology but with seamless integration with third-party apps.

Features

Turbo comes in six urban and beautiful designs named by some extraordinary cities like Portland, Florence, Dubai, Seoul, Tennessee, and Chicago. These designs are packed with useful features that can be operated with intuition and simplicity, leaving you to showcase your creative and selling capabilities.

  • Product sliders
  • Mega menus
  • Interactive mini cart
  • Infinite scrolling,
  • Customizable page templates
  • Predictive (live) search
  • Custom contact form
  • Quick shop options
  • Support for Shopify’s new Product Media

Verdict

How can you not enjoy something that’s created by the award-winning team at Out of the Sandbox? When it comes to fast and reliable Shopify themes for your online shop, this team knows their craft. Turbo loads pages very fast and is the perfect theme for a shop that has a lot of products to sell. It comes in two speeds, its functionalities are excellent, and the features are top of the class. We say YEY to Turbo! Go ahead, try it and see for yourself!

Click here to visit site for Turbo Theme

The Fastest Shopify Theme in 2020 9


Flex

The Fastest Shopify Theme in 2020 10

Flex is a game-changing theme for Shopify that’s beautifully designed and gives you ultimate control with its many features. You can configure it in several ways given that Flex has multiple layouts, excellent control of settings, and easy addition of custom CSS, which enables you to configure this theme in several ways. How about that for theme flexibility! No wonder that this fast Shopify theme is called Flex!

Flex helps digital agencies and developers showcase their creativity and realize their ability to create something that their clients will appreciate. It also helps those with no coding experience to create the online store of their dreams. Flex is suitable even for merchants with small businesses who want to display their products online and continue to grow their brand.

Flex offers 13 template styles suitable for every industry. You can showcase the beauty of your products no matter the industry you’re in – fashion, food, cosmetics, technology, oils, plants, etc.

Features

Flex is packed with features that give you more control over your online store.

  • Multiple Layout Options.

You can customize this theme to your heart’s content and let your creativity shine.

  • Advanced CSS.

With Flex, you will be able to add CSS to sections directly within the theme editor. You can also apply styles to elements within a section without even having to go on another page.

  • Icons + Elements.

How about adding visuals throughout your website with the beautifully designed varieties of icons? You can add these icons to different elements including the announcement bar, featured promotions, texts, and columns.

Flex offers additional features for extra flexibility and control. Here are just some of them.

  • Four header and footer styles
  • Three product page layouts
  • Mega Menus and dropdowns
  • Control over margins
  • Width settings
  • Background gradients
  • Button styles
  • Testimonials
  • Text columns
  • Sticky bottom bar

Verdict

If what you’re looking for in a Shopify theme is flexibility and design options in addition to speed, Flex is the theme for you. As you can see, it’s packed with multiple features that offer great functionality and it’s made by Turbo’s creative developer team who takes into account their users’ suggestions. On top of everything, this top-notch e-commerce theme offers excellent 24/7 customer support, which is why we highly recommend it!

Click here to visit site for Flex Theme

The Fastest Shopify Theme in 2020 11


Shoptimized

How about a theme that focuses on optimizing conversion rates and engagement?

Shoptimized embraces the well-known marketing principles of influence and persuasion by allowing you to provide social proof for your products by showcasing your best customer reviews and positive customer experiences.

You can also create urgency by showcasing scarcity of the stock and including a countdown timer for your discounts. Moreover, you can showcase your achievements like awards, certificates, number of Facebook followers, likes, and more.

The Shoptimized theme uses the best practices for optimizing conversion rates. This theme has extraordinary checkout, homepage, search, and product lists, and is optimized for mobile devices, making it user-friendly and extremely functional. Anybody, no matter the industry they’re a part of or the size of their company can switch to Shoptimized and enjoy the benefits this theme offers.

Features

Most of the features that Shoptimized offers are intended to boost your conversation rates.

  • Create urgency with countdown timer
  • Display scarcity of remaining stock
  • GEO-IP recognition, recognize which country the customer is visiting from
  • Currency switcher
  • Get-it-By timer, providing estimation delivery to customers
  • Email Pop-Up
  • Marketing integration with third-party apps
  • Risk-reversal
  • Value proposition
  • Video embedding
  • Personalized products
  • Conversion-optimized header area
  • Cross-sell pop-up

Verdict

If you have an online store and you want to boost your conversation rates, this fairly priced theme is the right option for you. Shoptimized uses advanced marketing techniques, so it’s great if you want an increase in your conversion engagement and some extra help with your marketing.

Click here to visit Shoptimized.net

The Fastest Shopify Theme in 2020 12


Booster

Booster is yet another lightning-fast and conversion-boosting theme. Even though it’s newer and not as popular as the previous three, it has a lot to offer. Booster has a clean design and user-friendly tools that will help you not only increase sales and boost the speed of your store, but also save money on purchasing apps or investing in more expensive Spotify themes.

This theme is translated into 10 languages, so if you want to sell in Spanish, German, Japanese, Portuguese, etc, they got you covered. The excellent 24/7 customer support is another one of Booster’s perks.

This theme is easy to set up, you don’t need any coding experience, and you can install it in a matter of minutes. When you purchase a license for Booster, you will get all the necessary updates and support for a year. After that year expires, you can keep on using Booster forever, however, you will not have the privilege to get the newest updates and enjoy their functionality unless you extend your license.

Features

  • Social proof sales
  • Upsell and cross-sell functions
  • Once you buy a license the theme is yours
  • Megamenu functionality
  • GEO IP currency converter
  • Available in 10 languages
  • Conversion-optimized card and checkout
  • Related products function for CRO
  • Pop-ups

Verdict

This theme has excellent functionalities and saves you money on purchasing third-party ecommerce CRO apps. You can find several available demo sites on their homepage that will allow you to feel the opportunities that Booster provides.

Being fast is not their only attribute. Booster offers conversion optimization functionalities that are crucial for every online store, which makes it a winner in our eyes.

Click here to visit site for Booster Theme

The Fastest Shopify Theme in 2020 13


Shella

How about a multipurpose Shopify theme that’s fast, fresh, dynamically developed, and has a solid price? We introduce Shella!

Even though this is another theme that’s suitable for various industries, because of its elegant and minimal design, it’s usually more popular in the fashion industry, which is why it’s used by online stores that sell shoes, accessories, cosmetics, and clothes. Shella is a flexible theme that offers 11 skins and 5 styles for your product page. It’s translated into 6 languages and has a variety of features that’ll help you optimize your site and increase your sales.

Features

Shella offers more features than your average ecommerce theme. All these features are essential for boosting your sales and improving your customer experience.

  • Mega menu builder
  • Builder section for homepage
  • True filter
  • Dynamic checkout buttons
  • Headers and footers
  • Infinite scroll on collection page
  • AJAX shop, AJAX search
  • Size guide pop-up and page
  • Popups for newsletters, coupons, promo, cookies policy, and purchase notification
  • Option for subscription
  • Custom product tabs
  • Quick view and wishlist
  • Revolutionary slides
  • SEO-optimized
  • Mobile-optimized

Layouts and Product Display

The extraordinary features for layouts and product display are where this theme goes the extra mile. Shella gives you the option for full-screen sliders and video players where you can showcase your products. The varieties of templates that Shella offers will enable you to display and customize the individual product pages but also the product category pages.

RTL Support

When it comes to language support, Shella supports Arabic, Hebrew Persian, and Urdu, enabling you to sell worldwide.

Verdict

Shella is a great Shopify theme that will leave your customers satisfied and coming back for more. Maybe it’s not the fastest theme on the list, but what Shella lacks in speed, it makes up for in extra features, functionality, and optimization. Using Shella will not just increase your customer satisfaction, but it will also improve your search engine optimization, which is a big plus for us.

Click here to visit site for Shella Theme

The Fastest Shopify Theme in 2020 14


Plak

Another feature-packed theme that’s considered one of the fastest Shopify themes with excellent functionality is PLAK.

This Shopify theme offers three premium functionalities that make it stand out among their competitors – SEO-friendliness, site speed, and sales booster. PLAK claims that with their 3-in-1 package, you don’t have to spend extra on advertising since the theme is optimized to bring you organic traffic.

Like most of the premium Shopify themes, PLAK is optimized for mobile devices. The navigation and transition from one page to another are flawless and leave a great impression on the people visiting your website via smartphone or a tablet. The team that developed PLAK is aware that site speed is the new competitive battleground, so they have created a theme that loads pages super-fast, leading to improved user experience.

Features

Plak offers several exclusive features that will make your online store better than ever.

  • Blurry coupon code
  • Dynamic free shipping bar
  • Product upsell
  • Availability in four languages
  • Free lifetime support and updates
  • 2 slideshows (2 sections, 3 sections)
  • Product labels with animation
  • Related products on product page
  • Size chart
  • Quickview
  • Delivery estimator
  • Mega menu
  • Currency converter

Verdict

At first, PLAK might seem like a Shopify theme that offers nothing more than its competitors, but even if that’s true (which it isn’t), it doesn’t reduce the value that this Shopify theme can bring to your online business.

PLAK is a super-fast, SEO-friendly theme, period. What is there not to like?

Click here to visit site for Plak Theme

The Fastest Shopify Theme in 2020 15


Fastor

It’s always a pleasure to recommend the best selling Shopify theme for 2019! Fastor is still a cutting edge theme with super fast loading times and features that will satisfy even the most demanding entrepreneurs.

It’s suitable for every industry, which is why it’s used by plenty of different businesses. This theme has 86 pre-made demos for you to use, 11 product page layouts, a growing number of available skins, and a supporting team that’s always ready to answer your questions.

Features

Whether you choose some of the general or more specific features Fastor offers, we promise that you will have the most wonderful experience.

  • Design

Unlimited colors, fonts, pre-made skins, hover effect, etc.

  • Layout

Spacing between columns, custom layout width, responsiveness, layout type on each element

  • Category

Sale, new badges, product number per row, product images, quick view, display elements on hover, default view.

  • Product page

Auto-updated prices, image zoom, image size, image position, product social share, previous/next product.

  • Header

Quick search auto-suggest, various header types, advanced headers, vertical Mega menu.

  • Custom Footer

Contact, about us, Facebook, Instagram, custom tab.

  • Custom blocks

Contact page, product page.

  • Widgets
  • Age verification
  • Facebook chat
  • Multiple currencies

Full Oberlo Compatibility

With Fastor, you can import hundreds of products to your store in minutes. Oberlo will help you find products, add them to your store, or ship them directly to your customers. This dropshipping option gives you extra options for increased revenue.

Best Marketing Automation Platform for E-commerce Business

Fastor enables the user to display countdown cards to increase the number of orders, display a cookie notification bar, integrate Google translate, add a favicon with the number of card items in realtime, and much more.

Clean Design and Speed Optimized Code

Fastor has a compressed code that’s specifically designed to make your site load in seconds. That is why Fastor is considered one of the fastest Shopify themes on the market nowadays.

Verdict

What can you say about a versatile theme, that has a super-fast loading speed and features that make your head spin? We say yes! Go ahead and try it! This compact Shopify theme will give your customers great user experience, so get ready for a boost in sales and conversation rates.

Click here to visit site for Fastor Theme

The Fastest Shopify Theme in 2020 16


Debutify

Debutify is one of the best Shopify themes that you can get for free. The free version comes with several basic features that are enough for a beginner to set up an online store and enter the online market. You get an easy-to-use dashboard, default layout design that’s easy to navigate and edit, and the possibility to change colors and make your online store aligned with the colors of your brand.

This Shopify theme is suitable for all industries and optimized for mobile devices. You’ll get a clean design that’ll give you the opportunity to showcase your products to their best advantage.

Features

The Premium plan of Debutify comes with the following features and add-ons.

  • Add-to-cart animation
  • Cart countdown
  • Cart discount
  • Cart goal
  • Chat box
  • Collection add to cart
  • Colour swatches
  • Cookie box
  • Delivery time
  • Discount saved
  • Inventory quantity
  • Linked options
  • Live view
  • Mega menu
  • Product tabs
  • Quick view
  • Sales countdown

Verdict

Are you a newbie in the e-commerce world? Then this theme is definitely for you! Debutify will show you how it’s like to run an online store, and if you are willing to continue, it will provide you with the premium features that come with the premium plans. But Debutify is not only suitable for beginners. This theme is powerful enough to satisfy everyone’s needs, especially with its premium plans.

Debutify is optimized for dropshipping, print on demand, and brand stores. It’s easy to install and only requires your Shopify URL. If you are in the market for something free, easy to use, and functional, we recommend you try Debutify.

Click here to visit Debutify.com

The Fastest Shopify Theme in 2020 17


Final Words

Choosing the fastest Shopify theme can get a bit confusing, but hopefully, we managed to make it easier for you and shorten your searching time.

All the Shopify themes that we have reviewed are super-fast and provide valuable features, functionalities, and the optimization options essential for setting up and managing a successful online store. The most suitable theme for you will, of course, depend on your unique needs, but no matter which one you decide to go for, you won’t be disappointed.


Frequently Asked Questions

What else is important when it comes to site speed?

Theme speed is pretty important when it comes to improving the overall site speed, but of course, it’s not the only factor. Other important factors in this equation are: 

  • Hosting provider (hosting quality);
  • Hosting location;
  • The use of CDN (Content Delivery Network);
  • The overall size of the page – page weight in MB.

How do I test my site speed?

You can try our free speed testing tool SiteSpeedBot.com. Once you put your site in there, it will give you a more detailed overview of what you need to improve and provide you with advice on how to make your site load faster. 

Does theme speed impact SEO?

The answer is a definitive yes. Site speed is considered a ranking factor for SEO and the theme speed has a big impact on the site speed. 

In our years of experience optimizing sites for speed, we’ve come to the conclusion that the size of each page in megabytes (or the page weight) is a key factor here. So, a site that has a lot of pages, especially ones that go over the 3-5mb limit, will most likely not rank well. 

Some of the techniques you can implement for making your pages weigh less are: 

  • Image optimization;
  • Use of lazy loading;
  • Use of next gen webp file formats.

3 Cloudflare Rules to Improve WordPress Site Speed & Security

3 Cloudflare Rules to Improve WordPress Site Speed & Security 11

We’re massive fans of Cloudflare and deploy it as part of our speed optimization services.

Cloudflare has an amazing range of features and options and a lot of the features go unused or under leveraged. In this post we’ll share three Cloudflare that will both help improve the security or your WordPress site and at the same time also reduce the load on your site and help speed it up.

These are really easy to setup and if you’re moderately tech savvy will take you maybe 10-15 minutes. Click the images to enlarge.

How to add Cloudflare Firewall rules

Firewall rules can be added under the Firewall menu->Firewall Rules tab in Cloudflare. The free plan gives you up to 5 rules so these can be added at no cost.

Once you add a rule it takes effect almost immediately.

How to add Cloudflare Firewall rules
Add rules under Firewall->Firewall Rules (click to enlarge)

1. Block access to XMLRPC.php

This is an older WordPress API interface that is very rarely used but is a vector for many attacks.

Hammering this file with requests can very quickly chew up a lot of CPU cycles and on a shared host or host with low CPU or resources available it may start throwing 502 and 504 errors.

Block XMLRPC using Cloudflare
Blocking the XMLRPC interface in Cloudflare can significantly reduce CPU load particularly on slower hosts or shared hosting (click to enlarge)

2. Block SEO Bots & Crawlers

With this rule we block traffic from Ahrefs, Semrush and Opensite explorer (SEO Moz bot) SEO bots.

These are extremely aggressive crawlers and particularly on Woocommerce they’ll rapidly add and remove things from the cart multiple times per second again chewing a lot of CPU resources.

In addition, allowing them to crawl the site will also divulge some SEO information that competitors using these SEO tools may find useful.

Block SEO bots and crawlers using Cloudflare
SEO crawlers can be super aggressive and also divulge information about your site you probably don’t want to share with competitors. This blocks the three most aggressive bots we see. (click to enlarge)

3. Show a captcha message on the WordPress logon page

The typical WordPress site we see can get anywhere from 1000-10000 brute force logon attempts a day.

Adding a rule to show a captcha message to visitors hitting this page OR visitors hitting this page outside the home country of the site can dramatically reduce brute force password attempts and reduce a lot of load on the hosting.

3 Cloudflare Rules to Improve WordPress Site Speed & Security 12
The WordPress logon page attracts a huge number of brute force password attempts, showing a captcha message before visitors can see this page will filter 99.99% of brute force attempts (click to enlarge)

Related Posts & Resources

SiteSpeedBot Website Speed Test Tool

The Best WordPress Hosting for Speed

The Fastest Woocommerce Themes

Low Score in Google PageSpeed Insights or Lighthouse Mobile Test?

We get emails every day from website owners telling us their site is fast but slow on mobile. Nine time out of ten they’ve tested their site on Google PageSpeed Insights (PSI) and the mobile score is low.

Long story short, a low PageSpeed Score in mobile does not mean your site is slow on a mobile device. Pagespeed Insights is not real speed test – it’s a technical checklist test. There are some important things to understand and keep in mind when it comes to Mobile Pagespeed Score we’ve explained below.

If you’re into tech stuff, there’s a great discussion on Github here about the credibility of Lighthouse/PSI mobile score.

If you’re working on your site speed make sure you give our speed test tool a try at https://app.wpspeedfix.com – we’ve built it specifically to address important optimization opportunities such as DNS hosting speed, HTTP2 protocol, HTTP2 push support and hosting provider quality that other site speed tests completely ignore.

1. They’re testing your site on a speed limited, CPU limited connection

Mobile PageSpeed simulates at 1.6mb/second connection – that is REALLY slow in modern internet speed terms. A moderately sized page of say 1.5-2mb is going to score low on this test simply because of the amount of time that data takes to download.

The CPU limiting they do also causes sites that have even moderate amounts of javascript to be marked down heavily. The modern web runs on javascript and many WordPress themes require a javascript library called Jquery in order to render which means they automatically score lower.

They of course don’t tell you this anywhere on the report itself, it’s hidden deep in the technical documents.

This video walks you through how to emulate a mid tier mobile device in Google Chrome to give you a better feel for how PSI is seeing your site:

2. Pagespeed Insights Isn’t a Speed Test, It’s a Technical Checklist

Pagespeed Insights is more concerned with measuring your site against a technical checklist that correlates with speed rather that the raw speed of the site itself.

The latest version of Pagespeed Insights does take into account some speed elements but it’s still largely concerned with checking boxes.

3. Geography & Location Is Ignored

PSI completely ignores geography and doesn’t take into account where your visitors are located and where your hosting is. This means it’s speed test is not necessarily true to real world. If your hosting is in Australia and your customers are in Australia but the speed test elements of PSI are performed from the US then it’s not a true to life test.

4. Website Speed Is Not Just Your Homepage

This is something 99.9% of webmasters running speed tests completely miss – website speed is not just your homepage. Every page on your site is important when it comes to speed and testing the homepage is useful but is a bit of a 1 dimensional approach, you should probably be looking at all pages.

5. High PageSpeed Score Will Likely Not Improve Your SEO

There’s a misconception that a high PageSpeed Score means that the Google Gods will gift magical SEO rankings. This is not the case – for starters, see the previous point.

Second to that, achieving a 100 score especially on a WordPress site is extremely difficult unless you break the render of the site OR switch to a theme that does not use Jquery – this article talks through the Fastest WordPress Themes in more detail.

We’ve seen SEO consultants and webmasters spend days obsessing over Pagespeed score in the hope it will boost SEO. Your time would be better spend on other SEO tasks like optimizing your meta descriptions for CTR or optimizing your open graph tags to boost social CTR.

6. The Score Varies Wildly From Test to Test

Run multiple tests and you’ll see the score varies wildly often by 20-30 points. That’s partly a function of geography but these inconsistencies make it difficult to trust the tool.

How To Fix Slow Bluehost

Fix Slow Wordpress

Before we started, a few important points to note about Bluehost:

Let’s be honest – they’re not a great quality web host (just like the other hosts owned by the EIG company that Bluehost is part of). They’re actually a low to mid-range host. EIG, their parent company, is actually quite known for its cheap but poor quality, slow hosting.

Now, yes you can get a Bluehost site running at fairly good speed by following the steps below if your website is relatively simple and doesn’t get that much traffic. If however, you’re trying to get your site running as fast as possible then Bluehost is not the provider that will make that happen, you really need to be on a better quality host.

The good news is that moving to a WP host with a better quality won’t actually cost you much more than what you’re already paying (Siteground, for example, starts from $4.95/month, while a dedicated Cloudways server starts from $10/month), both are lightning fast and will make an immediate difference to your overall load times.

That being said, you can check out our article on the fastest WordPress hosting, where you can also find the full list of high performance WordPress hosts. The great thing is that most of the hosts on it will also migrate your website for free.

What’s a Typical Bluehost Reaction When You Complain About Slow Site Speed?

One other thing before we begin with the steps on how to fix slow Bluehost: we want you to know that there’s a pretty standard process that Bluehost is going to run you through once you log a ticket asking for help or complaining about your site’s speed.

Most of the time they’ll tell you that your site is experiencing too much traffic, is too busy or needs a bigger server. This will also most likely bring you to an offer for a higher plan or a dedicated server.

And while, yes, it may be at least partially true that the site is lacking resources, most cheap hosts such as this one should, nevertheless, be able to handle between a minimum of 1000-2000 visits a day without much effort. And when it comes to getting a higher plan, being on Bluehost will still remain a big problem.

This is because the business model they rely on is built around scale – stacking up as many sites on a server as they can, and consequently running the servers to their limit. This just means that their goal is not really to be the fastest host there is, and getting a higher plan doesn’t actually mean that much – look at it as a “premium” product in a thrift shop.

1. Testing Your Site’s Speed

This is probably the number one thing you need to do before we get started with the actual steps – doing some speed testing on your website will give us a proper benchmark to use as a starting point for the improvements we’re trying to make, as well as to make sure we’re going in the right direction.

Our speed test tool of our choice used to be Pingdom but it does have a lot of gaps so we built our own! If you head to apps.wpspeedfix.com you’ll be able to access our own speed test tool that will give detailed recommendations of where your site is slow and how you can speed it up.

Now, the perfect loading time of your site would ideally be under 1 second, in the country where your site is being hosted. This mark is the tipping point for that instant feel that you want the website loading to produce.

Whether you not you can achieve this really depends on how the site is built as well as the host itself. On a good quality host, we can easily get the site’s core loading in 600-800ms – if, however, you happen to have lots of third party tools  installed, like Facebook Ad Pixel, Activecampaign or some other CRM tracking software, Hotjar or Visual Web Optimizer, getting under that 1 second mark will be a lot harder.

Generally, 1.5 seconds is considered as fairly achievable and we do consider this an acceptable speed.

Other speed test tools:

You can find a number of speed testing tools out there. Two popular ones, besides Pingdom, are GTMetrix.com and Google Pagespeed Insights.

Remember to always do at least a couple of speed tests so you can get an average, and also save them as screenshots so you can refer to them later.

2. Caching is a Must!

You won’t be able to get much from WordPress without caching.

Caching prebuilds each page on your website, making it ready for the next visitor that hits your site. Without caching, with each new visitor the server is going to have to execute PHP code, then do MySQL database lookups, and execute some more PHP code, as well as generate an HTML file to send to the visitor.

But if you have a good caching plugin, that HTML file is already prebuilt and ready to be sent to the visitor.

On the subject of plugins, there are only one or two options for caching:

WP Rocket – this is a good plugin for the less tech-savvy WordPress users or the ones that are more DIY oriented. It’s an easy to use plugin and it will definitely give you a superb performance boost. And even though it’s a paid plugin, it’s really cheap, and the easiest one to use that’s currently on the market. So if you don’t have caching now and are experiencing 5+ second website loading times, getting this plugin will immediately cut back on your loading time by at least a couple of seconds.

W3 Total Cache – this one is a free plugin and the fastest one out there. But, it’s definitely more technical and not as easy to configure, so and not ideal for DIY-ers. If you, however, opt for this one, use only the Browser and Page Caching – the database and object caching are not for use on Bluehost.

Hosts like Siteground, Cloudways, and WPEngine have their own caching built-in – and that’s part of the reason why they’re such fast hosts.

IMPORTANT: Make sure never to install two caching plugins at the same time, because they’ll conflict. If your tech skills and WordPress experience are simply not there yet, opt for the WP Rocket plugin. 

WPRocket WordPress Caching

3. Use Cloudflare and/or a CDN

Cloudflare.com is a CDN, aka a content delivery network, and it’s something that will instantly speed up your website, especially when it comes to international visitors.

CDN is a network of servers that deliver the static assets from your website (image files, javascript and CSS files) to the visitors of your website, and it relieves your hosting server from the task of doing it.

Cloudflare has a network of more than 150 worldwide locations, making it one of the biggest and fastest CDNs.

Having a CDN in place will allow the visitors that are not from your hosting country (like a visitor from Australia, for example, visiting a site hosted in the US) to have a faster loading experience, because a large number of the files are actually loading from the Australian local Cloudflare servers, rather than the ones in the US.

In most cases the free Cloudflare plan will be enough; but, the $20/month plan allows more advanced image optimization and firewalling. However, if you’re considering this option, we recommend that you move to a better hosting provider first!

If you’re looking for a CDN solution that’s more comprehensive, you can check out KeyCDN, it’s worth a look.

4. Do Image Compression

Most of your website images can be compressed enough so that they don’t lose quality. A lot of the time they end up 20-50% smaller and this definitely makes a big difference when it comes to loading speed, especially for slow connections.

One plugin that you can use for this is Shortpixel – they’ve got some advanced image optimization features that most plugins out there don’t have.

They also have a FREE plan available, and a tool that will analyze your website and tell you how many images you can compress, as well as how much space you’ll save in the process.

Wordpress Image Optimization Compression Test Tool

5. Switch to HTTPS for HTTP2 Protocol support

Since the entire web is moving to HTTPS type encryption (also, Google has publicly stated that encrypted sites will rank higher than HTTP non-encrypted ones), it would be a good idea to switch your site to HTTPS (encrypted mode).

HTTPS also enables the web browser software to use faster and newer protocol (this is the HTTP2 protocol), in order to download assets from your website.

You can check out the short video below comparing HTTP 1.1 to HTTP v2:

The server that you’re on at Bluehost will need to support the newer protocol (and older plans sometimes can’t). But, if you enable Cloudflare, it will, in turn, enable this kind of support, because it’s HTTP2 compatible.

6. Use PHP7 Instead of PHP 5.6 or Older (and Notice a 30%+ Increase in Speed!)

PHP is the underlying programming language of WordPress and it comes in several versions. Usually, you’ll see version 5.6 (or lower) and versions 7.0, 7.1 and 7.2

Version 7.0 is around 30% faster than v5.6, and most sites that were built in the last 2 years will easily support it.

Version 7.1 and 7.2 will be another 10%+ faster, on top of the 7.0 version; so, if your site is compatible with the newest v7.2, we recommend that you most certainly switch to that one.

NOTE: Before making the actual switch, make sure you do a compatibility test. A free plugin by WPEngine (works on all web hosts) will test all your plugins and also your theme to confirm whether your site is compatible with PHP 7 or 7.1/7.2.

The video you see below is a good guide through on where to find the PHP settings in Bluehost:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BBBwdG3Htno

7. Disable the Plugins You’re Not Using

This is a pretty straightforward one. A lot of sites contain plugins that they don’t use anymore, and this actually contributes to the slow loading times of the site. That’s why it’s so important to run as few plugins as possible.

Just go through each of the installed plugins and disable each one of them you’re not using.

8. More Advanced Troubleshooting

This audio will talk you through some of the finer points of the article you’re reading in more detail – click play to listen:

A couple of more advanced troubleshooting ideas to consider:

  • Make sure you update all plugins to the latest version – we often see sites running plugins several years old and no longer compatible with the WordPress version that the site is running. By updating all plugins to the latest version often fixes bugs that are making the site go slower.
  • Query Monitor plugin https://wordpress.org/plugins/query-monitor/a plugin that will allow you a glance into each page load and tell you what’s going on. It’ll often help with uncovering broken plugins or code which can be responsible for slowing down your site.
  • WP Optimizehttps://wordpress.org/plugins/wp-optimize/ – you can use this plugin to optimize your database queries.

Other Resources:

How To Fix Slow Godaddy

Fix Slow Wordpress

Important Notes on Godaddy Hosting

Before we begin with this step-to-step guide on how to fix slow Godaddy, we’d like to say a few words about this host provider.

Godaddy is pretty much everywhere and a very popular choice for website novices BUT Godaddy is actually not that good of a web hosting provider in terms of quality. When it comes to its position on the market, you could say it’s somewhere between a low and a mid-range quality provider.

This being said, it’s still possible to get a Godaddy website running relatively fast using the steps below so long as you don’t have huge traffic or processing requirements.

If your goal is to get the site running as fast as humanly possible you probably want to look at a different provider.

Often a better quality web host will cost you just a little bit more than what you’re already paying with Godaddy (hosting providers such as Siteground start from $4.95/month, and ones as devoted as Cloudways start from $10/month) – and you get to see an immediate difference. You’ll see how your website’s loading speed improves in a flash.  

We already have a separate article on the fastest WordPress hosting services – you can check it out here; it also has a complete list of the highest performing WordPress hosts.

(BONUS: most of the hosts on the list will also allow you to move to their hosting service for FREE)

What to Expect When You Complain about Speed to Godaddy

A few more things you should know before we begin with the actual steps on how to fix slow

Godaddy.

When you reach Godaddy customer support and complain about slow website speed, you can expect they’ll tell you how the problem lies in your website traffic and that it requires more resources. Next thing you know, you’re told to sign up for a higher plan or a dedicated server.

The thing with Godaddy and similar web hosts is that they have a business model that relies on scale – their value proposition is based on low-price versus high performance. What this means is that they cram too many sites (as many as they can, in fact) on a server and then run the servers to a breaking point (this goes even for the ones on the higher tiers).

Being one of the fastest hosts is definitely not their top priority. And that’s why upgrading to a higher (and more expensive) plan is also problematic; because you’re still on a host that doesn’t prioritize speed or performance – it’s like the premium option at the 2 dollar store, it’s premium but it’s still the 2 dollar store!

1. Start by Speed Testing Your Site

It’s very important that you start by doing a speed test so you can determine the reference point by which you’ll guide yourself through to your site improvements. For this, we used to recommend tools.pingdom.com but we’ve recently built our own speed test tool that will provide much more detailed and specific recommendations – take a look at app.wpspeedfix.com

Now, when it comes to loading speed, ideally you should aim for under 1 second in the country that’s hosting your site – under 1 second is this magical cutoff where the site load begins to feel instant.

But, this depends on several factors – one of them is what you have running on your site and the quality of the hosting provider, as well as what number of third-party tools you’ve installed.

With higher quality, faster host, we could easily get the site’s core to load in 600-800ms. If, however, you’ve installed, the Facebook Ad Pixel, Hubspot, Activecampaign or other kinds of CRM tracking software like Visual Web Optimizer, Luckyorange or Hotjar, it’s going to get much tougher to make the site load in under 1 second.

A realistic speed is somewhere around 1.5 seconds – most sites with a good quality hosting, even ones that have tons of tracking code and marketing, should be able to reach that mark in the country that’s hosting them.

Other Speed Testing Tools You Can Try:

There are lots of speed testing tools on the internet – two popular ones that you may want to check out are GTMetrix.com and Google Pagespeed Insights.

Our recommendation is that you do several speed tests on your site – this way you can get an average time because very often speed varies from test to test. Don’t forget to save screenshots for future reference.

2. Caching is a MUST DO!

Without caching you won’t get much out of WordPress.

Caching prebuilds each page on your website, making it ready for a new visitor hit. Without it, each time a visitor hits the site, the server will have to be bothered to execute PHP code, do MySQL database lookups, and then execute some more PHP code, so in the end it can generate an HTML file and send it to the visitor of the site.

If, however, you get a good caching plugin, the HTML file will be already prebuilt and ready to be sent to the visitor, which means it will also save you lots of loading time.

Basically, there are either one or two options when considering caching:

WP Rocket – a caching plugin that’s more suitable for the DIY types, or people that aren’t that knowledgable about technical requirements. One of the easiest caching plugins, it will give your website a great performance boost – and, it’s super cheap! Just try it yourself and see the immediate difference – by installing it, you’ll notice a drop in loading time of at least a couple of seconds.

W3 Total Cache – this one is a free plugin, which is also the fastest one there is. But, unlike WP Rocket, it’s more on the technical side and rather demanding when it comes to configuration. (NOTE: If you choose this one, use only the Page and Browser Caching. The object and database caching are not for use on Godaddy.)

Some of the better quality hosts, like WPEngine, Siteground, and Cloudways have their own caching plugin or have one that’s built-in. This also makes up one of the reasons why they’re considered such good and fast hosting providers. These companies have strong engineering teams that are able to build out caching features that smoke their plugin equivalents.

NOTE: Never try to install two caching plugins, they will certainly conflict. For those who don’t have much WordPress experience or more developed technical skills, we recommend you get the WP Rocket plugin.

WPRocket WordPress Caching

3. Use CDN and/or Cloudflare

CDN is an abbreviation for Content Delivery Network – this is basically a network of servers that help deliver the static assets from your website to its visitors (such as CSS files and javascript, as well as image files); by doing this, it relieves the hosting server from doing it.

Cloudflare.com is such a content delivery network (CDN) and will help your website become faster, particularly for visitors outside its hosting zone. Cloudflare’s network spreads over more than 150 locations throughout the world, making it one of the fastest and biggest CDN’s out there.

The CDN will allow site visitors from another country (like, for example, an Australian visitor hitting up a site hosted in the US) to experience a faster loading time because a lot of the files are being loaded from local Australian servers, rather than ones located in the US.

We recommend getting the free Cloudflare plan for most users. But, if you’d like more advanced image optimization, as well as firewalling, you can also get the 20$/month plan. Just remember, if you get this plan, also consider moving to a better hosting provider.

For a more comprehensive CDN option, check out KeyCDN.

4. Utilize Image Compression

Compressing the images on your website is also very helpful when it comes to improving website loading time. You’ll find that most of the images can be compressed without losing any of its quality. Often, they get 20-50% smaller, which has proved to make a great difference when it comes to loading speed, particularly for slower connections.

Shortpixel is a plugin we’d recommend for this – it has features for advanced image optimization that a lot of other plugins out there don’t. Plus, they have a FREE plan, and also a tool (which you can find on their website) that will analyze your site and let you know how many of your images are compressible, and also how much space you’ll manage to save in the process. 

Wordpress Image Optimization Compression Test Tool

 

5. Switch to HTTPS for HTTP2 Protocol support

Another great trick you can use is switching your website to encrypted mode, aka HTTPS. The whole web is actually moving to HTTPS encryption, and Google has even publicly stated that encrypted sites will rank higher than ones that are not HTTP encrypted.

HTTPS also enables the web browser software to utilize newer and faster protocol (HTTP2 protocol), in order to download files from your hosting much faster.

Remember that the Godaddy server your website is being hosted on will have to support newer protocol (and often older plans aren’t able to do this). But, if you enable Cloudflare, it will also enable the support for newer protocol, because Cloudflare has a built-in http2 functionality.

For speed comparison between HTTP 1.1 and HTTP v2, you can check out the short video below.

6. Use PHP7 and You’ll See a 30% Speed Increase!

PHP is the programming language WordPress runs on, and it comes in several versions. Most likely you’ll see version 5.6 (or a lower one), and also versions 7.0, 7.1 and 7.2.

PHP 7.0 is about 30% faster than v5.6, so if your site is rather new, it shouldn’t be a problem for you to make the switch.

Version 7.1, 7.2 and 7.3 are all cumulatively faster and will cause a 10-15% speed increase over version 7.0; ideally, you should opt for running the highest version your site is able to support.

NOTE: Before you make the switch, do a compatibility test. WPEngine provides a free plugin for this and it works on all web hosts. It will test your theme, as well as all your plugins so it can confirm that your site is compatible with PHP 7 or 7.1/7.2/7.3

The video below demonstrates how to change the PHP version in Godaddy:

7. Disable the Plugins You’re Not Using

A lot of sites (actually, most of them) contain lots of plugins that they don’t use anymore. The problem with this is that once the plugins are enabled, they make the site go slower. This is why you should make sure you run the plugins you really need, leaving as few as possible.

Go through the plugins you’ve got installed and check if each of them is still in use – the ones that aren’t, well, don’t think twice to disable them.

8. Advanced Troubleshooting

In the end, we’d like to share a few more advanced troubleshooting ideas:

  • Update plugins to latest version – we often see sites that run years-old plugins, which aren’t compatible anymore with the version of WordPress that the site is running. By updating you’ll also most likely fix bugs that are slowing down the site.
  • Query Monitor pluginhttps://wordpress.org/plugins/query-monitor/ – a plugin which will give you a glance into each page load and tell you what’s going on. Perfect for uncovering broken code or plugins that are making the site slower.
  • WP Optimizehttps://wordpress.org/plugins/wp-optimize/ – a plugin that will help you optimize your database queries. 

Other Resources:

How to Fix Slow Hostgator

Fix Slow Wordpress

IMPORTANT REMARK ABOUT HOSTGATOR:

Before we kick it off with our step-to-step guide on how to fix slow Hostgator websites, we’d like to say a few words about this hosting provider. And we’re gonna be honest here – Hostgator is actually not that great of a hosting provider. Sure, they’re cheap but they’re a low tier hosting provider when it comes to speed, uptime and reliability.

This being said, you certainly can get a Hostgator site to run fast provided your website is simple and you follow the steps outlined below; but, if your goal is to make your site run as fast as it can, that’s not going to be possible with Hostgator, ideally if this is your goal you should look at a better hosting provider.
A higher quality faster host won’t cost you much more than a cheap host like Hostgator – take Siteground  for example, which starts from $4.95/month or a dedicated Cloudways server which starts from $10/month.

Make sure to read our article on the fastest WordPress hosting, where we’ve also included a full list of high performance WordPress hosts. Another great thing about them is that most of the hosts there will also migrate you for free!

Typical Hostgator Response When Complaining About Slow Site Speed

Another thing that’s important to mention before we begin with our guide is what to expect when you call Hostgator customer support and complain about slow loading times.

Most likely they will try upselling you to a dedicated server, after being told that your site needs more server resources. Although this is in part, true, the problem here is that you’re still on Hostgator – their business model is built around being cheap not fast. Their fast option is still slow in comparison to a quality host. They’ve got a business model which requires them to stack up as many sites as possible on a single server and then running that server to its limits.

1. Speed Test Your Site – How to Do It and What is Considered Fast

Speed testing your site is a very important first step when it comes to improving its speed because it allows you to set a benchmark against which you can measure the changes and improvements you want to make to it.

You can access our own speed test tool here: apps.wpspeedfix.com. It will give you detailed information on where specifically your site is going slow and will also provide detailed, plain English recommendations on how you can improve it.

Ideally, we’re looking for a load time of under 1 second in the country your site is being hosted. This is a tipping point through which you begin to feel the page load as instant.

Speed can vary though, depending on what you’ve got running on the site it may not be possible. On a fast host, yes, we can get the site core to load in 600-800ms, but if you’ve got a large number of marketing tools installed, for example Facebook Ad Pixel, Activecampaign or some other CRM tracking software, Hotjar or Visual Web Optimizer, coming under the 1 second mark becomes increasingly harder.

Broadly speaking most sites even with a bunch of marketing tools installed, 1.5 seconds is achievable mark and is a very acceptable as speed as well.

Other speed test tools:

There are lots of speed testing tools out there. Two popular ones, apart from Pingdom, are GTMetrix.com and Google Pagespeed Insights.

When testing speed it’s worth doing several speed tests to get an average as results can vary from test to test.

2. Use Caching

Without caching WordPress won’t run super fast.

Caching prebuilds each page on your website in advance before the visitor arrives. Without caching, with each new visitor, the server has to execute PHP code, do database lookups, then execute some more PHP code which then generates an HTML file to send to the visitor.

But with a good caching plugin, the HTML file is already prebuilt and ready for sending to the visitor.

When it comes to plugins and caching, there are a ton of options but really two we recommend:

WP Rocket – good plugin if you’re not super tech savvy and DIYing.

This easy to use plugin is really cheap and easy to configure and is pretty much the most popular caching plugin on the market.

W3 Total Cache – a free plugin and super fast BUT it’s very technical and not as easy to configure. If you decide for this plugin, use only the Browser and Page Caching – the database and object caching are not for use on Hostgator.

Hosts like Siteground, Cloudways, and WPEngine caching built-in or their own plugins – which also makes part of the reason why they’re such good and fast hosts.

IMPORTANT: Never install two caching plugins at the same time – they’ll conflict with each other. If your not as tech-savvy and don’t have as much WordPress experience, the best solution is to get the WP Rocket plugin.

WPRocket WordPress Caching

3. Use Cloudflare and/or a CDN

Cloudflare.com is a CDN, a content delivery network, and it’s something that will immediately speed up your website, especially for international visitors.

A CDN is a network of servers that deliver the static assets from your website (image files, javascript and CSS files).

Cloudflare has a network of more than 150 locations throughout the world, making it one of the biggest and fastest CDNs out there.

With a CDN in place, the visitors outside the country where the site is hosted (like someone from Australia visiting a site hosted in the US) will have a faster loading experience because a large portion of the files are actually being loaded from the Australian local Cloudflare servers versus the server located in the US.

Cloudflare has a free plan and in most cases, it will be enough. Their $20/month plan will give you more advanced image optimization and firewalling. If you’re considering this option, however, we recommend that you move to a better hosting provider first!

For a more comprehensive CDN solution can check out KeyCDN.

4. Compress the Website Images

Usually most website images can be compressed without any reduction in file quality. Often, they will end up 20-50% smaller and this is something that makes a huge difference to the site’s loading speed, especially for users on slow connections.

The plugin that we use for this is Shortpixel as it’s fast, lightweight and also does advanced Nextgen image optimization which many other plugins won’t

And, they also got a FREE plan available, as well as a tool that will analyze your website and tell you how many on the images there you can compress, as well as how much space you’ll save in the process.

Wordpress Image Optimization Compression Test Tool

5. Switch to HTTPS for HTTP2 Protocol support

The entire web is moving to HTTPS type encryption (Google has openly stated that site’s which are encrypted will rank higher than non-encrypted ones), which means its to switch your site to HTTPS (encrypted mode) if it’s not already.

HTTPS also enables the web browser software to use faster and newer protocol (the HTTP2 protocol) so it can download assets from your website much faster.

Check out the short video below for a comparison between HTTP 1.1 and HTTP v2:

Note that the server that you’re being hosted on at Hostgator will need to support the newer protocol (older plans sometimes can’t). Enabling Cloudflare, however, will also enable this kind of support, since it’s HTTP2 compatible.

6. Use PHP7 Instead of PHP 5.6 or Older (and You’ll See a 30%+ Speed Increase!)

PHP is the programming language that powers WordPress and it comes in several versions. Usually, you’ll see version 5.6 (or lower) and versions 7.0, 7.1 and 7.2 and 7.3

Version 7.0 is around 30% faster than v5.6, and most sites that were built in the last 2 years will support it without any issues.

Version 7.1 and 7.2 and 7.3 will be another 10%+ faster, on top of the 7.0 version; so, if your site is compatible with the newest v7.3, we definitely recommend that you switch to that one.

NOTE: Before making the switch though, make sure you also do a compatibility test. A free plugin by WPEngine (works on all web hosts) will test all your plugins and your theme to confirm whether your site is compatible with PHP 7 or 7.1/7.2/7.3

The video below can guide you through finding the PHP settings in Hostgator:

7. Disable Any Unnecessary Plugins

Lots of sites have plugins installed that are no longer being used which also contribute to the site’s slow loading times. From a performance perspective, you want as few plugins as possible.

Make sure you go through the plugins you’ve got installed and disable/delete any not actively being used.

8. More Advanced Troubleshooting

A couple of more advanced troubleshooting ideas you can go through:

  • Update all plugins to the latest version – often sites run plugins which are several years old and thus no longer compatible with the WordPress version that the site itself is running. Updating all plugins to the latest version will fix bugs that are slowing down the site.
  • Query Monitor plugin https://wordpress.org/plugins/query-monitor/a plugin that will allow you to take a look into each page load and inform you of what’s going on. It’ll often help to uncover broken plugins or code which can also be responsible for slow loading times of your site.
  • WP Optimizehttps://wordpress.org/plugins/wp-optimize/ – you can use this plugin to optimize your database queries.

Other Resources:

How To Fix Slow WooCommerce

Fix Slow Wordpress

Woocommerce can be rather demanding in terms of performance requirements, particularly when it comes to larger Woo sites which are receiving a lot of orders.

With Woocommerce it’s really important to have a good quality host – shared, cheap hosting simply won’t do the trick.

If you’re having trouble with a slow WooCommerce website the simple process outlined below will definitely help but if hosting is your bottleneck you probably want to address that first.


1. Test the Speed of Your Site

This is an important first step because it allows you to set a performance benchmark for your site right now, which will give you a baseline to work from.


Our speed test tool will give you detailed information on where specifically your site is slow and how you can improve it – it’s totally free, give it a try here: https://www.wpspeedfix.com/website-speed-test/

When it comes to loading speed, we ideally want to be under the 1-second mark, a reference point at which the site load starts to feel instant. Loading times over 5 seconds will hurt both your rankings on Google and your sales, so we have to make sure your site always runs under at least 5 seconds.

Generally speaking, most sites can load at around 1.5 seconds without too much trouble and will still feel fast enough to the visitor.

2. Use Good Quality Hosting

Speed issues with WooCommerce often are because you’re using a lower quality hosting provider.  Your hosting provider is the foundation of everything you do online.

Web host quality is directly connected to the overall effectiveness of your website’s SEO and search engine rankings, Google and Facebook advertisements and also your conversion rate.

WooCommerce sites are different from regular WordPress because the backend speed is also important.

Woo sites are not just a website, they’re also a key line of business application, which means that it’s very likely you and your employees are going to spend a significant amount of time in there, managing orders and customers. The backend is also as important as frontend speed, and on a cheap host, where the available CPU power is of limited capacity, it’s just not going to perform very well.

Good vs. Bad Quality Hosting

A key point of difference between a good and bad quality host is in the CPU allowance to an individual hosting account on the server and also the general configuration of that server.

A good hosting provider will give you lots of processing capacity for your site and will be able to maintain your website’s speed even in situations when there’s an influx of orders and site traffic.

A high-quality host will also make use of advanced caching applications such as Memcached which will allow the site to use Object and Database caching which considerably speeds up the backend and heavy front-end operations like users submitting carts and checkouts.

Bad quality hosts can have thousands of websites stacked on the same server, thus limiting their resources and each one gets only a small piece of the CPU power; this also means that they can only handle a small number of site visitors at once.

There’s not that much difference in price between a “cheap” host and a high-quality host.

For example, a dedicated Cloudways server starts at $10/month and will run considerably faster than a lot of other shared hosting services out there.

Here’s a list of hosts we use ourselves and recommend to clients:

GOOD WooCommerce Hosts

WPX Hosting – great balance of speed and price; also has data centers in the US and UK

Cloudways – a relatively new provider that offers dedicated VPS servers on a speed optimized server stack; this translates into lightning fast speeds (for more detail, see our Fastest WordPress Hosting article)

**If you sign up to Cloudways, you can use the coupon code FASTHOSTING and get $25 off your first invoice

WPEngine – this provider is one of the more expensive ones BUT they include a lot of additinoal features such as staging areas, backups and malware protection.

Siteground – a fast cPanel host and probably the minimum standard you need – it’s cheap, acceptable when it comes to speed and overall a much better option than Hostgator, Bluehost, Godaddy and other cheap cPanel hosts.

BAD WooCommerce Hosts

As we mentioned earlier, these are the hosts that cram thousands of sites on one server, making none of them load fast.

If you happen to Google “cheapest WordPress hosts,”, the names of Bluehost, Godaddy, Hostgator will immediately show up.

The following list is one of web host we personally have experience with we can confirm that they have a negative impact on the speed of a WooCommerce site.

  • Bluehost
  • Godaddy
  • Site5
  • Hostgator
  • 1and1
  • Crazydomains
  • Netregistry
  • Dollar2Host
  • eHost
  • EntryHost
  • Any other subsidiary of EIG Hosting

Another good reason for investing in a high-quality web host is uptime – you’ll see far less outages with a quality host versus a cheap host.

The hosts we’ve listed above will likely have several short outages every day. Good quality web hosts will make sure the service maintenance times and site outages are done at a time when your site traffic is at a minimum.

We wouldn’t recommend using a standalone VPS host unless you are a server specialist. VPS hosts grant more server power (if you know how to utilize it), but the configuration of your host server is far more important, which is why we recommend Cloudways – they take care of that for us.

3. Use a Caching Plugin

Besides a good quality web host, caching is another key element in speeding up and fixing your WooCommerce site.

A “cache” prebuilds your website’s pages and gets them ready to go when the next visitor makes a request. Without this caching plugin, your site’s pages will have to be compiled from scratch for every visitor who arrives at the site.

Caching plugins significantly speed up your site as all the processing done to generate a page is done in advance and one time per page versus every page load.

These are the plugins we use and recommend:

W3 Total Cache – W3TC is free and one of the fastest caching plugins on the market BUT can be quite complex so not ideal for the DIYer.

WP Rocket – this is an easy to use plugin, perfect for the DIYER but is a paid plugin (although still dirt cheap).

Important Note on Caching Plugins

When doing the setup of the caching plugins for Woocommerce, be mindful to exclude the /myaccount, /cart, /checkout and /wishlist pages and all their child pages from caching. If you don’t do this, you’ll also end up breaking the functionality of your checkout; also shopping carts will start jumping between users.

Note that the caching plugins don’t usually show the cached version of pages when you’re logged into the site’s backend. So, make sure to always do a test in a different browser, one that’s logged out of the site when you’re tinkering with caching plugins.

If your site has become fast after installing a caching plugin, BUT the WordPress or Woocommerce backend or the Woocommerce checkout is still slow, this usually indicates an issue with your web host performance or it might also be a plugin conflict. The plugin Query Monitor can help uncover plugin conflicts.

If your host supports Memcached, configuring W3 Total Cache to use Memcached for database and object caching will significantly speed up the Woocommerce and WordPress backend.

DO NOT use disk caching for database and object caching because it will actually slow things down – database and object caching must use a memory based cache.

4. Use a Content Delivery Network (CDN)

A CDN will make a significant improvement in the loading times of your website, regardless of where the visitors come from.  

A CDN or content delivery network is a network of servers around the world that serve up part of your website. This speeds up the site for international visitors and visitors geographically further away and also removes some of the load off your web host.

The one we use and recommend is Cloudflare. They have more than 150 server locations around the world, and have a free plan that works well for most sites out there. They also offer security features that can eliminate some of the risky traffic that may be hitting your site, as well as contact form spammers reaching your site.

 

5. Image Compression and Optimization

The size of your site (or the amount of data the users will need to download once they hit the site) can be reduced with image compression. In some cases, compressing your site images can show a dramatic increase in speed cutting several seconds of load times as the amount of data to download is significantly reduced.

Compressing the images won’t have an impact on their quality (as long as you use lossless compression) but will reduce their file size.

Most image compression plugins are more or less equal in performance, with about 3-5% difference in the performance of each.

Our plugin of choice is ShortPixel and here are three reasons why we love using it:  

  1. Speed – Woocommerce sites have a ton of images so bulk compressing images can take time. Shortpixel make it easy to compress images in bulk.
  2. PNG to JPG conversion – many sites use images in PNG format where JPG would be smaller. Shortpixel can automatically convert PNG without transparency into JPG files thus reducing page sizes further.
  3. WEBP file format support Webp images are usually 2-5x smaller than their PNG or JPG counterparts at the same image quality. Some browsers don’t support .webp so you can’t just change all images at your site in bulk.

    There are two ways to use .webp image files safely: the first one would be to use a cloud-based service that charges you every month. These services can detect whether the browser that’s accessing the site is able to support webp files and if it does, than it can serve them up instead of JPG or PNG.

    The second way is to use the HTML <picture> markup or tags. This tag informs the browser that there’s an alternative webp image file that’s available for use and if the browser supports webp, it will use those images instead.

Although ShortPixel is not free, it is pretty cheap and you can have a free trial – just click this link and you’ll be able to get free optimization for 100 images.

Configuring ShortPixel

The screenshots below will give you a detailed view of the settings that we use on ShortPixel to get maximum performance.

GENERAL TAB

Woocommerce Image Optimization Settings Page 1

We’d like to compress thumbnails (since they’re most likely in use), to use backup for the original images just in case, and also keep the EXIF tags on them. The EXIF data or tags is important because it sometimes contains information that will give us a small amount of SEO boost.

*** Please remember to use LOSSLESS compression and NOT lossy compression.

Lossless = same quality for a smaller file size

Lossy = even smaller file size, but comes with a reduction of quality. It’s recommended that you don’t sacrifice image quality over a boost in speed, since it’s rather important in e-commerce and generating sales.

ADVANCED TAB

Optimizing images on a Woocommerce site

In this section, we’d like to enable the PNG to JPG feature, to create the WEBP file alternatives and to convert to RGB format, since these are much smaller than CMYK files.

Sometimes our theme files will contain uncompressed, which is why we generally add that into the Additional Media Folders field.

Once you’re done with the bulk optimization, you can enable the WEBP <picture> tag markup.

Click here for Shortpixel trial and get 100 images optimized for free.

6. Switch to HTTPS from HTTP so you can use HTTP2

By making your site run in HTTPS (encrypted) mode, you’ll make your web browser software to use the newer HTTP2 protocol (as long as your host supports it, that is). This protocol is considerably faster than the older HTTP 1.1 one. In the video below you can see the difference in speed between the two of them.

Important: Your host will need to support HTTP2, and unfortunately most of the cheap hosts out there just don’t. Our speed test tool will test for HTTP2 support – try it at https://www.wpspeedfix.com/website-speed-test/

7. Upgrade from PHP 5.6 to PHP 7

PHP is the programming language which WordPress and WooCommerce are built on.

PHP version 7 is 2-3x as fast as the old PHP version 5.6. If your site is still running on 5.6, with the upgrade you’ll notice around a 30% speed boost to the frontend and backend functions of your site.

Note that not all sites are PHP7 compatible. You can use this free plugin from WPengine to test your site’s compatibility (and, it can be used regardless of the hosting provider).

You can do the PHP7 switch directly from your CPanel or management console.

Right now, PHP 7 comes in four versions: 7.0, 7.1 and 7.2  and 7.3 – switch to the v7.3 if you can, as it’s the newest and fastest out there.

8. Disable Plugins You Don’t Use

Sites that have been running for several years often contain plugins that they don’t use anymore which can slow them down considerably.

It’s worth doing a review and audit of all the plugins in use on your site and disabling or deleting any that are no longer used or inactive.

9. More Advanced Troubleshooting

Here we’ve got a couple of more advanced troubleshooting ideas you can go through:

  • Update all plugins up to the latest version – something that we see pretty often, sites running plugins several years old and thus being incompatible with the newer versions of WordPress and WooCommerce the site is being run on. These updates can also fix bugs that might be slowing down the site.  
  • Query Monitor pluginhttps://wordpress.org/plugins/query-monitor/ – a plugin that will let you have a look into each page load and tell you what’s going on. Often it will help in uncovering broken plugins or code that might be part of the reason behind slow loading times. A lot of the time we find Woocommerce plugins that are old and thus not fully compatible with the version of Woocommerce the site is running, logging errors into the event log which are adding delays into the page load but aren’t actually showing visible errors in the WordPress backend.
  • WP Optimizehttps://wordpress.org/plugins/wp-optimize/ – use this plugin to optimize your database queries.

Other Resources:

WordPress Image Compression

Over the years we’ve used nearly a dozen different image compression tools and tried nearly every tool out there. If you Google “best wordpress image compression” you’ll get a bunch of different blog posts comparing different tools and how well they compress images.

These articles generally aren’t great because most of them are written by affiliate marketers who have no real experience with speed optimization and generally most image compression tools will get within 5% of each other so in reality the practical difference between their compression levels is almost none.

The thing is, image compression performance only part of the picture.

For our WPSpeedFix services we currently use ShortPixel. – ShortPixel.com

Here’s why:

 

SPEED: it’s fast and easy to use especially when bulk optimizing images (many plugins are painful to bulk optimize images so waste a bunch of time)

PNG to JPG Conversion: it automatically converts PNG images to JPGs where PNG transparency is not needed AND the PNG will be smaller – a really common problem we see is sites using PNG images in their content where JPGs will be much smaller. Shortpixel handles this automatically.

 

Webp Support – most people don’t know about the .webp image format – .webp files are generally much smaller than JPG and PNG at the same quality, often 2-5x smaller which is a HUGE difference.

Unfortunately not all browsers support .webp images so you can’t just switch all images across and be done with it.There’s only a handful of ways to add .webp support to your site – one is use a cloud service and the other is to add <picture> markup to your website code. This tells the browser .webp files are available and if it supports them it’ll load them instead.

We use ShortPixel because it will convert images to .webp AND insert the markup on the page.

Here’s the settings we use…

Here’s the settings we use in ShortPixel (click to enlarge):

Short Pixel Settings

 

 

ShortPixel-Settings

Compress 100 Images For Free

Shortpixel allow you to compress 100 images yourself! Head over to ShortPixel.com and try it out yourself!

 

 

 

 

LifterLMS Webinar Slides

Thanks for joining us on the LifterLMS Webinar

Click here for webinar slides

Here’s various links and resources from the episode:

Fastest WordPress Hosts – hosts we use and recommend

WP Rocket – simple DIY WordPress caching

Shortpixel – the best image optimization plugin right now

Blogvault backup solution with realtime backup option

tools.pingdom.com for speed testing

HTTP2 tester from KeyCDN

Speed comparison of HTTP2 vs HTTP 1.1

DNSPerf.com – DNS hosting performance comparisons

Cloudflare.com – DNS hosting and CDN

Uptimerobot.com for Uptime Monitoring

PHP7 compatibility tester plugin

Lazy load livechat code using tag manager:

How To Share Cloudflare Account Access

Cloudflare now enforces two factor or two step authentication on all accounts. This means you can no longer share a single Cloudflare account or logon across multiple users.

Shared account access was previously a feature available for the higher level paid Cloudflare accounts but is now available on all accounts. The video below explains how to share Cloudflare access with other users.