Running an online eCommerce site is challenging. It requires careful planning, execution, and most importantly speed optimization. If you are aiming to create an eCommerce site using a plugin such as woo-commerce, then you need to use a hosting provider that offers excellent performance.
In this article, we will take a closer look at how to speed up WordPress & Woo-commerce plugins.
Why is optimizing an eCommerce site challenging?
If you are starting an eCommerce site, you are already entering a heavily contested market with plenty of already established players such as eBay, Amazon, Newegg, and so on. These big players invest hundreds and thousands of dollars to optimize their eCommerce multi-vendor platform where they optimize not only the speed but also SEO and other facets of the site.
Google has made it clear what they want from its sites. According to studies, sites that have a loading time of more than 3 seconds, start to lose out on visitors. It is recommended that sites should have an optimal loading time of 2 seconds for best conversion rates.
However, the challenge is to optimize a “multi-vendor” eCommerce website that has its crux and complexities.
The majority of the complexity arrives from the fact that you need to manage multiple vendors in a single environment and make sure that everyone follows the rule correctly so that your site doesn’t become slow.
The key reasons why an eCommerce site suffers from slowness are as follows:
- The vendors/users do not properly optimize their images before uploading. In most cases, the photography team has no formal training or understanding of how larger unoptimized images can impact page loading time. The general rule is to optimize each image by cropping them to the correct ratio and also compressing the image as well.
- eCommerce sites without the lazy loading option take a lot of time to render and load a page.
- The lack of knowledge when it comes to hosting can also affect page speed times. In cases when eCommerce sites don’t use any SaaS platform such as Shopify, they are free to configure the hosting environment and optimize it for speed. However, that’s not always the case. For managing hosting, you need specialized personnel to manage your hosting all the time. Do not let just one person manage your eCommerce project and divide responsibilities accordingly.
- A lack of server-side caching can also impact how fast your site loads. Server-side caching plays a crucial role in processing static content rendering. eCommerce sites largely depend on static content. For example, once a product page is created, hardly any information such as images is changed. So, if your eCommerce site has proper server-side caching, you are bound to get good performance, otherwise, your site will be slow.
- Most eCommerce sites depend too heavily on third-party services and solutions, embedding a lot of third-party scripts. These heavily impact your page speed loading time as it adds more than 3 requests. You can check using online tools such as Pingdom or GTmetrix to learn how much time each HTTP request adds to your site loading time.
Choosing the Right Hosting Provider
The very first step that you need to do is to choose the “right” hosting provider. To do so, you need to know the different types of hosting providers. Let’s go through them below.
Shared hosting is one of the most commonly used hosting types. However, it is not the most reliable when it comes to hosting an eCommerce site. In shared hosting, your site shares resources with other sites on the same server. That’s what makes it cheaper compared to another hosting, but it also means that a higher load on your server means slower response time.
Shared hosting also is not so great when it comes to security.
VPS(Virtual Private Server) utilizes virtualization technology to provide dedicated resources on a server. This sounds similar to shared hosting, but it is more polished with scalable options. VPS hosting is a cheaper option compared to dedicated hosting.
VPS is also very stable and secure and can handle eCommerce sites with medium-level traffic. VPS are mostly self-managed, but many hosting providers offer a managed solution.
Dedicated hosting, as the name suggests, offers dedicated resources by allocating a complete server to a single owner. Dedicated servers need to be self-managed and hence require a server administrator. However, dedicated hosting is not for everyone. eCommerce sites with a lot of traffic should go for dedicated hosting. Also, dedicated hosting is costly. The key benefits of using dedicated hosting are speed, security, and customizability.
Cloud hosting is the new buzzword in the hosting market. It solves the problem of VPS and shared hosting by providing a more scalable and secure environment. This way, your site never slows down due to a lack of resources or suffers from security issues. Cloud hosting is also affordable and is primarily aimed at growing businesses.
Which one should you choose?
Many factors go in when choosing your hosting provider. In general, I recommend eCommerce the following:
- Shared hosting: Only choose shared hosting if you are starting your eCommerce business and hence don’t want to spend too much on hosting. With time, you can move to other hosting types.
- VPS hosting: If you have good traffic, then you can choose VPS hosting as they provide flexibility along with easy customization and security.
- Dedicated hosting: If your eCommerce site has high traffic, then dedicated hosting is the way to go. This way you provide the best loading time to your users with minimal to no downtime.
- Cloud hosting: Cloud hosting is a great pick if you are not able to make up your mind on what’s to pick. Cloud hosting solves shared and VPS hosting problems and is also scalable at demand.
Vebsiko® Hosting provides Cloud Hosting, WooCommerce Hosting, and Dedicated Cloud VPS for eCommerce sites. Check them out and see which one fits your needs — the best! or just start with forever-free plans.
Use Compressed Images
Irrespective of the plugin you are using, it is vital to compress images. The good news is that there are plenty of WordPress image optimization plugins that you can use, including the likes of Smush, EWWW Image Optimizer, and ShortPixel Image Optimizer.
You can also train vendors on how to optimize their images before uploading. The process includes resizing the images and then using an image compressor tool or plugin to compress the image. One of the well-known non-plugin tools is Tinypng which you can use to optimize the images.
Do a Performance Analysis Test
Even though you used the best hosting for your multi-vendor eCommerce site, you also need to do a complete performance analysis on your site. This will let you know about bottlenecks that are affecting your site’s performance. Also, you can do it yourself by using tools such as Google PageSpeed Insights, GTmetric, and Pingdom.
If you do not know how these tools work and have less knowledge about optimization analysis, then you can hire optimization experts on how to solve these.
Most hosts provide their version of caching. If you are not sure, then it is better to ask the hosting provider to enable it for you. Additionally, you should also use WordPress cache plugins such as WP Super Cache, WP Rocket, and W3 Total Cache.
Enable Accelerated Mobile Page(AMP)
Another way to improve website speed is to enable AMP on your site. AMP is a well-known open-source solution that improves mobile loading time. It is so effective that it can improve mobile loading time up to 3 times! There are many plugins that you can use to enable AMP including AMP for WordPress.
How Vebsiko® Hosting Can Help You Speed Up Your Websites
Vebsiko® Hosting utilizes high-quality infrastructure for cloud-managed hosting, cloud VPS hosting, and WooCommerce hosting. Vebsiko® Hosting is growing fast and providing excellent hosting services to its users. This means it can help your site when using the WordPress Theme & plugins.
To learn how we achieve a high level of performance, we are going to do some benchmarks and see how our servers respond to the high demands.
Our test environment is minimal with basic plugin installation and a default product list. As for hosting, we are using shared hosting. In the real scenario, you may have multiple products. Also, we have no cache plugin enabled on the WordPress installation.
We are going to use GTMetrix for testing purposes. Let’s check out the results below.
Let’s first take a look at the GTmetrix results below.
The GTmetrix results are impressive. With the site loading in just 1.3 seconds, loading time is well below the industry standard. The TTFB, the first time to byte, is also good at 500ms. Apart from that, the performance and structure score stands at 99% and 88%.
These results showcase that you get stable performance if you choose the right hosting. The performance will improve further if you opt for VPS or dedicated hosting.
This leads us to the end of our article. As you can see, hosting plays a crucial role in your eCommerce website’s loading time. Woocoomerce plugin is a lightweight plugin, but it does add requests to the server before the site is served. To optimize, you need to clear your bottlenecks using the performance tools such as GTmetrix. Apart from that, compressing images surely helps! Moreover, you should always use a cache plugin to further optimize your site.
Get started with the best hosting for eCommerce using the WordPress & Woocommerce Theme & plugins — Vebsiko® Hosting. Check our hosting plans.