18 Powerful Ways To Dramatically Speed Up Your WooCommerce Store (2023 Ultimate Guide)
For ecommerce sites powered by WooCommerce, speed is everything. Faster page load times result in higher conversions, lower bounce rates, and improved SEO rankings. Even delays as minor as 1 second can cause customers to abandon their shopping baskets.
According to real-world research by Google, 53% of mobile site visitors will leave a page that takes longer than 3 seconds to load. For desktop visitors, that number is 32%. Your WooCommerce store needs to load in under 2 seconds to provide the best user experience.
This comprehensive guide will walk you through 18 powerful optimisations to dramatically speed up your WooCommerce store. Follow these tips and watch your revenue grow as customers enjoy a lightning-fast shopping journey.
Step #1: Measure Your Existing WooCommerce Speed
To understand your starting point, you need to measure how fast (or slow) your WooCommerce store currently loads. Here are the top tools to test your site speed and performance:
Pingdom provides a simple page speed test from multiple geographic locations. Just enter your URL to see load times across the globe. Watch out for spikes above 1 second.
For more comprehensive metrics, GTmetrix grades your page performance and specifies optimisations. Target a grade of A for fully optimised.
This free tool provides a visual filmstrip view of your page loading in real-time. Identify slow elements dragging down overall speed.
Ideally, you want your WooCommerce homepage and other critical pages to fully load in under 2 seconds. If your times are higher, the optimisations in this guide will help.
Step #2: Upgrade to Managed WooCommerce Hosting
The foundation of any high-performance WooCommerce site is quality managed hosting. Here’s why it’s so important:
- Optimised servers and infrastructure for speed
- Content delivery network to cache static resources
- Free SSL certificate for security
- Automatic WordPress and WooCommerce updates
- Proactive resource monitoring and scaling
For the fastest managed WooCommerce hosting, feel free to discuss your options with Digital Zest
Migrating to a good solid hosting provider is one of your first moves. This alone can shave 1+ seconds off your page load times.
Step #3: Tweak WooCommerce Settings For Faster Performance
Log into your WordPress dashboard and navigate to WooCommerce > Settings:
Limit Images Displayed
Under the Products tab, reduce the number of product images shown in galleries. The default is 4 – set this to 1 or 2.
Limit the number of reviews displayed per product. Showing fewer reviews cuts database queries.
Reduce Product Tabs
Minimise the tabs shown per product. Description, Additional Info, and Reviews are often sufficient.
Hide Rating Count
Disabling the rating count removes an unnecessary database lookup per product.
These simple tweaks optimise WooCommerce core settings for speed right out of the box.
Step #4: Choose a Lightweight WooCommerce Theme
Your theme has a big impact on WooCommerce performance. Avoid bloated themes with excessive features you don’t need.
Instead, choose a lightweight theme designed specifically for speed:
- Storefront – The official WooCommerce theme built for speed.
- Astra – One of the fastest themes for WooCommerce.
- GeneratePress – A speed-focused theme compatible with WooCommerce.
Alternatively you can have your theme or design recreated either by you or a reputable agency, ideally one who specialises in WooCommerce
Step #5: Limit Plugins to Only Essentials
By default, WooCommerce is already optimised for speed. The more plugins you add, the slower it becomes.
Audit your plugins and remove any unnecessary bloat. The only essentials are:
- Payment gateways like Stripe or PayPal
- Shipping method plugins
- Security plugins like Wordfence
Avoid unnecessary plugins that add weight for marginal benefit. This can be one of the most difficult tasks to achieve, there is always a balance to be struck, but remember adding a plugin for a single feature could have significant impact on the users experience.
Step #6: Increase WordPress Memory Limit
In wp-config.php, increasing the WordPress memory limit prevents slowdowns during peak site traffic and activity:
define( 'WP_MEMORY_LIMIT', '256M' );
The ideal memory limit for a WooCommerce site is 1GB:
define( 'WP_MEMORY_LIMIT', '1024M' );
This single line of code makes a remarkable impact on backend performance.
Step #7: Resize and Optimise Images
Large uncompressed images slow down WooCommerce sites. To fix this:
- Resize Images – Scale down full-size images before upload.
- Enable Compression – WordPress compression strips EXIF data.
- Convert PNG to JPG – Smaller file size with no visible quality loss.
- Lazy Load Images – Only load images visible on screen.
- Serve Images from CDN – Host static images on a content delivery network.
This combination of image optimisations speeds up load times significantly.
Step #8: Enable Browser Caching and GZIP Compression
Browser caching allows pages to load instantly on repeat visits instead of from the server each time. Configure caching in your .htaccess file:
GZIP compression serves assets in compact form:
Step #9: Enable HTTP/2 and HTTP/3
The HTTP/2 and HTTP/3 protocols allow browsers to receive multiple files simultaneously. This speeds up page loads significantly.
Most managed WordPress hosts support HTTP/2 and HTTP/3 automatically. If yours doesn’t, use the HTTP/2 plugin by Automattic.
Minification removes unnecessary whitespace and compresses code for smaller file sizes:
- Autoptimize minifies CSS, JS, and HTML
- WP Rocket combines multiple CSS and JS files
This streamlines assets delivered to the browser for much faster load times, please be aware that this can be dangerous and can cause issues in appearance and functionality. As a rule this should be performed by a developer to avoid such issues.
Step #11: Configure Caching for WooCommerce
Caching reduces server load by saving previously accessed data to be served faster next time.
For full page caching, use a specialised WooCommerce plugin like LiteSpeed Cache.
Object caching plugins like Redis and Memcached can also help, but may conflict with page caching.
Proper caching eliminates database queries and dramatically speeds up WooCommerce. Though set up incorrectly can lead to products showing prices that have been updated via the admin but not show for the user.
Step #12: Use a CDN for Faster Static Assets
A content delivery network (CDN) stores static files in cache globally for faster delivery:
- Store product images on CDN
- Serve CSS, JS libraries through CDN
Top CDNs like Cloudflare provide a free tier to accelerate static resources.
Step #13: Streamline Your Database
A bloated WooCommerce database drags down backend and frontend performance.
Limit stored revisions to 30 or fewer. Or disable revisions completely if not needed.
Clean Up Transients
Transient data takes up space. Use a cleanup tool like WP-Optimize.
Reduce Indexed Tables
Indexes speed up queries but slow down writes. Only index necessary tables.
Disable Unneeded Features
Reviews, product ratings, and other non-essential features can be disabled.
This database streamlining makes WooCommerce faster overall.
Step #14: Improve Backend Speed
Optimisations that enhance frontend speed often conflict with backend speed in the WP admin area.
Balance optimisations to ensure your WooCommerce dashboard is also fast:
- Reduce Heartbeat API frequency – Lessens constant admin AJAX requests.
- Selectively disable caching plugins in wp-admin only.
- Limit number of plugins – Too many hurt backend performance.
- Reduce automated background processes like imports, exports, etc.
Test admin panel speed regularly and make adjustments.
Step #15: Optimise Your Store for Mobile
Over 50% of ecommerce traffic comes from smartphones. Ensure your mobile experience is blazing fast:
- Implement a mobile caching plugin like WP Rocket.
- Enable adaptive images to serve smaller sizes to mobiles.
- Simplify design and layouts on mobile.
- Preconnect to third-party domains like Google Analytics.
Many customers will judge your site speed on mobile alone – optimise for it.
Step #16: Upgrade to PHP 8.1
Newer PHP versions include performance enhancements for WordPress and WooCommerce:
- PHP 8.1: Up to 2x faster than PHP 7.4
- PHP 8.0: Up to 89% improvement over PHP 7.2
- PHP 7.4: About 30% faster than PHP 7.2
Your hosting provider can upgrade PHP versions for significant speed gains.
Step #17: Remove Unused Media
Over time, unused images, videos, and other media can bloat databases:
- Audit Media Library for old or unused assets.
- Delete outdated CSV import files from uploads.
- Remove orphaned assets no longer linked within content.
This media cleanup instantly improves database performance.
Step #18: Regularly Update Everything
Outdated software slows down WooCommerce. Stay updated:
- Update WordPress, WooCommerce, plugins
- Update PHP version
- Update themes and frameworks
Schedule regular automated updates for continuous speed gains over time.
Optimising your WooCommerce store for speed is crucial to success. Follow this comprehensive 18-step guide to dramatically accelerate page load times.
Faster performance equals higher revenue and more conversions. Even improving speed by 1 second can make a significant business impact.
Many of these tweaks are “set and forget” so you can focus on growing your WooCommerce store rather than worrying about technical issues.
For additional speed tips, explore our complete guide to making WooCommerce faster. Now get out there, implement these optimisations, and enjoy the benefits of a lightning-fast WooCommerce site!