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WooCommerce series #1. How to make WooCommerce store faster?

Photo: WooCommerce_Series_2
Photo: WooCommerce_Series_2

This series is intended for all WooCommerce e-shop managers & owners as well as those who plan to change the platform soon. ADM’s WordPress and e-commerce expert Tõnis Nerep talks about the new trends in WooCommerce and gives practical advice based on e-shop solutions, which new modules and technical solutions to try and how to make your store work better.
There is no single magic bullet that works to increase the loading speed of your website and e-shop. Loading speed depends on a lot of different things and each store is different and may need their own approach.

Key actions to increase page speed:

  • Delete deactivated plugins and themes (except the default WP theme)
  • Clean media files
  • Clean the database
  • Use the Cache plugin
  • Optimize images
  • Reduce referrals
  • Update PHP
  • Consider server infrastructure changes

Delete deactivated plugins and themes

When it comes to plugins, quality is more important than quantity. Each plugin is like a “tiny” application inside WordPress. Running too many applications at once will have an extremely bad effect on loading the entire web.

We have often noticed in our clients’ WordPress that the plugin is installed for a specific purpose, but only a very small part of the entire functionality is used.

  • Check your web plugin list regularly!
  • Make it clear to yourself why a certain plugin is installed and evaluate the necessity of the functionality they provide.
  • Consider different alternatives to achieve the same functionality.

Clean media files

When you upload images to WordPress, several thumbnails of different sizes are automatically created from them (the number depends on how WP is developed).

The WP Upload folder is usually the largest folder on the website – it takes more time to find the right file, more time to backup and restore, and depending on the Server service provider, the cost of the hosting service can also increase with the volume.

Plugin recommendation:

Media Cleaner
File system analysis and scanning, support for several additional plugins, final deletion check. Media Cleaner is a powerful plugin that helps you clean up your WordPress media library by deleting unused media entries and files, as well as fixing broken entries. With an internal trash feature, you can preview and confirm changes before permanently deleting anything. Plus, Media Cleaner uses smart analysis to ensure compatibility with specific plugins and themes.

Clean the database

A database is the heart of a web application built on WordPress and WooCommerce. One of the biggest disadvantages of WordPress is the wp_options table, where a lot of information is stored, and from this table the application starts its work when the page is loaded. Which in turn means that if the wp_options table is excessively large, the first page will take a very long time to load.

  • In addition, WP usually saves a lot of “revisions” – that is, previous versions of web content (posts, pages, products, etc.).
  • WP also stores “transients” – cached data.
  • Frequent updating of content creates outdated and unused content (orphans) in many cases.
  • Woocommerce -> Status -> Tools: several built-in tools that allow you to reduce unnecessary database size.

Plugin recommendations:

Database Cleaner
With a ton of features and the ability to handle even the largest of databases, Database Cleaner is built on years of experience with the other related plugins and the latest versions of WP and PHP. Thanks to its user-friendly interface, you’ll be able to easily navigate everything and make sure everything is just right. Plus, if you have a lot of work to be done, Database Cleaner uses asynchronous requests to tackle it slowly and steadily, helping to avoid errors and timeouts.

Advanced Database Cleaner
Clean up database by deleting orphaned items such as ‘old revisions’, ‘spam comments’, optimize database and more. If you have been using WordPress for a while, then you should think absolutely about a database cleanup. Indeed, your database may be full of garbage that makes your site sluggish and bloated such as old revisions, orphaned post meta, spam comments, etc. You should clean-up this unnecessary data to reduce your database size and improve website speed and performance. In addition, you will have quicker database backup since the file of your backup will be smaller. ‘Advanced Database Cleaner’ is a must-have plugin that allows you to clean database, optimize database and more.

Use Cache plugin

When loading WordPress content, it is usually necessary for the application to make a query to the database and ask for content from there, and finally to process this content and show it to the user in the appropriate form.

Cache – however, skips querying the database and already serves static HTML to the user, which is significantly faster for the user.

Plugin recommendations:

LiteSpeed Cache
Includes all the main cache options, but all functionalities can only be used by users who host their website on their server. A free and open-source WordPress plugin. It communicates with your installation of LiteSpeed Web Server and LSWS’s built-in page cache to dramatically reduce page load times. With advanced cache-management tools and optimization features, LSCWP is an all-in-one site acceleration solution. It’s the only optimization plugin you need!

WP Rocket
Best for users who want a beautiful user interface. It’s the most powerful solution to boost your loading time, improve your PageSpeed performance score, and optimize your Core Web Vitals.

W3 Total Cache
Best for advanced users because it contains many complex but necessary configurations. W3 Total Cache empowers your website with a comprehensive suite of caching options to accelerate page load times, reduce server load, and deliver an exceptional user experience. By leveraging various caching techniques, you can unlock the full potential of your WordPress site.

WP Super Cache
Best for users who want a free cache plugin. This plugin generates static html files from your dynamic WordPress blog. After a html file is generated, your webserver will serve that file instead of processing the comparatively heavier and more expensive WordPress PHP scripts.

WP Fastest Cache
Best for beginners with smaller WP + Woo web apps. WP Fastest Cache is the fastest and easiest WordPress cache plugin which improves the PageSpeed Insights score and speeds up the WordPress sites.

Optimize images

Usually, one of the biggest reasons for a decrease in web speed is unoptimized images, especially in an online store with many products and product images. Large and high-quality images are very beautiful, but it should be based on what devices and what purpose the specific images fulfill.

It makes no sense to show 3000x3000px resolution images to the user on a mobile device. During optimization, unnecessary information is removed from images, colour depth is reduced, and in some cases the file type is also reduced.

Plugin recommendations:

EWWW Image Optimizer
EWWW Image Optimizer help you make your site faster, improve your bounce rate, and boost your SEO. But most importantly, make your visitors happier so they keep coming back for more.

ShortPixel Image Optimizer
Optimize images and create WebP/AVIF versions with an easy-to-use, comprehensive, lightweight, stable, and frequently updated freemium image compression plugin.

WP-Optimize is an all-in-one WordPress optimization plugin that cleans your database, compresses large images, and caches your site.

Managing and resizing image files drains your storage, processing resources, and development time. Optimole stores, handles, and scales your images with 80% less size while looking just as great.

WP Smush
Smush is the leading image optimization plugin – optimize, resize, and compress images, as well as converting images to WebP format for faster loading web pages.

Reduce redirects

For example:

  • The user is redirected from http to https.
  • The user is redirected from non-www to www.
  • The user is redirected from page-URL to category/page-URL.
  • Page loads.

Here we see a frequently occurring situation where the user is forwarded 3 times before the page even starts to load. Google does not like this behaviour and will penalize the site. Page speed drops, and infinite redirection can often occur.

 Tool recommendations:

GTmetrix tells you how fast your website performs and helps you discover opportunities for improvement.

Redirect Checker
Shows each step of the redirect process to check the destination of a URL or website.

Update PHP

WordPress is developed in the PHP programming language, and usually server service providers determine which PHP versions can be used and which of them are in use.

PHP upgrades have two main values:
Your website can be faster because PHP becomes more efficient with each new version. Updating WordPress to the recommended version of PHP (currently 7.4 or higher) can increase performance, benefiting all visitors to your website.

Your website is more secure. PHP, like WordPress, is maintained by its community. Because PHP is so popular, it is a target for hackers, but the latest version has the latest security features. Older versions of PHP (below 7.4) do not have it, so updating is essential to keep your WordPress site secure.

Consider server infrastructure changes

If WordPress itself does not have very high requirements regarding the server, the larger the website built on WordPress (online store) becomes, the more important the indicators of the server in use become.

A server is like a computer, and just like choosing your personal computer, you should choose a server based on the purpose of the web application hosted on it.
When creating infrastructure, it is always worth keeping in mind:

  • Volume of web content (pages, posts, multilingualism, etc).
  • Web media volume (images, videos, files).
  • In the case of an online store, including products and categories.
  • Web traffic.
  • Web availability location.
  • Web scalability.


Enhancing the performance of your WooCommerce store hinges on a combination of strategies, from plugin management to server infrastructure adjustments. Should you require any assistance or have further queries, please don’t hesitate to contact Tõnis.

In the following series we will also talk about:

  • How to make WordPress search better? What to use?
  • How to manage your e-shop much more easily?
  • Using Gutenberg and a new era in content management
  • Which WordPress plugins to use to simplify marketing work and increase sales?
  • How to increase the security of the WooCommerce e-shop?
  • How to choose the right plugins for your WooCommerce e-shops? What to consider when choosing plugins?
  • How to make the image bank solution so that administration is as simple as possible?

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