The world is rushing and nobody has the time or patience to wait for things. Five seconds is way too much time for a website to load. Most people will choose to look for a faster page or online store, so this is why we will show you how to speed up your Prestashop store.
- Why the loading speed of your online store is important
- How to speed up the store on Prestashop by yourself
- How to speed up the store on Prestashop – advanced settings
I. Why the loading speed of your online store is important
- Accelerating the page loading time by 0.5 seconds increases website traffic by 20% – based on information provided by Google in 2017. Note that page loading speed is one of the main parameters considered by Google’s algorithms. If your website is slow, Google will lower its position in the search engine. This means fewer people will visit your store. Fewer visitors equal fewer purchases and smaller profits.
- According to Akami, up to 40% of users will leave your site if it takes more than 3.5 seconds to load.
- Mobile First! The number of smartphone users has surpassed the number of users browsing through websites on computers. Appearance and speed of the mobile version of online stores have become a priority. E-commerce statistics confirm that the times when we looked at products on our phones but moved to computers for online shopping are coming to an end.
- Do you now feel the urge to speed up your online store? Before you start, check its speed on your mobile and desktop devices. You can do this using created by Google Page Speed Insights and GTmetrix.
II. How to speed up the store on Prestashop by yourself
Image, photo, and graphic optimization
First of all, check if the photos you upload to the store aren’t too large. The pixel dimension is not as important as the size (weight) of the image file. Make sure that the Prestashop slider module scales, reduce, and optimizes the size of your photos properly.
Lower the “JPEG Compression” parameter to “80” in the administration panel of the Prestashop store. This is a sufficient photo quality for most standard devices. You can find this parameter in the “Appearance / Photos” tab in Prestashop.
Use WebP as the image format while adding photos to your store. WebP is a newer format that has the same quality as JPEG or PNG, but the photo weight is much smaller. This format was invented by Google so, it will surely be liked by the search engine algorithms.
If you decide to stick with JPEG, use a photo optimization program that reduces the photo weight up to 50% without losing quality.
Delete unused Prestashop modules and applications
Optimizing your photos won’t break anything, but be sure to create a backup before making any subsequent changes. If you want to know how to make changes on the website safely, look into this article: link.
Order is very important both on the website and in the back office. If you have any unused modules on your website – remove them. If you have any unused base modules, for example, statistics, which were installed by default with the Prestashop store – remove them.
Be sure to check if you have unnecessarily downloaded elements on the website (e.g. a Facebook window, where you do not publish posts anyway, or elements from external websites), which are not used but take up space and slow down your website.
Cleansing unnecessary data automatically
The PrestaShop store collects various statistics during its daily operation. For example, the number of visitors or the amount of time spent on the website. Install a data cleaning module and regularly delete unnecessary files. This can speed up your Prestashop store.
Prestashop store server perfomance
Find out if your hosting provider can give you more. Check what the server performance statistics are and how busy it is. Maybe the hosting company can offer something better, faster, and dedicated to Prestashop. Paying more for a server will be cheaper than advanced modification of the store platform in most cases.
If you have PrestaShop 1.7, check if your hosting runs on PHP 7 and not an older version. This gives a minimum of a 100% increase in the content of the store’s pages!
CCC functionality (Combine, Compress, Cache)
You can also enter “Advanced / Performance settings” and find “CCC Functionality” there. CCC functions automatically minimize CSS / JS files and merge them into one file using external scripts. Turn this setting on and save. Make sure everything works properly before closing because Prestashop templates don’t work well with these settings sometimes. Use page compression as well if you find it in your page settings.
III. How to speed up the store on Prestashop – advanced settings
Boost the store speed by caching pages
When you want to display a page, the server that hosts it runs many mechanisms, but some page elements do not need to be generated every single time. The page loading speed can be boosted by using caching. There are ready-made modules to apply this in Prestashop. After installing the appropriate configuration, they will cause that the server will not have as much work as previously.
It is as if someone had already entered the page and “paved the way” for you. The first person entering the card of a given product must generate such a cache for the other users. You can prepare a script that will enter individual product cards as a robot and download these pages. This will generate them for the first time. Doing this operation will speed up the loading of the page for the users of your store.
Database optimization in your Prestashop store
You need to know if your hosting allows you to optimize the database yourself. If you are unable to optimize yourself, please contact your hosting company. Ask them if the database parameters are matched to the PrestaShop store platform. If you have access to the server shell and can configure the database yourself, adjust the settings to your needs.
Not all data has to be retrieved from the database every time. It can be cached. This is done by plugins like LiteSpeed Cache, Memcached, Redis (the last two are more advanced and may require a developer).
There are two ways to implement application acceleration in order to speed up your store. Option number one is to use the Varnish accelerator if your server runs the WWW Apache server. It will cache the already prepared content in higher layers of the app. Then the incoming query will not ask for the cache of our module, but the web server will provide us with this content from another place in the cache ( for example from the fast operating memory). The second, very similar option is to use Engines with a caching module.
A CDN is a network of servers that distributes content from an “origin” server throughout the world by caching content close to where each end user is accessing the internet. The content they request is first stored on the origin server and is then replicated and stored elsewhere as needed. For example, if you are in France, you get an image from a server that is closest to you instead of the origin server.
Additionally, take a look at CloudFront and CloudFlare. They increase security, provide protection against DDoS attacks, and limit robots’ access. In addition, they have their own optimization protections that allow the user to load the initial page content much earlier
A well-optimized Prestashop store template
Unfortunately, not very many people know that you can lose a lot due to a bad design of the Prestashop store template. Explore your store’s website with tools like PageSpeed or GTmetrix. You will get notifications about blocking css and blocking elements from outside. You can transfer some of them to the template.
A well-prepared HTML template will render and fold quickly. A lot depends on where the CSS and JS code are stored. However, such optimization requires knowledge and the support of a specialist.
Do you want your online store to generate a lot of sales? Make your website’s position high in search results and have a high level of user experience. In both cases, the page speed will be the key parameter. Invest your time and money to regularly implement the previously mentioned solutions. They will pay for themselves.
Make your website fast, convenient and pleasant to use, especially on mobile devices. Already about 50% of users make purchases using their mobile devices because it’s quick and convenient. Caring for mobile users will surely pay off.