If you run a WooCommerce store, you should be aware of some specifics regarding the hosting and optimization of your WordPress website. That's why today we're going to show you what to look for in your WooCommerce hosting in order to optimize the user experience, the search engine ranking of your store and your conversions.
According to recent data from BuildWith, 25% of the top one million e-commerce websites use the store system WooCommerce. This means that the popular WordPress plugin has the largest market share, followed by Shopify (19%) and Magento (8%). The success is not by chance: because with the free plugin your WordPress website can be transformed into a functional online store. With over five million active installations, it is one of the most popular WordPress plugins.
Which advantages and possible problems WooCommerce brings in comparison to other store systems, you can read in our article "WooCommerce: The advantages & disadvantages of the popular store plugin".
An overloaded WooCommerce store hurts your business
According to an infographic by Truconversion, just a single second of additional loading time results in a 7 percent decrease in your conversion rate and 11 percent fewer page views. This oft-cited statistic clearly shows how important website performance is to your success. A negative user experience not only leads to more abandonments in the checkout process, but also reduces the referral rate.
The performance optimization of your store not only improves the user experience, but also your visibility. After all, the speed of your website has been an official ranking factor since 2010. official ranking factor. Since July 2018, Google takes into account the page speed for mobile searches as well.searches.
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These 4 things you should consider with your WooCommerce hosting
Since WooCommerce websites usually generate a lot of data and requests, they place special demands on the hosting and also require one or the other optimization measure from you. That's why today I'm going to show you four things you should keep in mind when hosting WooCommerce :
How does the cache work at WooCommerce stores?
In order for WooCommerce stores to function properly, there must be certain exceptions regarding caching. A clear example of such an exception is the shopping cart. Caching this area of your store would not only lead to total chaos when it comes to orders, but would also be problematic from a data protection point of view. Therefore, with WooCommerce hosting, it is simply necessary to systematically exclude certain areas from caching.
So the key here is to develop an understanding of what load your store can handle. You can check this with Loader.io, for example. The tool simulates accesses to your website and shows when your store is in danger of collapsing under the load. Or to slow down so much that the visit of your store is aborted. If you prefer to work with the command line, you can also use the Apache Benchmark Tool.
Another area that cannot be cached is the WordPress backend. Without optimization measures, this results in long loading times, especially for large actions such as bulk uploads of product images or editing a lot of product information.
Simultaneous calls in your shopping cart or large actions in the backend are thus directly reflected in the processor performance. For an optimization of these dynamic areas, you have to turn other screws than the caching.
2. WooCommerce Hosting needs powerful servers
Since a WooCommerce store generates a lot of dynamic content and requests that cannot be cached, a correspondingly strong server performance is required.
Depending on the size and popularity of your store, there may be tens of thousands of people on your site at the same time during peak shopping hours, searching for products, filtering items by different product categories, filling their shopping carts, and making purchases.
The hosting of your store should be prepared for exactly this case. After all, every second that your WooCommerce store takes longer to load, is overloaded or even offline means a loss of potential revenue.
More CPU power for many calls and high order volume
An important optimization measure for your WooCommerce hosting is to increase the CPU cores. After all, with many visits and corresponding database queries (such as displaying products according to various filters), the server needs to be able to handle more load. We like to use the metaphor of a chip shop to explain the principle:
Imagine that the server of your WordPress website is a chip shop. Each person at the counter of the chip shop represents one CPU core. If there is only one person behind the counter, only one request can be processed at a time. If there are only a few guests, this is not a problem at first.
However, if the number of guests becomes so high that the chip shop is overwhelmed with the requests, more people (i.e. more CPU cores) are needed. The more people at the counter, the more orders can be processed simultaneously. To avoid frustration among the guests or to make them simply leave, several people behind the counter are even a prerequisite after a certain point.
In this context, it is important to understand that more CPU cores do not automatically improve the load time of your WordPress website - after all, the individual cores work equally fast. Rather, increasing the cores ensures that multiple requests can be processed simultaneously and your store is not overloaded.
Give your store enough PHP memory limit!
Optimizing the server performance does not only include the CPU cores and the RAM, but also an appropriate PHP memory limit. This determines the maximum memory quota that the RAM provides for PHP processes. This set limit prevents the server from being overloaded, for example, by an incorrect script.
A higher PHP memory limit is a requirement for a more complex website like a WooCommerce store, so that the server can withstand large and simultaneous processes. Therefore, the PHP memory limit for our WooCommerce solutions is 512 megabytes.
By the way, the minimum PHP version recommended by WooCommerce is PHP 7.4. At Raidboxes you also have the option to upgrade your store to even newer and faster PHP versions with just one click.
How many CPU cores does your WooCommerce store need?
The question of which exact requirements your WooCommerce hosting has to offer depends, among other things, on your monthly traffic and the calls per minute and thus cannot be answered in a general way. On the site of our WooCommerce plans you will find a small guide to help you choose the right WooCommerce hosting for your store.
Another factor that determines your server power needs is the number, size and quality of your plugins. For example, if you use a larger plugin like Yoast SEO or Rank Math, which needs to be loaded on each of your websites, this requires a corresponding power of your server. The same applies if you want to link an analog POS system with your store and the server has to process constant live queries.
3. Many images = greater need for optimization
Large images and graphics can be a huge performance hog. Since WooCommerce stores usually need a lot of images to display the products, there is enormous optimization potential here that you should exploit. Fortunately, there are several image optimization plugins that can help you with this task.
Compressing your images correctly not only has a positive effect on the loading time of your WooCommerce store and thus on the user experience, but ideally improves your search engine ranking and your conversion rate. So it is almost a prerequisite for a good WooCommerce store.
As with any website in this day and age, it's also a requirement that you optimize your images for mobile viewing. According to an e-commerce study by Qubit, mobile web impacted up to 19 percent of total online sales in 2017. In addition, the results of the study show that online sales can be increased by up to 33 percent by improving mobile product discovery.
4. Security and data protection
Be on the safe side with backups and staging
If an plugin update or any other change shatters your website, it is important to get your WooCommerce store up and running again as quickly as possible. And this is where your backups come into play: With all our WooCommerce tariffs, a backup of your website is created fully automatically every night, which you can restore with just a few clicks. Additionally, manual backups are possible at any time.
The fact that this saves you a large backup plugin is an advantage for both security and performance reasons. It's not for nothing that our credo for plugins is: "As much as necessary, as little as possible!"
To avoid problems on your live website, you can use our staging environment to test changes on a copy of your website. If you are satisfied with the result, the staging environment can be switched live with one click. This is provided that you exclude the database tables with the orders when overwriting the live website. Because while you are testing changes in the staging environment, your live website may continue to receive orders that you would lose if you overwrite it.
Since GDPR , data protection is more important than ever for stores
If you operate a WooCommerce store, you process personal data such as addresses, account data and credit card numbers on a daily basis. Especially against the background of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), you should take the topics of security and data protection seriously.
It is best to look for a managed WordPress hosting that includes free SSL certificates, daily backups and WordPress, theme and plugin updates and uses only servers in Germany. In addition, at Raidboxes we have implemented other privacy tools to take as much of the work out of implementing the GDPR requirements as possible. One example is our WP Session Eraser and Login Protection.
Conclusion: Good WooCommerce hosting has your back
A WooCommerce store has special hosting requirements due to its many functionalities and dynamic processes. To save you precious time, money and nerves, you should choose a host that is familiar with these specifics, ensures the required performance and security and offers first-class WordPress support.
The bottom line is that your WooCommerce hosting should keep your back free so that you can concentrate on the essentials: the further development of your store and your products. This way, you enable a flawless shopping experience through your store, which is not only gladly repeated, but also recommended to others.
For more tips on WooCommerce and WooCommerce hosting, check out our 70+ page e-book WooCommerce for professionals: Online Shops with WordPress.
What is your experience with WooCommerce hosting so far? Which requirements are especially important for your store? I am looking forward to your comment!