If you are running a WooCommerce shop, you should be aware of some specifics regarding the hosting and optimization of your WordPress site . That's why we're going to show you today what to look out for in your WooCommerce-Hosting to optimize the user experience of your customers, the search engine ranking of your shop and your conversions.
According to recent data from BuildWith 28 percent of the top one million e-commercesites use the shop system WooCommerce. This means that the popular WordPress -Plugin has the largest market share, followed by Shopify (19%) and Magento (10%). The success does not come by chance: Because with the free Plugin your WordPress - website can be transformed into a functional online shop. With more than five million active installations, it is one of the most popular WordPress -Plugins websites.
Which advantages and possible problems WooCommerce brings in comparison to other shop systems, you can read in our article "WooCommerce: The advantages & disadvantages of the popular shop-Plugins".
According to an infographic from Truconversion a single second of additional load 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 page performance is to your success. A negative user experience not only leads to more abandonment in the checkout process, but also decreases referral rates.
Optimizing the performance of your shop not only improves the user experience of your customers, but also your visibility. After all, page speed has been an official ranking factor since 2010. official ranking factor. Since July 2018, Google has taken into account the page speed for mobile searches as well.searches.
You should consider these 4 things when hosting your shop
As WooCommerce websites usually generate a lot of data and requests, they place particular demands on the hosting and also require you to take one or two optimization measures. For this reason, I'll show you four things you should consider when hosting WooCommerce today:
How does the cache work for WooCommerce shops?
For online stores to function properly, there must be certain exceptions regarding caching. A good example of such an exception is the shopping cart. Caching this area of your shop would not only lead to total chaos when ordering, but would also be problematic from a data protection point of view. For this reason, it is simply necessary with WooCommerce hosting to systematically exclude certain areas from caching.
It is therefore crucial that you, as the shop owner, develop an understanding of the visitor load that your shop can cope with. You can do this for example with Loader.io to check this. The tool simulates accesses to your site and shows when your shop is in danger of collapsing under the load. Or to slow down so much that users cancel their visit. If you prefer to work with the command line, you can also use the Apache Benchmark Tool tool.
Another area that can't be cached is the WordPress backend. Without optimization measures, long loading times occur, especially for large tasks like bulk uploads of product images or processing a huge amount of product information.
Simultaneous visitors in your shopping cart or large actions in the backend are directly reflected in the processor performance. You can't rely on caching to optimize these dynamic areas and need to find other routes for improvements.
A WooCommerce shop generates a lot of dynamic content and requests that cannot be cached so you need to have server performance to match.
During peak shopping hours, depending on the size and popularity of your store, there might be tens of thousands of visitors to your site at once. These visitors could be looking for products, filtering items by product category, filling their shopping cart, and making purchases - all at the same time.
This is exactly what your shop hosting should be equipped for. After all, potential sales are lost for every second your WooCommerce shop is overloaded or even offline.
More CPU power for high-traffic sites with high volume of orders
One important optimization measure for your WooCommerce shop hosting is to increase the number of CPU cores. After all, the server must be able to handle more load from the additional visits and corresponding database queries (for example, displaying products according to different filters). Our IT team like to use the metaphor of a fast-food restaurant to explain the principle:
Imagine the server of your WordPress website is a fast-food restaurant. Each person behind the sales counter represents a CPU core. If there's only one person behind the counter, only one request can be processed at a time. When you only have a few visitors, this isn't going to be a problem to start with.
However, if the number of visitors is so high that the restaurant is overwhelmed with requests, you're going to need more employees, i.e. more CPU cores. The more people there are at the sales counter, the more orders can be processed simultaneously.
In this context, it's important to understand that having more CPU cores doesn't automatically improve the load time of your WordPress website. Because the individual cores work equally fast. Increasing the number of cores rather ensures that more requests can be processed at the same time and that they don't overload your shop.
Give your shop enough PHP memory limit!
Optimizing server performance is not only about CPU cores and RAM, but also about 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 by a faulty script, for example.
A higher PHP memory limit is useful for more complex sites like online shops so the server is able to withstand large and simultaneous processes. For this reason, the PHP memory limit for our WooCommerce solutions is 512 megabytes.
The minimum PHP version recommended by WooCommerce is PHP 7.2. At RAIDBOXES you have the possibility to upgrade your shop to the even faster PHP versions 7.3 or 7.4 with just one click.
How many CPU cores does your WooCommerce shop need? TESTING
The question, which exact specifications your WooCommerce hosting must offer, depends among other things on your monthly visitors and page impressions per minute and can therefore not be answered in a general way. On the site of our WooCommerce-tariffs you will find a small guide to help you choose the right hosting solution for your shop.
Another factor that determines your server power needs is the number, size and quality of your Plugins. For example, if you are using a larger Plugin such as Yoast SEO or Rank Math, which needs to be loaded on each of your site , your server should have the appropriate power. The same applies if you want to link an analog POS system with your shop and the server has to process constant live queries.
Large images and graphics can be a huge performance hog. Since online shops usually need a lot of images to display the products, there is enormous optimization potential that you should exploit. Fortunately, there are several image optimization toolsPlugins that can help you with this task.
Compressing your images properly not only has a positive effect on the loading time of your WooCommerce shop and thus on your customers' user experience, but it can also improve your search engine ranking and conversion rates.
As with any website in this day and age, it's also important to 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.
Be on the safe side with backups and staging
Should a Plugin update or other change destroy your website, it is essential to get your shop up and running again as quickly as possible. And this is where your backups come into play: With all of our WooCommerce tariffs, each night automatically creates a backup of your site that you can restore with just a few clicks. In addition, manual backups are possible at any time.
This means you no longer need to rely on any large plugins for backups - a plus in both security and performance. After all, our motto for plugins is "as many as necessary, as few as possible!"
To avoid problems on your live-site 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. It is important that you exclude the database tables with orders and customers when overwriting the livesite environment. Because while you are testing changes in the Staging environment, your livesite can continue to receive orders that you would lose if you overwrite them.
GDPR: Data protection is more important than ever
If you operate a WooCommerce shop, you process personal data such as address, account data and credit card numbers of your customers 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. In our free, 30-page GDPR e-book, you can find out which measures you need to implement to make your WordPress website legally secure.
It is best to look for a WordPress web hoster , which free SSL certificates offers daily backups and managed WordPress , Theme- and Plugin-updates and only uses servers in Germany . In addition, at RAIDBOXES we have implemented other privacy tools to take as much of the work out of implementing GDPR as possible. One example is our WP Session Eraser and the RB Login Protector.
A WooCommerce shop places extra demands on its hosting because of the many functions and dynamic processes involved in running a shop. To save yourself valuable time, money, and nerves, you should choose a host that is familiar with these special requirements, guarantees the performance and security you need, and offers first-class WordPress support.
At the end of the day, your host should give you space so you can concentrate on what's most important: developing your shop and products. This way, you can offer your customers a flawless shopping experience that they'll not only repeat but also recommend.
You can find more tips on WooCommerce in our over 70 sites strong e-book WooCommerce for professionals: Online shops with WordPress . It is aimed at freelancers, agencies, WP professionals, but also at WooCommerce newbies.
What's your experience of WooCommerce hosting been like? Which requirements are particularly important for your shop? I look forward to your comment!