Online store speed

Online store speed

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General

Online store speed
Online store speed
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Online store speed

The speed and performance of your online store is key to a great shopping experience. Keeping track of your store speed can help avoid problems that may impact your customer's experience.

That said, speed scores are not "pass or fail" grades. You may surprised by a low speed rank but no need to panic! Low speed ranks doesn't mean your site is broken. Sites with more quality content and features will naturally have a slower speed rank — but usually it's worth it!

Slow page speed becomes a problem when it noticeably impacts load-time, usability, and discoverability of your site. We'll help put your store speed in context and show you how to balance the costs and benefits when making changes to your store.

Measuring page speed

While there are many tools to measure site speed, Shopify's Online Store Speed Report provides the most useful picture of your site's performance.

Most online speed rankers will compare your online store to all types of websites, which can be like comparing apples to oranges because Shopify stores are far more powerful than standard sites.

Unlike the speedometer in your car, speed scores do not tell you your exact speed. They are a relative ranking of how your store compares to similar stores.

Shopify's Speed Report compares your store against other stores that are similar to yours, based on:

  • Number of sales
  • Number of products and variants
  • Types of products
  • Traffic
  • Apps installed
  • Theme used

The online speed score gives you a sense of whether your store is slower, faster, or the same speed as similar stores.

A lower speed rank does not always reflect a problem with your site — sites with more quality content and features will naturally have a slower speed rank — but it’s usually worth it!

Contributing factors

Most changes made to your online store will impact speed, even though it can often be imperceptible when browsing your site.

Your score may change when you add new products or collections, install an app, or add features and content to your pages.

Some of these factors are out of your control, such as Shopify's infrastructure, your customer's device and connection, and theme code. We'll cover those factors you can improve below.

Factors that influence your store speed include:

  • Shopify infrastructure
  • Third-party libraries and services
  • Analytic libraries
  • Apps
  • Theme code
  • Store features
  • Custom development
  • Image and Video content
  • Number of products

Theme performance

The performance of Cornerstone is our top priority. Cornerstone meets Shopify's code and performance standards and we're committed to making continual updates to improve our theme.

Cornerstone ensures high site performance through optimized resources and dynamic loading. For example, Cornerstone will automatically display the optimal image size depending on the customer's device. Cornerstone also uses "code splitting" and "lazy-loading" to load content and resources only when needed.

We recommend checking Cornerstone's changelog to keep updated on the latest theme version. If you have any specific questions or concerns about Cornerstone, please get in touch with our Support.

Improving store speed

Your speed report can help remind you when to review your site's performance and also track your relative speed rank over time.

When you are concerned about a low store speed, review your site page-by-page and note where you there's visible slowness or impacted features. Some pages, like the home page and product page, will naturally have a lower speed that does not reflect the overall speed of your site.

Start with small incremental changes. Some causes of slowness may be obvious — for example, too many apps, especially when unused. However, making small gradual changes will help you balance an improved store speed with providing a high-quality shopping experience.

Before making any changes, we encourage carefully weighing the benefits and costs of particular features before changing or removing them. Remember: it's not about faster; it's about balance.

Note | Updates to your speed score can be delayed up to a few days after changes are made. Your rank will also vary over time based on changes other stores have made, even if you haven't made any.

Remove unnecessary apps

Both the code added by apps and the total number of apps will increase page load times, sometimes significantly.

Remove any apps that are no longer being used and weigh the benefits of an app (does it contribute to your bottom line?) against the cost of speed.

See our article on using third-party apps with questions to consider before downloading.

Design concise pages with impact

It can be tempting to use all the features and content at your fingertips. Generally, following the principle of "less is more" can make for the most effective site designs.

Focus on a small set of theme sections per page that achieve the most amount of impact, whether your goal is to sell your product, promote your brand, or engage customers with your story.

Also consider reducing the number of images or autoplay videos on a page or products shown in on a single collection, page, or section.

Optimize image and videos

Avoid uploading oversized videos. For sections with autoplay videos, we suggest a maximum limit of 10mb or about 10 seconds. The most effective autoplay videos are short and concise.

Both Shopify and Cornerstone make sure the optimal size of your images are loaded — so typically, there's no need to fret about images sizes. However, if you're concerned about the size of your images, check out Shopify's 10 Must Know Image Optimization Tips.

Limit store features and custom code

There are some features that are "heavy" and will have a larger impact on speed. Custom code can also come at a cost, so we again recommend making smaller gradual changes rather than drastic overhauls.

For example, disabling Shopify's Dynamic "Buy now" button can significantly increase your product page speed but at the cost of the potential benefit of your conversion rate.

If you are using custom fonts, consider using system fonts: Shopify's font picker supports hundreds of great fonts that load faster than custom fonts.

See Shopify's Store speed manual to learn more about improving your store's speed.