I Plan On Running WooCommerce. Have Any Tips?

This post is the sixth in a series called “Pagely Answers”, which seeks to provide in-depth answers to questions that are hard to handle with a simple FAQ. Today we talk about WooCommerce Hosting.

If you’ve been running WooCommerce and noticed that your site slowed down considerably because of it, then you’re not alone. In fact, this is pretty common. That’s because of how WC handles its various eCommerce functions. We also know from a Google study that a difference in load time of as little as 100 to 400 milliseconds has a measurable impact on user experience, and even more so on eCommerce. So we know WooCommerce is slow and we know that’s b-a-a-a-d news, so what should we do?

Understanding WooCommerce Architecture

First, let’s figure out exactly what makes WooCommerce so slow. Well, it’s pretty simple. Because all the product pages are database driven using queries, you’re likely running into a MySQL server speed bottleneck at wherever you’re hosting. If you’re currently on shared hosting, then this is no surprise. The more customers/sites you’re sharing a MySQL database server with, the slower it will be. Even a VPS at a budget host may not fix things. And as your site grows, the number of rows in your tables increase and these queries become increasingly large, so unfortunately the problem only gets worse over time. Page Caching and CDN’s aren’t much help, because we’re not concerned with static assets slowing load times but rather queries.

So what are the possible solutions?

Well, at a minimum you need to be on a VPS at a good host. Even better with would be a VPS with a dedicated MySQL database. And even better would be a dedicated server so all the resources are completely yours. Does it have to cost a fortune? Not really. Our VPS units start at just $400/mo and are based on top of world-class infrastructure at Amazon. Want a dedicated DB upgrade? We offer those for as little as $250/mo. So your entry point for a smooth running WooCommerce hosting plan is $650/mo and that’s not considered too bad in the world of eCommerce. Ever tried running that resource hog named Magento? You pretty much need a dedicated server if you have any type of real volume on it.

With a dedicated database, we can use a MySQL tuning utility to log and analyze the performance, adjusting things like database query cache based on our findings. That’s a better approach than say trying to optimize the actual MySQL queries made by WooCommerce or WordPress, as those changes will need to be made again and again each time you update to new versions. Instead, it’s better to accept how WooCommerce is setup, run the current version, and put the proper hardware setup behind it. Reach out if you need help with yours!

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  1. Hey guys, love that you posted this. Just got done presenting at Wordcamp on making websites fast. Woocommerce came up a lot.

    One thing: “Caching and CDN aren’t much help, because we’re not concerned with static assets slowing load times but rather queries.”

    That’s not entirely accurate. A opcode cache actually can help you out. It can actually help you out a lot, actually, but it also comes with some risks (running out of memory, stale content, etc).

    You guys are smart and I’m sure you know that and I know you’re referring to things like page and static asset caching. But in the interest of accuracy, I wanted to caveat that statement a bit cause, from what I saw this past weekend, a lot of folks are pretty curious about making WC faster

    Thanks for sharing this guys.

  2. Yep. Got it. And very much agree. Half of my discussions at WC ATL had something to do with the database backend itself…. definitely a lot of gains to be made there, and I think there’s growing awareness of that fact in the community. In the meantime, it’s good that hosts like Pagely are paying attention to this problem and helping folks address it. You guys are very right…. ecommerce sites can slaughter your speed if you’re not careful. That’s not WC specifically, but database intensive plugins in general. Event managers, membership plugins, forums…. a lot of this stuff comes with a major strain to the DB

  3. Great post, good to see some honesty about the challenges of running this stuff at scale.

    “So your entry point for a smooth running WooCommerce hosting plan is $650/mo”

    entry point? for a wordpress site? Don’t you think that at that price point a more robust underlying cms / ecomms plugin might be worth thinking about? eg spree.