How to Speed Up an OpenCart Website with Tons of Products

OpenCart is a lightweight E-Commerce platform, which makes it fast and easy to work with.

Question is… how much products can OpenCart support before it starts slowing down?

Well, any E-Commerce website might get a tough time loading its pages fast enough if you suddenly burden it with hundreds of thousands of products.

The product images alone (if not optimized) can absolutely kill your page loading times.

But whether the large amount of products will slow down your site or not depends on a lot of factors.

We have seen OpenCart stores running 1,000,000 products (online bookstore) where everything is running beautifully with a good page speed score.

True story.

(Source: Stocksnap)


How did they do it?

There are four main factors that will determine your OpenCart performance under the load of large volumes of products.

1. A Good Hosting Provider


If you’re planning on selling tons of products, you can’t go cheap on your hosting. Or, if you’re planning to grow your product base gradually, you can start with a budget plan and later scale accordingly.

There are a few key points to consider when choosing a hosting provider:

  • Server reliability and uptime scores (At least 99.5% or more uptime score)
  • Security (Firewalls, monitoring services, customer support)
  • Site backup availability (Daily back-ups are an advantage)
  • Customer service (24/7 support is a necessity and reliability factor)


There are three main types of hosting services:

  • Shared hosting: For a small to medium size starting store
  • VPS hosting (Recommended): For a medium and growing store
  • Dedicated hosting (Recommended): For a large business with maximum resources and security

Since we’re talking about a large amount of products, what matters the most is not the hosting type.

However, one of the reasons you might not want to be on a shared hosting is that having a large product base might require optimizations and changes to your database. This means that shared hosting is not a viable option, since you’re not allowed to make server configuration changes.

2. Choose Your Theme Wisely


Choose or design your theme by keeping performance in mind.

Just the Features You Need

A lot of store owners believe that the more features their website has, the better. This comes at a price which can have a bad impact on your store speed.

Research the market carefully and look for an elegant theme that will not have any excessive features you won’t need.
 

Speed TestYou might do a Google PageSpeed research on the theme prior to buying it. Remember to test multiple pages, not just the home page.


(Info source: MachMetrics)

Mind that the results of the speed test you’re performing will depend on the hosting provider of the theme demo. So, you might get even better results with the hosting provider you’re using.

Theme Downloads & Rating

Also, make sure to follow the number of theme downloads, rating and customer feedback. Choosing a theme is just like choosing any other product before purchasing.

How popular is the theme you’re looking at? What’s the rating, are the buyers satisfied with the performance and the support?

All of this goes into account when choosing an OpenCart theme.

But since we’re sticking to the topic at hand, try looking for a lightweight theme that will not put additional strain on your server, especially since you will be having a large amount of products in your store.

3. Choose Your Extensions Wisely


A large number of OpenCart extensions might also cause some drawbacks with page loading speed.

Again, choose just the extensions you really need.

How do OpenCart modules affect your site loading time?

Each extension has its own functionality and adds certain features to your OpenCart store.

Sometimes, modules need to make database calls to perform these functionalities. Other modules load front-end assets like CSS, JavaScript files, images and others.

In both cases, these calls and assets add up to the loading time of your store.

However, if the OpenCart module is well written and is downloaded from a trusted developer, the performance impact might not even be noticeable.

How to check if a module is good for your store?

It’s a good idea to be careful with the budget modules available on the OpenCart marketplace.

Some of the must-have signs that a module is reliable:

  • Number of downloads & reviews (Is the customer feedback positive?)
  • The module comes with support (Is the support fast and efficient?)
  • The module has wide compatibility (Is the module compatible with multiple OpenCart versions?)
  • Documentation (Are there sufficient installation and configuration instructions?)


When building a store with thousands products, you will definitely need some custom functionalities. However, remember to just get the features you really need, nothing too excessive.

4. (Top Priority) Install a Caching Tool


This is where things get real.

There’s no argument that a large product base will require you to invest in a speed-boosting OpenCart caching tool.


Meet NitroPack, the most popular OpenCart performance optimization framework.

How to Use NitroPack in a Store with Tons of Products

NitroPack has no issues optimizing a store with high volumes of products. There are a few things you should do for the extension to have its maximum effect on your sizeable setup.

Disk Space

One thing you should do is prepare enough disk space for the cache files. The size of the cache may vary greatly depending on many factors, but you should make sure you have at least 10 - 15 GB disk space just for the cache.

Page Caching

Another thing to keep in mind is that page caching is only possible when the clients are not logged in and they do not have items in their carts. Once a client puts an item in their cart the page cache will no longer be active for that customer.

Database Caching

Database cache will still be active, so we will suggest you to also set up database caching with an in-memory storage engine like Redis or Memcached.

Hosting Resources

Since these storage engines use the RAM to store the cache data, we suggest to have at least 5GB of RAM dedicated to the database caching.

Basically, these are the scenarios you need to cover when optimizing your big OpenCart store with NitroPack. If everything is set properly, you should have no performance issues running as much as a million items in your E-Commerce site.
 

AlternativeInstead of NitroPack, you can use Cloudflare (The web performance & security company) or any other server caching like Varnish. A good addition to this would be to also use a CDN to store your images so you can play easy on the host.


Conclusion

All-in-all, invest in a reliable hosting, invest in a quality theme and extensions and most importantly - go for a caching solution that will be able to drastically improve the entire user experience, performance (and even ranking) of your OpenCart website.
 

Try NitroPack Here

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