OpenCart – Boosting Store Performance

How to boost overall store performance

We hear it time and time again on the forums. As a customer support agent on the Opencart forums I get a close up of the most common questions/problems that new store owners face after downloading Opencart and installing it. One of the major topics is the number of people that are unhappy with the way their store is performing on the web. Let me clarify: we are talking about server performance in how it relates to the customer shopping experience, not SEO (Search Engine Optimization). Often times store owners are very surprised at the load times on certain pages or all pages…and their customers may be complaining as well.  Let’s be honest, the WORST thing that you could possible do is introduce your online store to the WWW and have it so miserable to visit that no one comes back and your business “as a result of this” fails. Hopefully this article will help you understand some of the basic actions to perform in optimizing your Opencart.

Common blunders that create poor performance:

  1. Very bad hosting (slow servers)
  2. Failure to turn off category count especially with thousands of categories / products
  3. Over install of custom extensions, bogging down the light weight framework
  4. Installed extensions causing errors which slow down performance
  5. Failure to install page caching mechanisms

Choosing the correct hosting package

There have been many articles written on the different types of hosting including this one http://forum.opencart.com/viewtopic.php?f=20&t=67805  which I wrote some time ago. There are some basic rules you should go by when entertaining the idea of starting your own inline eCommerce store. Hopefully you will have already chosen a company like Arvixe to host your web shop simply because Arvixe has done a great job in outfitting their servers with the correct software to run the Opencart the most efficiently, not to mention a quick and easy installer that can be found within cPanel.

Invest in enough storage/bandwidth at the start

Never sacrifice quality with cost. If you plan on having a successful online business then you need to make sure you purchase and cover the cost of a server that will fit your overhead. This means that you should consider your PROJECTED TRAFFIC and start there. I always say that it’s safe to start out with a low level VPS and just upgrade from there as soon as you start getting profit to off-set the cost. Some, not all, can get away with having a Shared Hosting Plan. There is nothing wrong with this but problems may start to arise if your traffic increases and/or your storage requirements.  Imagine sharing your customers with thousand if not millions of other people at the same time and expecting them to be happy?  Each customer needs his own shopping experience where they are using their own bandwidth and software while on your site shopping. If your store gets lots of traffic and has thousands of products then you won’t achieve this with a Shared hosting plan.

Purchase and install particular extensions from the extension store that will help with performance

Here are a couple of the extensions that if installed will boost performance greatly. Please remember to take care of all of the basics before relying on these:

Page Cache http://www.opencart.com/index.php?route=extension/extension/info&extension_id=3477&filter_search=cache&page=1

Minify http://www.opencart.com/index.php?route=extension/extension/info&extension_id=6204&filter_search=cache

Category Count Remove http://www.opencart.com/index.php?route=extension/extension/info&extension_id=10956&filter_search=count%20remove

Overall, just take care of your customers and treat them with good bed side manner. By offering a top notch server that bring a good shopping experience you can get closer to achieving this.

For hosting that is perfect for Opencart we recommend www.arvixe.com

Looking for quality OpenCart Hosting? Look no further than Arvixe Web Hosting!

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Joe Stenhouse

Joe Stenhouse

I am a web application developer that specializes in PHP, JAVASCRIPT, MYSQL, HTML, and CSS. We manifest exciting potentials within the world wide web through means of innovation.

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