Improving the speed of your site

Why does it matter?

Your website's loading speed affects your customers' shopping experience, your conversion rates, and your store's discoverability.

Major factors impacting performance

Various factors can affect the performance of your online store. These include the apps you have installed, your Shopify theme, the speed of your network, and the Shopify platform itself. To enhance your store's performance, it is essential to focus on some of the significant factors, such as Apps, content, and theme. This support article will provide insights on what actions you can take to improve your store's performance.

Apps have the most significant impact on your theme's performance

  • Each app adds its code to the theme, which takes time to execute

  • Uninstalled apps can leave code behind that slows down your theme

  • Code customizations should be carefully added since “quick fixes” from tutorials can solve a problem but increase thread work (e.g., adding JQuery reference, adding <style> code in the theme.liquid file, adding Javascript, particularly with <script> tags)

You can improve your website's performance by reducing the number of customer-facing apps, such as pop-ups and page builders, and increasing the number of back-end apps that connect to accounting or shipping services.

It's important to be cautious when removing apps from your store as some apps may make changes to your theme code, which can have an impact on your store's performance. Even if you uninstall the app, these changes may still remain in place. To effectively remove any leftover code, it's best to contact the app developer's support team for assistance.

The importance of website content

  • The larger a page is, the longer it takes for a page to load

  • Images, in particular, take longer to load than text or other types of content

  • Larger images take longer to load

  • Some sections, like videos (and, to a lesser degree, sliders), can quickly impact your page speed.

  • This doesn’t mean you should remove content from your site

  • Themes certainly impact your site’s speed, but they’re just one piece of the puzzle, regardless of where that report appears.

Above the fold

You can have a big impact by simplifying your content "above the fold," which means the content is immediately visible when your page loads. An example of simplifying this content would be to replace a slideshow with a single Image with a Text section.


The theme you are using will automatically compress and optimize your images. You can upload high-quality, large images without worrying about the site's loading speed. The theme will automatically load the appropriate size image for each screen. For instance, mobile screens will get smaller images, while larger screens will get large images. The theme uses Shopify's compression algorithm, which adjusts its settings based on best practices. We advise against applying additional compression before uploading, as doing so can cause visible compression artifacts in the images without any increase in loading speed.

To improve the loading speed of your website, it's important to reduce the number of unnecessary redirects. Redirects can cause an increase in the number of requests made by your site, which ultimately results in a slower load time. You can manage redirects by going to the Online Store > Navigation > URL Redirects section. Make sure to minimize the number of redirects as much as possible.

Next, you'll want to manually test your entire store for broken links (links that lead nowhere). This will improve page speed and customer experience.

Updating your theme

Keeping your theme updated with the latest version ensures that all the components, from script libraries to Shopify features to page speed-specific enhancements, are up to date. Every theme studio's support department will recommend that you start by updating your theme to the latest version.

If you have purchased your theme from the Shopify Theme Store and licensed it correctly, you can effortlessly update it by using Shopify's Update process. This process is safe and secure and copies your current theme settings and templates to a new version that is added to your drafts, unpublished section. It's important to note that the live theme will never be updated directly, so you don't have to worry about any changes being made to your live website without your knowledge or consent.

Shopify Speed Score

Shopify's Online Store Speed feature is displayed in the Themes area of your Online Store Admin and in greater depth within your Admin > Analytics. Here is Shopify's own documentation on the Speed Score metric.

Understanding the limitations of the Shopify Speed Score

Reports are delayed by 1-3 days. The tool is not live or instant. After you make changes, an updated score can take up to three days to be reported.

Even though the speed report is positioned under the published theme, if you make changes to your store to improve speed or even switch the theme entirely, the speed report will not automatically update

“Similar store” is defined in a way such that it might not be “similar” to your store. Some metrics used are:

  • Number of sales to date

  • Gross sales

  • Number of products and variants

  • Types of products

  • Traffic

  • Apps installed

  • Theme used

Shopify-required code slows down your theme, and it can’t be removed:

{{ content_for_header }} Loads resource-heavy functionality through dynamic buttons, analytics, and other scripts.

Your speed score is a score -- if you’re concerned about speed, check its actual speed:

GT Metrix is the best tool for checking your site speed. This is the best way to tell you if your site is slow or fast (3-5 seconds should be your benchmark for your home page). A free account is now required to view results.

Speed score fluctuations

Shopify's speed evaluation is based on Google's Lighthouse Web Developer Tools data. These scores fluctuate based on many factors, including internet traffic routing changes, testing on different devices, browser extensions, and antivirus software. Google has more information on their score variability here.

Additionally, the "Speed Score" can change over time without changing your theme, apps, or content. The reason is that the score is not a measurement of your store but rather your store compared to other stores. The criteria for this comparison aren't fully transparent yet, and the comparison can take days to formulate, so it's still very difficult to identify exactly what changes result in a higher or lower score.

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