Why Is My Shopify Store Slow?

We all know that there are no perfect e-commerce solutions and despite the fact that I'm committed to the platform and prefer it to everything else presented on the market, in this article I will allow myself to criticize Shopify a little bit.

There are a number of different things that can cause your Shopify store to have sluggish performance. Some common causes include:

Why is my shopify store running slow? by Turbonize

1.Shopify’s Server Side and Liquid Language

Shopify’s built-in templating system is far from perfect. It uses it’s own templating language - Liquid, which is quite inefficient for rendering theme's code and difficult to customize. The amount of work the Shopify server has to do to compile the HTML code of the page increases as the complexity of the Liquid code increases. 

Caching mechanism is another bottleneck here. In order to generate the HTML code of the page, the Shopify server has to squeeze product data from database, assemble URLs for assets, render the liquid logic etc. and all of this multiplied by the number of pages of the store. Lots of work. Therefore any updates to theme code, regular customizations and content updates result in performance slowdown.

2.Shopify’s Front-End Functionality

The next issue is that the architecture of the platform is rigid and developers are mostly limited with what can be done to it. Shopify injects robust bricks of it's functionality right into the HTML code of each and every page of your store. And while we tend to think that platform's functionality has to be a beacon of current coding standards and modern development, in fact, it's way too far from that. 

Take it or leave it, no flexibility here.

3.Apps, 3rd-Party Plugins and Metrics

This is the major culprit behind your store’s weak performance. Apps, 3rd-party plugins, widgets and different metrics are great at extending functionality and adding style to the store but they also make it slower. Resources loaded by apps, lack of code optimization, huge number of requests, heavy files and poor coding lead to pages being unresponsive until app functionality is fully loaded and consequently results in the considerable drop of store's speed.

More apps - more issues. So the first thing store owners should do is to regularly review the number of apps and other 3rd-party they have in their stores.


4.Poor theme coding

Another contributor to performance degradation is messy theme coding.
Shopify theme is quite a complex organism consisting of Liquid, HTML, CSS, and JavaScript code and, of course, the quality and efficiency of coding in those languages matters.
On top of that, theme has to be light-weighted and performance optimized by default.

Besides the theme itself, basically, every store has it's own customizations to meet the particular needs.
The specific functionality you try to provide for a user in many cases requires complex implementation within the existing theme structure as well as Shopify architecture.
And for those purposes you need not only a skilled and professional developer, but also a developer who is experienced with performance.
However, the far majority of developers don't have an appropriate expertise or focus on performance.
For this reason merchants often get buggy and sometimes unmaintainable code that slows down store's overall performance.

Wrapping up

As you can see, sluggish performance of Shopify store can be a sign of many different problems. Some are big and some are small,
which is why it is always a good idea to let a professionals properly diagnose the bottlenecks and suggest the proper speed up strategy.