A Faster Shopify: Two Big Performance Improvements to Your Online Store

Storefront performance improvements

We've built Shopify to be fast, with slim and optimized themes and a powerful online store infrastructure. However, we are always looking for ways to make Shopify even faster.

We recently launched two big infrastructure upgrades that have been automatically enabled for all online stores. The first is an improvement to our network infrastructure that expanded our points of presence from 2 to 180 nodes across 80 countries. This means that we've reduced the time it takes for traffic to get to our servers. Second, we've added automatic support for the highly optimized WebP image format to online stores.

These features normally cost thousands of dollars a month when purchased through third-party services. Now, they’re included at no additional cost for all Shopify subscriptions.

Fast global network

Behind the scenes, there are many steps your customer’s browser must take to load your online store. The first of these steps is establishing a network connection with Shopify, finding the best network route to your server, and then downloading the page they’re visiting. The longer it takes to establish this connection and route the request, the longer a customer is left wondering if the page is actually working, and the more likely they are to leave your store.

We’ve upgraded our global network to 180 points of presence across 80 countries to handle the routing of all connections to Shopify. With this upgrade, we’ve reduced the overall request times by up to 39%, which means shoppers can access your pages much faster. To date, we’ve seen the most notable improvements in international markets like Australia, Japan, India and Singapore.

Lightweight image files built for speed

After your customers establish a connection with Shopify, their browser begins to download all of the necessary assets to display your store. Of these assets, images of your products are some of the most important. The faster a customer sees your product photography, the faster your photos can help visually sell your products and answer potential questions.

One of the best ways to reduce the time it takes for images to display is to decrease the amount of data that needs to be downloaded. With WebP, we’ve managed to dramatically reduce the file size for all images hosted on Shopify. Online stores now automatically serve WebP images, which are up to 30% smaller than traditional image formats like .jpg and .png, to all supported browsers.

Performance as a competitive edge

Site speed is a competitive advantage that directly influences your conversion rates. That’s why Shopify is committed to helping your business succeed with immersive and lightning-fast online stores. 

As the engine that powers your business, we want your Shopify store to run fast by default. There are additional tweaks merchants can make to enhance their results even more. If you want to further optimize the performance of your store, contact a Shopify Expert for recommendations that are tailored to your unique business and market.