WooCommerce Scaling FAQs

A persistent myth about WooCommerce is that WordPress and WooCommerce do not scale. It would work for small stores, but not for large enterprises.

Because we believe in dogfooding, we run WooCommerce.com on both WordPress and WooCommerce, and handle a large number of transactions.

Here are questions we get most often and the answers.

What is scalability? ↑ Back to top

Scalability is the ability to grow without it negatively affecting the store’s performance.

What influences scaling? ↑ Back to top

There are four major factors that influence the scaling.

  1. Traffic. The biggest influencer on your store’s performance is how much traffic you get and how well it is distributed. For example, if you are running a big sale on one product, all traffic may be concentrated on that specific product page and the cart, while other stores may have high-traffic volume distributed more evenly.
  2. WooCommerce code. Our team is constantly working to bring WooCommerce to new levels. Scalability and performance are high on our agenda, and we spend a lot of time optimizing code toward this goal.
  3. Other system code. WooCommerce will never be the only software running on your store. You likely have a theme and a few other plugins. All code can have influence on the store’s performance, and figuring out what parts are optimized will help scale.
  4. Server hardware. Some hosting companies or hosting packages are designed to handle large amounts of traffic. Finding a good host and the right package are key to scaling a store.

Scalability of your store is influenced by a mix of the above. As your store grows, you ideally also invest in a team to support it so it is unaffected in performance and speed.

A developer balancing these four aspects and optimizing is a necessary asset at some point. For example, WooCommerce.com store is supported by four developers and one designer in full-time service.

What is the maximum WooCommerce can handle? ↑ Back to top

Sky is the limit. We’ve seen instances of shops with 100,000+ products listed, handling thousands of transactions per minute. In those cases, they had great hosting support and their own developer team focused on optimization.

We have stores of different types and sizes in our WooCommerce Showcase.

How do I test the performance of my store? ↑ Back to top

There are a few ways:

  • Average “Add to cart” calls per minute is a good indication of demands on your server. Use our free Google Analytics extension to track Add-to-cart calls.
  • Google Chrome Dev Tools include a timeline tool that shows how long your store takes to load and which elements are taking the most time.
  • Google PageSpeed Tools allows you to test the speed of each page and gives suggestions on how to improve your store.

For detailed information, premium services like New Relic give a myriad of information.

How are updates managed? ↑ Back to top

It is important to have up-to-date code running your store, as the most recent version of software has the most optimized performance.

WordPress has one-click update options for its core, plugins and themes. However, when you start with enterprise stores, we advise using a staging server and/or version control software.

Having a good backup system, such as any of Jetpack’s Premium plans, can help with that.

Do you have a CDN (Content Delivery Network)? ↑ Back to top

While we don’t have a CDN, we do recommend using the Jetpack extension, and its high-speed CDN — included even in the free plan. This feature offloads images to a really snappy server and has been seen to significantly improve load times.

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