Shopify Plus and Shopify Backend Performance Optimization (Part 1)

What Is Backend Performance?

The frontend performance is the time it takes your browser to make the site visible to a customer after you’ve downloaded the initial HTML page. But the backend performance is how long it takes to download that original HTML. It’s the time it takes before the frontend performance can even get to the starting line! In SEO terms, it’s the old “Time to First Byte” or in Google Analytics “Avg. Server Response Time”.

Why It’s So Important

  1. oogle heavily penalizes sites’ SEO ranking that have poor backend performance because it results in a bad customer experience.
  2. Having poor backend performance will result in a subpar customer experience and will have a direct effect on your revenue, conversion rate, and bounce rate. The reason being that most people will only tolerate a TTFB of about 1 second or they’ll get frustrated or distracted. (I know some people might say that’s sad and a reflection of our always on the go, fast food culture, but it’s just the reality right now!)

Full Page Caching

Another confusing thing is the averages you see in Google Analytics might not reflect what you see when you visit the actual pages. And they might not even show up in something like Google Page Speed Test or Web Page Speed Test. When testing the pages might load instantaneously for you, and when you run a google page speed test it might report a very fast server response time. But this is a sleight of the hand because Shopify employs a performance feature that they never talk about in any of their documentation: Full Page Caching.

So What Can You Do to Improve it?

In Part 2, we’ll discuss how you can take your newfound knowledge of Shopify’s backend performance and how you can apply that to optimize your site. As a sneak peek, this is a chart from Google Analytics of the Average server response time before/after optimization.

To be continued in Part 2…

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Mark William Lewis

Mark William Lewis

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eCommerce Web Developer (Magento/Shopify). Remote Worker (currently working from Miami Beach). Business Owner (netalico.com). Cat Lover (Cookie/Fender).