What is the speed score indication?
Shopify uses Lighthouse to measure your stores loading speeds, and then compares this to similar stores. Please note that we cannot clarify how Shopify categorizes stores for similarity.
How it works
Shopify run Google Lighthouse tests on page load speeds, across key pages of your store and assigns a score to it, from 1 to 100. The speed score you get is a weighted average of 3 pages: home page, top-visited product page, and top-visited collection page. To ensure a more accurate score, Shopify averages the results over a period of time.
Online store speed can vary depending on factors such as traffic, hosting, and third-party integrations; some of these can even lead to inconsistent results from the tool.
Below is an example of our Enterprise Digital demo stores from our themes that was run under the Desktop profile:
If you're curious about what to aim for, try running the test on a demo store for your theme. This will give you an idea of what a store, without any modifications, will score. Remember that adding a lot of content, detailed images, videos, maps, and apps such as the Shopify Product Reviews app can slightly lower the score. By keeping your content and apps minimal, you should be able to achieve a score similar to our demo stores.
Impact of your score
Although a score below 50 might seem concerning, it's not something to worry about excessively. In fact, major websites like Amazon, MVMT, Gymshark, Apple, and even Google's own Lighthouse documentation page all have scores below 50 at the time of writing.
There is no direct link between a store's success and its Shopify Online Store speed score. As long as your website loads and functions well on a real device, there's no need to panic unless it takes a long time to load.
High scores can be difficult to achieve due to the presence of certain elements that lower the score, such as required Shopify scripts for features like dynamic payment buttons and customer session tracking.
Although removing elements that lower the page speed score may be tempting, it's important to remember that they are crucial for the proper functioning of your online store. A simple blog may not need these elements, but an e-commerce site does. You can feel confident with a score of 20 or above if your website loads and functions well on a real device.
Improving speed scores
If you want to improve your page speed score, the first step is to assess the load time on a real device. Does the website feel fast? Remember that page speed scores are artificial, can be flawed, and do not always accurately reflect the load time on a real device. If your website feels fast and is not noticeably slower than your competitors, there may be other areas that would benefit more from your time and attention.
Here are tips for helping you improve the score, see the proceeding sections for more:
- Have as few apps as possible
- Keep content simple (homepage content)
- Run speed tests on published themes only
- Avoid using videos
- Disable dynamic checkout buttons (only if unneeded)
- Use the latest version of your theme
- Have fewer fonts
Selective App usage
In our experience, apps are the single biggest reason why a theme performs slower than it should. Avoid non-vital apps where possible and ensure any unused apps are fully uninstalled and no remnant code/scripts remain - not even the Shopify Reviews app.
You can also test other apps to see which has the least impact. Once the theme loads a page, the apps load and can start to load in additional scripts that can take time for the browser to process. Some apps use servers hosted outside of Shopify, which can slow down the loading time of your site. As theme developers, we have no control over this. Therefore, it is best only to use apps that are essential to your business and positively impact your sales or are necessary for your business operations.
Apps that do rely on interacting with your pages won’t affect your score in any way. For example, order printing apps, or apps that sync your customer list to mailing lists.
Keep content simple
When it comes to the homepage, less is often more. Consider how long it takes to scroll from top to bottom on your homepage. To improve load speed, it's best to avoid overwhelming the homepage with too much content. Instead, opt for a seasonal approach and switch out content regularly to keep it fresh and engaging for your customers.
Images and videos can be great for showcasing your site, but they do take time to load. To boost your page speed score, try reducing some of the content sections on the homepage, such as using fewer product rows.
Test on a published theme
If your theme is not published as your live theme, you will be running a speed test on the theme in Preview mode. In this situation, it's likely that the code needed to render Shopify Admin bar will be the biggest cause of slow speed scores. If possible, publish your store and check speed scores on the live theme instead.
Avoid videos (if possible)
Videos by their nature are large and take time to load. If you do use videos, avoid placing the Background video section near the top of the page. The browser will need to wait until the video can start playing and this will contribute to a higher Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) score.
Also avoid embedding images or video within the Shopify rich text area in such areas as product pages, collection pages, general pages, and blog articles. Instead, use the image and video sections within the theme.
We recommend using JPGs for product images unless the image takes up more than half the page. JPGs provide great quality and are typically smaller in file size, resulting in faster loading times.
For slideshows that cover a significant portion of the page and other image sections that display large images, use PNGs. PNG files retain their quality and are larger in file size than JPGs.
Our themes will load the most appropriately sized version of any image added within the Theme settings. However, it typically won't change the dimensions of the image. For example, if your product cards are set to be portrait, but the images are actually landscape - a good portion of the image will still be loaded, but not displayed. Always upload image roughly in the dimensions that they will be displayed in the store.
Where a section has a Mobile image setting (e.g. Slideshow section), use it. We've found that square images are best to use for mobile devices as this scales best on smaller screens as well as tablets.
If your theme comes with scroll animations, consider turning these off. Whilst scroll animations can help to create a more luxurious feel, they can also create a perception of a slower loading page to both users and benchmarking tools (e.g. Lighthouse).
Subject to browsers, internet speeds and other factors, such animations can have an impact on the Cumulative Layout Shift [CLS] and have a small impact on load times.
Disable dynamic checkout buttons
Some users have reported improving site speed by disabling dynamic checkout buttons. These buttons pull in information the theme has no control over, which can slow down the theme. If you don't see many customers purchasing through these links, you may want to consider disabling them to increase speed.
Settings to control these will show on the product page, featured product section, cart drawer section (if applicable to your theme), and cart page.
Use the latest version of your theme
We always recommend updating to the latest version of our themes, as not only does Shopify release new features to improve loading times, but we are also constantly innovating to improve what we can control within themes.
Read more in our guide on Updating themes.
Product page image order
Make sure each product's first image is the one associated with the default variant. This means the product image slider will not have to dedicate load time to cycle through to an alternative variant image when the page loads.
Have fewer fonts
Have fewer fonts. Keep your Heading, Body and Navigation font the same as this will mean fewer files are needed on page load.
Using the SYSTEM FONTS is preferable as they load faster than OTHER FONT.