You’ve added all your products and put the finishing touches on your PrestaShop store design. Today is the day you take your store out of maintenance mode. You refresh your homepage but all you see is a blank page for 1… 2… 3… 4… whole seconds!
As excited as you are, a question lingers at the back of your mind: “Why did my online store take so long to load?”
It’s a question many merchants find themselves asking, and the answer is quite simple. The PrestaShop performance settings optimized for website development aren’t the same for page load speed. With PrestaShop, it’s easy to switch your shop’s configurations from development-friendly to speed-optimized. So today we share some quick and easy settings to speed up your PrestaShop store. As an added bonus, we explain how each setting works.
Start by logging into your PrestaShop back office, and navigating to ADVANCED PARAMETERS > PERFORMANCE
There you’ll see the SMARTY tab, which corresponds to your theme or template. (Smarty is the template language used on PrestaShop themes.)
Template Compilation: This setting determines whether the website has to recompile its instructions. Why does a theme have instructions? The PrestaShop default template is built to be flexible and customizable to meet the needs of any online merchant. With that said, our design elements are not static; each design module connects to your shop with its own set of template instructions. It’s how you can customize our default template to make it your own.
[X] Never recompile template files – (Fastest) Select this if you are completely satisfied with the design and are done editing files.
[ ] Recompile templates if the files have been updated – (Fast) Choose this option if you’re a developer-merchant who makes regular theme edits to the website. The page will only recompile if changes have been made to theme files.
[ ] Force compilation – (Slow) Only use this setting while you’re debugging the website. Each time the page loads, the theme re-determines which elements should be displayed and how.
Cache: A cache refers to temporarily stored files that increase performance and reduce delays.
[X] YES – Once you’re done customizing your front office theme, turn on this option to improve your website’s performance for customers.
[ ] NO – The only time you don’t use caching is when you’re actively working on your theme. If you don’t have this option disabled, you won’t see the changes you’ve made immediately. When you’re developing the theme, clear your cache to ensure the changes are reflected on the webpage.
Caching Type: File System or MySQL – Because this setting’s configuration varies from shop to shop, there is no definitive answer when deciding which is better. It really depends on the size of your database, along with its configuration and optimization. If you have a small database, it’ll be difficult to notice any difference.
[ ] Never clear cache files – Select this option if you want to stop clearing the cache altogether. This is useful if you are doing a lot of modifications, or some bulk actions like a CSV import: you wouldn’t want the cache to be cleared constantly. Be sure to turn this option off when you are done; or clear your cache manually.
[X] Clear cache every time something has been modified - It does exactly what it says. Your website’s cache will be cleared once something changes. This ensures your customers see the most updated version of your website.
BONUS: If you want even more control over how often and which pages are cached, download our premium community developed Cache Manager from PrestaShop Addons.
Turning off the following features may speed up your website, but barely. They also limit PrestaShop’s features and restrict you from using the software to its full potential.
Please note, if these options are grayed out and you can’t disable then, you’re already using the feature.
CCC (Combine, Compress and Cache)
CCC is a set of tools aimed at minimizing website loading time. Here’s what it does:
CCC combines similar text files into one bigger file, which limits the number of files to download; then compresses the file using the common Zip algorithm, which speeds downloads. Finally, it caches the compressed file, eliminating the need to perform this process each time a page loads, relieving the burden on the server's processor.
Beware some of these settings may distort your theme, so be sure to turn them on one at time. And as always, be sure to test your website after making any changes.
Smart cache for CSS: [YES] - Combine, compress and cache CSS type files.
Minify HTML: [YES] – This configuration removes all the white spaces in the HTML code generated from the Smarty Template.
It’s your turn
Ready to speed up your PrestaShop store? Here’s a snapshot of configurations for a lightening-fast load time.
To learn more about your online store’s advanced parameters, visit our official online documentation. Or if you’re running an older version of PrestaShop, search for your version in our documentation archives then check out the original blog post dedicated to helping you speed up your website.
How much faster is your online shop loading with our recommended settings? Let us know your results in the comments below.