Speed Optimization Case Study: 3.5X Faster Prestashop Website

Prerequisites

The demands were simple for the RugbySport.com project. Increase the speed of the site without breaking anything.

So let’s get into the optimization process!

The front-end optimization

  • configured the Prestashop CCC options
    • fIlesystem cache
    • CSS and JS optimization
    • moved render blocking JS in the footer
    • Apache optimization
  • lossless optimization for all the theme, CMS and module images
  • loading locally the external fonts
  • configured MaxCDN to serve most of the site’s media files (images, JS, CSS)
    • we used three subdomains as Media Servers to parallelize requests across domains (also, to keep the images indexed in Google on our domain)
  • implemented “Async” loading CSS
  • cache module
    • we set up a cache warmer that runs every night: it passes through all the site’s URLs

Server improvements

  • switching from PHP 5.5 to PHP 5.6
  • installed and configured APCu (not to be confused with APC)
  • the MySQL query cache is important for less database pressure

Difficulties & Headaches

  • CDN issues
    • we tried to work with two CDN services; after banging our heads against the wall with a generic one (redirection issues, blocking fonts to load etc.), we decided to use a professional service like MaxCDN
  • combined CSS issues on mobile devices
    • sometimes the minimization process will break some CSS rules
  • one popup module was causing redirect chain issues
    • also, showing up at first-time load could be annoying for the user
  • conflicts with the cache module
    • the UE cookie notice: wasn’t going away after closing accepting the terms

Results

Webpagetest comparative

Before

After

After vs before

Actual loading time [Video]

Google Pagespeed Insights

Product page final score

Category page final score

A word from our client

Working with Prestashop for us is vital, and we decided to invest in a Dedicated Server to create the best possible environment for our store. We installed a different speed-up addon that promised to improve our site performances, but we found out that server upgrade and some useful add-ons were not enough and I felt we needed a more professional approach.

Checking the internet I’ve found Canonicalized.com with some great tips, articles, and a very active chatbox. I decided to give it a try.
Dorian was very patient and kind to illustrate us precisely what was not working on our site and how he could work to improve our speed rank (which hopefully will also reflect on our SEO score).
He offered to optimize the server and our site to suit our store better and in the end create the best solution for a customer that want a quick and pleasant shopping experience.

The Work was done in a very efficient and fast way, with clear indication and a clear roadmap. Dorian was always open to suggestion and informative too, we’ve also learned a lot and not only paid a bill and goodbye.

The results regarding performances were massive and far better than we expected. Now I feel the money we invested in the website itself and with the server with the proper optimizations that Dorian brought in place are making a real difference.

I would recommend Canonicalized.com and Dorian, give him a try.
He stands really on top of the average service you will find around. And don’t forget to add his site to your bookmarks if you want to learn something too, you won’t be disappointed.

Fabrizio Spanu, RugbySport.com

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