Steps for Powerfully Fast NitroPack Setup

Let’s be honest: after who-knows-how-many page builders, server configurations, plugins, and theme options are added into a WooCommerce Store, sometimes your site will get bogged down.

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There you are with your WooCommerce site setup, it looks the way you want, you’ve got all the great features and layout together, you are ready to launch your big new beautiful site, you’re anticipating all of those orders coming in, all that revenue for you & your family, and then you notice one little problem that is going to delay orders, irritate customers, and cause conversions to plummet through the floor.

What is that problem that your customers noticed?

….the speed.

So, your website needs some help in the speed department?

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Let’s be honest: after who-knows-how-many page builders, server configurations, plugins, and theme options are added into a WooCommerce Store, sometimes your site will get bogged down.
You can consistently switch hosting, disable / enable plugins, and attempt who-knows-how-many other tweaks, taking up hundreds of hours of your time. But you would rather be running a business – not messing with a website, right?

💡 Cheap hosting can be substantially sped up by using NitroPack‘s service to speed up your website!

So, if you have made the commitment to a poor performing webhost, but you might be a bit reluctant to migrate your site, then that’s where NitroPack‘s services will come in to your rescue!

A really simple & easy 1st step is to run over to the NitroPack.io homepage and test your site real quick:

(click or tap the image below and go test out your website)

Now that you are looking at your website’s speed results, pop into the top right corner of that page and go ahead & create a free 👍 account over on the NitroPack website:

Next, you’re going to want to add your website into their platform so that they can connect to all of your site’s theme and plugin’s files. It’s straight forward simple, only takes a few seconds, and super easy.

Your next step is to click on the option within your NitroPack dashboard that says, “Connect Your Website” as highlighted in the big red box below. We’ll look at what this does in the next screenshot. But be sure you don’t skip this part as it is critical for speeding up your particular website’s setup.

Next, you’ll be prompted with a new screen in your NitroPack dashboard prompting you with the text of, “Download a Connector”. Click the big blue button which is prompting you to, “Browse Downloads” as highlighted in red.

Now, on the next screen, you’ll really get to see a glimpse at how powerful NitroPack’s versatile options are. They have provide an option for almost every scenario imaginable:

  • a native PHP built site,
  • a raw API (complete with documentation),
  • NitroPack for OpenCart,
  • the option for WordPress (not running WooCommerce),
  • 👉And then, the best: NITROPACK FOR WOOCOMMERCE!👈

….which leads to their plugin page over on WordPress.org

So, in YOUR Admin area over in your own site’s plugin area, you’ll simply type in the words NitroPack (no spaces) and look for this plugin with the NitroPack logo, the green speedometer, and the black & gray background:

Click “Install Now” & “Activate” real quick so that we can get onto the fun part.
Over to NitroPack’s settings in your WooCommerce site! This is what it will look like at first. Kinda blank right? We’ll get those two fields in the next screenshot.

(Sorry, for the notification. I was simultaneously setting up Facebook for WooCommerce at the same time. Normally, you wouldn’t see that notification)

To fill those two blanks in, let’s head back over in the NitroPack site real quick. We will find our ID & Secret Key right here where it says, “Connect Your Website”. Once we copy & paste those two into the screenshot above, we’ll get a nice big green notification showing us, “Your site is connected!Wahoo! 🤜💥🤛

Let’s take a second and look at the dashboard that will now appear in your admin area of your site:

Stop 🛑Stop✋Stop🤚Right here & LOOK 👀in the BOTTOM RIGHT of your NitroPack screen❗
If you EVER get in a bind, tap that chat button and ASK their team ANYTHING

Optimized Pages / Plan / Configuration / Settings :
Top Left: Optimized Pages is the first box you’ll probably see. You might get a bit of a frown because it will show that you don’t have any Optimized Pages at first. But that’s ok at first.

Top Right: Your Plan Box is pretty obvious. It’s simply reminding you what you have chosen as your options for NitroPack to speed up your WooCommerce site. Yes, there is a free option, but you’ll probably want to go for the simple $19 paid option! Well, those of us who want to beat out the competition will want the paid version! 😏

Bottom Right: The Settings Box is straight forward and simple with only two options which you will probably want toggled ‘ON’ and then the red button to ‘Disconnect’ your site from NitroPack’s Speed Services.

Bottom Left: NitroPack empowers site owners with 5 options for the Configuration Box. And they define these 5 options with the following definitions for each option:

  • Standard: A pre-defined configuration without much regard for a high score. Enough to get you up and running.
  • Medium: Well-balanced and suitable for most cases.
  • Strong: Includes advanced features like automatic image lazy loading and font definition modification. May cause issues in some cases.
  • Ludicrous: A pre-defined configuration aiming to achieve the highest possible score. In some cases, it may cause issues with your site.
  • Manual: Use your own settings. Check Advanced Settings tab below to configure them.

Inside of your dashboard on NitroPack, you’ll see these tabs:

Note that the “Advanced settings” tab will not appear if you have selected Standard, Medium, Strong, or Ludicrous. The tab labelled “Advanced settings” is ONLY going to show up once you have selected the configuration option of “Manual“👍

Let’s go over the “Advanced Settings” tab so that we can understand what each of these option do and how these selections will keep your site loading fast for happy page views 😀:

Minify resources
Enable or disable minification of JavaScript, CSS and HTML resources

This option takes all of your files and removes all the spaces and line breaks in those files making your sites files incredibly smaller than they were originally when all the white space was in them.

Image optimization
Enable or disable image optimization for size and delivery

We all know that WordPress sets images at a quality of 80 by default. However, if your images are simply not noticeably different at lower quality, then it is highly advised to reduce the image quality to balance between speed and visual display.

Automatic image lazy loading
Load images only when they become visible. This reduce the initial weight of the pages.

This is a bit like the childhood game of peek-a-boo.
Lazy load basically says, “Only load something when the item is view-able by the visitor’s browser.

Optimize CSS Delivery
Create critical CSS as well as rework your website CSS for optimal delivery

Optimize CSS Delivery will be your best friend if you use it correctly. Once turned on, it might cause a brief momentary flash of unstyled text, however, this option will load the CSS files substantially faster.

Combine CSS into one resource
Use a single file for all CSS rules grouped by media type.

This option in NitroPack does just what it says. It will search out all the .css files which compose something like the .body-content, or the .sidebar-widget area & then combine those files into ONE file. Once that file is created, it will deliver that ONE COMBINED file instead of several smaller files from the server to the end user’s screen.

Override font rendering behavior
Use this option to set a desired value for the CSS font-display rule

There are several options which defines browser’s behavior when rendering fonts. It’s best to leave this option set to “auto” and allow the NitroPack plugin to render the best font-display rule for your site. Simple, right?

Combine JS into one resource
Use a single file for all JavaScript code reducing the number of network requests & making rendering more efficient

Most javascript can be combined into one file & not affect the ways it functions.

Remove render-blocking resources
Rework and reposition blocking resource files in the above-the-fold portion of your page

Enabling this option will allow NitroPack to determine which file’s deliver your website in which particular order. You’ll probably want the first two options set to ‘Enabled’ and the last one (the strategy) set to ‘Styles First’. This will help NitroPack load the site’s files in the best order.

And there we have it! All of NitroPack’s settings that every WooCommerce
Store owner needs to speed up their website’s load time!

The advantages of off-loading this to a 3rd party instead of doing it yourself is a tremendous time saver. ⏳

And, at the end of your day, you can NEVER replace the time that you have spent trying to speed up a site with some quirky plugin & get all the settings right yourself. That time is now gone – forever.

So if you, like so many other WooCommerce Store Owners, want a fast loading website, then do what we’ve done.

Head over to NitroPack’s homepage and enter in YOUR site to see what NitroPack can do for YOU!

Some Truth about WordPress Speed and Images in WooCommerce

Speed, Images, and Your WooCommerce Business: Bluntly, perhaps I can add a bit of gentle rhetoric around this message ….or I can just tell the blunt truth!

Truth about WordPress Speed

Out of curiosity, why don’t all these blog posts from affiliate sites, hosting companies, theme developers, AdSense sites, plugin owners (or anywhere else) ever grow some gumption and say _(something like)_ :

“STOP UPLOADING BIG ASS IMAGES IN THE FIRST PLACE!!!”

I can’t quite say I’ve ever seen a post resembling that much truthful bluntness.  So, perhaps I can add a bit of gentle rhetoric around that message while still maintaining the importance of the above text in red.  Here goes.

Use a FIXED WIDTH – NOT FLUID

Every WordPress Theme is unique.  Some themes have an option of fixed or fluid width.  Fluid width, flexible width, or full screen width might be additional terms to use – but the result is the same.  On any screen possible, the theme is designed to take up as much room as possible.

That would also be known as incredibly impossible, not possible, no way in the world, not actually going to really happen, for your own sake please stop thinking that it looks cool in-your-own perspective.

[cp_modal display=”inline” id=”cp_id_e6d4c”][/cp_modal]

As someone told me years ago, “This is Business: Unless Y-O-U can print your own money, your own opinion does NOT mean jack sh!t. Never forsake that mindset.”

This is Business: Unless Y-O-U can print your own money, your own opinion does NOT mean jack sh!t. Never forsake that mindsetClick To Tweet

Although a fluid, flexible width, full screen choice for a theme might make the creator of a website feel better about the appearance of their presentation, here’s what that actually turns into on a very pragmatic and practical level:

Average Screen Resolution of Your Customers
For a Faster WooCommerce Site, Consider the Average Screen Resolution of your site’s customers

 

Those are the top 4 screen resolutions… for VIEWERS….  for CONSUMERS…. for your CUSTOMERS…. for the PEOPLE-WHOM-YOU-WANT-MONEY-AND-A-TRANSACTION-FROM

So, when it actually comes down to it, do you really need to upload that 3000+ pixel image from your iPhone 9+Xd Cannon LR8 Samsung 9plus Drone carrying GoPro mounted to the Nikon dL1700 (…..pretty sure that’s not actually a ‘thing’, but you get the point, right?)

…and let’s never forget, you’re serving the image over the internet to your customer!  ….on their phone …or their tablet …or their desktop.

Even with the ‘retina’ hooplah, there’s almost ZERO people, no percentage, minute ‘session data’, that indicates anyone has viewed your content on any display that can utilize or view a 3000+ pixel image.

So don’t upload it in the first place!

I’ve never been one to mix words or talk about fluffy bullsh!t just to get pageviews, ad impressions, or affiliate link clicks for ‘yet-another-image-optimization-service’.

I hope that you’ll open your site’s Analytics and look for yourself.  Here, let me show you how to do that:

Click this link to open your site’s Google Analytics:
https://analytics.google.com/analytics/

Now, over on the left hand side, click on Audience > scroll down and click on the word Technology > then click on Browser & OS.

Fast loading sites NEVER upload huge images in the first place

 

Next, see that double red box that I’ve highlighted below? That’s where you’ll need to click next.

Now, I want you to really look at your own customer data:

Browser Size from Google Analytics WILL VERIFY and help you understand how CRITICAL it is to resize your images BEFORE you upload them to your site.

Look at your own numbers.  No really.  I want you to really open your Google Analytics and check out the real numbers for yourself.

Remember, there’s not any affiliate links to some image optimization service in this post, no fluff, and…..

I’m all up in the BUSINESS end of WooCommerce sites – no bullsh!t allowed!

I am now, and will always be, a proponent of understanding the psychology and empathy of the typical WooCommerce Store Owner. I truly believe that once a person SEES the data, they are much more behaviorally likely to better comprehend the need to not upload the image in the first place.

Open your site and you’ll get an actual understanding of how your customers are viewing your WooCommerce Store.

Are you starting to see why every WooCommerce Site needs to select a FIXED Width? Good. Now open your theme, toggle it to FIXED and come back over here and we’ll finish up some more.

For Better Image Optimization to prevent a Slow WordPress Site, always choose a FIXED width.
For Better Image Optimization to prevent a Slow WordPress Site, always choose a FIXED width.

Find the biggest div:

If you’ll look at your site, I want you to find the biggest area for an image that you see.

Is it in the header of the site? Do you have a gigantic hero image? What about a footer background image? Perhaps both of those areas are simply a solid color and your theme doesn’t use an image for those spots.  So let’s look at the blog post featured image.  And, most importantly, let’s look at the WooCommerce images to see what size those should be.

Here’s how: (we’ll be using the WordPress Swag Store for this example. Go ahead and open that up and we’ll go through it together: https://mercantile.wordpress.org/ )

 

See how simple that was?  Slow down a second or two and take a few moments to go ahead and do that same thing over on your site right now before we move forward.

Ok, If you’re reading this line, then obviously you’ve completed the previous step, right? Right? 😉 Ok, let’s just continue moving forward now that you know what the largest image size would be for your particular theme, theme options, and site’s settings.

Use PaintdotNet

For most Business Owners, a simple, quick, easy, and FREE (yes, it’s totally FREE!) photo editing program is all that’s needed.

If you’ve never used, or heard of PaintDotNet (yes, it’s a bit tricky to say but literally they put the full-spelled-out-word DOT in the name of it. Totally not sure why!) click the link below to open the site to download it.  After you’ve downloaded it and opened it up, lemme show you how simple, easy, and quick it is to use.

(lest we forget: our goal, mission, objective, and point here is to NEVER UPLOAD the HUGE image in the first place)

https://www.getpaint.net/download.html

Ok, now that you’ve got it opened, follow along:

Wait, amongst a few video flubs, did it actually take only a few clicks and a few seconds to resize the image?

YES!

And, that’s what I simply can not stress enough.  It really doesn’t take but a few seconds to resize the image before it even makes it to your hosting account, your WordPress site, mangled in with a bunch of plugins, and then (attempted to be) delivered to your customer’s eyeballs.

Even if you’ve got ten images to upload to your site, once you go through the motions and clicks a few times, you’ll start to realize something pretty powerful.

Remember all these WordPress Image Optimization services that seem to be popping up almost once a month?

Well, truth be told: In the time it takes you to configure, connect, pay, debug, put-in-a-support-ticket, match your API keys, and manage any plugin conflicts, you probably could have taken that possibly ongoing & frustrating time, redirected it to simply using an image editor like PaintDotNet, and been on your way to a faster site.

Speaking of plugins…………..

STOP Using CRAP CODED plugins and themes

….said with love.  …but honest love

This can almost always be seen in the WooCommerce Loop pages of /shop/ and /product-category/

Right click on an image in your WooCommerce Store and look at the parts below in red:

Image Size in WooCommerce Shop Loop Page
For a Fast WooCommerce Site, try to make sure these two image sizes match as closely as possible

 

That is on the /shop/ page of a WooCommerce site.  See how the theme is generating the area to be displayed at 226 x 226 pixels.  Now look at the image .  The image itself is 300 x 300.

Now, you might not think that there’s too much of a difference there, but it adds up quickly.  Don’t forget that this is on the WooCommerce /shop/ page.

When there are 14 other images on the page (plus the logo and a few others), then each time that page comes up to the customer, it’s loading somewhat slowly.  Let’s not forget – our goal is to get the site fast and in front of the customer as quickly as possible.

Here’s what you do in that case: Your goal is to resize the product thumbnail images to be 226 x 226

Now, let’s think about what a cluster of a conundrum and problem this is to fix…….

  • Each of the thousands of WordPress Themes is totally unique
  • WooCommerce allows a theme author to set unique and specific options for “how” the images specific to WooCommerce are going to be displayed throughout the theme
  • And, as if the rabbit-hole isn’t deep enough already, each and every site owner has their own individual mashup of plugins which can take over how the images are displayed -not just in WooCommerce- but through out their whole WordPress installation ‘in genera’

WHEW! See how fun this can be?

Look, the first thing to do here is to get a stiff drink, sit down by yourself in a padded room and prayerfully take a look at your site, theme, plugins, options and settings.

Some people are still “kickin’ the tires and playin’ with sliders” in their site.  If that’s you, then this next part does not apply to you.

Now, for the WooCommerce BUSINESS Owners who want to run a business and not play with a website, here’s what we’re going to do.  Read these instructions all the way through b/c we do not want to miss anything.

Remember that in every WooCommerce site, you’ll want to have the most efficient and streamlined store.

You DO NOT want your hosting account CONTINUALLY fixing your images.  But, yes, it is ok to go ahead and run this plugin, but….

DELETE THIS PLUGIN WHEN YOU ARE DONE! 

(and learn from the experience that it’s better to not upload the image in the first place)

Look, be it Pagely’s high amount of php service workers at hundreds of dollars a month, or SiteGround’s shared hosting at a few bucks…. You do not ever want your WooCommerce site to dedicate server resources to the-continual-fixing-of-images, so I’ll say this again before we move forward:

DELETE THIS PLUGIN WHEN YOU ARE DONE! 

(and learn from the experience that it’s better to not upload the image in the first place)

Don’t put out a fire that shouldn’t exist in the first place:  Never use Server resources to resize images.  Simply do NOT upload images that are wider than your biggest div in the first place!

Lets go ahead and realize that some site owners do indeed have a substantial amount of images already existing in their site.

So, this is where you’re thinking I’m gonna suggest to use one of those third-party image optimization services right? Nope.

Download and Activate EWWW Image Optimizations Plugin:

EWWW Image Optimizer

Now, remember when we found the largest < div > size for the theme? Here’s where we are going to enter that number:

In the red highlighted box that says “Max Width”? That’s where you’ll want to enter that number.  In the theme I’m using here, the largest area for the WHOLE theme is 1200 pixels wide.  Now, in a regular blog post (JUST LIKE THIS ONE), the actual body content is going to be even smaller since there is a sidebar over to your right.

But just to be safe, we’ll leave that “Max Width” at 1200 in case there is ever a full header image used or something like that.

Next, swing on over to the tab labelled Convert.

See that box that I made glaringly obvious? 😉

YES: You want to remove the successfully converted images OFF YOUR SERVER!

If, for some reason, you’ve got a hesitation about deleting your 3000+ pixel images that are loading on your site, then simply back up your site.  Now, the last step.

Run over to your Media tab and you’ll find the new option of Bulk Optimize.

Click the red button labelled ‘Scan for unoptimized images’.

Now, understand that this has now taken server resources in your particular hosting account and is using your hosting account just to fix those gigantic huge big oversized images.

Not cool.

Your site should be 100% focused on processing orders, serving page views, handling customer data, but now it’s simply churning through those images.

Please run this scan when your site visitors are at a minimum.  Yes, I’ve gotten up at 3am just to run this on a client’s site.  This is not the plugin you want to run when you’ve got minimal hosting serving traffic to a decent amount of browsers.

Ok, last thing:

Once this plugin is DONE, DELETE IT! DELETE IT!
DE-friggin’-LETE the DANG PLUGIN!

Solution, Conclusion, and Recap

Remember the goal was to skip the bull about images and get to the heart of a working solution, right!

A working solution which is quick, simple, and easy: which we saw from the PaintDotNet video how easy it is to resize images.

We needed a solution which does NOT utilize our hosting & server resources, on a continual basis: That’s why we do not want to put in a plugin that CONSISTENTLY creates an ONGOING waste of our server resources.

And, as a last ditch effort, we want to run EWWW correctly ONE TIME remembering to remove the old huge images, and then turning the plugin OFF, deleting it once we’re done, & pop our images into something like PaintDotNet real quick to resize the images to the right size before they ever get uploaded to our hosting and reach our customers.