After the user clicks on the link to your website, you have 2 seconds to load the page and display some content. Otherwise, you will lose up to 57% of visitors, and 80% of them probably won’t return to your site again. And there is no need to highlight the impact of website speed on ranking in search engines and conversion rate.
Looking for ways to speed up your website, you most likely will find 2 options: page speed optimization extension and service. They have a huge difference in price and impact on your website, so today, we’ll consider their features and try to tell you when it is better to use the service and when to install the module.
Performance optimization extension
An average web page consists of images, videos, scripts, fonts, CSS, and HTML:
All of these elements make your website heavier and slower its load. Luckily, the work with the lightening of these elements can be automated through the extension.
For example, you don’t need to manually convert all your images to the WebP and shrink them to fit different devices. So the main idea of using a performance optimization extension is to minimize the size of website elements and make them load faster. But this approach has its pros and cons.
- Customizable. Speed optimization extension is designed to fix some particular website problems, like JS and CSS weight. And since it is open-source, you can customize it to suit your needs.
- Low price. The price of the custom development service and extension differs greatly. And now you may be thinking: "yes, but I'm ready to pay more to have everything done for me, and I wouldn't have to go into technical details." However, you can get a service-like experience with the extension as well. If you get the extension, advanced support subscription, and training service, you will have the extension installed and configured on your Magento instance, and our specialists will teach you and/or your team how to use it to meet your needs. And the total cost of this package is still much lower than the service.
- Built-in diagnostic. Google page speed plugin comes with the built-in diagnostic tool that will help you monitor your website performance without any external help:
- The extension doesn’t cover all the possible issues. As we already mentioned above, it deals only with the main issues that affect your website speed, but it can not solve problems with, for example, your server capacity. In this case, you will need some technical assistance.
- The module requires some technical knowledge. As with any other Magento extension, the page speed module requires some technical knowledge. So you need to dive deeper into the speed optimization topic with how-to guides or get trained.
When does the Google page speed plugin fit better?
To understand if the extension is enough to help you with speed optimization, you can go to the Google PageSpeed Insights and test your website. As a result, you will get a list of parameters that Google recommends you to tune for better speed and SEO performance. Google Page Speed Optimizer can address the following warnings:
- Defer offscreen images
- Eliminate render-blocking resources
- Properly size images
- Serve images in next-gen formats
- Efficiently encode images
- Keep request counts low and transfer sizes small
- Avoid enormous network payloads
- Eliminate render-blocking resources
From our experience, these issues are the most common among new websites and stores with little to no customizations.
Check out how Google Page Speed Optimizer works in this video guide:
Performance optimization service
If we are talking about general speed optimization best practices, including questions like server, caching, manual code optimization, you can not delegate these tasks to the ready-made solution. (We hope that it will be possible someday, but not now, unfortunately) In this case, you need to either hire an in-house specialist or outsource the task to a proficient team. But alas, this method of solving the problem is not suitable for everyone.
- Service can fix all the problems affecting website performance. No matter how customized your website is and what causes performance issues, skilled specialists can fix it as part of the optimization service. This is the main advantage of service before extension. You are not limited to any parameters of speed optimization.
- No need for deep technical knowledge. If you don’t know how to install the Magento extension and any piece of code is all Greek to you, it may be easier to entrust the whole process to professionals.
- Price. Custom development services are usually quite expensive compared to extensions.
- Site maintenance is still on you. Even though the service includes a 2-month warranty on all customizations made, you still need to check your website performance and introduce changes whenever it’s required.
When does the Magento optimization service fit better?
From our experience, an optimization service is more suitable for larger stores, websites with a lot of customizations, and sites that need improvements on the server-side, like the caching settings. Here are the typical warnings from the Google PageSpeed Insights report that can be solved as a part of the optimization service:
- Reduce initial server response time
- Remove unused CSS
- Enable text compression
- Use video formats for animated content
- Preload key requests
- Preconnect to required origins
- Avoids an excessive DOM size
- Eliminate render-blocking resources (CSS part)
Most of these warnings require a lot of manual work and custom development.
Of course, the final choice between the extension and service is always up to you, but we hope that now you can make an informed decision knowing all the pros and cons of each option.