Improve slow Zen Cart sites

If your Zen Cart site is slow, there are a lot of things you can do to improve its speed. It's unlikely any one of them will provide drastic results, but the cumulative gains might fix slowing you're experiencing.

To get to perform most of these fixes, you'll need to log in to your Zen Cart admin.

Turn off options

One of the easiest ways to improve slowness on your Zen Cart site is disabling options you don't use. There are a number of them scattered throughout Zen Cart's menus — we've compiled a list of them here:

Location Rows (options) to turn off [false/OFF]
Configuration > My Store Show Category Counts
Show Category Counts - Admin
Tools > Layout Boxes Controller sideboxes/manufacturers.php
sideboxes/featured.php
sideboxes/specials.php
Configuration > Attribute Settings Enable Downloads
Enable Price Factor
Enable Qty Price Discount
Enable Attribute Images
Enable Text Pricing by word or letter
Configuration > Index Listing Show New Products on Main Page
Show Featured Products on Main Page
Show Special Products on Main Page
Show Upcoming Products on Main Page
Show New Products on Main Page - Category with SubCategories
Show Featured Products on Main Page - Category with SubCategories
Show Special Products on Main Page - Category with SubCategories
Show Upcoming Products on Main Page - Category with SubCategories

To turn off options

  1. Navigate to the option.
  2. Next to the option you want to turn off, click (Info).
  3. In the area that displays to the right, click Edit.
  4. Click the button to turn the option off (false, OFF, or enter 0), and then click update.

Optimize images

You can reduce the speed of your site by using images that are only as large as you need (for example: small images for thumbnails).

Zen Cart has documents that can help you with this, as well:

Use subcategories

If your store contains a lot of products, dividing them into subcategories can help improve your load time. Zen Cart has those instructions in How do I add a category, subcategory or product?.

Change the New Products selection window

By default, Zen Cart treats all products as "new products." Reducing the timeframe this window uses can reduce your load time.

To change the New Products selection window

  1. From the Configuration menu, click Maximum Values.
  2. Click New Product Listing - Limited to ...
  3. Click the new option you want to use (a value greater than 0), and then click Update.

Use GZip compression

GZip compression will reduce the amount of data you send to visitors, which can help over slow internet connections.

To use GZip compression

  1. From the Configuration menu, click GZip Compression.
  2. Click Enable GZip Compression.
  3. On the right, select 1, and then click Update.

Check your stylesheet for images hosted elsewhere

Your stylesheet affects how your website looks; depending on how it was created, it can contain links to images hosted on other websites, which can cause slowing.

For help determining where these files might be, you can search your website using WebSiteOptimization.com.


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