Speed ​​up your WooCommerce site with High Performance Order Storage (HPOS)! - 🏆 Managed Servers

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June 26 2023

Speed ​​up your WooCommerce site with High Performance Order Storage (HPOS)!

Revolutionizing E-Commerce: How High Performance Order Storage (HPOS) Transforms WooCommerce to Improve Speed ​​and Efficiency

In the digital age we live in, the speed of an e-commerce site has become a key feature for the success of an online business. In fact, even just half a second of delay in loading a page can lead to the abandonment of the cart by the user, generating a decrease in sales and conversions. Not only does this delay negatively affect the user experience, making it less pleasant and smooth, but it can also penalize the site's ranking in search engines, negatively affecting SEO. Among the various e-commerce solutions available on the market, WooCommerce is certainly one of the most adopted and performing, capable of generating sales volumes of up to several million euros a year. However, having started out as a plugin for WordPress, WooCommerce has always adopted strategies that, while on the one hand have ensured its wide adoption and ease of use, on the other hand have not always been optimal in terms of performance. That's why it's crucial to explore new solutions and tools, such as theHigh Performance Order Storage (HPOS), to further improve WooCommerce performance, offering a superior user experience and increasing the chances of conversion and sale.

For more than a year, the WooCommerce developers have been working on a new feature that completely changes the way the ecommerce platform stores order data and has the potential to dramatically increase the speed of your WooCommerce site in the process! Originally called Custom Order Tables, it has been renamed High Performance Order Storage, or HPOS, which is a nice summary of the value this feature offers. Let's talk about what HPOS is and what it means for you as a WooCommerce store manager.

What is HPOS?

Up until now, WooCommerce orders have been stored in the same place as many other WordPress “objects,” such as posts, pages, and image metadata: the posts and postmeta tables in the WordPress database. It does this by using WordPress' built-in support for custom post types (CPT), which allows plugins like WooCommerce to define custom data types that are stored alongside the default WordPress data types in these tables. There are many potential benefits to using the CPT approach in WordPress extensions, including a smaller codebase for third-party plugins since they can use existing WordPress APIs to create and modify data instead of providing their own code to manipulate it, and automatic compatibility with other plugins that work with default WordPress data structures, such as data migration tools. However, especially as order volume increases, these benefits come at a performance cost, both for WooCommerce and for the site as a whole; we will discuss these issues in more depth in the next section.

High Performance Order Storage (HPOS) implements an alternative order storage mechanism that uses dedicated tables to store order data in the WordPress database. This involves changing much of the WooCommerce core code that interfaces with storing order data in the database. The HPOS project also developed migration and verification tools to help move existing orders from post table-based storage to custom tables.

Why HPOS ?

As I've already mentioned, and as the name suggests, the main reason you would want to use High Performance Order Storage on your site is because of the speed benefits it can provide for sites with a significant order history stored. Tests reported by the development team last month showed that using HPOS can lead to a 33% increase in checkout speed, and the time to search and filter orders can be reduced by 70% to 97%. %. This represents a significant WooCommerce performance improvement for businesses on both the frontend and backend of your site.

Perhaps more importantly, moving WooCommerce orders out of the part of the database that also stores other site content, such as pages, blog posts, and WooCommerce products, can decrease the time it takes to fetch this content in response to user requests. As of this writing, results for this type of performance impact have been promised but not yet published by the WooCommerce team, and the degree of impact will likely be related to the number of past orders stored on your site; stores with a large order history will likely benefit the most. But any decrease in page load time is a good thing for both user experience and organic search engine (i.e. SEO) performance.

Benefits of HPOS for WooCommerce

The introduction of High-Performance Order Storage (HPOS) in WooCommerce improves these three essential properties for ecommerce stores.

Scalability

Increasing number of customers and customer orders increases the load on your store database, making it difficult to handle customer order requests and provide a smooth user experience.

With High-Performance Order Storage, you get dedicated tables for data such as orders and order addresses, and then dedicated indexes resulting in fewer read/writes and less busy tables. This feature allows ecommerce stores of all shapes and sizes to scale their business to their fullest potential, without expert intervention.

Reliability

High-Performance Order Storage simplifies deployment and recovery of targeted data backup. Never worry about losing orders, inventory numbers, or customer information with reliable backup in these custom order tables. It will also facilitate the implementation of read/write locks and prevent race conditions.

Simplicity

You no longer have to go through one huge database to locate the underlying data and WooCommerce entries.

With High-Performance Order Storage, you can easily browse separate tables and easy-to-manage entries independent of the wp_posts table to find data or understand table structure. Moreover, it allows you to easily develop new plugins, implement shop and product designs, and modify WooCommerce with more flexibility.

Getting started with HPOS

The option to enable High Performance Order Storage has been available in WooCommerce since version 7.1, but as of WooCommerce 7.6 it is still not recommended for production use. WooCommerce plans to enable HPOS by default in WooCommerce 8, which is scheduled for release this August; therefore, we expect to see a production-ready version of HPOS available in the coming months. For now, if you want to give it a try, you can find it under Experimental Features in WooCommerce > Settings > Advanced > Features, and once enabled you can choose where you want to store orders by going to WooCommerce > Settings > Advanced > Custom Data Storage (you'll also need to migrate your existing orders to your custom database tables).

You may not be able to enable HPOS if you have WooCommerce related plugins on your site that don't yet specify that they are HPOS compatible.

At Managed Server we have been working to make our WooCommerce-related hostings HPOS ready so that our customers and users can enjoy the benefits we talked about in this article.

If you don't plan to move to HPOS immediately when a production-ready version in core WooCommerce is released, don't worry; We plan to continue fully supporting WooCommerce with our WooCommerce Optimized Hosting both legacy and with HPOS.

Compatibility with HPOS

One of the key aspects to consider when transitioning to High-Performance Order Storage (HPOS) is compatibility. As a significant update to the WooCommerce platform, HPOS has been designed to work seamlessly with most WooCommerce extensions. However, it is important to note that not all extensions are currently compatible with HPOS.

When you activate HPOS, you will be able to see directly in your dashboard which of your extensions are not compatible. This feature allows you to identify any potential issues before they affect the operation of your store. If you discover that one of your extensions is not compatible with HPOS, you should contact the developer of the extension for updates. WooCommerce is actively working with third-party developers to ensure compatibility with HPOS; thus, updates for many extensions should be available.

In case an extension is not yet compatible with HPOS, you have the option to wait until an update is available before activating HPOS. This flexibility ensures that you can make the transition to HPOS at a pace that suits your business, minimizing disruption and ensuring a smooth transition.

It is also important to point out that if some plugins interact directly with posts and postmeta, they should work without problems as the sync will update the data. However, these plugins will need to be updated as WooCommerce plans to stop syncing with posts/postmeta tables in the future.

While HPOS is a major step forward for WooCommerce, it's vital you make sure your extensions are compatible before making the switch. By doing so, you will be able to enjoy all the benefits of HPOS without any interruption to the operation of your shop.

Conclusion

The introduction of High Performance Order Storage (HPOS) in WooCommerce marks a decisive step forward in solving one of the most persistent problems that has plagued the platform since its inception. This evolution should allay criticism from software engineering purists who have often questioned WooCommerce's approach to aggregating orders, options, and products within the WordPress tables themselves.

Although HPOS may still seem new to many, AUTOMATTIC is outlining with great precision the development direction for an e-commerce system that has nothing to envy to vertical platforms such as Prestashop or Magento. With HPOS, WooCommerce not only retains its renowned ease of use for building an ecommerce, but also ensures optimal performance, something that has often been a weakness in the past.

It might seem premature for both developers and users to predict the use of HPOS right away, but it is realistic to expect that within the next 12 – 24 months, it will become the de facto standard for all new ecommerce developed on WooCommerce. This prospect is a source of great satisfaction for developers, users and systems engineers, signaling an era of great excitement and potential for the future of electronic commerce on WooCommerce.

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