Product News

Bigcommerce Websites Now Load 30% Faster, Response Time Less Than Half a Second

Scott Baker / 2 min read

A new study into online page load times suggests consumers are looking for a 166% increase in speed from just a few years ago. In 2010, consumers were willing to wait a full eight seconds before abandoning a retailer’s site. Today, 57% of consumers say they will abandon site if it isn’t loaded within three.

This isn’t particularly new information. After all, even though many consumers would wait the full eight seconds only a few years ago, the best converting online stores loaded in two seconds or less. In fact, for every one second included on your page load speed, your conversions decrease 7%.

This is why Bigcommerce has spent the better half of 2015 reducing page load speeds for our clients. We’re proud to announce that our engineers have reduced the average network response time by 30%, resulting in a blended average response time of 369 milliseconds (.369 seconds). This means that in about 1/3 of a second, the end user has all the data they need to render the page.

All of this work has been accomplished before the start of the holiday season in order to allow Bigcommerce customers to close as many sales as possible, page load lag time not being an issue.

How We Measure Page Load Speed

Bigcommerce’s engineering team measures response time several ways. There is the server response time, which is how long it takes our application servers to respond to a request with all the elements needed to create a web page. We have decreased server response time by 50% since September 2014. This does not include network time from the server to the client browser.

Below is a recent snapshot of average Bigcommerce Storefront, Control Panel and API performance. You can check these anytime on Bigcommerce’s Status page. Updates to these graphs occur every five minutes.


The team also measures network response time, which is the application response time plus the time it takes the information to transit to a client browser (including domain name lookup, network handshake and transfer time). Most sites use the server response number because it is lower and looks more impressive. But, sites rely on networks to carry the data to the browser, so that number is also always incredibly important.

We’ve improved our clients’ site speed by 30% thanks to work involving optimizing code and database queries, upgrading server hardware and software, employing greater caching, changing CDN providers and tuning network settings. In September 2014, our average network response time was 523 milliseconds –– which isn’t bad. As of September 2015, though, our average blended response time is 369 milliseconds, meaning that your website will render quickly in order to provide your customers with the utmost in website experience.

Have any questions or concerns, or believe that your site isn’t experiencing the benefit of our work? Leave us a comment below.


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21 comments on “Bigcommerce Websites Now Load 30% Faster, Response Time Less Than Half a Second

  1. Gordan Kovacevic on

    hmmmm….it’s all fine and well claiming faster server response times…but I have used bigcommerce for the last 5 years and old engine server response time was at 0.24 at worst and never really flagged up as an issue on tests. Now I am finishing a site using the new ‘faster’ stencil and I have to admit that response times are jumping from bad to worse….but best response time seems to be 0.37. So can someone explain how response is faster? Also…does response time improve for stores on high end plans?

    Just thought I would do another test… no response time error on old site…..0.50 response on stencil

    Could it be because I have not yet moved temp store to its own domain.

    But whilst we are on a speed and performance discussion, what is bigcommerce doing for enterprise level customers in terms of ‘local speed’. Testing sites on USA servers is fine and does return favorable results, however I can image a lot of customers are International and scanning sites in ‘local’ European servers does indeed return load tines of over 3 seconds sometimes. Can Bigcommerce look into hosting UK sites on UK servers to allow the desired results to actually work for their local customers?

  2. Scott Baker
  3. Audio Bible on

    Scott, you mentioned about a exciting project underway……. Well I have not heard about anything yet….. Can you give us an update? What is the status of this announcement? Let me know.


  4. Scott Baker
    Scott Baker on

    Sorry about that and thanks for reminding me. I’ll ping our Escalations team today. They said they would put it in the queue. I’ll remind them.

  5. Audio Bible on

    Scott, I think you mentioned someone would reach out to me. I have not heard from anyone yet. Can you ask someone to contact me? I have a couple of very technical questions.

  6. Scott Baker
    Scott Baker on

    The short answer is yes, we are planning some consolidation. We are looking at many types of optimization for current themes. As part of our last Hackathon, we had some really interesting hacks that have now been turned into projects. So, what’s taking so long? Well, since we allow such wide customization of storefronts, we don’t want to push something that breaks someone’s customizations. So, we’re doing a lot of research and testing before we release the improvements.

  7. on

    This is fantastic. Thank you BC and Scott Baker for the speed improvements. One question – I’ve noticed stylesheets and javascript files have really grown in number on our stores, and these are always flagged as something that reduces page speed. Does BC have any plans to consolidate these files for the front end of the site for better load time?

  8. Audio Bible on

    Many thanks on the reply. I want to compliment you on the way you addressed my issues, it is wonderful to hear someone admit and says, no matter how good we think we are, we have short comings and we can be better. I would be glad to talk with anyone there at BC, the Escalations team or anyone else. I will look forward to hear from them. I am totally excited about the ‘big news’? Whatever that is? HAHA

  9. Scott Baker
    Scott Baker on

    Hi, @Audio_Bible:disqus! First, thanks for your detailed comment and I agree that our current templates could be more efficient. The first suggestion you make is something we are actively looking at doing. The second suggestion is more problematic, but we are looking at other ways for users to explicitly set expiry dates on objects.

    In the blog post, I’m addressing mainly server response and network response. None of the measurements are for DOM load or Full Page load. However, it’s true that by having Javascript files where most of the code is unused, page load is ultimately impacted.

    The average response times given include a wide range of templates and pages. So, hidden in this average, are both pages that take less than 100 ms server response time and pages that take over 1 second. Against other e-commerce platforms, our server, network and full page response times compare favorably. But, we are always looking to improve.

    As the guy who runs Operations, I’m mainly concerned as to whether our infrastructure is serving the pages as fast and reliably as possible. I also work with our Developers and Escalations team on Template Optimization. Right now, we are looking at ways to make the existing templates more performant.

    I also want to share that there is an exciting project underway that will solve a lot of the problems we have with current templates. In a few weeks, there’s some big news and that’s all I’m allowed to say for now, except it is a very different offering than anything currently out there. Stay tuned. In the meantime, we’re going to have someone from our Escalations team reach out to you to see how they can help in the short-term.

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