Home / Does headless give better page speed?

Does headless give better page speed?

Page speed is complicated, and there are many marketing claims around page speed. Therefore we decided to do a test on different platforms where we tested their featured / premium cases with their top agencies.

Average page speed on different E-commerce platforms

Headless VS Shopify VS WordPress & WooCommerce

We decided to test:

  • Average page speed on Headless (We chose a few Swedish companies using Centra or Norse, two very capable platforms)
  • Average page speed on Shopify
  • Average page speed on Qala WooCommerce

The test was created to catch first impressions, therefore we focused on the front page of the shop.

The test was conducted in different periods mostly due to our general availability.

  • Headless platforms were tested in October 2022.
  • Shopify tested March 2023
  • Qala WooCommerce tested March 2023


The result of this mapping is surprisingly that WordPress can be made to perform way above more expensive technology if packaged in the proper manner. Headless comes in far behind in second place, and Shopify goes in far below reasonable results.

Average page speed on Headless:

31 / 100

Average page speed on Shopify:

19 / 100

Average page speed on Qala WooCommerce:

64 / 100

What is performance?

Performance is a complicated matter and after doing some extensive work with performance ourselves moving on our Qala WooCommerce platform we consider the main elements being:

  1. Optimizing images so they are served in modern formats and always in the correct resolution
  2. Serving video byte-sized instead of in one big file
  3. Rebuilding CSS to serve what is critical first
  4. Telling the browser what to load first, what to load last and what can wait
  5. Offloading 3rd party Javascript off the main thread (or even better – removing them altogether)
  6. Only loading what’s needed, combining scripts etc

All of these things are super important and modern web development tools can help you a lot along the way.

Page speed scores for Headless sites

There are plenty of Headless sites out there. We browsed around some of the best cases from Centra and Norse in Sweden. Some of the finest brands are on these solutions and their websites are viewed by millions of people. Let’s get started!


Spotify.design is a beautiful site with a lot of neat, subtle animations. We love it.

But it’s not performant. Here is a screen grab from page speed insights (We removed the first bit to not have such a long screen grab).

Primarily the problem with the website is that it lacks a reasonable infrastructure. This means that there are 28+ MB of data to be transferred for this website. That’s not exactly great for performance, and it could have been avoided so easily with great standardisation and great infrastructure.

Let’s look at some other examples.

Maya Delorez

Scores of Maya Delorez from web.dev/measure

Absolutely stunning site! But their performance scores are way lower than we imagined. Built on Centra.

Djerf Avenue

Scores of Djerf Avenue from web.dev/measure

Very cool site and a great company that we’ve worked with and helped scale on Woo that’s now using headless. Built on Centra.


Scores of SoffaDirekt from web.dev/measure

This company sells couches and is an acquaintance of mine. Built on Norse.


Scores of Stronger from web.dev/measure

Not a great result. Built on Centra.

PS of Sweden

Scores of PS of Sweden from web.dev/measure

Yet another site that looks really good. Built on Centra.


Scores of Emma S from web.dev/measure

Simple and good looking site. Built on Centra.

iDeal of Sweden

Scores of iDeal of Sweden from web.dev/measure

One of our old clients that we helped scale. With WooCommerce they had their highest turnover ever. Unfortunately, they have seen a huge drop in turnover since then. Built on Centra.


Scores of Johnells from web.dev/measure

Great clothes and we love this site. Built by some very clever people. Norse and a custom platform.

Page speed scores for Shopify sites

This list was compiled by gathering some of the cases that Shopify themselves consider to be their greatest ambassadors.


Gymshark page speed


Bulletproof Page Speed

Buzz Feed News

Buzzfeed news Page Speed


Eightvape Pagespeed


Huel Page Speed


Kylie Cosmetics Page Speed


Soylent Page Speed


WWE Page Speed


Zoofashions Page Speed

Page speed scores for Qala WooCommerce sites

WordPress is quite behind in performance, that is true. That is one of the reasons we have created Qala. Qala uses microservices as a way of extending WordPress functionality so that best-of-breed technology is used for things such as Image optimization, large database queries and so on.

This technology is either proprietary or unique, it is just very cleverly packaged together in a cost-efficient way creating huge value for money.


Monkids Page speed

Our most recent release on the “Standard” tier.


Ankarsrum Page Speed

Tonn Furniture

Tonn Furniture Page Speed

Our most recent release on our lowest performance tier package.



Qala – Hybrid headless solution with great page speed out of the box

Are you interested in finding out more about Qala and how it can fit into your digital investment? Contact us today to book a demo.