Knowledgebase: General

Why is my site down/running slow?


When it comes to viewing a web page online, there are many factors involved which can cause a website to perform slowly or with limited performance.

For example, there are connection factors to consider like Internet routing and basic connectivity issues, as well as browser specific performance factors that can make your site merely appear to be slow while it is, in fact, operating perfectly. However, in some instances, there may be site and server specific issues which can also affect your site's performance.

It is with these thoughts in mind that we provide the following troubleshooting checklist for your to consider when you notice your site's performance behaving less than optimally. The basic structure of this list is intended to address and rule out the more common and obvious issues first before progressing into the more complex scenarios. Please review:

Example 1 - Basic Internet Connectivity

The speed of your site may be something that is unique to only your Internet connection, network or even your geographical location. Internet traffic is similar to real-world traffic and different routes are possible from point A to point B. Each possible route can be affected by traffic congestion as a real life highway can be. Therefore, the first scenario you will want to rule out is if your connection could be the cause of the slowness. For this we recommend first performing a "traceroute" to your website.


A traceroute will show you all of the individual hops and paths your connection is taking from your network (Point A) to your website (Point B). If there are any delays between the two, a traceroute should show this.

To perform a traceroute please view our KB article located here.

Proxy Site

Yet another troubleshooting tool intended to rule out possible connectivity issues is the use of a proxy site. A proxy site is a type of website that will allow you to access any website you'd like, but from a network connection completely different from your own. This can also help rule out if any slowness is being caused by your specific network or connection, since a proxy would essentially be browsing to your site from a completely different location altogether.

A quick search online for "proxy sites" should allow you to choose a variety of services that should work for this purpose.

Some popular proxies include:

Load Testing Site

A final testing solution to try any diagnose any possible slowness is through the use of a load testing service. Load testing sites are similar to proxies in that your site is being accessed via an independent network connection, however they also have the added benefit of actually timing and in many cases analyzing the individual elements of your site to help you determine what might be causing a slowness.

A good tool to use for this purpose can be found at

Simply go to, enter your store's URL and test the load time. The graphical readout will show your site's load time as well as the load times for all the various elements of your site as illustrated below.

After determining whether the cause of slowness is unrelated to possible network or connectivity issues, it's time to determine whether the slowness is unique to your site. This leads us to the next troubleshooting example:

Example 2 - Scripting

As mentioned, the added benefit of a load testing service like is the fact that you can see other elements of your site that may cause problems. For example, third-party scripts all have the potential of slowing down your site. Examples of these types of scripts are:

  • third-party toolbars
  • third-party pop-up boxes
  • analytic scripts
  • integrated chat programs
  • affiliate tracking codes
  • security seals and verification seals

More often than not, a delay in loading a third-party script can make it appear as though your site is taking longer to load since certain browsers will wait until all elements are accounted for before actually displaying the page.

To further troubleshoot any site slowness, consider systematically disabling these third-party scripts and see if the load time of your site improves. (be sure to clear your browser's cache to get an accurate loading of the site after disabling third-party scripts.

To easily disable a script, you can simply comment it out on your HTML. Most script begin with the HTML tag <script>, which is the opening tag, and end with the HTML tag </script>, which is the script's closing tag. Comment out the opening tag with an exclamation point and two dashes like this: <!--script> and comment out the closing tag with two hyphens like this - </script->

This will treat the entire block of coding as a comment and will prevent it from functioning on the site, thus effectively disabling it. The advantage is that you won't have to remove the complete block and re-insert it back into your HTML after troubleshooting, since the base coding will still be present. Just remove the comment elements(!-- and -- ) when you're done troubleshooting to re-enable the script.

Example 3 - Server Issues/Maintenance

Another possible cause of site slowness may be due to periodic server maintenance or possible server issues.

In the case of server maintenance where repairs are being performed on the server, your site may experience some slowness. However, Shift4Shop will make all attempt to have the maintenance occur during non-peak hours as well as having the process completed as quickly as possible.

Server issues, on the other hand, can occur at random and should be reported as quickly as possible.

If you continue to experience slowness and trouble with your site - and have already gone through the troubleshooting steps outlined above - please contact our support department and create a trouble ticket with them.

Special Note
Since site slowness issues can sometimes happen at random, we HIGHLY recommend using one of our real-time support options like chat or phone support rather than email tickets. The reason for this is simply because, by the time an email ticket is received, read and addressed, the issue may not be occurring anymore. Therefore a real-time support option like chat support is recommended so our support personnel can troubleshoot and document the issue as it is occurring.

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