Yes! It's more than possible. The above is a demo of an aMiSTACX G5 using the following:
Note: No other code modifications! No caching engine except Ramjet.
Scores for Google LS will range for Mobile as 80~88, and Desktop 100. With some small tweaks for Mobile, you can reach close to 100.
You can test the results yourself with a turnkey version found on AWS or play with the demo. This same stack has been tested to easily handle 2000 unique visitors per day <20% utilization, and with catalogs exceeding 1 million SKUs.
So yeah, Magento 2 can be a Shopify killa when deployed correctly.
I originally was very skeptical of getting a high score on Google. I had been using Nexcess hosting for a few years on their "Small" Magento plan. My Google scores were ~32 for Mobile and ~67 for Desktop.
Then I switched to Cloudways. I won't share my site for privacy issues, but I will share the technology used to achieve Google score of 79 Mobile and 99 Desktop. It's also worthwhile to note that Google Page Speed supports HTTP/2 since March 2021. Since this update, all sites supporting HTTP/2 should see a slight bump in score. Reference this document -
As I mentioned earlier, I use Cloudways in the United States. It is a 4-core server with 8GB RAM and 160GB SSD in the Linode data center. The monthly cost is $90. Cloudways uses a LAMP stack with Varnish for caching. Additionally, I have Cloudflare as my WAF (Web Application Firewall) and CDN (Content Delivery Network). The cost of Cloudflare varies based on features you select, but I pay somewhere around $25 per month.
Now, I'm very mindful of the 3rd party extensions installed. I try to use extensions from only one company to keep the conflicts at a minimum. I currently use JetTheme created by Amasty. I originally was using WeltPixel Pearl Theme and a bunch of themes from themeforest, but had a lot of conflicts with the Amasty extensions I had installed. When Amasty released their JetTheme, I installed it immediately. It's not as pretty as WeltPixel, but it's super lightweight without a lot of bloat and built to be compatible with their extensions out of the box.
I'm not being paid or endorsing any of the companies I mentioned above. The great thing about Magento is the number of options available for hosting, customization, etc. But at the same time, that creates a mind-numbing number of choices.
What is to blame is actually magento 2's outer skin - the theme, instead of itself.
About a year ago, Paypal told me that i had to transfer my magento 1, which still had a decent Google page speed performance then, into magento 2 by June, or i wouldn't be supported with the payment service any more.
Finally although i paid 4 times the previous server cost, i still got a much SLOWER site, which had been making me frustrated until now.
During that time, i asked some companies who claimed that they could redesign the site codes, while offering the extremely expensive quotation.
Then i considered to transfer all my products to another platform such as woocommerce, but the problem was that you couldn't keep all the original URL the same, which is obviously a disaster. Because if you did so, others would have found all the mess with hundreds of 404 pages, and your site page rank would have declined to the bottom in its history for sure.
Then i turned to some extensions, one of them costed $249 which was still a little expensive but affordable anyway, if they could solve the problem. But i was not sure they could work well on my site.
In the end, just today, that site who offered the extension reminded me something, then i tired one page with the magento 2's original theme, Luma, which just made almost everything back to peace!
The page performance dogmatically increased by 30% or more when it was tested on Google speed insights!
That indicates the core of manento 2 should be fine, but the key point is NONE of the themes on the market is available to offer a better solution than Luma does while they offer the more beautiful appearance.
Honestly when it comes to the appearance, Luma isn't as nice as other themes, it may be even a little ugly. But speaking of the efficiency, in my opinion, NONE of themes at the market for now does better than Luma (or Blanka).
So finally to make a compromise, i have changed all categories into Luma theme, but still keep the product pages Porto theme (the thing is when the product pages use Luma theme, you can't find any uglier page than them).
I'd agree that historically, 3rd party themes have been more focused on packaging up a bunch of features/extensions with a pretty layout.
I have been hearing good things about the new Hyvä theme though. It was written by a dev that was frustrated with the old coding practices and standards of Luma (and the other available themes).
The devs that I've chatted with that have worked with it are really happy with the speed scores it's getting, as well as the coding languages and approach.
It's still relatively new, but it's been quickly building up a following in Europe. There was a good presentation on it at the recent Magento Association virtual conference.
The speed scores seem really good, including for their demo https://demo.hyva.io/.
I'll plan to keep an eye on this one for folks that won't be going the PWA route.