How To Speed Up Your Website To Load Faster
Today we’ll discuss how you can speed up your website with a few simple steps. Speeding up your website is an important maintenance task, not just for ranking well with Google but to also increase readership and revenue from the website. Amazon and Google both found that by improving the loading time of their webpages by 1 second, they increased website conversions by over 1%. Half of online shoppers around the world say quick loading times are important and that they will leave if it takes longer than 3 seconds to load.
Minimize HTTP Requests
80% of the time spent loading a webpage is often spent downloading parts of the page like images, scripts, Flash, etc. An HTTP request is made for each one of these elements so the more components on each page, the longer it will take to load the entire site. Here’s a few tips for reducing the number of requests:
- Use CSS instead of images, if possible
- Combine multiple stylesheets (CSS) into one.
- Reduce the use of scripts and plugins you don’t need
- Replace Flash with HTML5 and other more modern protocols when possible.
- Put script code at the bottom of the page
Browser caching allows your visitor’s browser to store copies of your site’s individual pages, or parts of them. If the visitor returns to your site in the future, your page will load quicker because parts of it has already been downloaded. This results in overall faster load times.
If you use WordPress, the easiest way to enable browser caching is with a plugin like W3 Total Cache. Most modern Content-Management-Systems have an option or plugin to control caching settings.
Resize and Optimize Images
The best way to decrease the size of your website, and time it takes to download, is by reducing large image resolutions. High resolution images from a digital camera can be over 5MB in size. They should be scaled down to a tenth of that size, 500KB so they can be downloaded quickly. When you’re preparing images for the web in a photo-editing program, pay close attention to the export settings (resolution, DPI, number of colours, and overall size).
Note: Many Content-Management-Systems like WordPress and Joomla do this for you when you upload new media, or resize them on the server before being displayed to the visitor.
Turn on Compression
Compression minimizes the size of browser-based HTTP responses by up to 70%. Gzip compression works the same way as a ZIP file – it compresses the total size of your website into a smaller footprint than the original full-size files. When a user visits your website, their browser will automatically unzip the files and show the contents. This method of transferring the website content from your server to the browser is much more efficient and saves a lot of time downloading.
There is no disadvantage to installing Gzip and the increase in speed is always worth it. Some plugins add compression to your website with one-click, such as a WordPress plugin designed for this exact purpose, but installing it manually is actually very easy.
Here’s the code snippet you need to add to your website’s .htaccess file or contact our support to have it setup for you:
Remove Plugins and Unnecessary Scripts
There are thousands of free scripts and plugins available today, making it tempting for website designers to add more than they need. Every plugin requires resources to be loaded every time a visitor opens your website. This means the more plugins and scripts you have installed, the slower your website will load. Often, the functionality of the plugin isn’t worth the trade-off in speed.
It’s also important to make sure these scripts are up to date, and professionally developed, so they don’t contain any memory or CPU issues, causing your website to crash or slow down.
Redirects trigger an extra HTTP request and add latency. Only keep redirects where you need them and if you can’t find any other solution to the problem. Google recommends never referencing URLS in your webpage that are known to redirect to other URL’s and minimize the number of extra domains the webpage hits before reaching it’s target. The links that slow down your webpages from loading will be those with the longest external redirect chain.
Use a CDN
A content delivery network (CDN) is a collection of web servers across multiple locations around the world meant to deliver content more efficiently to users. Depending on where the user’s IP address geo-locates to, the CDN will choose the closest server to deliver content to the user. This measure of network proximity benefits all users because they’re able to request webpages and downloads with much less latency, than if they were downloading from the original server. CloudFlare and MaxCDN are a few of many providers who offer this service. Some webmasters choose to host only a certain part of their websites on a CDN, such as the images, media files, and large script files that are of a certain file size.
After you’ve followed all these steps to speed up your website, you may realize the slow speed is simple caused by a low-quality hosting server. When you host with HostUpon, you can be sure that we’re using the best in technology and software available.