Speeding up your website

Do you ever get stuck on a website that takes ages to load? Wish you ever know what causes slow loading website? Website load speed is also important for SEO according to the previous google search engine algorithm update.

Chances are the web development agency isn’t doing much to optimise the website or plan properly during the early stages of the website build.

Here, we explore the main areas on where you can improve your website to make it load faster than before.

How do you know if your website is slow?

First step to solve any problem is to be able to know what is causing the problem, in this case, we need to find out what is causing your website to be loading slowly. Is it because of your hosting, too many media files being loaded or its just your home internet connection?

There are a few tools that you can use to diagnose the problem, at FUSE, we use three diagnostics tool: GTmetrix, Pingdom & Google Pagespeed.

From these tests, you can drill down to the actual component of the website that is causing the slow loading speed.

So what could be wrong?

There are a few main factors that affects your website loading speed.

1.  Hosting Server

2. Website Code Quality

3. Lack of Optimisation

1. Hosting Server

First thing a WordPress site needs would be a reliable hosting, this could be cloud hosting like Amazon Web Service EC2, Digital Ocean, or managed hosting like SiteGround that specialises in WordPress hosting.

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The specification of server you need will depend on the types of website you are running. For example, if you are hosting plenty of video files, your will need plenty of storage space, and if you are running an eCommerce site, your database and RAM would need to be plenty enough to be able to support your website.

The amount of visitors you have monthly will also dictate how much CPU, RAM and storage space your website needs.

An important factor to consider is where your domain name DNS is being hosted in. A good quick solution would be to use Cloudflare as your caching layer, its quick to set up and it protects against DDOS attacks as well. In addition to caching, it is also able to optimise your HTML, JS and CSS files and other features like firewall and CDN.


2. Website Code Quality

There’s no shortage of developers but good developers who have optimisation in mind early during the development cycle and having a good programming practice is few in between the thousands out there.

A particularly common bottleneck is the calls between the public facing layer, the front-end of the code and the database, which is the back-end part of the website. Usually for WordPress, this is the PHP and mySql part. Multiple calls to the database which contains several thousands of entries every second will probably take a toll on the server processing power, which can make the website appear slow to the visitors, or it will crash in the worst case scenario.

Functions in the code that calls the same command over and over can be optimised by grouping them together or by reducing the calls and storing the data in memory for future request. Code that are in loops are also guilty of slowing the server down if it is not optimised properly and since the loop can go to the hundreds or thousands, an optimised code in this looping block can reduce the strain on the server.

3. Lack of Optimisation

The finishing touches to making a website loads fast is the multitude of optimisation steps that your development agency can do.

  • Removing unused plugins, and/or slow plugins by replacing with better quality plugins.
  • Combining & minifying your CSS and Javascript files.
  • Optimising your media files especially images and videos.
  • Enabling caching for your assets.
  • Using a CDN for hosting your large media files.

Closing thoughts

Optimising a website takes diagnosis to find out what’s the main issue, steps to fix those issues and re-testing to see if the main culprit that is slowing down your website have been fixed. After each steps that you’ve taken to optimise the site, it’s prudent to re-run the speed test to see if the particular steps have improved the loading speed or in rare cases made it worse.

Talk to your web developer or agency on how they can improve your website loading speed.