Possible Reasons Your Website is Running Slow

Posted at November 18, 2013 at 4:43 pm by admin

When people visit a webpage they want it to load up and respond quickly.  In addition to keeping your visitors happy, having a website that loads quickly is also important for ranking well with Google and the other search engines.  If you find that your website isn’t quite as responsive as you’d like it to be, take some time to read through these possible reasons your website is running slowly.

When a site is slow, most people start out by assuming it is their web hosting.  The fact is, however, that your hosting usually not the problem, and it shouldn’t be the first place you look.  The following items are some of the more common causes for a slow website, as well as some tips on how you can speed things up.

Your Connection

If your website is suddenly seeming to respond slower than normal, the chances are good that the issue lays with your computer or your internet connection.  Fortunately, this is also one of the easiest problems to identify.  Here are some quick tests you can do to figure out if your computer or internet connection is causing your problem:

  • Try Other Sites – Visit a few other sites that you go to frequently.  If these are running slow as well, the problem is with your computer or connection.
  • Try Another Computer – If you have another computer you can use, attempt to connect from that one.  If it is still slow, you have ruled out your computer as the problem.
  • Check Your Speed – There are several sites online that allow you to check the speed of your internet connection.  One of the most popular is found at speedtest.net.  Visit this site and click ‘Begin Test’ to see how fast your connection really is:1

    The test typically only takes about 20-30 seconds, and when completed, you’ll see your results, like this: 2

    The three numbers at the top are your results.  You want the PING to be as low as possible.  Anything under about 40ms is fine.  The download and upload speeds you want to be high.  These will be largely dependent on the type of internet connection you have.  Most internet service providers offer guaranteed speeds, so check with yours to see what you should be getting.  As long as it is above 5Mbps, you should be fine though.

If you’ve gone through these items, and confirmed your internet connection is not the problem, it is time to move on to the next potential thing that can cause your site to run slowly.

Site Design

The design of your site is one of the biggest things that can cause it to load quickly, or slow it down.  There are many different things website owners can do to optimize their site, without sacrificing on the look or functionality of the page.  The easiest way to check to see if your site’s design is causing it to load slowly is to run a performance test on it.  We recommend using the free, online performance test from GTmetrix, which can be found at gtmetrix.com.

Once you’ve arrived at this site, you’ll see an option to analyze the performance of your site.  It will look like this:3

 

Simply type in your domain name, and hit GO!  The site will load up your page and do a variety of tests in the background.  Typically this only takes a minute or two, and then you’ll be provided with the results.  At the top, you’ll be provided with your summary score, which will look something like this:

 4

The better your grade, the more optimized your site is.  In addition, make sure to look at the “Page Load Time” score.  Studies have shown that after about 4 seconds, people begin to click away from a site that hasn’t finished loading, so ideally, you want your page load time to be under 4 seconds whenever possible.

This page will also break down your score into very detailed results, and provide instructions on how to fix any problems.  The breakdown results will be just under the summary, and will look like this:5

 

Take some time to go through and read about any areas that your site got a C or below on.  By clicking on the section where your site did poorly, you’ll reveal a description of what the actual problem is, and how to fix it.  These are typically fairly easy fixes which don’t require too much technical knowledge.  Once you’ve gone through and made the adjustments, rerun the test and see if the performance has improved.

Make sure to take note that there are several tabs on this results screen.  Look through each of them to see what types of things may be slowing down your site.  Whether you’re experiencing significant slowness or not, this is a good test to run periodically to ensure there aren’t any problems.

If you’re not showing any problems with the site design, then move on to the next step.

Hosting Problems

While rare, it is possible that website slowness could be caused by your hosting.  Here at Interserver we work hard to keep all of our hosting servers and connections to the web working as fast as possible.  That being said, however, we will still be happy to help you pin point any possible problems your site may be having on our servers.  Depending on the type of hosting you have with us, there will be quite a few different things that can be done to help improve the speed.  Here are a few potential things that may need to be looked at:

  • Type of Hosting – We offer a variety of different types of hosting options to choose from.  If you’re using one of our shared hosting services, that will mean there are several other websites on the same physical server as yours.  We monitor each of the sites closely to make sure none of them are causing any problems for the others, and if they are, we work to get it fixed as soon as possible.   If you’re having problems, however, we can look at your shared hosting server to try to help find and fix any issues.

    If you’re on one of our virtual private servers, we can help by looking at performance logs and other statistics to help make recommendations.  If we find any problems on our end, we’ll get them resolved as quickly as possible.  If you have a dedicated server with us, you’ll be the only customer on that server, which gives you more power and flexibility.  We can run tests to help ensure there aren’t any issues with your specific box.

  • Traffic Levels – If your site has been growing rapidly, and you’re still on one of our shared hosting services, you may want to consider upgrading to a virtual private server or even a dedicated server.  While our shared services do offer unlimited disk space and bandwidth, sites can outgrow the capabilities of these servers.  We offer options that will meet the needs of any site, however, so contact our customer support team and we can help you choose a service that will help keep your site running smoothly.  We’ll also help with transferring your site over to a new server, so you won’t have to worry about any downtime or other problems.
  • Spam or DDOS Attacks – While not technically a problem with the web hosting, spam and DDOS attacks are often issues we can help with.  Spam problems that slow down websites are often related to people trying to fill your site with comments or email your site repeatedly.  We can help identify and block the users performing this spam.  DDOS attacks, or Distributed Denial of Service, is a common type of attack performed against websites.  It essentially uses programs on a variety of different computers to send your website huge amounts of traffic.  This traffic overloads the servers, causing your site to run very slow or even crash.  If you suspect this is a problem, let us know and we can help you get to the bottom of it.

Here at Intersever we are dedicated to helping each of our customers keep their sites up and running as fast as possible.  If you have any specific questions about your site, the hosting or why it is running slow, please don’t hesitate to open a support ticket with us and we’ll be happy to help you identify any problems.

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