Why is My Website Loading Slow?
The loading time of a website is really important. Your visitors will not wait for more than a few seconds to load the website. This can seriously affect your website/business. So you should make sure that your website is loading fine at good speed.
There can be many reasons that can slow down your website. It depends on both server side settings and the design of the website. In short, we can tweak both the server and optimize the website to improve performance. In this tutorial, we are going to see why a website is loading slow.
Why does a website load slow?
As we have seen earlier, there can be many reasons behind the website slowness. We can classify them into three categories.
1) Website issues
2) Server issues
3) Network issues
We are going to see both of these issues.
Main website issues deal with the poor web designing. Non-optimized files and poor coding can slow your website. You need to make sure the website is designed by skilled developers and it is important for better security also. However, it may not be practical for all website owners. It can be very costly to design custom websites. So you could try using Content Management Systems (CMS) like WordPress, Joomla, etc.
They provide a default website layout and also offer you a wide variety of plugins and themes so that you could customize the websites as per your requirements. There are many plugins also to improve speed, overall performance and to prevent attacks, etc.
There are many CMS available for free of cost. However, there are both free plugins and licensed plugins and it is same for the themes also. The most common CMS is WordPress and I am listing a few CMS for reference.
4) Expression Engine
5) Text Pattern
6) Radiant CMS
Using CMS is a good idea as they offer good templates. However, the security should be ensured by the website owners. You need to make sure that the plugins and themes used in your website are updated regularly. Paid themes and plugins will release their updates regularly. So it is better to choose plugins and themes from reliable providers.
Next problem with the website is the content used in it. You need to ensure that the website is using contents as less as possible. The increase in a number of files will increase the load time as the server will need more read/write operations. Also, the file size is important. Suppose, there are images on your website. Images of good quality will catch the eyes of the visitors for sure but it will also increase the size of the website. So you could use optimized images and other files so that the size of the website will be less. Most compressing tools can compress the website without losing the image quality up to some extent. The google page insights offer a way to compress the images. You could follow their links after scanning the websites to compress the files.
There can be server side problems that cause your website to run slow. In fact, these may not be problems but the setup of the server may not be appropriate for your website. In such situations, your website will start to run slow while other websites on the same server will be running fine. Such problems can be fixed by tweaking PHP settings, enabling required extensions, etc. If you have a VPS or dedicated server, you could install any additional modules, etc. because you will have total control over the website. Unfortunately, on shared hosting, custom changes may not be possible.
Next thing is cache. Caching can greatly improve the performance of the website.
What is caching?
Caching is the process of storing frequently accessed data temporarily so that it can be easily served for new requests. The caching can be classified into two categories.
1) Server side caching
2) Client side caching
Server side caching
In server side caching, frequently accessed data is cached on the server and it is served for new requests. The results will be stored in the server cache. So that accessing the same web pages will be easily done. There are different caching mechanisms for caching files, database results, etc. Static contents are used to be cached more. Because the results of the dynamic contents can vary frequently. The frame, layout, title is an example for static contents where the data inside them are dynamic contents.
The nginx can be used as a reverse proxy to store the static data. Varnish cache is another example of a reverse proxy. This also can be used for server side caching.
Client side caching
Client side caching is another type of caching mechanism. In server side caching, the data is cached in the server but client side caching the data will be cached in the user’s computer. Browsers are responsible for the client side caching so that it is also called browser caching.
These are the methods to improve the performance on client side.
3) Network issues
You may see your website is loading so slowly if there is some network issue. The issue can be on your network or on the network where the server resides. If it is on your network, the issue will be only for your network and the website will be working fine for all other locations. Local network issues can be found and fixed by the ISP providers.
These are the common reasons behind your website is loading slowly.
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