Having a fast-loading website is crucial in today’s digital world. Slow websites can lead to a poor user experience and loss of potential customers. But don’t worry! There are several strategies you can implement to make your website faster and optimize its performance. In this article, we will explore essential steps that you can easily follow to improve your website’s speed. From measuring your website’s performance to leveraging caching techniques, adopting the latest technology, choosing a reliable hosting provider, and optimizing content, we will cover everything you need to know.
Let us dive in.
First and foremost, it’s important to measure your website’s performance. You can use tools like pagespeed.web.dev provided by Google to analyze your website’s performance and gain valuable insights into areas that need improvement. It will try to load your page, create multiple snapshots of how it rendered it, point out issues in Performance/SEO/Security, etc. It’s an overall amazing tool, but remember that, at least to my knowledge, tests are made from the perspective of an american user, so websites hosted in other parts of the world will display some worse metrics, like “time to first byte”(and if your website is hosted in the U.S. you won’t be able to tell how well non-americans will load your website).
Keeping your website up-to-date with the latest technology is crucial for optimal performance. Ensure that you are using the latest versions of software and frameworks. These updates often include performance improvements and security enhancements. PHP, for example, has continuously improved its performance over time, and so has wordpress ever since version 6.2.
Choosing a reliable hosting provider is THE most important factor in determining your website’s speed and reliability. Compare multiple hosts and their performance/price before making a choice. I, for example, have hosted this website in two places before: One called Locaweb and now Kinghost. They both offer similar prices, but the later gives 2 cpu cores(which allows to run 4 instances of my website, compared to one on the first), caching services, performance diagnostics, newer versions of PHP and MySQL, etc making my website a lot faster.
Also remember that shared-hosting plans may be cost-effective, but they can be slower due to sharing resources with other websites. Consider upgrading to a virtual private server (VPS) or dedicated hosting if you need extreme performance.
Regularly check your website for unnecessary plugins and scripts. While those can add functionality, they can also slow down your website if not used properly. Remove or replace any unnecessary plugins and scripts with more lightweight alternatives as each one adds to the number of requests the server needs to handle, potentially impacting the website’s speed.
To further improve your website’s speed, consider utilizing a Content Delivery Network (CDN). CDNs consist of a network of servers distributed across various locations globally. By delivering content from servers nearest to your visitors’ geographic locations, they can minimize data travel distance, reducing latency and enhancing loading times. The reason why they’re in “more advanced” is because to set them up you should have a at least a small understanding of domains and DNS(Domain Naming System), since it’ll be necessary to point your domain to the CDN and then it to your servers.
Popular CDN providers include Cloudflare, Fastly, and Akamai(first one is free).
Optimizing images and multimedia content can significantly contribute to faster loading times. Compress and resize images to reduce their file size without compromising quality. Additionally, consider implementing lazy loading for images, which loads images in parallel with the rest of the page, not blocking/slowing it, and convert all images to WEBP.
Enabling Gzip compression on your server is another effective technique to improve website speed. Compressing can reduce the file size of your website’s resources before they are sent over the network which helps achieve faster load times. Most web servers support Gzip compression, which can be easily enabled through server configuration or using plugins.
Lastly, try implement caching mechanisms to improve your website’s performance. Server-side caching mechanisms like Opcode caching (e.g., APCu, OPcache) or object caching (e.g., Redis, Memcached) store frequently accessed data in memory, reducing the need to query the database repeatedly. Additionally, making use of google’s page speed module can further increase speed.