Slow website speed problems

Knowing how to improve your website's performance is important. We use tools like Yslow, Pagespeed, and WebPageTest.org to diagnose poor Web page performance. For more information on using tools to determine site slowness, see Website speed tests

It's quite possible that your website is slow because of one of the five issues below. Check them out, and see how they relate to your site.

  1. Page Size — The bigger your page, the longer it takes to download, especially over slower connections.

    Big images are probably the number one cause of slow loading pages. Most image creation software has image compression options. There are also online tools, such as Smushit by Yahoo®! that can help you compress large images. You should make sure that each image on your website is optimized for the Web. Also, resize images to fit the width and height you want them to display on your page. We often see people upload giant 2000-plus pixels-wide images they snapped with their digital cameras and then use the width and height parameters to shrink them, like this width="500" height="300". Don't do that. If you say width="500" height="300" in your img tag, the image should be optimized and 500x300 pixels.

  2. Time to First Byte — An increased time to 1st byte means there are too many SQL queries or non optimized SQL queries. This can also include server-side calls to third-party API.

    If you're a WordPress user, there are a number of plugins you can check out. We've seen caching plugins affect performance both positively and negatively on customer sites and it's largely dependent upon the traffic, and how dynamic the site is. Popular choices for WordPress are WP Super Cache, W3 Total Cache, Batcache and Tribe Object Cache. These plugins offer various page, database and browser cache features. Try each one out (one at a time, not all at once) and see what works best for you.

  3. Total Objects and Third-Party Objects — Too many objects on your page will require visitors' browsers to perform the request and receive pattern too many times and slow down your page. Try combining JavaScript and CSS. Use sprites for your images. You could use mod_pagespeed to help automate this for your site. For more information, see Which mod_pagespeed functions do you support? Also be wary of how many third-party domains you're using. Too many social buttons cause problems. If you use WordPress, you might want to check out the WordPress plugin Lazy Social Buttons.
  4. Cached Objects — You want browsers caching your site. You need to instruct the Web server to enable expires headers on your static objects. This tells browsers to cache the site. This is not currently enabled by default on our Windows hosting plans, but is available for Linux plans. For more information, see Enabling mod_expires with Your Hosting Account.
  5. Text Compression — If you don't have text compression turned on, your page is going to be slow. We turn this on by default on our Web Hosting plans, so your if your page is suffering from this, it's either because of third-party objects, or it somehow got disabled on your hosting account. See Enabling mod_deflate with Your Hosting Account for more information.

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