Who doesn’t want a fast website? According to a study, 25% of your visitors will go away from your website if the site loads in more than 4 seconds. The mobile visitors are increasing day by day as well. These two add the importance of the fact that not only your site needs to be fast, but it also has to be mobile ready as well! I am discussing in this article a few basic steps that you can implement to make your sites fast.
The following are the major factors that decide the speed of your website.
Start with DNS
DNS plays a major role in deciding the speed of your website. Your DNS server should be able to resolve quickly and return the IP address to which the browser or the application that need to be connected. You can look at the fastest DNS servers here https://www.dnsperf.com/ . According to the DNS pref, Cloudflare is the fastest DNS provider. We also recommend them, not only because its free, but it also has a lot of other nice to use features, which will be discussed in up coming posts.
The WebServer matters
Once the DNS is connected, the next action is done by the web server and it plays the next crucial role.
We at FlexiCloud uses Litespeed web server, which is much faster ( at least 500 % ) than Apache, which is used by most of the shared hosting companies. You can read a bit about the official benchmarks taken by LiteSpeed itself here.
If you’re not using a control panel and is building your own server, we suggest to use Nginx web server, which is as fast as Litespeed, and you need to enable the FastCGI or proxy caching ways. We will be discussing how to set those up in a different article in length.
Whats your PHP version ?
The PHP version that you use on your website will play another crucial role in determining the speed of your website. We at FlexiCloud Hosting knows how important this is and we provide multiple versions of PHP for your hosting.
If you are on a WordPress framework, we strongly recommend you to use the latest PHP version, that is PHP7.2. FlexiCloud will be releasing the 7.3 soon and once that is done, you can upgrade your PHP from your cPanel.
A caching tool will keep the compiled output of the pages to a file and delivers that to the visitor, without taking the requests through the PHP and database over and over. So having a caching plugin is too good for a WordPress site so that the website will use fewer server resources, and the pages will be faster for the visitor.
Since we use the LiteSpeed web server, The FlexiCloud users will be able to use Litespeed Cache for WordPress, which is one of the best caching tools that are available in the market. You can read more about the LiteSpeed Cache for WordPress here in this link.
This can be used for free for FlexiCloud Clients.
Image size is Important
The size of the images plays a very important role in the page speed. Large images will definitely slow down your site, while very small images will take away the user experience. So you need to find a balance between the image size and quality.
Ideally, you should use JPEG (or JPG) for images with lots of color and PNG for simple images. Because the compression in JPEG is much better than that in PNG. There are a lot of image compression plugins available which you can use. I sometimes use Canva and I have seen it easy to use.
Use a Content Delivery Network
CDN stands for Content delivery network. There are a lot of providers who just hosts your static contents like images videos CSS and JS and deliver them to your visitors.
There are mainly two types of CDN. A traditional CDN, where you configure to host just the static content, and the Reverse proxy CDN, where the entire site is being reverse proxied and cached.
Key CDN, Max CDN etc comes in the first Category, while Cloudflare and Sucuri are the examples of the second type.
If you’re using the reverse proxy, you will need to point your site towards their IP or change the nameservers to theirs. They have a strong firewall and caching rules to speed up your site content and they provide various analytics.
One disadvantage of having a CDN is that you have to keep your images in your server, and the CDN providers have to query the static content as their TTL expires. So if you have a large amount of them you may end up in a slower image delivery site.
Instead, you can offload your images to Amazon s3, or to Digital Ocean spaces or to Google Storage.
You can use the following plugin to do that for Amazon s3. While they have tools to sync images to spaces too, we would prefer the official plugin which can be found down there 🙂
You can use the following plugin to offload your images to Digital Ocean spaces.
Control Your Cron Jobs
WordPress has an inbuilt cron to handle the repetitive jobs, and over time, it can lose its sanity. Its always preferred to disable the inbuilt cron and add a manual cron job.
Add this line in wp-config.php just before the line that says “That’s all, stop editing! Happy blogging. “
Then you need to add a cron from your cPanel so that the file wp-cron.php will run every 15 or 30 minutes. You can also use plugin like Wp Control plugin to check and see what the cronjobs are running for.
The number of remote contents that your site loads when a page is fully loaded is another important factor. If you have a lot of remote content, loading from third-party service providers can slow down your site.
Fonts, advertisements etc are common examples. many of the ad networks sites are heavily overloaded and they are slow, so you need to be very careful on the ad network you are using in your site because that could be the one-stop reason for your sites to be slow.
You can use plugins like these to load google fonts locally, which can improve your page speed considerably as well.
These are definitely not all of them, but these cover the most of it. There are a few others like the quality of theme and the plugins that you install also factor into the page speed.
Please let us know if we have missed any important points via comments.