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Is Your Website Running Slow? How to Make Websites Load Faster

With the advancement of technology, Internet speeds have never been faster. Today, there are nearly five billion daily Internet users across the globe. High volume traffic can result in your website running slow, which will often deter users from visiting or staying on your site. 

Throughout this article, we will cover how to make a website load faster, along with possible reasons your website might be running slow. Additionally, we will outline our top ten tips to make a website load faster. 

What Is a Website? 

A website is a collection of web pages that are identified by the same domain name. Web pages display information in the form of text, images, and video content. A valid Internet connection and a web browser, such as Chrome or Safari, is needed to access a website. Today, there are more than 1.5 billion websites on the Internet.

Websites can be either static or dynamic. Static sites contain static files and use basic programming languages like HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. Static web pages remain the same until someone changes them manually. This means that they have fixed content stored on the web server. 

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Dynamic websites contain different types of content every time they are viewed. Dynamic pages exchange or update information via the web server or database, constantly. This dynamic content creation takes more time to load. Developers commonly use AJAX to build dynamic websites in conjunction with programming languages like ASP and ASP.NET.

Why Is My Website Running Slow? 5 Possible Reasons

There are many reasons why your website might be running slow. For example, the slow load time can be due to non-optimized images, too many files, poor hosting services, bulky and messy code, or no CDN network. In the following section, we will explore the five most common reasons. 

  1. You have large media files. Most developers don’t take into consideration the size of the media files they use. Larger images and videos can lead to slow-loading pages. The larger the media file, the longer it takes the site to load it. Media file size and image format matter if they are not optimized.
  2. You have bloated code. Poorly written code can impact a browser’s load speed. Unoptimized code only adds a few extra kilobytes (KBs), but this adds up if you scale your site with new code. 
  3. You are using too many plugins. Having too many plugins installed can cause website issues and poor performance. If you have lots of them installed, they are weighing your website down. You must remove any unnecessary plugins as the website will go through all of them to load your page, including the ones you don’t use. 
  4. You are not using a Content Delivery Network. When a user visits your website, a request is sent to the server where your website is hosted. If you have high traffic or users who are far away from your server, then your website can experience slow loading time. A content delivery network (CDN) uses the nearest server to the user to increase loading times.
  5. You picked low-quality hosting. New website owners often pick the cheapest hosting option there is. The problem with low-cost options is that they come with low-quality hosting services. This increases loading time.

How to Speed Up a Website: 10 Tips

If your website is running slow and you don’t know how to fix it, then read on, as we outline ten tips to speed up a website. Applying these tips will improve your website’s speed metrics, user experience, and search engine optimization.

Test Website Speed and Performance

Before you can improve the speed of your website, you need to test your website speed. Several online tools can help you with this. All of these tools offer different metrics for your website performance that you can analyze and tweak. 

Optimize Images

Unoptimized images are one of the most common reasons websites run slow. That is why image file size and image quality are important. The bigger the image size and quality, the longer the loading speed. Image files that are more than 2MB should be optimized if you want to have a faster site speed. You can optimize images by compressing them. 

Optimize the Code

The more code your website has, the longer it will take for the web browser to analyze it. If you want to minimize your load time, it’s a good idea to write cleaner code. You can do this by writing shorter JavaScript, HTML, and CSS code. This process is also known as code minification and involves deleting unnecessary items like spaces and commas to reduce file size.

Use a Content Distribution Network

Using a content distribution network (CDN) service is good for websites that have large amounts of global traffic. CDN uses a globally distributed network of servers across different locations. So, instead of using the hosting server, it uses the nearest server node to the user that visits your site. This way your pages load quicker. 

Choose the Right Hosting Platform

A poor hosting platform can create slow-loading pages. Choosing the right hosting platform and plan will have a huge impact on the loading speed of your site. There are three options you have when it comes to choosing the right hosting, including shared hosting, VPS hosting, and dedicated hosting. 

Enable Browser Caching 

When someone visits your website, it caches and stores information locally. This enables faster loading times as websites don’t have to send another HTTP request to the server. There are several caching plugins that WordPress offers. The best ones are WP Super Cache,  W3 Total Cache, and WP Fastest Cache.

Uninstall Unnecessary Plugins

Plugins are a great addition to any website but having more than you need will cause your website harm. Installing too many plugins will negatively affect your website’s performance. We suggest removing useless plugins and focusing more on the lightweight, frequently used plugins.

Use Asynchronous Loading 

Scripts like CSS and JavaScript can be loaded synchronously or asynchronously. When a browser loads a page it does that from top to bottom. Synchronous loading is when a script is loaded one at a time. But if there is an unoptimized JS script, the browser has to stop and fully load it. This is called render-blocking JavaScript and it impacts a website’s load time. 

To solve this problem, you can use asynchronous loading. This allows the browser to load other elements of the page. Imagine you have an image slide at the top of your webpage, but there is a problem fetching the images from the database. With synchronous loading, your webpage will stop at the images because they can’t load. With asynchronous loading, the whole page will load without them.

Defer JavaScript Loading

This is a different approach than asynchronous loading. Deferring means preventing the JS file from loading after the other items are loaded. For example, if you have a JS script in the lower fold of the website, you can defer it so that the first fold of the webpage is loaded. With the WP Rocket plugin, you can easily enable deferred JavaScript loading.

Monitor mobile page speed

As well as monitoring desktop webpages, you need to be aware of how your page works on cell phones. Mobile user experience is important so it’s a good idea to keep track of mobile site load times. You can use Google’s Test My Site tool to check the speed of your mobile webpage.

How to Make a Website Load Faster If None of This Works 

If none of these tips work for you, the fastest way to make your website load faster is to hire a specialist. Alternatively, you can use the Internet to reach out to others who are having similar problems. Resources like Slack, Reddit, and Discord are excellent for this. 

If you are still having trouble making your website load faster you can use online tutorials to further educate yourself and try to tackle the problem again. You must regularly speed-test your page. This will allow you to track slow loading times and look for any patterns concerning your website.

Overall, the number one problem for most websites is unoptimized images. So, this is generally the best place to start and something all developers should do. For speed improvements, you need clean code and the right hosting plan. With these tips, your website should have better performance and a lower bounce rate.

How to Make a Website Load Faster FAQ

Why do websites take so long to load?

Most websites take too long to load because of server congestion from too much traffic or a large volume of unoptimized images on the website. These are the most common reasons websites load slowly. 

How fast should a website load?

The ideal time to load a website is within two or three seconds. If the site loads for more than three seconds, the bounce rate increases, and you should optimize it.

What website takes the longest to load?

The top five would be The Financial Times with 29.5 seconds, Bloomberg’s pages with 27 seconds, CNN with 18.8 seconds, The Wall Street Journal with 18.6 seconds, and Boston.com with 17.9 seconds loading speed.

How many plugins are too many for WordPress?

You should try to limit yourself to five plugins. However, if more are necessary, your website should still never exceed 20. 

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