How Can I Improve My Website Speed? (Image credit- iDreamBiz)
The largest aspect contributing to the success of any company’s website is user experience (UX) (UX). A vital feature of UX is a fast-responding website.
Data suggests that 47% of web users anticipate a web page to load in under two seconds. Moreover, 40% of web visitors quit a website if it takes longer than three seconds to load. Yet even a second delay in web page response times can cause a 7% decline in conversions.
Page load speed directly influences consumer engagement, conversion rates, SEO, and brand promotion. Selecting the proper web hosting provider and service plan will maximize website performance.
Your Website May Slow Response Speeds
Many eCommerce websites employ third-party scripts for cookies, advertising, analytics, social networking, and apps. Delays in load times occur when a browser discovers a third-party script, loading data from various databases sourced from hidden-party servers. Consequently, it’s better to keep third-party services to a minimum.
Another means to improve a website’s load times is to enable browser caching. This will improve response times for returning visitors.
Does the Hosting Provider Offer a Contact Delivery Network (CDN)?
To enhance load speeds to consumers worldwide, verify the site hosting company supports contact delivery networks (CDNs) (CDNs). Without the benefit of a CDN, a website’s content is sourced from just one server serving global visitors from all continents.
For example, if a visitor from New Zealand accesses content hosted on an origin server in Europe, inevitably, response times will lag. A worldwide CDN has points-of-presence (POPs) spread around the globe, routing website requests to the nearest CDN POP. Reducing the physical distance between a responding server and a requesting location greatly decreases load and response times.
A CDN is vital to optimizing worldwide UX. Researchers have found that, on average, a CDN slashes website lag (latency) by 83% compared to websites without a CDN.
Web Hosting Plans Matter
The type of web hosting plan a business uses will impact user response times and UX. A shared hosting plan, while the least expensive option, is also the least robust in terms of performance, security, and flexibility.
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A shared hosting server accommodates multiple websites, all of which share the server’s resources such as available bandwidth, CPU, RAM, and memory. If a website suffers from slow web page loads and response times, the first step is to upgrade to a more powerful hosting solution.
Dedicated server hosting will greatly improve website performance. However, this option comes at a relatively high cost. A more economical choice is a virtual private server (VPS) solution, which delivers most of the advantages of a dedicated server.
Optimizing Servers for Speed
When considering web host providers, part of one’s due diligence is to evaluate the storage devices they use. Find out if their servers deploy solid-state drives (SSDs) (SSDs). Faster and more reliable than legacy hard disc drives (HDDs), SSDs achieve greater speed through more efficient data throughput and much faster seek times. Moreover, SSDs are an eco-friendly choice as they use less energy than HDDs.
What web server software does the hosting provider use? While Apache HTTP is widely used across multiple computing platforms, some hosting providers now rely on faster technologies such as LiteSpeed Web Server (LSWS) or Nginx.
Another important consideration is the web host’s relational database management system (RDMS) (RDMS). The most popular DB engine is Oracle’s MySQL but the MariaDB RDMS-a variant of MySQL-delivers faster performance.
Testing Websites for Speed
Free online tools are available to test a website’s speed. Use Google’s PageSpeed Insights or the Pingdom Web Site Speed Test to determine any possible chokepoints. These tests grade websites and note what elements can be improved.