How to speed up your website

How to speed up your website. A faster website results in a better user experience, a better search engine ranking and ultimately a better return on traffic and conversions. 47% of shoppers expect their chosen page to load within 2 seconds, while 25% of shoppers won’t wait longer than 4 seconds (source: An ideal scenario is to find the exact balance between quick performance and indulging the user experience with interactivity and script intensive content.

The options for speeding up your website split into two main categories: browser side technology and acceleration technology. Don’t forget to run a website speed test first — in this way, you will know more precisely which components need to be targeted first – see our handy website speedtest guide elsewhere in this knowledgebase.

Browser Side Optimisation

Use the optimal formatting for images: JPEGs are for photographs, GIFs are for low colour images/flat colour images, and PNGs are for everything else. Also, try and adjust the image size yourself i.e. set the width and height (width=’60px’ height=’30px’). Use web tools for image optimisation (such as Riot, ImageOptim). Don’t store everything locally, try using services like Flickr.

Minify the code for CSS and JavaScript: Again, there are some tools available such as Minify Code, Minify, JSCompress, CSSCompressor. Put CSS in separate .css files, not embedded in each page. Put Java Script files in .js files, or if you need to include them in HTML, put them at the bottom of the HTML page.

Reduce the number of components of your page:
Make a simple design. This will immediately reduce the number of HTTP requests to download all the graphics, video and JavaScript files from your website. Also, avoid Flash elements, or use as little as possible.

Minimize redirects: Each redirect creates an additional HTTP request and adds RTT (round-trip-time) latency. Use redirects only when absolutely necessary. The more redirection you have, the slower the end user will get to the desired page.

Server Side Optimisation

Use Content Delivery Network (CDN) hosting: This means that you will load some of the traffic to cloud based servers with datacentres strategically located in different regions of the world. The servers from a datacentre closer to the end user will always be triggered, so the content reaches them faster.

Reduce DNS Lookups: It takes some milliseconds for DNS to resolve an IP address for a given hostname or domain name. The browser cannot do anything until the process is fully completed. Ideally, you should use no more than 4 hostnames. This will also allow for a higher degree of parallel downloads.

Set up a GZIP compression on your web server: It saves bandwidth and solves problems with older browsers. The compressing options vary depending on the server.

Employ media streaming methods: Real-time protocols will read compressed files to deliver data as it arrives and dismiss the data once it has been streamed. The option to stream media will allow faster views, and compression/decompression methods will dispose of all the unnecessary data that would otherwise clog your connection.