7 things you can do to speed up your site
1. Minimize HTTP Requests
An HTTP request is made for each one of these elements, so the more on-page components, the longer it takes for the page to render.
That being the case, the quickest way to improve site speed is to simplify your design.
- Streamline the number of elements on your page.
- Use CSS instead of images whenever possible.
- Combine multiple style sheets into one.
- Reduce scripts and put them at the bottom of the page.
2. Reduce server response time
Your target is a server response time of less than 200ms (milliseconds). And if you follow the tips in this article, you’re well on your way to achieving this.
3. Enable compression
Large pages (which is what you could have if you’re creating high-quality content) are often 100kb and more. As a result, they’re bulky and slow to download. The best way to speed their load time is to zip them—a technique called compression.
Compression reduces the bandwidth of your pages, thereby reducing HTTP response. You do this with tools such as Gzip.
Most web servers can compress files in Gzip format before sending them for download, either by calling a third-party module or using built-in routines.
4. Enable browser caching
When you visit a website, the elements on the page you visit are stored on your hard drive in a cache, or temporary storage, so the next time you visit the site, your browser can load the page without having to send another HTTP request to the server.
For all cacheable resources (JS and CSS files, image files, media files, PDFs, etc.), set Expires to a minimum of one week, and preferably up to one year in the future. Don’t set it to more than one year in the future because that violates the RFC guidelines.
5. Optimize images
With images, you need to focus on three things: size, format and the src attribute.
Oversized images take longer to load, so it’s important that you keep your images as small as possible. Use image editing tools to:
- Crop your images to the correct size. For instance, if your page is 570px wide, resize the image to that width. Don’t just upload a 2000px-wide image and set the width parameter (width=”570”). This slows your page load time and creates a bad user experience.
- Reduce color depth to the lowest acceptable level.
- Remove image comments.
- JPEG is your best option.
- PNG is also good, though older browsers may not fully support it.
- GIFs should only be used for small or simple graphics (less than 10×10 pixels, or a color palette of 3 or fewer colors) and for animated images.
- Do not use BMPs or TIFFs.
Once you’ve got the size and format right, make sure the code is right too. In particular, avoid empty image src codes.
In HTML, the code for an image includes this:
When there’s no source in the quotation marks, the browser makes a request to the directory of the page or to the actual page itself. This can add unnecessary traffic to your servers and even corrupt user data.
6. Reduce the number of plugins you use on your site
Too many plugins slow your site, create security issues, and can often cause crashes and other technical difficulties.
7. Reduce redirects
Redirects create additional HTTP requests and increase load time. So you want to keep them to a minimum.
If you’ve created a responsive website, more than likely, you have redirects in place to take mobile users from your main website to the responsive version.