Whether you’re running an eCommerce venue, popular blogger, active business site, job board, charity platform or one of any number of popular websites with a ton of daily traffic, speed is everything. Even if you run a little mom-and-pop site for sharing recipes, the highly competitive modern online environment has no room for slow web pages. The slower your page loads, the more likely your visitors are to close the tab and try somewhere else that’s more responsive and considerate of their valuable internet browsing time. Even a one-second delay in page load statistically results in a loss of 7% of your visitors.
Speeding Up is Harder Than it Sounds
Of course, it’s a lot easier to say ‘speed up your web page’ than it is to actually do it. The reason for this is because your load time isn’t a value you set in your configuration, it’s how long your server takes to serve up the page to each user. There are certain things that anyone can do to reduce load time like use smaller images and chop up your content into multiple compact pages instead of big long ones, but what if you’ve already done that or your design relies on big pictures and long content-rich pages?
There are a few other things you or your web developer can do, but the potential fixes get more and more complex with each attempt at optimization. You can, for instance, set up caching so that your regular users hold onto some of the data your page loads up, making it locally available and faster to appear after the first visit. Then there’s compression which zips up and vacuum-shrinks your HTML and CSS files for faster downloads. When all this is done, if your website is still sluggish then the answer is lurking somewhere in the performance of the server itself, but where?
What’s Wrong With Your Hosting Server?
As you may remember from setting up your website, a site has to be hosted on a server, either locally on a computer you own or, ideally, on a virtual cloud server. If you’re hosting on a local server, it’s possible that your problem is actually physical. Take a moment in the middle of the night when you have the fewest visitors to turn off the machine and clean it. Chances are there’s a reasonable amount of built-up dust inside the case, caked to the vents, and just floating around. If your web page speeds up after this procedure, the problem was that the computer itself was struggling to cool itself and keep up with demand.
If you’re hosting on a cloud server, or if cleaning didn’t help, then the problem lies in the processes running on the server itself. The longer a server runs, and the more things you’ve done on it since setting it up, the more likely it is to have unnecessary processes and memory use eating up your resources and preventing your web page from getting the speed and performance it needs to impress your visitors.
Knowing that your website is slow is only the beginning of the solution and without the ability to monitor the slow down, it will be incredibly difficult to identify and cure the reason your website is running so slowly. This has been the first half of our two-part article. To find out what happens next and how to use monitoring to speed up your website, join us next time for the second half. If you’d like more information about IT managed services or to find the perfect solution for your business, contact us today!