9 Tips To Make Your Website Load Faster

One of the most important aspects of any website is loading time.  No matter how flashy your graphics or interesting your content is, if it doesn’t appear to the visitor in a speedy manner, it’s unlikely they’ll ever see any of it.  Below we’ve outlined some helpful tips to ensure that your website will load in a blink of an eye and keep your viewers in place!

1. Optimize, optimize, optimize.

In the event that your pages have more than five images displayed on them, you will want to optimize the images for the Internet. This essentially means using a mode of compression to make the images smaller and load faster.  Many commercial websites use this technique to great effect – how do you think Facebook loads so quickly?  A good rule of thumb is to use GIF files as much as possible at lower optimizations when it comes to the graphics on your page.  Insofar as photographs are concerned, highly compressed JPGS are good.  PNG files tend to take up a lot of space, and don’t go anywhere near a bitmap!

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2. Physical distance still matters in the virtual age.

If your web host is farther than forty miles away from where you live, you might want to look into getting a new host.  You can figure out where your web host is located by doing a simple ping test.  If the ping test shows that your web host is on the other side of the planet, you might want to consider hosting elsewhere.  The closer they are to you, the faster your load times will be.

3. Is your web host’s equipment cheap?

These days, it seems as though you can get your website hosted for less than pennies on the dollar.  In general this would be seen as a good thing for those of us who don’t have hundreds of dollars a month to spend on hosting, but it could also be affecting your load times.  Cheaper companies often use cheaper equipment, which means that your visitors might have to wait longer for your pages to load.  Remember: you get what you pay for.  This applies to web hosts, as well.  Weigh the cost of web hosting against how much traffic your website gets – if you’re having thousands of visitors per day, it might be worth it to upgrade to a more expensive web host that utilizes better equipment.

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4. Cache it.

Want to get your website to load quick as a blink for your repeat visitors?  Enable PHP caching. This will instruct the browser to load the website once and then store away the images and everything else for later retrieval.  This way there’s only one time that the visitor has to wait for the Internet to produce the images.

5. Is your bandwidth slow?

Most larger hosts have multiple bandwidth providers in order to handle a lot of traffic.  You can check to see how fast your own bandwidth is by performing a trace route test.  Once you’ve done that, check to see if your provider is linked up with companies such as Sprint, Level (3) Communications, AT&T, MCI-Verizon or Mizma.  If it is, your bandwidth has a good chance of being fast – but many of the smaller web hosts can’t afford to partnership with these companies.  How important this is to you depends on the size of your website.  If you’re running a larger page, you might want to consider moving to a web host that works with one of the above companies.  This will go a long way toward ensuring that your pages load reliably and quickly for many visitors!

6. Keep your CSS files small.

If your CSS is over 75KB in size, it could be dragging your user’s experience down.  If you run a smaller website, be sure to keep it below this number.  However, if you have a bigger website with lots of pages with a lot of graphics and code, it might be necessary to exceed this amount. Should this be the case, be sure to monitor your website regularly and remove pieces of code that you no longer use regularly.  It may also be worth your time and money to pay a web designer to go through and edit your CSS to help you trim the fat, particularly if you are running a larger operation.

Unoptimized CSS

Unoptimized CSS

Optimized CSS

Optimized CSS

7. How are your databases optimized?

Poorly optimized databases can slow your website down.  If you’re not sure how to do this, simply run a Google search on database optimization for the lowdown.  There’s literally hundreds of ways to make sure that your databases are optimized for maximum performance.

8. Cool down the hotlinking.

The term “hotlinking” refers to when another website uses your website as a server for files.  For example, if you have a video file embedded on your website and another website embeds the same file yet uses your source code, that website is hotlinking.  This means that the second website is using your bandwidth to play that file.  Hotlinking takes up enormous amounts of a website’s bandwith and can really slow down your load time.  In order to eliminate hotlinking, you can check if social networking websites, such as MySpace, show up in your referral files or if a certain file is being served more often than the page that the file is located on.  If you notice hotlinking, you can usually access hotlinking protection through the control panels of your web host. If not, you may need to take the file down.

9. Use less JavaScript code and compress it!

Simpler code always leads to faster page loads.  One way to get your page’s JavaScript up to code is to remove the comments and compress it – this essentially takes out the line breaks and makes your JavaScript into one long sentence.  However, if you are not an experienced JavaScript user, this could make your code harder to read, so be sure that you know what you’re doing before you use it.  If you’re not confident in your abilities to read JavaScript without comments or line breaks, keep them in.  It’s a giant headache to undo JavaScript compression once it’s done!

Uncompressed JavaScript

Uncompressed JavaScript

Compressed JavaScript

Compressed JavaScript

With these tips in mind, get out on the web and make your presence known!  If you have a well optimized website that loads fast and is easy to navigate, you’ve already won half the battle.  The rest of it is all in your content and user experience – but having a quickly loading website is the first step in making sure that web surfers stick around long enough to see it!

Brian

Brian Flores is a SEO and copywriter for InMotion Hosting, one of the top dedicated server providers in the country. He works with a team of awesome writers to post useful tutorials on WebHostingHelpGuy. You can follow him on Twitter @WHHG_InMotion or @BrianAFlores.

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17 Comments
  1. Dezine Weblog Mar 7, 11:52 am

    Very good tips.

    I also like to add one more tip that you should keep extra scripts only at the end of the site because if for any reason the script does not load or loading slow then it should not affect your site.

    Reply
    -1
    • Adrian Mar 7, 11:59 am

      If you make the scripts of the end, many functions possible don’t load…

      Reply
      +4
      • Dezine Weblog Mar 7, 12:22 pm

        No, I meant to say scripts like “Facebook Social Plugin, Twitter, Reddit, Digg… etc vote buttons and scripts like these” if they are on top of the page and any of them not loading then your page will stuck.

        But if they are on bottom of the page and not loading then your readers can at least see the page.

        Reply
        +2
      • Sebastian Poreba Mar 12, 8:40 pm

        That’s why we use $(window).ready().
        Get YSlow and PageSpeed, score 100/100 in both, that’s the ultimate page speeding up guide.

        Reply
        -1
  2. Brixter Mar 7, 5:06 pm

    I want to point out the compressed CSS code, you can also use font to display font family and size in one line like this one:

    font:italic bold 12px/30px Arial, Helvetica ,san-serif;

    Reply
    0
    • Brixter Mar 7, 5:08 pm

      You can also use CSS Sprite with background-position to reduce the number of http request thus making your website faster to load.

      Reply
      0
  3. Mark Mar 7, 5:59 pm

    Thanks, I’ll ask all my worldwide clients to move their homes and offices closer to my provider…

    Reply
    +1
  4. suraj Mar 7, 7:10 pm

    Using cache, repairing database, good hosting and CDN these are secrets of faster websites and blogs :)

    Reply
    0
  5. Khey Mar 13, 12:47 pm

    My site is quite slow and it’s hard for me to tweak my template ’cause I’m not very familiar with CSS. Would be great if you have tools to do all these.

    Reply
    0
  6. Spuffler Mar 31, 1:36 am

    10: If you can create a website using simpler technologies such as formatted ASCII text, the nusing Flash to create static text is completely senseless. Does the motion of the letters cause words gain a different meaning? All that code adds up to bandwidth eaten, both parties (your server account and my client account) suffer byte based limitations.
    11: Is there an existing need to add social media linkbars? David tweets it, John Reddits it, Susie Facebooks it, whatever, all you get are clicks, not loyalty.
    12: If those clicks are generating you some money, please try to earn it. Reposting a reposted repost of an allusion to someone elses article which summarizes a discussion on some other site which scrutinizes a NY times discussion about trends of internet… Ridiculous. over 40% of the webs blogs are repeating or paraphrasing something else.

    Reply
    0
  7. XeBii Jul 21, 9:10 am

    Start your Website with WordPress and get a CDN ;)
    Nothing else to worry about

    Reply
    0
  8. casper Oct 26, 8:22 am

    thanks for the article, I want my blog to load faster so that it can increase its rankings in the search engines.

    Reply
    0
  9. EllisGL Jan 15, 7:51 am

    The optimized CSS has some issues.
    1. #000000 VS. #000, I used to do the short form, until someone proved that it can fail. I don’t know how it failed, but it did.

    2. Lots of spaces …. Not fully optimized.
    body{font-size:11px; font-family:Arial,Helvetica,san-sarif;color:black}
    #header{margin:10px 5px}

    Reply
    0
  10. Chelsea Apr 11, 10:47 pm

    How can you find out if your host uses cheap equipment? I did ask my host a while ago if their servers were fast but come to think of it they probably wasn’t going to say they were slow, even if they was.

    My site currently loads at about 3.5 seconds on average. Is this fast or slow? I am running WordPress.

    Thanks
    Chels

    Reply
    0
  11. The Mommist Jun 27, 1:14 pm

    Thanks for sharing these tips. Been wondering how to make my site load faster. Seems to work well. :)

    themommist.blogspot.com

    Reply
    0

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