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What Causes a Web Page To Load Slowly?

Most web surfers are either on a 4G mobile network, NBN or ADSL. Most of the time their internet speed is blazing fast and is not be the reason why a website is slow to load.  Below we look at some other reasons that cause web pages to load slowly.

Hosting Provider & Location

Cheap hosting providers are slow. They are usually located outside of Australia, and they share the web server with hundreds of other websites. My recommendation is to use a Melbourne or Australian based hosting provider. Most hosting providers in Australia offer high-quality web hosting.

Size of Your Web Page

The average total web page on the internet in 2018 is 3.1MB. There is nothing wrong if your web page size is bigger as long as you have tried to reduce the size by compressing images and other files.

External Hosting for Videos & Images

It makes sense to host a video on Youtube, this way you save a lot of bandwidth and resources on your website. If you have very large size images you may also consider to host them on a dedicated image hosting website such as Imgur. This can work in your benefit if your resources are limited and to your disadvantage if the external hosting website is down or running slow. 

Internal Hosting for Javascript & Fonts

Every time you reference an external website you need to do a DNS lookup which takes a bit of time. If you have a few external website requests such as javascript and fonts your load time will be slower. It is good to host javascript on your own web server for a couple of other reasons.

  1. If the external website is slow or even down, it may render your own website as non-functional
  2. If the external website is hacked then your own website is compromised.

Multiple Files That Can Be Combined

Every time you request a new file from the web server there is a bit of a delay for the web server to find the file, then to handshake with your computer to establish communication to send the file across. If you have multiple CSS or Javascript files then there are multiple file searches and handshakes, if you can combine these into 1 file then you can save on a few resources.

Program and Script Code Errors

Most programs and script codes have some type of error. The bigger the script or program the more things that can go wrong. It is unavoidable. Some themes or plugins that you purchase may have such severe errors that they crash your website. You will need the technical experience to be able to look into the error log of your web server to start the debugging process. Also if you are running on shared hosting who is to say your neighbour’s website is not riddled with errors that slow down the web server for everyone.

Compatability Errors

Now we get into the more complex. Even if your program and script code work fine, once you combine it with another program or script, you may get a compatibility error. These are even harder to diagnose. It could be a wrong version of PHP or MYSQL, it could be an incompatibility between a theme and a plugin, or maybe 2 different plugins. The more programs & scripts running the greater chance of something breaking.

Not Using a Caching Server

A caching server is a must-have feature on any modern website that deals with database queries. Every time you search the database for some information you are using CPU, RAM and Drive resources. Some queries, if they are complicated, take a few seconds to complete. By using a caching server you save those few seconds on a repeat query requests.