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More efficiency through shorter loading and response times

by Andreas Wessolly on

At first glance, the loading speed of your own website, your own store or your own database seems to be of little importance. A mistake that can quickly take its toll. Because the loading time not only determines whether a customer stays on the page or leaves it again, but can also have a lasting and significant influence on the ranking of the website. 

The faster and more volatile a website acts and reacts, the more the visitors and thus the website owners benefit. We will show you six important points with which you can sustainably improve the speed of your own website.

1. optimize hosting plan

The hosting respectively the hosting plan play a special role for the speed. The faster the hoster's servers respond, the better the site can respond. Cheap shared hosting plans are particularly bad, where often hundreds of websites have to share the resources of one server. 

In any case, it is worth investing more money for hosting and choosing a premium hosting model. Here, the website is either alone or with only a few other sites on its own vServer. Thus, more resources are available and the site can respond faster to all requests.  It is optimal if each website installation has its own CPU core, which is able to keep up with the high workloads of a large website.

Also important in this context: Optimized update times of the servers, so that failures are always outside the core business hours.

2. caching and compression (Gzip) on the server

Gzip compression allows almost every page of a website to be compressed by up to 70 percent. This compressed web page is sent to the browser, which decompresses the page locally. This already saves a significant amount of loading time. In addition, the load on the company's own server is reduced, since the visitor's browser does the decompression work.

The situation is similar with caching. This is because many large elements of a website, such as its logo or even the CSS file, do not change. If browser caching is enabled, a cached file of the web page is created in the visitor's memory.

Thus, the number of page views by the visitor is reduced, which not only serves a faster display, but also relieves the server and thus accelerates. It is important to use caching in a targeted manner and to optimize it regularly. This is because a website grows and changes, so the caching specifications should also be regularly adjusted and optimized.

3. optimize images for the internet

Images are necessary in many areas of a website. On the other hand, images consume an enormous amount of resources and can therefore significantly increase the loading time of the website. 

One method to reduce the loading time significantly is to compress the images. However, the quality suffers to a certain extent. However, if detailed images are to be displayed in full quality, only targeted load balancing can help.  

In this case, the images are only loaded when they are within the user's field of view. In this way, the loading and response time of the website can be significantly reduced, since the images are only ever retrieved on-demand and loaded into the memory. 

Such a solution needs to be adapted and optimized to the particular website, but it can significantly reduce loading times once implemented.

4. reduction of external scripts

External scripts are a real threat to loading times. This includes not only external advertisements, but also, for example, the widely popular social media plugins. Anyone who embeds the popular sharing buttons above and below an entry adds an additional load of around 500KB to the page. 

If you still don't want to do without the integration, you can achieve the same result using images and text links stored locally on the server, for example, and thus reduce the load to 1/10. 

The situation is similar with many other external scripts and tracking services. It is always necessary to find the balance between the necessity of these scripts and their impact on the speed of a website.

5. optimization of Javascript and CSS files

Each call to the Javascript and CSS files of a web page is considered an HTTP request. Thus the computer of the visitor sends a request, which must be answered by the server. Each request takes a certain amount of time. The more requests have to be processed by the server, the more the delivery of the web page is delayed. 

This may not be too significant for a single visitor. However, if hundreds or thousands of visitors call the website at the same time, the number of HTTP requests can quickly become a problem. Using various tools, it is possible to combine several different Java script and CSS files into a single file. This significantly reduces the number of HTTP requests in one fell swoop, which immediately translates into shorter loading times. 

The more Javascript and CSS files are used on the web page, the bigger and better the result of the change. In addition, some of these tasks can also be solved using the caching already mentioned above, since the scripts need to be retrieved at least only once. In combination of both solutions the optimal desired results can be achieved. This is because the targeted optimization of HTTP requests sustainably relieves the server and thus offers probably the greatest scope for shorter delivery times.

6 Optimization yes, but not at any price

It is important to optimize the speed of a website regularly. However, it is all too easy to fall into an optimization frenzy and frantically try to speed up the website more and more. However, this is usually not necessary. 

If you use the suggestions mentioned above, you can already significantly accelerate the loading times and thus achieve an improvement in the ranking. However, it is important to perform these optimizations regularly and thus ensure a growing and yet lean and fast website.

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