10 Simple Steps to Speed Up the Loading Time of Your Website in Australia
Nothing is more frustrating than a sluggish website. Not only bad for your customers but also for your search engine ranking. Google penalises slow-loading pages.
Moreover, statistics state that if your page takes longer than 3 seconds to load, it’s very likely that 40 percent of people leave your website. Isn’t it enough to take immediate action to improve the loading time of your website?
At IT BOOST Australia, we provide you with a simple 10-step guide to help you speed up and optimise your website loading time, especially if you live in Australia
1. Use a Reliable Web Hosting Service
The quality of the web hosting provider has a significant impact on the loading time of your website. Some people choose a cheap hosting plan when starting a new website, usually a shared hosting. In reality, in a cheap hosting, all resources of the server such as CPU, RAM, and Bandwidth are shared between users.
It may look good for a small local website, but the problem starts when you develop more content over time and suddenly your website begins slowing down. As a result, you miss a lot of visitors as well as search engine ranking!
The solution is to migrate to a more reputable web hosting company with a faster infrastructure. Before moving to a new hosting, assess the technologies they use and whether features they offer meet the requirements of your website. A good hosting offers an excellent sever speed at a reasonable cost. But always remember: “You get what you paid for”.
The server speed is measured by the response time test. Response time is the time that takes for a server to respond to a client request. According to Google, the optimum response time is less than 200ms. You can use Google server response time benchmark to check the response time of your site. If you are looking for a global list of fast and reliable hosting providers see: The 6 Fastest Web Hosting Services Of 2019.
If the majority of your traffic comes from Australia it is better to switch to a hosting provider that has local servers within limits the country. The advantage is that the files have to travel a less distance from the data center to the client’s computer, leading to a better page loading time and consequently user experience.
In addition, using an Australia-based hosting company ensures you that your private business data is protected by Australia's information privacy law.
At IT BOOST Australia, we have put the following hosting providers into test for various projects and in terms of the loading time in Australia, they are always our first three options on the table: Netregistry, Studio Coast and Crazy Domains
Pro Tip 1: If your server response time is poor, you should not expect much improvement in your website loading speed from the other steps in this guide.
Pro Tip 2: While Apache is a popular and excellent web server, you can reach a better loading time using other lightweight web servers such as Nginx or OpenLiteSpeed.
There are several ways to minify your files. First, you can combine similar resources to reduce HTTP requests. For example, you could squash ten individual CSS files into one.
Another method for minifying your file is removing useless characters. HTML, CSS and JS files often have a lot of unnecessary characters such as whitespaces and comments that are good for a developer but delay loading a webpage. Getting rid of unwanted characters makes your files smaller and improves the speed of your page.
Pro Tip 4: WP-Minify is a WordPress plugin that does both minification jobs automatically for you.
3. Use an Effective Cashing Tool
Browser cashing is a powerful method to minimise server bandwidth and latency of your page. Without cashing, every time a visitor views your site the user’s browser requests the same file from the server.
Cashing enables you to temporarily store files and images on the computer of your visitors. When a user revisits your site, images and other types of files are accessed from the browser local cash instead of your server.
One way to configure cashing is by adding “CACHE-CONTROL" or “EXPIRES” metatags to the page header. For more detail see the Full list of HTTP Headers.
If you are using WordPress you have some greet free cashing plugins such as WP Total Cache or WP Super Cache at your disposal.
4. Join a CDN (Content Delivery Network)
Hosting your files on a CDN will save your server bandwidth up to 60% and speed up your website. Another benefit is that your website becomes less vulnerable to hacking attacks such a DDOS. But what is a CDN?
Content Delivery Network is a distributed system that delivers files based on the geographical location of the user. For example, if someone visits your website from Japan, they can download the static elements of your page from the closest server. In this way the distance between the user and hosting server is cut down, leading to lower loading time and thus, better user experience.
If you have aimed for the international audience, it is recommended to use well-known CDNs with servers spread all around the world. Our favorite CDNs are StackPath(formerly MaxCDN) and Cloudflare. The later is free to start.
Most of your clients come from Australia? Why you don’t boost your website speed with Australian CDNs having POPs distributed across west and east side of the country?
5. Compress and Optimize Images
Huge images and files have a massive drawback on the response time of your website, especially on mobile devices. If you take high-resolution images on your camera or find images on the web, it is often the case that they are larger than they should be. Resize your images before you insert them in your website. There are many free and paid tools that help you decrease the size of an image without a noticeable effect on the image quality. To achieve ideal page loading time, keep images under 100Kb.
Pro Tip 5: Smush.it is a great WordPress plugin that effectively compresses an image every time you upload a new one without losing visual quality.
6. Optimize and Clean Up Your Database
Your website database can get messy over time. If you have a large database full of unnecessary or old records, it can cause an annoying delay when a user requests information from your site.
Remove any useless information such as spam comments and old user accounts from your database. Sometimes, deleting junk records and compressing your database is not enough. In that case, you should optimize your database by taking measures such as rewriting your queries, using indexes or even changing your database schema.
7. Do Away with HTTP Redirects
Try to minimize the number of permanent redirects on your website. While sending a user to a new version of your page is preferable to see the 404(Page Not Found!) error, however, use 301(Permanent) redirects with cautious.
HTTP redirects are not ideal because they take time and slow down your website. The golden rule is to use a permanent redirect if and only if you really need it.
8. Disable Redundant and Slow Plugins
When you use WordPress or other content management systems there is a chance that unneeded plugins are packed into your website. Remember that every plugin you install requires sometimes to load. Installing a lot of plugins slows down your website drastically. Always clean up frequently by removing excess plugins.
Not all plugins are optimized for performance. It is especially true for free plugins. A slow plugin may have a severe impact on your site’s response time. There are many free tools to detect which plugin is slowing down your website.
9. Enable Gzip Compression
Using Gzip will significantly improve page load time and saves a lot of bandwidth. It works just like using zip to compress a file on your computer. When you enable Gzip on your website, files of your page will be automatically compressed with an effective method. As someone visits your page file are automatically unzipped so that the content can be accessed.
You can activate Gzip compression on your website by using appropriate CMS plugins. For WordPress, we recommend: Enable Gzip Compression. Gzip can be also enabled manually on the server by adding a few lines to your .htaccess file or PHP code.
10. Activate Keep-Alive
Every time a visitor requests a file from your server, the visitors' web browser asks permission from the server for download. Enabling Keep-Alive allows your visitors to download all files in a persistent TCP connection, instead of making different requests for each file. As a result, the number of HTTP request is reduced and the performance and speed of your site is optimized.
Nowadays more and more people surf the internet employing a mobile device. It means that if you don’t fix your website ‘s speed problems you are going to miss a lot of visitors and customers. Follow our 10 simple steps to boost your website loading time. The outcome is unbelievable!