8 Reasons Your Site Is Slow + How To Fix Them

By Roman Berezhnoi November 18, 2021 230 views

8 Reasons Your Site Is Slow + How To Fix Them

Site loading speed is critical. For both developers and users. Clients don’t want to wait for anything. After waiting for at least a couple of seconds for a site to load, the client will go to competitors. Lost visitors are lost profits. Therefore, it is so important to monitor the performance of your resource and constantly optimise the page loading speed.

Let’s take a look at some of the common causes of slow website loading and how to fix them.

1. JavaScript-blocking page rendering and Lack of CDN system

CDN stands for Content Delivery Network. There are many servers all over the planet that host the same website. And no matter from which part of the world the visitor comes to the resource, he will receive data from the nearest server, which will have a positive effect on the download speed.

There are several providers of CDN systems. For example, Cloudflare. The service makes it possible to place your website in several parts of the planet (more specifically, you can find out on the official website of the service). Often, webmasters download jQuery and other components from CDN servers so as not to waste the resources of the rented VDS on their processing.

Most of the interactive sites are written in JavaScript. In the absence of proper optimisation, scripts created with JS can lead to excessively slow website performance. After all, the browser will try to load the script in the first place. It determines how quickly the visitor will see the content of the page. 

Therefore, it is worth it to:

  • Refactor your JS code. It should not contain redundant calculations and actions that slow down the operation of the entire resource.
  • Use asynchronous loading of scripts so that they are loaded independently of other page elements.
  • Output heavy scripts to the end of the markup in the index.html file. Let the scripts be loaded last.

The third method is in priority. Outputting the script to the end of the markup is safe for the site and will definitely have a positive effect on page loading speed.

2. Excessive information in the database

Excess is not just a large array of data, but an array of useless data. This is a fairly common occurrence. For example, WordPress plugins store an impressive amount of information in the database, and this information remains there even after the add-on is removed. The database grows and slows down, affecting the performance of the entire site.

There were cases when the parameters of the Cron task scheduler were increased by several gigabytes. From this, the page load time increased to 10 seconds.

It is necessary to clean and optimise the database. You need to remove unnecessary records from the options and post meta tables. If you are using WordPress, you can activate the Clean Options or Plugin Garbage Collector plugins.

It is also recommended to keep an eye on the structure of the database and cache popular queries.

3. Unoptimised images

Media content and images can be quite heavy. This wastes valuable server storage space and slows down website loading. Depending on the visitor’s connection speed, the impact of heavy images on loading times can be quite noticeable. You should start optimising them.

You can do this right on your computer by reducing the resolution of the picture or using a utility in the spirit of Squash. Or you can connect an optimiser plugin to your site. For example, Robin, Image Optimizer, WP Compress or one of their counterparts.

Such plug-ins automatically reduce the size of uploaded images by 40-80%, practically without affecting their quality (EXIF data and some colours are removed).

4. CMS plugins are too heavy 

An impressive part of the resources of your VDS or virtual hosting can go to support the CMS. That is a data management system like WordPress, Joomla or Drupal. And if you install weighty plugins in them, then you can lose another part of the resources allocated for the operation of the site.

Some add-ons eat up too much memory, causing the loading speed of the entire site to drop dramatically. In this case, caching and other methods of “speeding up” the resource will not help. We’ll have to get rid of the “gluttonous” extensions.

Some add-ons may not work correctly due to a failure during installation or update. It is worth reinstalling or updating them in the hope of automatically fixing the problem.

5. Excess advertising

You can’t do without advertising, of course. Advertising is a great way to monetise your site, but it’s best not to overdo it. Too many banner ads will dramatically increase your site’s load time.

First of all, the problem will arise at the stage when additional HTTP requests appear. It will take much longer to process each of them. If you have pop-ups or autoplaying videos on your page, they can generate hundreds of HTTP requests that effortlessly make the site “freeze”.

So you’ll have to cut back on ads so that your visitors don’t have to wait too long for the page to load.

Plus, it just looks pathetic in 2021. Pop-up banners and autoplaying media content are bad manners, and it’s not even about performance.

6. Slow hosting and Incorrectly configured or unoptimized CSS files

CSS, while being a markup language and not a full-fledged programming language. It can negatively affect the speed of a website. It also requires some basic optimisation.

Web design experts from Sydney advise you to:

  • add the @media tag so that your resource knows which CSS file to use in a specific situation (on a mobile device, in full screen mode).
  • don’t create too many external CSS files. Try to combine them (preferably into one).
  • use CSS directly in HTML (whenever possible). Then the site will have to access less external files.

Better to start with the first method. Then try the second one. Inline-CSS will only work for small chunks of code and won’t have a significant impact on page load speed.

Perhaps it’s not the site at all, but the server. Not all providers offer the same performance. Not all servers are suitable for all types of sites and web applications. Hosting does not always provide enough resources for the implementation of customer projects. Therefore, it is important to choose a good provider for yourself.

There is a nonzero chance that the matter is not in hosting, but in the chosen server configuration (or virtual hosting). In this case, you need to order a more expensive option with the required characteristics.

​​7. No gZip compression

Oversized server components are the primary answer to the question of why you site is slow. Fortunately, site files can be compressed. If you enable gZip compression, the server will receive a command to pack all web objects (including images, styles, JavaScript, etc.) into one container (archive) before sending it to the browser that requested the data.

Compression will shorten the server response time by reducing the size of the transmitted information between the VDS and the user’s computer.

gZip compression is a no-compromise solution with no downsides. A simple way to make your entire resource faster without losing anything or wasting time figuring out other reasons for slow content loading.

8. Viruses and Client Side Problems

This is rare, but it does happen. A virus can also penetrate the server, as well as a local computer, especially if your VDS is running on Windows. It is much easier to catch the “infection” on this OS. But Linux is not 100% secure either.

Viruses on the server, as on a regular PC, can consume some of the resources and significantly slow down its work. The solution is antivirus. You can check the site using a special online service. But in order to carry out a comprehensive cleaning and remove less common threats, you will have to install a professional solution. It will be able to find suspicious scripts, unprotected directories and strange redirects.

To connect a cloud antivirus, you need to contact your hosting provider.

The last thing to complain about is the user’s browser. It also happens that pages do not open for everyone at once, but only for specific people. It is often impossible to influence these kinds of problems.

All you can do is conveniently give them instructions on how to troubleshoot common issues. For example, tell them how to delete the cache from the browser, how to clear history, reinstall or change the browser, check the OS with an antivirus, etc.

But this should only be done if you are 100% sure that there are problems on the client side.

Conclusion

In most cases, the methods described above will help you to solve problems with the slow operation of the site and server. By using several at once, you can achieve a significant increase.

And don’t forget that resource performance is directly related to customer satisfaction, and customer satisfaction affects your income and website reputation. 

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