Slow Loading

I’ve been helping a friend of mine in the redesign of his web presence, well, less on the design end and more with development.  Today he came to me with a grave issue, his site was slower than molasses.  In the vast world of the Internet, nothing is worse than a slow loading website.

Both my site and his new site are powered by WordPress, so I instantly checked mine to see if it was an overall WordPress issue. When it wasn’t, I immediately blamed his hosting provider, but thought better of it once I checked a static page on his site.  I then recalled that we were using some javascript to make his portfolio section nicer, but that shouldn’t have slowed the admin section as well.  Just to be safe, I removed it.  Nothing happened, so I set it up just so it would be served up on the portfolio page, not all sections of the site.

So to resolve this issue, I set off to my trusty Google search.  The majority of talk on the web about slow WordPress mentioned version 2.6 and/or faulty plugins.  Since both our sites are above 2.6, I deactivated all plugins, but nothing happened.  Now, I was just puzzled.

Then I remembered that I had added some code to my site’s htaccess file to optimize loading using GZIP compression.  Following the instructions on BetterExplained, I brought the load time down from 19.74 seconds to 2.9 seconds. This little trick should work for speeding up your site’s load time in all modern browsers.

Other resources for checking and increasing site speed:

Pingdom.com’s speed test

Yahoo’s Best Practices for Speeding Up Your Web Site

Yahoo’s YSlow add-on for Firebug in Firefox

Vladimir Prelovac’s WordPress Optimization Bible

Important Consideration: When ever troubleshooting any issues with a site’s speed check out the host’s official status, for example DreamHost’s status page or HostGator’s Twitter. Make sure to keep your own service’s status handy, it can be invaluable!

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2 Responses to “Slow Loading”

  1. Jon Bolden says:

    I’ve never heard of any of this. Good to know!

    • Sam says:

      Unfortunately, the fixes only sped up the site temporarily. I am beginning to return to my initial suspect, the host.

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