What Causes Slow Website Loading and How to Fix It
As a website owner, having a fast-loading website is essential. Visitors will abandon a website if it loads more than three seconds, resulting in higher bounce rates, lower average time on page, and automatically, lower conversion rate.
Also, consider Google’s Core Web Vitals saying that loading time impacts search engine optimization (SEO). Meaning, your website is less likely to appear on Google’s search result pages if it takes too long to load.
All these things taken into consideration, fast loading speed is a must. So if your website is performing slowly, read this article to understand the reasons why that may be, and how to fix those issues.
1 – Poor Server Performance
The hosting provider plays an important role in your server performance. They store all of your website’s files on their servers, making it available to be accessed online.
When your user’s browser asks the server to send the data of your website, it should answer that request as fast as possible. If there is an error with the server, your website’s loading time will be longer.
How to fix: If you use a shared hosting plan, consider upgrading this tool to VPS, cloud hosting, or even a dedicated server.
Another cause can be a low-quality hosting service. Think about migrating to a more reliable web host if the current provider has no adequate support.
2 – Not Using a Content Delivery Network
Imagine you have users from Australia, while your website’s server is located in Canada. It means the requests will have to travel across the internet for quite some time.
The further a website away from the users, the longer it takes to load.
This is where Content Delivery Network (CDN) comes into play. It’s a network of servers that are distributed globally to cache and deliver content. Each of the servers in this network is called Point of Presence (PoP).
So, once an Australian user accesses your website, they will get the content from the closest PoP in the country instead of the original server in Canada.
How to fix: Enable the site accelerator CDN. The most popular tool accommodating this feature is a WordPress plugin called Jetpack.
Many hosting companies install it by default. If yours doesn’t, follow these steps:
- Go to the WordPress dashboard and click Plugins -> Add.
- Look for “Jetpack,” then install and activate the plugin.
- Click Settings and go to the Performance tab.
- Find Enable site accelerator and toggle the feature on.
3 – Too Many Ads
Ads are an effective way to monetize a website, especially if you have heavy traffic. However, too many ads result in additional HTTP requests, which need more processing time.
Consequently, users have to wait to finally see the actual content. Not all of them have the patience, so they may end up leaving your site.
How to fix: Limit the number of ads on your site. Keeping 30% of ads and 70% of the content is a good rule of thumb. Also, control the file size by not exceeding 60KB to speed up ad loading.
5 – Excessive Overhead in Database
A new website generally will process requests quickly. However, it becomes slower as it gets older. One of the main reasons is the database contains more things over time and gets more complex.
How to fix: Optimize your database by reorganizing the table and index data via phpMyAdmin. Find its access on your control panel and log in.
Then, look at the Overload column. If you see numbers, the database needs to be optimized. Click With selected below the table and choose Optimize table.
6 – Not Using Caching Techniques
Caching is a method to store copies of a website’s files in browsers. So, when users access the site, their browsers will show the cached data instead of reprocessing the original site.
How to fix: Install a WordPress caching plugin, such as WP Super Cache. It stores static HTML files from the website and serves them to users.
Some hosting providers also have built-in caching features. To make sure your web host accommodates the feature, check the information on its website or control panel.
7 – Large Media Files
Providing media content, like images and videos, is a great way to keep visitors engaged. However, large media files can consume a lot of bandwidth, which increases loading times.
How to fix: For images, avoid uploading high-resolution photos directly from your camera or any file size above 1MB. Try to use .JPEG instead of .PNG to have a smaller size.
Before uploading the image files, compress them using a compression tool like Online Image Compressor. WordPress also offers a plugin to compress them within the platform, like Smush Image Compression.
For videos, consider embedding them from third-party platforms like YouTube and Vimeo. Hosting them directly on your site may weigh down your server.
8 – Unclean Codes
When making a website, you may produce unclean codings, such as excessive white spaces, empty new lines, and inline stylings. Users will face longer loading times if their browser needs to load a lot of code.
How to fix: Clean up the unnecessary code. To help you with this task, install WordPress plugins, like Autoptimize and Fast Velocity Minify. If you’re not comfortable with coding, reach out to an IT service provider.
Having a slow website can be a nightmare as it can cause lower conversions and quality of SEO.
To know which problem you face, use a website speed test tool like GTMetrix and find the most suitable solution from the eight methods above.