No more slow websites!
Who has never shown sign of impatience while waiting for a web page to load? Our day, when browsing the web, we all expect the pages to open instantly. Even if we’re very far from the days when Internet connections were made over phone lines and we could see images opening one line at a time, it’s still too happening often that we stumble on a web page that will take more than 5 seconds to load.
For a website owner, the problem is even greater. If his site takes several seconds to open, he will have much less traffic. People are very impatient and will probably leave the slow site to find faster one, even if the product offered on the faster site are of poor quality. Even worse, Google will verify the loading time of a site. The faster the site is, the more likely it is to be ranked higher in the search results.
What is slowing down a website?
They are many possible factors that can influence the loading time of a website and in 95% of cases these can be addressed by the site designer. The most common factors are usually:
Too many extensions in a WordPress site: A WordPress site must perform many tasks every time a page viewed. In general, to view a WordPress page, it will need to open about a hundred files and make several queries to the database. The more extensions you add to a WordPress site, the more the amount of database requests and files per page will grow.
Non-optimized images: While uploading images on our site, we sometimes forget that they will need to be downloaded each time they are viewed. The larger the image size, the longer it will take for the browser to download. We’ve even saw some sites with up to 35 MB of images on each page! The images can add a considerable amount loading time to visitors.
Page having too much resource: When a browser opens a web page, it must download all the components required for the page to show up, and it will not download them all at the same time. In fact, a browser downloads between 5 to 10 items at a time. On several sites we can find more than 20 files for the style (CSS) and another 20 files for the interaction (JS). These, along with the images, fonts, and other files, force the browser to make more request and thus, will take longer to display the entire page.
A tailor-made solution!
For nearly a year we’ve worked in secret on a module that will help solve the number 1 problem, which is: too many queries and too many files required to display a web page.
The solution is to place a caching system inside server in order to offer a performance boost to all the sites hosted on it, while making certain that it stays compatible with all types of sites that we can find. Today, we are proud to announce that this module is now available in all our shared hosting environment.
Here are the highlights on how the caching module works:
- The first time a person visits a website, our module intercepts the request and will ask the web server to serve the page. At this point, the loading time of the page stays the same, however, our module will keep a copy of the page and keeps it aside.
- During a second visit (from the same visitor or not), our module intercepts the request again, but this time it will serve the copy of the page they he had placed aside instead of asking the web server to recompile to page once more. Therefore, the hundreds of queries that are usually made on each page request are now eliminated.
- Of course, the page copies taken by our module has a fixed (modifiable) lifespan. So, let’s say we have a third visit that occurs after the lifespan of the page copy taken by the module. It will still serve the already compiled page copy for the site to open quickly, but in the background, it will ask the web server to compile a new page so it can have a fresh copy of the page for the future visits. With this mechanism, a visitor will no longer have to wait after a web page to load.
Features for everyone:
Given the number of different websites and the complexity of each one, during the initial installation, the module offers little acceleration. This decision was made purposely in order to makes it possible to install the module on a server without causing problems to the sites hosted on it.
To optimize the acceleration of your site, we have added a new icon the cPanel control panels called “Website Accelerator“. From the website accelerator menu, you have the power to change the behavior of the module in order to have the optimal settings for your site. You can also delete (purge) any files that are saved in the module cache.
The module has a simple mode, allowing you to easily activate the module according to the type of website you have. The simple mode allows to use one of the 4 configurations already created by our team or to completely disable the module.
For webmasters or users who want a more granular configuration, advanced mode is available. In this mode the behavior of the module may me customized for each subdomain and addon domains. In addition, caching exceptions may be configured based on the “cookies” used or the address of the pages visited. The configuration can also be different for three files categories; dynamic files, files for layout (CSS and JS) and static files like images.
When we were done installing the new website acceleration module, our team took the lead and optimized the settings for many sites hosted in Astral Internet servers so that many of you can benefit of a significant acceleration of its website load time. If you believe that your site could be further optimized and would like the assistance of our experts, simply contact us and we will be pleased to assist you.
Since this is a new technology that is newly installed in our servers, all the comments and suggestions concerning the module will be welcome and we will help us offer you an even faster website loading time!