Speed matters when it comes to the Internet. The same is also true for website browsing. Poor loading times can lead to an increase in bounce rates, decreased conversion and user engagement, poor search engine rankings, and a decrease in web traffic. But what really causes websites to slow down?
This article lists and discusses the reasons why your website is running slow. In addition, this article also provides tips and quick remedies for optimizing site performance.
What Causes Your Website to Slow Down: Reasons and Solutions
1. Poor Website Built
One of the primary reasons for poor loading time is poor built quality. Specific factors of poor built quality include bulky and disorganized code, inefficient or impaired database, and the use of large multimedia contents such as non-optimized JPEG and PNG image files. These factors consume more server resources resulting in pages that take longer to load.
The best workaround is to optimize your website by analyzing your code and database queries to identify inefficiencies. Another workaround is to optimize your web contents such as choosing between a PNG and JPEG file format, compressing these files, or reducing clutter by removing unnecessary contents. Note that these solutions require a certain degree of web development skills.
2. Lack of Website Caching
Most websites generally work through the following process: user request for the site or page from a client or web browser, server queries the database in response to the request to pull the required data, server insert pulled data from templates before generating the HTML page, and finally serve the site or page to the user via the web browser.
The entire processes take time, especially if the server is handling thousands of user requests. However, there is a workaround. The use of website caching eliminates the server-database interaction and server-template processes. Caching is simply about storing a prebuilt version of the site or page to serve it quickly to users.
3. Use of Shared Hosting Services
Another possible reason why your website is running slow might be your web hosting service provider. This is particularly true if you are using a shared hosting plan and your site is receiving large volumes of traffic. Note that in shared hosting, a server or a limited number of servers hosts other websites apart from your website, thus resulting in instability and unreliability.
The solution is to upgrade your shared hosting plan from your provider or avail a managed or dedicated hosting plan. In dedicated hosting, a single server, especially its processing capabilities and all other resources are allotted solely on your website.
4. Too Many Plugins
If you are using a content management system such as WordPress, Joomla, or Drupal, chances are, you are also using plugins. Similar to poor website built, too many plugins or the use of non-optimized plugins with inefficient codes can cause your site to run slow because they can consume too many resources.
Limiting the number of installed plugins and deleting the ones that are not used are the best solutions to improve your site performance. It is also important to review plugin ratings, as well as to use the ones that come from reliable developers. There is also an option to build your own plugins or write a code for a particular function.
4. Disparity in Geography and Locations
Physical distance may also be another factor or reason why your website runs slow. Accessing websites from another part of the world can cause loading problems because the connection between users and servers takes too many routes and redirections because of distance.
For a site with high volumes of traffic from across the globe, the best solution to keep it up and running smoothly is to use a Content Delivery Network or CDN. A CDN uses a network of proxy servers located in different parts of the world. Each server contains a copy of the website, and each delivers the site or its pages to the nearest users.
5. Malicious Third-Party Attacks
Some individuals or groups can deliberately take down your websites through malicious attacks. Examples of these attack include Denial-of-Service or DoS attacks that make server resources temporarily unavailable, and the use and installation of certain types of malware within your database that can affect your site performance.
Certain web hosting services providers offer firewall protection and other security measures to prevent DoS attacks and minimize malware risks. The same measures can also be applied to in-house servers. Note than in-house serves can provide a better degree of control and protection through the use of more specialized hardware and software tools.