In today’s SEO best practices and users’ high expectations, page speed, site load, server strength, whatever you may call it has become an important topic as users, Google and its competitor search engines get pickier about site health. Learn more about our SEO campaigns.
Reduce Load Time, +Google PageSpeed
There are a million and one ways to reduce a site’s load time but my current favorite is the use of a CDN (Content Delivery Network). Using a CDN is especially helpful for websites running high resolution graphics, scripts, videos, and other high bandwidth content. Here’s a list of my top 5 tips to increase your page speed. (The following tips are tailored to WordPress based websites, using the W3 Total Cache plugin.)
- Use a Content Delivery Network (CDN) to load heavy scripts and images.
- Utilize Page Caching to prime and pre-process dynamic pages.
- Insert Browser Caching tags to instruct device-based caching of content.
- Minimize Scripts and Source Code to lighten the load of each page or post.
- Cache Database Content and Actions to make dynamic pages load predominantly static.
VPS Hosting vs Shared Hosting vs Dedicated Servers
There’s a big difference between standard shared hosting plans from GoDaddy, DreamHost, BlueHost, or other major hosting providers and VPS hosting. VPS hosting offers a number of advantages over shared hosting and offers scalability that even a dedicated server can’t match.
When on a shared hosting plan, you’re stuck on one server with hundreds, potentially thousands of other websites. Each site competes for the server’s memory resources, which become spread so thin that it can take nearly 30 seconds for some sites to load – and I’ve seen even longer. With VPS hosting, your website is placed in a virtual machine, and provided dedicated memory, storage, and processing resources across a network of servers. This dedicated allocation of server resources allows you to sleep peacefully knowing that your site will load faster.
VPS hosting has a number of additional benefits over dedicated servers. The first and most important is recovery and redundancy. Should something go wrong, or your site crash, become hacked, or other errors arise, it’s a much easier and faster recovery on a virtual machine than on a dedicated server. Second, virtual servers (VPS) are infinitely scalable in resource allocation because they’re built on networks of servers, rather than a standalone server with physical hardware limitations.
Increase Page Speed with a Content Delivery Network
Typically adding the use of a CDN to a website can be incredibly difficult and time consuming. In WordPress, W3 Total Cache makes implementing a content delivery network as easy as pie. Here’s how:
- Assuming it is not: Install and activate the W3 Total Cache plugin.
- Navigate to Performance > General Settings in the WordPress side menu.
- Scroll down to CDN and click enable, select Amazon Cloudfront (Origin Pull).
- Visit the AWS Homepage and sign up for an account, or use your existing Amazon account.
- Make sure you enter valid payment information before continuing. **
- In AWS, navigate to My Account / Console > Security Credentials.
- Return to the Performance > General Settings tab and navigate to Performance > CDN.
- Enter the Security Credentials found in My Account / Console > Security Credentials here.
- Click the Create Distribution button, wait ~30 seconds, and click Save All Settings.
Setting Up The Rest: Further Reduce Site Load Time
To use Page Caching, Browser Caching, Minimize Scripts, and Cache Database Functions, click the enable tick-box under each option on Performance > General Settings.
A Video Tutorial to Increase Page Speed
This helpful video tutorial from Rob Cubbon covers a variety of topics regarding website speed, including everything dicscussed in the article above. NOTE: We do not recommend using WP Minify or WP Super Cache. Through our experience, W3 Total Cache is the most comprehensive and stable plugin available for WordPress. Also, minification is most useful and faster when used through CloudFlare.
Contact us for more information about CloudFlare, VPS Hosting, and CDNs. Call 917-275-7759 today.