10 Reasons why your website loading is slow
Shreya Bose, Technical Content Writer at BrowserStack - June 22, 2020
Slow and steady might have helped the turtle win the race, but when it comes to websites, even a second of delay spells a loss of traffic, revenue, and credibility.
- 47% of consumers expect a web page to load in 2 seconds or less.
- 40% of people abandon a website that takes more than 3 seconds to load.
- A 1 second delay in page response can result in a 7% reduction in conversions.
This means that every website needs to be optimized for the highest possible speed, no matter what device or browser it is being accessed by. In order to put in the right optimization efforts, developers must start by knowing the reasons for slow website loading.
10 Reasons for a website to load slowly on some devices:
- Unsatisfactory server performance: When someone clicks on a website, this is what happens. The user’s browser pings the server, which means that it is asking for all the information and data required to load the website. Think of it as what happens when a car key is used to start up the engine. Now, if the server is not performing up to mark, it takes longer to respond. Even with everything else functioning perfectly, sub-par server performance will slow down website speed.Poor server performance usually comes down to the quality of the web host. Cheaper web hosts will offer a shared server. That means a website is sharing space and resources with a number of other websites. In that case, each site is low because it is in a queue with other sites.The solution here is simple: Get a better web host.
- Unsatisfactory Server Location: Long distance calls take longer to connect because the information required to make the call has to travel a greater distance. More cables, more satellites to be transmitted through. It’s no different when it comes to a website. If a user from the US visits a website using a server-based in Denmark, the browser ping required to load the website has to travel halfway across the world, request access to the necessary data, and travel halfway back across the world to the visitor’s device. Obviously, the greater this distance, the slower the website.
The solution? Set up websites with local servers as much as possible. That means the US visitor should access a website hosted on a server in the US. The Danish visitor should access one hosted on a Danish server.
- Too much traffic: At any given level, a web server can only support requests from a certain number of people. Once that number is surpassed, the page will load slower. The more visitors, the slower the website. With more visitors, the server providers might also need to devote additional resources to the website. However, without an upgrade, the available services will definitely fall short and lead to slow page load times.
- Excessive Flash content: While Flash is useful for boosting the interactivity of a website, it can also slow down website load speeds. Flash content tends to be heavier, and more of it will obviously impact the speed of website functions. If possible, reduce the size of the Flash files or eliminate them. Look for HTML5 alternatives to replace existing Flash content and they tend to have more manageable file sizes.
- Increased code density: As the points mentioned above explain, sizable, dense web elements will have a negative effect on page load speed. Few things are denser than the code that actually creates the website. For example, Facebook is built on something with around 62 million lines of code. Google has 2 billion. The Large Hadron Collider, which is the world’s largest and highest-energy particle collider as well as the largest machine in the world, uses 50 million lines of code. Unless a website has the resources to ship and execute dense, extensive code, it will slow down because of the dense, extensive code.
Solution? Clean up your code. Get rid of excess white spaces, inline stylings, empty new lines, and unnecessary comments.
- Inadequate caching techniques: Caching is a technique by which browser stores frequently used data in its cached memory. This means that the next time the website is visited, the browser does not have to load all the data all over again. With faster data retrieval, this speeds up the loading time. Without caching, the website has to load all the files, every time. This is absolutely unnecessary and will hamper user experience when it can be easily solved.
Solution: Implement browser/HTTP caching as well as server-side caching. Chances are this will greatly improve website performance in terms of speed.
- Too Many Ads: While ads are a good way to monetize websites with heavy traffic, they can also slow down web pages. More ads mean additional HTTP requests, and their effect on page load speed has been explained above. Rich media ads are especially damaging in this regard. With pop-ups and pop-unders, interstitials, and auto-downloads clogging up a website, users would have to wait significantly longer for the actual web content to load.
- Using an outdated CMS: A Content Management System (CMS) is used to create, manage, and modify digital content. They are often used for enterprise and web content management.When using a CMS such as WordPress or Wix to manage a website, ensure that it has been installed with the latest updates of the software. By keeping abreast of the latest updates, the software is kept free of any bugs or problems, especially with respect to speed. So, the next time a popup appears asking to install the latest version of the CMS, do it.
- Lack of a CDN: A CDN or content distribution network is a distributed network of independent servers located in a number of geographic locations. They are used to serve web content to website visitors with increased availability, visibility, and performance. The second point of this article explains why server location matters for page load speed. A CDN allocates local servers to a website. This means that it gives the website a US server for its US visitors and a Danish server for Danish visitors. This minimizes the round-trip-time (RTT) of the web content and loads web pages much faster.
In order to remedy these issues, refer to this article on how to make websites run faster. However, once those methods have been implemented, one has to test the website to check if speed has actually improved. As in all cases, this verification must be done on real devices in real user conditions.
An easy way to do this is to use BrowserStack SpeedLab. It is a free tool, allowing users to test website speed on multiple real browsers and devices with a single click. The results offer insights into website speed across desktop and mobile, so you can identify browser or device-specific speed bottlenecks instantly.
SpeedLab offers an easy way to check website performance. To improve performance, start with figuring out if web pages are loading slow. If they are, use the steps discussed in this article. Once that is done, use SpeedLab again to verify that the changes have actually worked. Since there can be no room for failure when it comes to user experience, there can be no failure when it comes to verifying webpage performance.