PEAK Website Performance

The need for speed…

As a website owner, you want more engaged visitors, more conversions, more revenue from your online investment. Optimizing your website performance is a big part of making that happen.

As detailed in our blog post “Does Website Load Speed Matter”, modern life is busy and people are impatient. When they are looking for something, they want it now. If a website doesn’t fulfill their need for instant gratification, they move on to something that will. If you’re website pages take longer than 2 or 3 seconds to load, you’re creating a bad impression that could negatively affect your bottom line.

Speed does matter. To achieve the success you desire, it’s worth the investment to squeeze out every last millisecond you possibly can.

That’s what PEAK Website Performance service is all about.

How We Increase Your Website Speed

Simply put, to speed up your website, we reduce the amount of data transferred over the internet from your website server to your visitor’s device.

[1]

Optimize Images

Images often account for the vast majority of data that must be transferred, and the most common problem comes from using images that are too large, both in physical dimensions (height/width) and file size. If the image is shown on your website only 5 inches wide, don’t use a photo right out of your camera that’s 50 inches wide! This can be fixed by cropping and resizing your original images to the largest dimensions they will ever appear on the website, then saving it to an optimized file format such as compressed JPG without significantly impacting its visual quality. This can easily reduce an image’s file size to less than 1% of the original. That’s a huge improvement!

[2]

Only Use Extensions You Actually Need

The goal is a lean website. Only use what you actually need and get rid of everything else. Delete all the excess.

[3]

Keep All Website Software Up-To-Date

Modern content management systems, plugins and templates are constantly being improved. Each new version includes code enhancements, greater compatibility, security and bug fixes that generally perform better than the previous version. In addition to the obvious security benefits of staying up-to-date, website performance and speed are also enhanced.

[4]

Use a Quality Hosting Service

Website performance also depends on the server it is hosted on. A bad host can ruin even a properly optimized website. Bargain-basement priced hosting services are cheap for a reason. Shared hosting plans may overload the server with too many websites and not enough processing power to go around. Paying more for quality hosting will actually save you money in the long run with better performance, less down time, faster hardware such as solid state storage drives, faster web servers, the latest performance technologies such as HTTP/2 and PHP 7, and excellent quick support. Always use a reliable and fast web hosting service.

Sparks Arts provides high-performance cloud hosting by SiteGround, one of the world’s premier website hosting companies with best-of-class performance, security and support. With a customer rating of 4.98 out of 5, SiteGround can’t be beat!

[5]

Use Cache

Modern websites are primarily constructed using a database-driven, dynamic content management system like Joomla! With these systems website pages don’t exist as a single, static file, but are generated in real time when requested. In other words, when you click a menu link, the contents of the linked page are generated and gathered from numerous separate sources and combined, then loaded. This results in a lot of separate requests to the server, one at a time. When you enable caching, a copy of that combined page is stored in quick-access memory and the next time it is requested this fully-generated page is sent from the cache. This reduces server lag and bandwidth use and loads the page much faster. Cache is configured with an expiration period such as 30 minutes, and caches may be cleared when something new is added to the website so you see it immediately.

[6]

Minify Resources

Minification is an on-the-fly process of removing all unnecessary characters and empty spaces in source code before it’s sent over the internet. Such characters are used to enhance readability for the programmer but they are unnecessary to make the code work. This includes all empty spaces, line breaks and comments. Removing this “white space” makes the code shorter and the file size smaller so less has to be transferred over the internet.

[7]

Reduce HTTP Requests

Dynamic websites often have numerous separate script and style files that must be requested separately. The number of HTTP requests can be reduced by combining separate files into a single javascript and single CSS file. Or at least reduce them to a minimum number of files so script errors aren't introduced.

[8]

Gzip Compression

Website files are made up to 70% smaller by compressing them. This drastically reduces transfer time.

[9]

Defer Loading of Javascript

Delay loading of javascript files until after the visible parts of the page are downloaded. This makes the page appear quicker even while other resources are being downloaded in the background.

[10]

Use HTTP/2

HTTP/2 is a new, major revision of HTTP network protocol that was originally standardized 20 years ago in 1997. A lot has changed on the internet since then. With HTTP each of the numerous connection requests to the hosting server is handled one by one. The next connection request can’t begin until the previous is finished. With HTTP/2 several requests can be sent in rapid succession on the same connection, and responses can be received out of order.

HTTP/1 is like this:
Browser: “Hey, server!”
Server: “Yeah, what do you want?”
Browser: “Please send me this file.”
Server: “OK, here it is. Goodbye.”
Browser: “Hmmm. I need more. Hey, server. Wake up!”
Server: “Yeah, what do you want?”
Browser: “Please send me this file.”
Server: “OK, here it is. Goodbye.”
Browser: “Damn, I need a lot more files. This is getting tedious. Hey, server. Wake up!”
Server: “Yeah, what do you want?”
and on and on and on… slowly.”

With HTTP/2 it’s more like this:
Browser: “Hey, server!”
Server: “Yeah, what do you want?”
Browser: “Please send me all these files.”
Server: “OK, here they come.” Zoom. “Do you need anything else? ”
Browser: “Nope, that’s all. Thanks.”
Server: “Sure, no problem. Have a nice day. See you later.”

HTTP/2 standard was approved in 2015 but it is still not automatically used by many hosting providers. Whether this can be implemented on your website depends on your hosting service. Sparks Arts hosting supports HTTP/2 by default when an SSL certificate is installed on your website.

[11]

Use a Content Delivery Network (CDN)

Content Delivery Networks put copies of your website’s static files like images and scripts on servers all over the world, then serve those files from a server closest to your website visitor. This ensures a faster response and download time due to reduced latency. Another benefit of multiple servers is your bandwidth use is spread out over numerous servers, reducing the load on your primary hosting server. CDN use will improve website performance, but it’s not as critical as other performance enhancements. CDN is highly recommended if your website receives heavy traffic, or has important visitors from areas distant from your main hosting server.

It’s interesting to note that many of these steps are also included in our PEAK Website Security service. Both Performance and Security enhancements are usually performed at the same time to maximize efficiency.

PEAK Website Performance

Maximize your website load speed and stand out from your competition. Order your PEAK Website Performance package today!

PEAK Performance Package

$199

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