The Need For Speed

I have talked about different methods to speed up your website in the past. By enabling GZip are all great methods to help speed up your website. It is becoming more important all the time in the eyes of search engines (particularly Google) how fast your website loads. The reality is the faster your website is the better it is for your visitors and the more likely it is that your search engine position will improve. Today I wanted to talk about some other methods you can use to improve the speed of your website.

Move Servers - The reality is most shared server plans that you get from web hosts like Hostgator, Dreamhost or whatever your favourite web host is have hundreds of websites hosted on them. If you want to speed up your website one of the best things you can do is move up to a virtual private server (VPS) or a dedicated server. This gives your website more resources so it can respond faster to requests. This does present a higher level of technical knowledge though and it might not be cost effective for some people. It will most certainly speed up your website.

Cloud Hosting - There is a new form of web hosting that can help speed up your website without the technical barrier of a virtual private server or dedicated server but still offer a significant speed increase. New cloud web hosting has become popular and there are several reliable companies that offer this type of hosting. The idea is instead of having a single server you rent space on many servers thus improving processing and availability of your website on the Internet. Media Temple is one of the better known companies but there are others now offering this type of web hosting including GoDaddy. Cloud hosting can improve your website speed at a lower cost of getting your own VPS or dedicated server and still be more user friendly to use and setup.

Content Delivery Network - If you don’t like the idea of moving servers from your shared hosting another option to speed up your website is a content delvery network, also known as a CDN. A content delivery network might sound complicated, but really it is not very difficult to understand. They help to speed up your website by caching frequenty used content like CSS, Javascript and images in geographically different servers. This helps to load those parts of your website faster by delivering the content to the visitor from a server that is closest to them. A CDN can make a significant improvement in the speed of your website and they are fairly easy to setup. If your website is powered by WordPress you can use the W3 Total Cache plugin to help setup your CDN. Price wise it is considerably less expensive than the other methods mentioned here. Personally I use MaxCDN but there are many good CDN companies available.

House Cleaning - If you want to speed up your website and not spend any money one of the best methods is to clean up your website. All of the extra widgets from Facebook and Twitter tend to slow down websites. Change the like box from Facebook to a simple icon that links to your Facebook page and you could easily speed up your website.

Making sure you use smaller version of your images instead of the full size ones can also make a large improvement in speed. You might also want to look at a service like SmushIt to help compress images to speed them up. If you are also loading images regularly from Flickr or some other website in your WordPress powered website you might want to look at a plugin like Add Linked Images To Gallery or Cache Images to save a local copy to your media gallery and serve it from your own website.

Making sure you have combined all your Javascript and CSS into external files can also help to speed up your website.

Use Cloudflare. It is free afterall and gives you many of the benefits to help speed up your website. Not only will it help to speed up your website it will help protect your website as well. It is a fatastic service and I have been very pleased with it how it has helped speed up a number of my own websites and helped to protect them.

The faster your website loads the happier your visitors will be. It can also help improve your websites position in the search results and ultimately help to improve your online presence. If you want an excellent tool to help check your websites speed you should chek out Pingdom Tools and the Google Online Speed Test. Both will give you an idea of how fast or slow your website is and give you ideas where you can improve.

What other tips can you offer to  help people speed up their website?

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