PageSpeed and YSlow are services offered by Google and Yahoo respectively to help evaluate the speed of your website using the criteria of their search engines. You can use these services to identify weak points in your website’s loading times and recommend ways of fixing those weaknesses.
Choosing the Right Web Hosting.
Understanding web hosting options and then choosing the one that is best suited to your needs can have a big effect on your website’s loading times. For example, if you choose shared web hosting and your website happens to be stored on the same server as a number of websites in high demand, you’re likely going to run into problems because all of the websites stored on that server are using the same computing resources to handle incoming requests. Similarly, you can get a boost to your loading speed and thus your scores if you use a content delivery network where multiple instances of your website is stored on multiple servers. Not only can visitors access a copy of your website from the server that is closest to them, but your visitors also won’t be clogging up the same server with their incoming requests.
Your scores will drop if visitors need to make a great many HTTP requests to the server before they can load your website. If you are going to use things such as scripts and CSS, try combining them into a single file so that your visitors’ browsers only need to make a single HTTP request. Similarly, you should try to combine multiple images into the same image and embed them directly into your pages to reduce HTTP requests.
Eliminating Unneeded Files
The bigger the page that needs to be sent over the Internet to the visitor’s computer, the more time that it takes for the page to load. Unsurprisingly, if you begin eliminating content, the loading times of your website will fall and your scores will rise. You should focus on trimming excess images and resource hogs whose usage don’t justify their cost. Go through the list of files on your web pages on a regular basis and remove anything that you either aren’t using or are simply no longer worth keeping around.
Use Gzip or similar software to compress your website each time your server sends out information in response to visitor requests. A compressed web page is smaller and thus faster to send than an uncompressed page. However, you do not lose out on page quality because the compressed information can simply be decompressed by the visitor’s browser once it has received the information.
Take care to use the latest coding practices for your website and for the files included on your website. For example, if you are using a lot of images, use image compression software to reduce their quality so that they don’t take up so much space but still seem just as good as before. This is one area where Google PageSpeed is particularly useful in its recommendations.