Website page load time is one of the core web vitals that can determine your online success. According to Portent, each additional second of load time can reduce conversion rates by an average of 4.42%. That is why it is important to reduce your site’s load time as much as possible.
One of the most popular solutions is to get a virtual private server (VPS). This hosting service offers good performance at a lower cost than a dedicated server. However, VPS users still need to audit their sites to ensure ideal performance.
But how do you assess and improve website speed? Let’s take a look at nine easy ways to improve page load speed on your VPS.
1. Upgrade Your VPS Hosting
The first step to improve website speed is to consider upgrading to VPS hosting. Most hosting companies offer different plans to fit various preferences, needs, and budgets. Pricier plans typically have better capabilities and features that may improve loading speed.
For the best chance to improve your site’s load time, choose a more premium VPS option from your provider or look for other hosting companies that offer VPS hosting. Since web hosting is a key factor in website performance, opting for a more comprehensive solution can be a worthwhile investment in the long run. For a reliable VPS hosting service visit https://www.hostinger.in/vps-hosting.
2. Check Server Response Time
Server response time (SRT) is one of the key indicators of how fast your website can load, so it’s an important factor to consider. Your site’s SRT usually appears in the analysis results of most speed test tools.
There are numerous website speed test tools, including Google PageSpeed Insights, GTmetrix, and Google Analytics. Most of these tools are completely free, and they often provide essential tips on improving site speed.
Aside from using a website speed test tool, you can also check SRT manually using built-in command prompt software from your computer’s operating system. With the ping command, the operating system can tell the user how long it took to send a tiny packet of data across the internet and receive a reply.
3. Reduce HTTP Requests
Every time a user visits a website, their browser sends HTTP requests to the server to access the resource necessary to load the page content. The number of requests made can highly affect the website’s speed. Therefore, minimizing requests is essential in improving load times.
Users can see how many HTTP requests are made for a single page by using their browser’s developer tools. The two basic principles of HTTP requests are:
- The more files contained in a website means more requests
- Larger files require longer request processing times
Based on these principles, it is safe to say that the key to minimizing HTTP requests is by reducing the number of files and their sizes. There are also other methods you can do to reduce the number of HTTP requests for your website.
Consider enabling lazy loading to let your website load only images visible on the screen. This can help improve efficiency and reduce page load times.
Eliminating unnecessary external scripts such as embedded videos and social sharing plugins can also help bring down the number of HTTP requests to your site.
4. Compress Large Images
Displaying high-quality images on your website can make it look more appealing and professional. However, if you ignore the file size of these images, they can negatively affect site load time. Therefore, website owners should consider image optimization.
The most common way to optimize image files for a website is by compressing them. Two of the most common image compression methods used are lossy and lossless compression. They allow images to retain their quality while reducing the file size.
There are various tools to help you compress images for your website. Photo editor software like Adobe Photoshop or GIMP are popular solutions. But, if you don’t want to install additional software on your computer, numerous websites provide image resizing tools.
Those who run a WordPress website can also utilize plugins such as Smush, Optimus, or EWWW Image Optimizer to ensure their images are an ideal size.
5. Minify Resources
Minification in coding means reducing or eliminating unnecessary characters and whitespaces. This practice can speed up page loading time depending on how large and complex the site is. For example, an eCommerce site with hundreds of pages and a thousand lines may see a more significant change compared to a simpler website.
6. Add Browser Caching
Caching is the process of storing data in temporary storage so that such data can load faster in the future. With caching, a web browser can save some elements from a site in a local memory the first time that website is accessed.
With this technique, the browser can access a website more quickly in the future without having to repeatedly download the same files from the server. Users can adjust the number of cache files to store, and how long they will be stored for, on the setting page of their browser.
A site owner needs to enable browser caching from the server-side. The exact method may vary depending on what content management system (CMS) and hosting control panel you use. For example, WordPress users can either use a cache plugin like WP Rocket or edit the necessary files directly through the hosting control panel.
7. Use a CDN
One of the features you might want to look out for when choosing a hosting provider is a content delivery network (CDN). This technology works by caching website data in globally distributed servers. Therefore, users can access data from the server closest to their location to get a faster loading time.
The process of setting up a CDN varies depending on your hosting provider. Some of the most popular CDN solutions include Cloudflare, CloudFront, and Akamai.
8. Clean Your Database
After using a website for a while, its database will accumulate data that can negatively affect the site’s performance. Therefore, it is recommended to regularly clean up your site’s database to maintain optimal site speed.
Database cleanup involves deleting unnecessary files such as spam comments, copies of page content, and leftover data from deleted plugins and themes. This process can be done manually or by using plugins like WP-Optimize or WP-DBManager.
Don’t forget to back up the site’s data first before you start cleaning up the database to avoid accidentally deleting essential files.
9. Consider Mobile Users
Mobile devices account for more than 50% of global website traffic. Because of that, website owners need to consider mobile device users’ preferences when optimizing their sites.
One of the most popular ways to create a mobile-friendly site is by using Google’s Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP). This process eliminates unnecessary elements from a website and allows mobile pages to load significantly faster.
Choosing a mobile-friendly and responsive theme for your site is also important. Don’t forget to use services like Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test to make sure your site is up to standard.
Nobody wants to run and visit slow websites – that’s why fast-loading ones tend to gain more visitors and conversions. Therefore, site owners need to conduct audits to ensure the best page speed.
In this article, we looked at nine ways to audit web page load time on a VPS. These include:
- Upgrading the VPS hosting plan
- Checking the server response time
- Minimizing HTTP requests
- Compressing large images
- Minifying resources
- Enabling browser caching
- Using a CDN
- Cleaning up your database
- Prioritizing mobile users
Hopefully, this article has helped you to improve your site performance and potentially gain more visitors and conversions.