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How to Improve Website Performance: In-Depth Guide to Optimization

How to Improve Website Performance: In-Depth Guide to Optimization

We offer our clients a Site Performance Review service that involves detailed diagnostics of your site performed by one of our Support engineers. We will review your setup, plugins and site code, if applicable, to determine what is causing the issues resulting in your site being slow. To request the service, go to your Client Area -> “?” icon at the top right corner -> View Help Center -> Contact Us tab -> Website Troubleshooting -> My Site is Slow.

Enhancing your website’s performance is not just a matter of preference, it’s a vital aspect of your online success. A well-performing website not only ensures a seamless user experience but also boosts search engine rankings and drives higher conversions. In this article, we’ll explore the importance of website performance and provide actionable strategies to optimize it effectively. From reducing page load times to improving server response, we’ll cover it all.

Website performance refers to the speed, responsiveness, and overall user experience of a website. It encompasses various factors such as page load times, server response times, and the efficiency of content delivery. A well-performing website ensures that visitors can access information quickly and effortlessly.

What Makes Website Performance Significant?

Website speed plays a crucial role in user satisfaction, search engine rankings, and business success. Here are a few key reasons why it’s important to prioritize website performance:

User Experience – Slow-loading websites frustrate users and lead to high bounce rates. A fast and responsive website keeps visitors engaged, encourages longer browsing sessions, and increases the likelihood of conversions.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) – Search engines like Google consider website performance as a ranking factor. Websites with faster loading times tend to rank higher in search results, attracting more organic traffic.

Conversion Rates – Improved website speed leads to higher conversion rates. Studies have shown that even a one-second delay in page load time can significantly impact conversion rates, resulting in potential revenue loss.

Mobile-Friendliness – With the increasing use of mobile devices, optimizing web page speed for mobile users is crucial. Mobile-friendly websites that load quickly and provide a seamless user experience perform better in terms of user engagement and conversions.

How To Improve Website Performance?

To enhance your website’s performance, consider the following factors and implement the necessary improvements:

Leverage Browser Caching

What browser caching does is memorize the resources that the browser has already loaded. When a visitor goes to another page on your website, and the new page is using the same resources as the previously visited pages (e.g. your logo, CSS files, etc.), those do not need to be loaded again.

This means that the browser will not initiate a new connection to fetch these resources, but instead, it will load them from its local cache. This is because the browser already memorized and saved them. This is quite useful for speeding up a website as when you leverage browser caching, the necessary caching files will be stored locally.

Leverage browser caching is enabled by default on all our servers.

Brotli/gZIP compression

Brotli and gZIP decrease the size of the data that is being transferred between your server and your visitors by compressing images, CSS, and JavaScript files. When your visitors’ browser receives the compressed elements it decompresses them before rendering. This significantly lowers the size of information that is being transferred lowering the loading times of your website’s pages.

Both Brotli and gZIP are enabled by default for all websites on our servers.

Use the latest available PHP version

Staying up to date with the latest PHP version is essential for optimal website performance. Newer PHP versions often come with performance improvements, so it’s recommended to use the most recent version available for your website. Switching between PHP versions is made easy through your Site Tools -> Devs -> PHP Manager.

Displaying scaled images is an effective way to improve your website’s performance. Instead of using images with higher dimensions than necessary, it’s recommended to resize them to match the dimensions they will be displayed in. For example, if an image will be displayed as 40×40 pixels on your website, there’s no need to keep the original file with dimensions of 400×400 pixels. Resizing the image to the appropriate dimensions reduces the file size and eliminates the need for the browser to download and scale larger images, thereby enhancing your website’s loading speed.

Defer Parsing of JavaScript

This means that your JavaScript files should be moved from the HEAD part of the HTML to the absolute bottom, just before the closing HTML tag. By doing so, you are allowing all other content to be loaded before the JS files are executed in the browser, which eventually makes your website look faster.

Minify CSS and JS files

Minifying CSS and JavaScript files involves removing unnecessary data from these files, such as double spaces, empty lines, and comments. This process reduces the file size, resulting in a smaller amount of data being transferred to visitors’ browsers. Minifying CSS and JS files significantly improves loading times.

For WordPress, you can use the Speed Optimizer plugin to easily enable automatic minification for CSS and JS elements.

Use Content Delivery Network (CDN)

Loading your content through a CDN would both reduce the load on the server and the loading time of the site. Content delivery networks (CDN) are server networks that clone your site on all of their location nodes. This means that when your visitors request your site, it will be served by the closest server location, rather than the location of your server. We have developed an in-house CDN service for our clients and enabling it on your website is a rather easy process — you just need to enable it through your Site Tools. We also have an article on how to enable CDN here.

Avoid Redirect Chains

A redirect chain occurs when there is more than one redirect between the initial and destination URLs. Having more than one redirect between them would additionally slow down the website with the redirects waiting time.

In most cases, such redirect chains occur when there is one redirect from the non-www domain to the www domain (both non-HTTPS), and then another redirect from the non-HTTPS www domain to HTTPS and www. The best course of action here is to combine them and create a single redirect from the non-HTTPS non-www domain (http://domain.com) to the HTTPS www domain (https://www.domain.com).

Avoid HTTP errors

If your website’s page renders a URL resulting in 403, 404, 500, 502, or another HTTP error, that might significantly slow down the website speed. Your website would try to load the faulty resource for a certain amount of time until an error is finally received as a response. You may check your website for such links using the Network tab of your preferred browser console or by using an online speed testing tool. For example – with GTmetrix you may review those resources in the Waterfall tab and in Pingdom – in the Response Codes section.

Avoid Big Homepages

Having a large homepage can significantly impact your website’s loading speed. To optimize your homepage, ensure that only necessary resources are included, and follow the aforementioned practices of using well-optimized and scaled images. Additionally, embedding videos from external sources, such as YouTube, rather than uploading them directly to your website, helps improve performance.


By implementing these optimization strategies, you can significantly enhance your website speed and performance, resulting in faster loading times, improved user experience, and better search engine rankings. Remember to regularly monitor your website’s performance and make adjustments as needed to ensure optimal results.

Website Performance FAQ

Which tools can measure website performance?

Website performance can be measured using various tools and metrics. Key performance indicators include page load times, time to first byte (TTFB), speed index, and resource sizes. Monitoring tools like Google PageSpeed Insights, GTmetrix, and WebPageTest provide insights into your website’s performance metrics.

If you are a SiteGround client, you can learn here how to find your website’s visitor stats

What defines good website performance?

Good website performance is characterized by fast page load time, low bounce rate, and seamless user experience. Aim for a page load time of under three seconds, as research has shown that longer load times lead to higher bounce rates and user dissatisfaction.

How long does it take to see SERP improvements in website performance after implementing optimizations?

The time it takes to see improvements in website performance after making optimizations can vary. Although immediate results will be visible in new performance tests, search engines may take longer to notice them as they need time to crawl and reassess your site. The extent of optimizations and the complexity of your website also affect how soon you’ll notice significant improvements.

Updated: July 2023

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