How Does VPS Hosting Impact Page Load Speed?

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How Does VPS Hosting Impact Page Load Speed?

Have you ever thought that the speed of website loading can matter to your business? Since technologies are evolving, users’ requirements grow, too. Numerous surveys and studies show that visitors aren’t likely to return to a website that loads slowly. Therefore, it’s crucial to have a website that loads quickly. Smooth and trouble-free user experience not only makes up for better engagement with your content – it increases conversions you get from your audience. How VPS (virtual private server) and visitors’ impressions are connected? Let’s find out what kind of impact this hosting type may have.

What statistics say?

Numerous studies and tests have proved that slow page loading affects user experience and causes financial losses, as the result. The survey performed by gomez.com and Amazon has shown that almost a half of website visitors are ready to wait up to 2 seconds for a web-page to open fully. If a website doesn’t open within 3 seconds, they just abandon it and go to competitors’ websites. AOL’s survey claims that the page load speed has about 50% impact on the number of page views. In another study, 79% of online shopping lovers claimed that aren’t likely to return to a slowly loading website, and almost a half of them would complain to their friends about poor user experience.

All that is proved by real cases. For instance, Shopzilla, a popular Internet store, increased page views by 25% and boosted revenue by 5% after improving page loading time from 7 to 2 seconds. If a website makes about $100.000 a day, even 1 second of delay can “steal” about $2.5 million of sales annually. The statistics show that 1 second of delay causes 7% reduction in sales.

The Connection Between Speed and Search Ranking

When we optimize websites for search engines, we pay primary attention to keywords in texts, backlinks to the website, and other factors, but we often neglect such aspect as website page speed. Taking care of visitors, Google has included website loading into the list of ranking factors. Therefore, speeding up is important not only for Internet users but for website owners, as well. A faster website means a visitor will like it and spend more time there.

To help webmasters, Google has introduced some statistics instruments in Google Analytics (page size, lookup, page loading time, etc.) that can help to analyze and improve page loading times. Even if you don’t reach number one in search results, a faster website will mean having an unbeatable advantage over slow websites.

How To Check Your Website’s Page Speed?

If you want to measure the loading speed of your website, try a popular tool from Pingdom. Open tools.pingdom.com, type your website’s name, choose the location in the drop-down menu, and press Start Test button. Pingdom performs a detailed and comprehensive analysis of your website and shows you the page speed score together with some other valuable insights. At the end of the test, you’ll be provided with a detailed report and guidelines for fixing all of the elements that slow your website down. Some of these improvements you can do on your own, while some more technical alterations can be made by a web developer only.

How to Boost Website Loading Speed: the Best Practices

Page loading speed is mission-critical when there are many other rival websites striving to get the traffic. If your website doesn’t load quickly, your visitors are likely to go to competitors’ websites. So when you’ve revealed what your website’s loading speed is, hurry up to make all possible improvements! Here are some methods that will help you in that.

Leverage A CDN (Content Delivery Network)

One of the most efficient ways to improve page loading speed is using a CDN (content delivery network): this system caches page assets in a geographically distributed network of edge servers that are often called POPs (points of presence). CDN fetches website resources from the nearest geographical spots, which reduces the time of loading and improves user experience. Besides, it helps to save bandwidth from your hosting package. Therefore, if your target audience is spread over the world, caching website content over multiple servers will definitely help you to reduce the load on your main server.

Expires Headers To Enable Browser Caching

Expires headers is a snippet code used in the .htaccess file. Why do you need it? It will help users’ browsers understand whether some certain page should be requested from the server, or whether the fresh version of it should be taken from browser’s cache.

With the help of expires headers, users can reuse the cached assets of a web-page that are stored in the browser, which will reduce the time for downloading. Besides, it will reduce the number of requests made to load a web-page, which also improves the loading time. However, keep in mind that Expires headers work only if a visitor already has a web-page in the browser cache, e.g. has visited your website before at least once.

Fix All ‘Dead’ Links

Broken links spoil user experience considerably: instead of proceeding to other pages of your website, they see 404 error, which discourages them from exploring your project further. So when visitors spend less time on your website, search engine algorithms decide that your website doesn’t provide a decent quality of information, and your project isn’t interesting for people. That, in its turn, decreases the average page visit per user. What happens next? Right, the website loses positions in search ranking.

To reveal the broken links, you can reap the advantages of free tools like Google Webmaster Tools, or Screaming Frog SEO Spider. Some plugins and tools fix them for you.

Define Image Dimensions and the Character Set In HTTP Headers

When a visitor opens any web-page, the browser generates the complete page layout (how your content and images will be organized). When you specify image dimensions, browsers don’t have to do it, which simplifies things and accelerates loading. For the same purpose, you need to specify a character set in HTTP response headers: this way, browser’s overhead will be diminished.

Optimize The Pictures

Images comprise the most part of the web-page, and it takes an eternity to load oversized photos and pictures. It’s crucial to keep your images as small as possible: optimize it before uploading. Besides, if you use some graphics software prior to publishing an image, use “Save for Web” option: the size of the picture will be automatically reduced.

Webmasters working with WordPress are recommended to install WP Smush.it plugin that performs automatic compression of images: every time you upload an image from media library, it is working on the background and reduces the size of an image without hurting the quality.

Another crucial factor you should consider is that PNG and JPEG extensions are more “lightweight” than BMP and TIFFs.

Avoid 301 Redirects

Pretty often, 301 redirects are applied to fix the 404 error (broken links), but if you have a lot of 301 redirects on your website, it may take too much time for the browser to get to the correct destination. 301 redirects generate extra HTTP requests and add to page loading time. Therefore, you should decrease them to the minimum. The above-mentioned Screaming Frog SEO Spider instrument will help you to discover 301 redirects.

Use GZIP Compression

Contact your web hosting provider and ask whether they provide GZIP compression on their servers. If you have VPS hosting, you are free to enable it. Thanks to GZIP compression, image or video file size will be reduced without degrading the quality, which will improve web-page loading.

Activate Browser Caching

When visitors appear on your website for the first time, they need to download JavaScript files, stylesheets, HTML code and images before they can finally see your page. With browser caching enabled, the same visitor won’t have to load every page component in the following visits. Most CMS (Joomla, WordPress, Drupal, and others) offer great cache plugins that can do it. They reduce page load times by saving the latest versions of the web-page in the browser cache, so it doesn’t have to dynamically generate these pages every time they’re visited by the same users.

Golden Rule: CSS is At The Top and JavaScript is At The Bottom

Since browser will fetch CSS files before the other parts of your web-pages, you need to place CSS code at the top of your page code. At the same time, JavaScript should be kept on the bottom of the code, because otherwise everything else will be blocked until the JS is loaded.

Minify CSS and JavsScript Files

What does that mean? You should delete all unnecessary symbols (not required for code execution) in CSS and JS code. The easiest way to minify the files is to combine JS and CSS files in one so that you don’t need to provide multiple files for every individual request.

Another method of minifying presupposes deleting whitespace, comments, block delimiters and newline characters in CSS and JavaScript to make the files more lightweight. WordPress users can also install WP Minify plugin to reduce the size of CSS and JS files.

Disable Image Hotlinking

Hotlinking consumes a lot of bandwidth from your website and can slow it down. To block hotlinking, you need to add the below mentioned code in .htaccess file and upload it either to the root directory or to some certain subdirectory, if you want to protect some certain section of your website.

Here’s the code:

RewriteEngine on

RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^$

RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^http://(www.)?yourdomain.com/.*$ [NC]

RewriteRule .(gif|jpg|js|css)$ – [F]

Web Hosting and Page Speed: What’s the Connection?

What if you have followed all of the given guidelines to boost page speed, but the difference isn’t significant? Then you should analyze the type of web hosting you use. The provider and technologies play a crucial role for page load times!

When website visitors are loading web-pages, your website executes a lot of code lines, responds to endless reviews, and simultaneously runs several database queries just to display a single web-page. All of these executions are performed on the web-server where your website is hosted. The more quality your server is, the quicker web-pages will load. Hosting environment is what drives website performance and helps it to open up the full potential. Therefore, website speed depends on the type of hosting, the company you work with, and the package you’ve ordered.

Does VPS Help to Improve Page Load Speed?

The correct choice of web-hosting type can significantly boost the page loading times. If your website is stored on a shared hosting account, it may lack resources for proper loading. Think of upgrading to a VPS or to a dedicated server.

How Does VPS hosting improve website page speed? VPS (virtual private server) provides you with dedicated RAM, vCPU, and a decent level of bandwidth: your website is guaranteed to have its share of resources. Besides, a VPS user can adjust the VPS according to traffic spikes, and tune the page loading speed.

No matter how you created your website – manually or with the help of CMS – a virtual private server will make a significant difference and improve loading time considerably. This is a great choice for traffic-intense websites.