Five tips for speeding up a website

Five tips for speeding up a website

We all want to ensure our content gets delivered as fast as possible, and it can have an impact on your search ranking too. So what can you do to make sure your website is being delivered as fast and effectively as it can be? We run through five quick tips that will go a long way to ensuring you are giving your visitors what they are after in lightening fast time. The image above is a test of this website on Pingdom Tools


Gzip provides a compressed HTTP response which can be up to 70% faster than delivering uncompressed data. This means that the time taken by the uncompressed data is greater than the time taken to compress the data on the server, send it, and then uncompress it at the other end.

"Gzip is the most popular and effective compression method currently available and generally reduces the response size by about 70%. Approximately 90% of today's Internet traffic travels through browsers that claim to support gzip," straight from Yahoo Developer Best Practices.

Just search for gzip and you will find tons of information on how to get it set up your system.

Content Delivery Network

A content delivery network is a collection of computers that serve your content. The great benefit in this is that you can have multiple servers across the world serving the same content. The closest location to the request can then be chosen (or the next best if the closest is down - providing a higher level of uptime also), and the content delivered from there which removes any latency for information being sent from America to Europe for example.

Content delivery networks can be set up to run alongside your existing hosting setup or as alternatives to it.

Database Calls

As your website grows, so too will the amount of data that is being transferred to and from the database, and over time these queries will begin to slow down the responsiveness of an application.

With this in mind, it is important to make sure you are not making any unnecessary database calls. Can you combine data into one call with a join and run through the results in the code in two different places? Can you set up stored procedures in the database? There is a lot more to database management than the calls but that is a much bigger story!

Optimse Images

Save images as jpeg where possible, this will decrease the file size. Also, where possible, save optimised from your editing software, or alternatively use Yahoo! which is a lossless tool. This will ensure that you are not transferring more bytes than are necessary.

Minify your code

Every bit of whitespace within a file is a character that has a real size, so every space between words that you are delivering to a user is wasted transfer time. In order to avoid this, you can use tools that will minify your CSS and Javascript. Importantly with Javascript, it will change your variables and function names to single characters in an effort to ensure delivery is as efficient as possible. We have been using CodeKit for quite a long time now for the above (it also ties in nicely with Sass).

As you can see from the above, there is a lot you can do to get your website up to speed and delivering in record time. As all good developers should, ensure you take a backup before you press ahead with anything!