There’s heaps of factors that contribute to your website performance. This is not a technical review, rather an overview to help you understand the basics that effect site performance.
External Speed Influences
ISP Speed – Years ago websites had to be built to accommodate 56k modems. No longer is this an issue, thank goodness. The standard now is building a site that performs well with broadband. The only caveat to this principle is if your service/products are mobile related. Then you might want to build your site based on 3G Network performance.
End User Browsers – The browser you use actually does make a difference. Here’s the list of browser that perform in order to fastest to slowest.
Chrome – Everything Google rocks.
Firefox – My preferred browser because of add-ons.
IE10 – Microsoft ie10 performs surprisingly well on most recent benchmark tests.
Opera – What happened Apple?
Network Connection – Another consideration is the network your using. For example, your company has a dedicated T1 line which provides blazing speed. Every once in a while you might experience delayed internet surfing. T1 lines handle one request at a time. So if one department in your company is hogging the bandwidth the rest of the company will experience slower access speeds.
Home and small office networks also experience similar issues. Wireless networks also don’t perform as well as wired networks.
I have the need, THE NEED FOR SPEED! – Factors you control
Hosting – Who hosts your website is about 65% responsible for your site performance. Basic shared hosing plans provided by GoDaddy is an excellent choice from an economical standpoint. They provide ok speed and excellent customer service at a great price (under $7.00/month). However, a “shared hosting plan” means just that. Your sharing the server with potentially hundreds of other customers. So if one site on your server goes viral it could literally effect everyone elses site performance. Even to the point the server becomes overloaded with traffic and shuts down. Typically hosting companies monitor this closely. If your site is the one with too much traffic they’ll politely try to upgrade your hosting plan (since your effecting their other clients).
The top tier hosting is virtual servers and dedicated servers. This is where you basically purchase your own server at the hosting company. Usually the trade off on getting the best speed available is the expense and less support. The hosting company is handing over a blank canvas for you to load up and maintain.
Multimedia – Oh la la I want movies, flash, and an interactive website that engages the end user. That sounds fantastic however better be prepared to upgrade your hosting plan if your looking to provide this kind of experience.
Video alone comes in a number of formats that balance speed performance and picture/audio quality. Flash adds an interactive flair to websites at the cost of speed performance. And images need to be optimized to maximize speed while retaining quality.
Correct Coding – Coding issues can effect site performance for a number of reasons. Its very easy to check your coding by using W3C validation . If you have under 30 errors your probably ok. Over 30 and your most likely suffering some speed loss.
WordPress Specific – W3 Total Cache The highest rated and most complete WordPress performance plugin. Dramatically improve the speed and user experience of your site. Add browser, page, object and database caching as well as minify and content delivery network (CDN) to WordPress.
Advance Speed Tips – Yahoo summarizes 30 additional advance tips to increase website speed. In most cases these advance tweaks are not needed to realize good site performance. If your experiencing 50,000 plus hits a month then its a good idea to request a quote to take advantage of all these tweaks to make your site fly.
Free Speed Analysis – If your curious how you site measures up send me an email and I’ll provide you with a free speed analysis.