How Does VPS Hosting Improve Website Page Speed?

How Does VPS Hosting Impact Page Speed

How Does VPS Hosting Impact Page Speed

1.1 Why Does Website’s Page Speed Matter?
1.2 How To Test Your Website’s Page Speed?
1.3 Best Practice To Improve the Web Page Loading Speed
1.4 How Does VPS Hosting Impact Website’s Page Speed?
1.5 How Far VPS Hosting Improves Page Load Speed?

Why Does Website’s Page Speed Matter?

Ever thought that your website loading time can affect your business to a great extent? Advancement of technology and the speed have enhanced the expectations of users too.

Surveys say that majority of user tend not to visit a site if it does not load faster. So, it is incredibly important for your business that your website loads faster.

This will not only provide smooth user experience to your visitors but also helps them engaging with your content. Eventually, this will help you get increased conversions from your audience.

Surveys on User Experience & Behavior

Numerous studies conducted on page load speed show that slow website speed degrades the user experience which translate into financial losses. Have a look on below compilation of case studies.

  • Surveys conducted by Akamai and Gomez.com tell that, 47% consumers wait no longer than 2 seconds for a web page to load. If website doesn’t load within 3 seconds, they move on to other website.
  • According to the data presented by AOL, page load speed impacts the page views per visit upto 50%.
  • Another study says that, 79% of online shoppers who experienced performance issues on website are less likely to return and buy again, 44% of them would tell a friend about their poor user experience.

Let’s see how speed of your website can affect sales of an online store.

  • An eCommerce website Shopzilla achieved 25% increase in pageviews and generated 7 to 12% more revenue by improving the website loading time from ~7 seconds to ~2 seconds.
  • Research of gomez and akamai.com says that, for an e-commerce store making $100,000 per day, page delay of 1 second could potentially cost them $2.5 million in lost sales every year.
  • 1 second delay in page response can result in a 7% reduction in conversions.

Page Speed As Search Engine Ranking Factor

When it comes to search engine optimization, we think of using right keywords in content, generating the backlinks to website, but we often overlook other important factors like website page speed.

Google highlighted the importance of web page speed as, “Speeding up websites is important — not just to site owners, but to all Internet users. Faster sites create happy users and we’ve seen in our internal studies that when a site responds slowly, visitors spend less time there”.

Supporting this statement, Google also introduced some statistics tools in Google Analytics like, Page Load Time, Lookup, and Page Size, so webmasters can analyze and improve page load times of their websites.

While websites with faster load times won’t necessarily reach to #1 in search engine rankings, but faster loading websites will have explicit advantage over slower ones.

How To Test Your Website’s Page Speed?

To measure the page load speed, we’ll simulate one of the widely used tool from Pingdom.

Simply go to tools.pingdom.com, specify your website name, select the location from drop down and press the Start Test button.

Pingdom analyzes your website thoroughly, and provides you page speed score along with some useful insights.

Pingdom Website Speed Test

Pingdom Website Speed Test

At the end of test, you’ll get a comprehensive report with line-by-line instructions to fix each of the elements that are slowing your website down.

Performance Insights & Suggestions

Performance Insights & Suggestions

To implement the suggestions, you may need to engage your web developer as they would be more likely technical.

Best Practice To Improve Website’s Page Loading Speed

Page load speed is crucial when numerous other rival websites are out there to earn the traffic juice. If your website does not load quickly, there are more chances your visitors will divert to your competitor’s website in a matter of seconds.

So, when page load time is determined, there’s no excuse not to improve it. Here are the steps, you can follow to improve the website speed.

Use a CDN (Content Delivery Network)

One of the most popular ways to decrease the page load time is to use a CDN service.

A CDN populates your website files to geographically distributed network of servers called POPs (Points of Presence).

CDN serves the website resources from the nearest geographical location of visitor, that means your visitors can access your website more faster. This will also save you some bandwidth from your main hosting package.

Since your web files are spread across the multiple servers, CDN will reduce the load on any single server.

Use Expires headers to leverage browser caching

Expires headers is a snippet code defined in .htaccess file. It instructs the browsers, if they should request a specific page from the server or whether they should grab version of a page from the browser’s cache.

Expires headers allows users to reuse the cached files of web page stored in browser and reduces the time it takes to download the files.

It also reduces the number of requests made to load the web page, and hence it decreases the page load time.

Note that Expires headers will work only, if your visitors already have stored version of your web page in browser cache, that means users must have visited your website earlier at least once.

Fix all broken links

Broken links discourage users from continuing to visit other pages of your website, and they may leave your website quickly.

When users spend less time on your website, search engine algorithms assume that your website don’t have that quality content or information.

This will significantly decrease the average pages visited per user and negatively impacts the search engine rankings.

To identify the broken links, you can use free tools like Google Webmaster Tools and Screaming Frog SEO Spider.

Specify image dimensions and character set in HTTP headers

When user visits any web page, browser prepares the complete layout of a web page, as how your content would be wrapped around images.

When you specify the image dimensions, browser don’t have to go through this time taking exercise, which helps to speed things up.

For the same reason, you should also specify a character set in HTTP response headers to reduce the browser’s overhead of determining character set of your website.

Optimize the Images

Oversized images always take longer to load, so it’s important that you keep your images as small as possible. Be sure you also optimize each image before uploading to your website.

If you are using any graphics software to optimize the images, you should use “Save for Web” option. This will reduce the size of images and hence page load time.

WordPress users can install the WP Smush.it plugin to compress images automatically.

WP Smush.it runs in the background everytime you upload an image to media library, and reduces the size of images without degrading the quality.

Some other important points to consider are, use either JPEG or PNG image extensions, and do not use BMPs or TIFFs.

Reduce 301 redirects

To repair the broken links (404 errors), 301 redirects are preferred. But when you have too many 301 redirects on your website, browser may take longer to reach to correct destination.

301 Redirects create additional HTTP requests and hence further increase in page load time, so you should keep them minimum. Again, you can discover 301 redirects using Screaming Frog SEO Spider tool.

Use GZIP compression

Ask your web hosting provider, if they have enabled the GZIP compression and deflation on their web servers. If you are using VPS hosting, you can enable it at your own.

These techniques reduce the file size without degrading the visual quality of the images and videos, that results in improved page load time.

Enable browser caching

When users visit your website for the first time, they have to download the HTML content, stylesheets, javascript files and images before being able to see your page. When browser caching is enabled, same user don’t need to load each element of web page in subsequent visits.

Content management systems like WordPress, Joomla and Drupal have excellent cache plugins to improve page speed quickly.

These plugins lower down the page load times by caching the latest version of your website, so browser don’t have to dynamically generate the same page each time.

Put CSS at the top and JS at the bottom

Browser will render CSS file before rendering other part of your page. Hence, put your CSS at top of your page.

On the other hand, put Javascript at bottom because anything below the Javascript will be blocked from rendering and downloading until after the Javascript is loaded.

Minify your CSS and JS files

The term minify denotes the process of removing unnecessary characters that are not required for the code to execute.

The most common way to minify the files is to merge all your CSS and JS files into one, so you don’t have to call multiple files for each individual request.

In another way of minifying, you will need to delete whitespace, newline character, comments, block delimiters in JS and CSS to make these files smaller.

WordPress users can simply install plugin called WP Minify to minify the JS and CSS files.

Disable hotlinking of images

Hotlinking or bandwidth stealing consumes your allotted bandwidth and slows down your website. To prevent hotlinking, simply add the below code to your .htaccess file, and upload the file either to your root directory, or a particular subdirectory to localize the effect to just one section of your site.

RewriteEngine on
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^$
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^http://(www.)?yourdomain.com/.*$ [NC]
RewriteRule .(gif|jpg|js|css)$ - [F]

How Web Hosting Impacts Page Speed?

If you’ve followed above standard practice to improve the page speed, and still you notice very little difference, perhaps you should check with your web hosting. The web hosting provider and technology you choose can have a significant impact on your page load times.

While you load a web page, website executes hundreds of lines of code, respond to numerous requests, and runs number of database queries to render just a single web page.

All these executions have to be carried out on the web server, where your website is residing. If your web server is powerful, it will serve your web page more quickly.

Imagine your website as a car, you can customize it by giving it interior (code optimization) and exterior (graphics, design, front end layout, etc.) makeover to make it look great.

But what if underlying engine (Hosting Environment) isn’t powerful, your website may not reach to its full potential. In a nutshell, website speed depends a lot on the web hosting type, web hosting company and hosting package you choose.

How Far VPS Hosting Improves Page Load Speed?

Choosing the right Web Hosting type can significantly improve the page load times. If your website is hosted on a shared hosting account, consider upgrading to a VPS or dedicated server.

VPS hosting comes with dedicated RAM, vCPU and Bandwidth allocation, so your website will be running with it’s own set of resources. Additionally, VPS user can tweak the VPS as per need to fine tune page load speed.

To determine how much VPS hosting improves the page load speed, we’ve conducted page load speed test. This test shown noticeable time lag of page load in shared environment against VPS hosting.

The test was conducted on most popular CMS, Magento, WordPress, Drupal and Joomla installations, one on a shared hosting package and another on a SSD VPS package. We found following results.

Page Load Speed Test - VPS Vs. Shared

Page Load Speed Test – VPS Vs. Shared

The page load speed shows major improvement while upgrading web hosting from shared to VPS. VPS hosting solutions are always preferable over shared hosting for resource intensive and high traffic websites.

Rahul Vaghasia

Rahul Vaghasia

Rahul is CEO at AccuWebHosting.com. He shares his web hosting insights at AccuWebHosting blog. He mostly writes on the latest web hosting trends, WordPress, storage technologies, Windows and Linux hosting platforms.
Rahul Vaghasia
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