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How To Speed Up A Slow Loading Website Or App

2020-04-08 by Anand Srinivasan

Everyone hates websites that load slow. Slow loading websites impact user experience and in addition to increasing customer bounce rate can also have an impact on how Google ranks your website on their search results.

Upgrading your hosting to a bigger, better plan may help, but is not always the solution you should be going for. For one, larger servers are more expensive. Also, not all businesses need a VPS or a dedicated server. While upgrading to a faster server may help, it is necessary to optimize your scripts and processes for scalable solutions.

Understanding why your application fails to load quickly is vital to finding the right fixes to the problem.

Where is the load coming from?

A web server is like a highway. When you have very little traffic, the highway is going to hold up fine even if the vehicles are not moving efficiently. However, when you have bumper to bumper traffic, even one breakdown could throw the entire traffic into disarray. So the first step should be to know where all this traffic is coming from and finding ways to reduce them so that small inefficiencies do not hold your entire server hostage.

For this, look into the number of data requests your server is processing at any point. If you are hosting a website, for example, every time you have a new visitor to your website, you will have multiple data requests being fired. This is for everything from pulling in the logo, to connecting to the database (to extract content to display), to pulling in every single image, text and other forms of data from your server.

On the other hand, if you are hosting an app, the main interface and features are hosted on the user’s side (also called the client’s side). So when a user launches your app, only information being requested by a user is sent to the server. This is why apps are generally faster than websites.

If you see that there are too many requests to handle, you may consider figuring ways to reduce it. For instance, you may set up batch processing of requests so that duplicate queries can be eliminated. Also, you should look at optimizing the time taken to process every query. Even a few milliseconds worth of optimization can impact your loading speed to a great extent. It is a good idea to install a server monitoring software that can give you real-time updates on how your server is performing.

Use third party scripts

Now, this is a slippery slope and is something that you need to tread with care. According to Google, third party scripts can cause your website to load slow since they may fire too many requests at the same time.

But good planning and picking the right scripts can help your website improve loading speed. Let’s take the example of your customer support system. There are tons of open source options out there in the market (or you could build a solution yourself) that can be hosted on your server. Now, while customer support is an inalienable part of your business, the framework you need to offer support does not have to be native. Using a third party SaaS service provider for this purpose can free up your servers from resources needed to support customers.

While customer support can be channeled to a different platform completely, there are some scripts that need to be fired from within your website. Take push notifications, for example. If you run a mobile app, push notifications are a great way to notify users and even bring them back to your app as required. 

Some push notifications (like OTP or event status) need to be integrated with the workflow of your app and have to be considered while determining the loading speed of your app. On the other hand, if you are using push notifications for the occasional marketing message, you may take this off your app source and fire them directly from your service provider’s dashboard. This way, you can keep your application from slowing down due to third party interactions.

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Anand Srinivasan

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