13 Causes of Slow Websites and How to Overcome Them
What causes slow website access? Let us review them one by one.
1. Less than optimal server performance
Server performance is the key to website speed. The server functions to store all data from the website while serving data requests from website visitors.
If the server used is not optimal, the website will become slow. Then, what are the factors? There are two main factors: the type of server used, and the location of the server.
Currently, Apache is indeed the most popular server. However, LiteSpeed is proven to have better performance. From a test result , Litespeed gives results 84% faster than Apache. This means that the type of server you use greatly affects the speed of your website.
Apart from that, the server location is also an important factor. The farther the location of the server from the visitor, the longer the process for serving data requests.
So, if your visitors are mostly from Indonesia, you should choose a server located in Indonesia. If the server is in America, it could result in an endless loading process leading to an error message.
You certainly wouldn’t use the default settings for your website, would you? Yes, configuring as needed can indeed improve website performance for the better.
The thing to remember, if there is a configuration error, the result will be a website that is slow to access.
Some of the settings that you can modify include update settings, database management, post and link management.
Not only that, configuration errors will also generate error messages. This has a bad effect on the trust of visitors to your website.
3. Using an older version of WordPress
WordPress is a reliable CMS ( content management system ), a platform that is useful for managing website content well.
Using an older version of WordPress is bad. You will miss various improvements that make the website faster. Not only that, missing the latest features means less than optimal content management.
In addition, in terms of security, the latest version always provides better protection against malware attacks and hackers.
4. Not Supported CDN
CDN (Content Delivery Network) can help websites load faster. It’s just that there are still many websites that haven’t used it.
CDN is a global server network spread across various countries. By using a CDN, every data request will be served by the closest server.
If you are not using a CDN and your server is located in the United States, visitors from Indonesia will have to access the remote server. Of course the loading will take a long time.
Not only that, the number of accesses to one server at the same time will certainly affect the server’s performance, right?
5. Database Too Big
Storing a lot of data on the server will affect the speed of your website. For example, when you have too many posts on a website that contain large files.
In fact, it is not uncommon for there to be a lot of stored data that is no longer needed. For example, deleted posts that are still in the Trash, or some plugins that you only deactivated without being deleted.
The use of too large a database also occurs if you frequently collect data from visitors. That is the reason website membership is vulnerable to slow website constraints.
6. Use of Images without Optimization
To create interesting content, the role of images is very important to provide illustrations. Many websites use the highest quality images in each of their website posts.
What you don’t realize is that most of the images aren’t optimized yet. This is one of the causes of slow website access.
Large image files will take up a lot of bandwidth and overwhelm the server. When visitors access content containing various large images, the loading process will take a long time.
In addition, the large number of image formats that tend to be large, such as GIF and PNG, will also affect the loading of your website.
This method of working is intended to display a neatly arranged website page. However, visitors will be made to wait during the process and see just a blank page.
8. Excessive Use of Flash Content
Flash content can make a website attractive because it is able to display animation, audio and video content, and games well. However, that does not mean without obstacles.
In fact, the use of flash content has several negative effects.
The main thing is that the size of the flash file tends to be large so it will eat up your server resources. Not only that, the process of downloading files when they are displayed in the browser is also long.
In addition, flash content has proven to be less secure, so it has the potential to destabilize your website.
9. Not Optimal Cache Management
Caching is the process of temporarily storing HTML files so that web pages can be accessed more quickly for subsequent requests. In this way, bandwidth usage is minimal and the loading process is faster.
Of course, the caching that is meant here is server-side caching or the caching process on the server. The server that is used greatly affects the work of server-side caching .
Not only that, many website owners don’t optimize their website by installing a plugin cache . As a result, website performance is less than optimal.
10. Too Many Plugins
Some website owners often don’t realize that they have installed too many plugins on their website.
Plugins are software that provide additional functions to make websites work better. However, too many plugins installed will backfire.
More plugins mean more resources required. Moreover, if all plugins run simultaneously to carry out their functions, the website loading process will certainly take longer.
This will be made worse if the plugins used are outdated or not updated . Website speed will automatically be affected.
11. Using a “Heavy” Theme
A sweet website appearance will indeed be able to attract visitors. However, that doesn’t mean you can sacrifice the performance of your website for the sake of appearance.
Some themes with attractive visual and animation attributes tend to be “heavy”. The reason is, there are more and more additional elements such as extra toolbars , sliders , and others. All of that requires more programming code which in turn makes website loading take longer.
Not to mention, if visitors access it via cellphone using a cellular network and the theme used does not yet support mobile responsiveness .
12. Too Many Ads
Advertising can be a source of income from a website. However, flooding your website with too many ads is a cause for slow website access.
Not only that, placing advertisements on the website will affect the number of HTTP requests (data requests to the server).
There are several tools to check this condition. (We will discuss in the next section). Ideally, the number of HTTP requests recorded is between 30 and 50. However, if it reaches 400 requests like in this example, it will certainly result in poor performance.
13. Amount of Spam
If you continue to receive unclear messages, you are a victim of spamming .
The majority of spam is for email. However, currently it is targeting comments on the blog. Spam will make website visitors uncomfortable. Apart from that it will also decrease the credibility of your website.
However, last but not least, the amount of spam will burden website performance. If this continues, website speed can decrease and your SEO efforts will also be affected.
How to Overcome a Slow Website
Now, after knowing the various causes of slow website access, how do you fix them?
We have several steps to solve it as follows:
1. Perform Initial Checks
Before starting with any slow website handling, make sure to check your website speed first.
You don’t need to do it manually because now there are many tools for checking website speed for free , such as Pingdom, GTMetrix, Web Page Analyzer and others.
Some tools have very special functions, for example Google Mobile Website Speed Testing which focuses on website performance on mobile devices. So you can use tools according to the goals you want to achieve.
Also, make sure to check several times using several different tools. The goal is to get a better picture of your website’s current performance.
2. Ensure Good Server Performance
If it is proven that the checking results show that the website is slow, you can start by ensuring server performance.
As explained above, servers are sometimes the main source of problems. Always make sure to choose a good hosting server for your website. This is because each service provider has different server quality and technology.
A good server and the latest technology used will make website performance optimal.
Also, make sure to choose a server that is close to where your visitors are. For those of you whose majority of consumers come from Indonesia, choose a hosting service that has servers located in Indonesia.
3. Use a CDN
Using a CDN for a website that has a lot of content is the right decision.
There are many examples that show that using a CDN can increase website speed by up to 362% !
When someone visits your website, the CDN will direct them to visit the closest server from their location. With this condition, each request does not have to overload the main server. In addition, of course it will be faster because the server location is close.
4. Image Optimization
Performing image optimization means using the best quality images without overloading the website.
There are several ways to optimize images, namely by compressing, resizing, and choosing the right image format.
Nowadays, compressing images can be done easily thanks to the free tools available. You can use these tools online so you don’t have to bother installing them. Examples are TinyPNG, and ILoveIMG .
You can even do automatic compression using WordPress plugins like Smush and others.
On the other hand, optimization by resizing aims to make the displayed image has the right size or resolution. Not only related to aesthetics, but too large a resolution will cause a slow loading process.
What is no less important is choosing the right image format. Currently there are four types of image files that are most popularly used for websites, namely PNG, JPG and GIF which are composed of pixels, and SVG which is a vector.
Each of them has its own characteristics as shown in the following table:
In short, if you want to display a logo or pattern with a transparent effect, you can use PNG. Conversely, for photos using JPG is certainly more appropriate.
You can find a complete explanation of how to deal with slow websites in the eBook: 20+ Tips to Make WordPress Super Fast . Starting from how to optimize the server, resources, configuration to managing plugins and themes that you can download for free.
Disadvantages of Having a Slow Website
If not handled immediately, a slow website will cause harm to you.
1. Bad Impact for SEO
For search engines like Google, website speed will ensure user comfort. Therefore, the speed factor underlies the ranking algorithm that they apply.
If your website is slow, Google will not prioritize it in search results. With this condition, it will be more difficult for you to compete with competitors in attracting visitors.
2. Traffic Decrease
According to one study , consumers are only willing to be on your website for 3 seconds. If the loading takes too long, 57% of them will just leave. Worryingly, 80% of them will never return.
If things like this continue to happen, then your website will experience a decrease in traffic or the number of visits.
3. Low Conversion Rate
Conversion rate is the percentage of visitors who end up purchasing products through your website.
A slow website will decrease the number of purchase transactions. Based on a survey , 67% of consumers in the UK and 51% of consumers in America choose not to buy products if the website is slow.
How long is the delay that causes the customer to decide to leave? Only 2 seconds. This means that any improvements to increase the speed of your website will have a huge impact.
4. Decreased Income
If your website is slow, the number of visitors will decrease and buyer interest will also decrease. As a result, the income from your online business will not match your expectations.
In short, every second is very valuable for a business website.
That’s the lesson that can be taken from Amazon in 2013. At that time, the website of the largest retail company in the world experienced downtime. Because the website is slow to access, purchase transactions cannot be carried out properly.
As a result, the losses experienced due to the incident were estimated at up to 1.6 billion dollars for every second their website experienced slow loading.
You’ve learned a lot about what causes slow websites to be accessed, from server selection to lots of spam.
The good news is, you already know how to solve these problems well. We’ve outlined a few steps you can take to make yourself more accessible.
By implementing all these steps, it is hoped that your website visitors will increase, your conversion rate will remain high and your income from an online business will increase.