Each image format has its own advantages and is suitable for certain types of images. For example, JPEG (or JPG) is suitable for photographs and images with many shades of color. It provides good compression and preserves image details. PNG – the most suitable format for images with transparency or text. It preserves sharper lines and is a good choice for logos and icons.
Image compression tools help to reduce the size of image files without significantly reducing the quality. This removes redundant information such as unnecessary metadata and hidden colors while maintaining the visual quality of the image. Here are some popular compression tools: Kraken.io, TinyPNG, iloveimg.com, Compressor.io, etc. You can also enable image conversion to WebP format. According to the company it provides 26% reduction in image size compared to PNG format and 25-34% reduction compared to JPEG format.
Deferred image loading allows images to be loaded only when they become visible on the user’s screen. This is especially useful for pages with a large number of images or long pages. There are different techniques, such as:
- Lazy loading (lazy loading). Allows images to load only as the page scrolls. Plugins and libraries such as LazyLoad or Intersection Observer API help with this;
- Image loading optimization plugins. There are various plugins and extensions for content management platforms (CMS) that automatically apply delayed image loading or optimize the loading process. For example, WP Smush for WordPress.
Optimizing your site’s code
It is also recommended to place the CSS code at the beginning of the page and the scripts at the end. This approach allows the browser to start displaying the page before all scripts are loaded, which reduces load time and improves the user experience.
Avoid using inline CSS and JS code. Instead, you should take CSS and JS code to external files. This allows browsers to cache these resources and speeds up page load times.
Using caching and CDNs
Use a CDN (content delivery network) to distribute copies of content to servers located in different regions of the world and provide site acceleration. A CDN works on the following principle: the closest server serves user requests, which reduces download time. When a user requests a resource from a website, he gets it from the closest CDN server rather than the primary server.
When resources are cached on the client side and distributed across CDN servers, you have the ability to deliver content with minimal latency and provide fast access for users anywhere in the world.
Minimize redirects and broken links
Avoid overuse of redirects on your website. Redirects add an extra step when loading a page, which can slow it down. Check your URL structure and coding to make sure they are optimized and minimized. Try to use direct links where possible and avoid redirect chains.
Regularly check your site for broken links and fix them. Broken links that lead to non-existent or inaccessible pages can negatively impact user experience and loading speed.
Cloud provider and server
When choosing a hosting provider, it is advisable to pay attention to their performance and reliability. A well-chosen hosting service with optimized infrastructure, high bandwidth and low latency can significantly improve server response time.
Keep your server software and its components, such as the web server (e.g. Apache or Nginx), PHP or other programming languages, updated. This allows you to use the latest security patches and performance optimizations.
How to speed up your site
Now let’s look at how you can improve the hardware component of your infrastructure to ensure that your website loads faster.
- Choose the right cloud provider
Cloud hosting platforms offer scalability and flexibility, allowing a website to utilize the resources of multiple servers. This makes it possible to handle high traffic volume and provide high availability. A VPS server offers an isolated virtual environment that mimics a dedicated server. It provides more resources and control than regular shared hosting. A dedicated server provides full computing resources of a single server for your website. It provides high performance and control, but can be more expensive and require more management. Choosing the right type of hosting depends on the requirements of your site and expected traffic volume.
- Optimize your server settings to increase performance. This may include adjusting memory, CPU, cache and other settings to ensure requests are processed quickly.
- Update server software such as the web server (such as Apache or Nginx), database, and programming languages. New versions of software often include performance improvements and bug fixes.
- Optimize the database for fast access and processing of data.
Use the EXPLAIN command on your database to analyze and understand which queries are running slowly. This may include changing the query structure, adding indexes, or reconsidering the use of tables and relationships. Caching responses to frequently repeated queries can significantly speed up database performance. Instead of executing the query each time, the database can give the already stored result from the cache. This is especially useful for dynamic sites where content is generated frequently and may be the same for multiple users. Setting up indexes in the database allows you to efficiently search for data across tables. Indexes are created on indexed fields and significantly speed up the search process.
- Load balancing and clustering allow load balancing across multiple servers, which improves performance and provides fault tolerance. Principles include:
Distributing traffic across multiple servers to evenly distribute the load and ensure high availability.
Combining multiple servers into a cluster to handle traffic and provide fault tolerance. The cluster can include data replication, resource sharing, and automatic recovery.
- Use of SSD storage:
Using fast and efficient SSD storage instead of traditional HDDs can significantly improve performance. SSD storage has faster data read and write speeds, which speeds up query processing and content loading.
- Network infrastructure:
Hosting the site on hosting providers with high-speed network connectivity and utilizing networking technologies such as CDNs help ensure fast delivery of content to users anywhere in the world.
Performance optimization is not a one-time action. Websites and their requirements are constantly changing, and users expect ever faster and more responsive sites. Therefore, it is important to understand that optimization is an ongoing process that should be part of your daily website development and maintenance practices.