How to fix a slow loading website speed in 2023 with 17+ optimization techniques
- 1. Test(troubleshoot) website speed
- 2. Compress & resize images
- 3. Enable GZIP compression
- 4. Get faster website hosting
- 5. Correct site tools settings
- 6. Limit .htaccess file use
- 7. Reduce HTTP requests
- 8. Try using a CDN
- 9. Enable browser cache
- 10. Eliminate flash contents
- 11. Clean codes
- 12. Disable hot-linking
- 13. Fix 404 errors
- 14. Update the PHP version
- 15. Consider a fast DNS solution
- 16. Avoid redundancy
- 17. Use system fonts
- 18. Delete slow extensions & plugins
- Consider website speed-up support services
Want to learn how to fix a slow loading website to make the load time faster?
Making improvements to speed up a website for faster loading time is very important.
By using the best website speed optimization techniques and solutions to speed up a slow-loading website, you will improve
- users' experience
- save money on web hosting (read our web hosting guide for more).
How to fix a slow loading website speed in 2023 with 17+ optimization techniques
In this article, I will show you some of the best ways to boost website speed to fix slow loading pages by doing things like:
- Using troubleshooting tools to find speed issues to optimize
- Optimizing images properly before uploading
- Avoiding & deleting plugins that reduce speed (If with a CMS that uses plugins)
- Using an updated PHP version
- Clean and optimized database
- Using cleans codes
- Refraining from using jQuery on your website
- Fixing 404 error pages
- Use browser caching
- Removing Google Fonts and using system fonts instead
- Switching to a hosting plan from one of the best web hosting service providers like GreenGeeks, Bluehost, and WPENGINE
The tips on this page are the website speed up techniques we used to improve this website and others load time to under 1 second (see on Pingdom) and a TTFB of < 200ms (courtesy of Bytecheck), 100 score on Google PageSpeed Ingsights.
All these on a shared hosting server. So this guide is a no-fluff guide to speeding up a slow loading sites to rocket fast ;).
Seriously, this website speed optimization post is packed with brutal honest truths that are based on many website tests( we recommend that you do tests before and after implementing any web performance technique).
By the time you are done reading this action-packed guide, you will learn the performance techniques that make slow website speed load faster.
1. Test(troubleshoot) website speed
Troubleshooting to know why your website speed is slow is important because this is how you know exactly what issues it has, how long it takes to load, and what to do to make it faster.
To do this you need to use some troubleshooting and testing tools to find the issues to optimize.
Use the below troubleshooting tools to test your website speed to find issues causing it to be slow.
- GTmetrix.com - Under Summary see where it says Page Details to get an idea of which resources( CSS, Images, JS, etc) on your site page is using the most resource. Use the Waterfall chart to see more details too.
- PageSpeed Insights is Google's PageSpeed Insight which is a great testing tool for website speed. Pay attention to the parts where it says Opportunities and Passed Audit. You can see the TTFB under Passed Audit.
- Pingdom - Another testing tool worth checking out.
- WebPageTest.org - This is actually owned by Google. It has more details and could be complicated for beginners to use.
2. Compress & resize images
Optimizing website images correctly before uploading to a site is extremely important for site speed.
The good news is that it is one of the easiest optimization actions to take that improves a slow website speed.
Reducing a webpage's image size is one of the easiest wins in performance optimization.
An image can be compressed by 40-80% without significant loss in quality.
So do it.
3. Enable GZIP compression
This guide won't be complete without mentioning the importance of Gzip compression.
This is so important that Yahoo says that Gzip is the most popular and effective compression method currently available and generally reduces a webpage size by about 70%.
It reduces the size of the data being transferred from the server to the user.
This compression lowers response time and provides an easy performance win.
If you're not implementing gZip compression on your website already, do it now.
The best way to do this is to ask your website hosting provider to enable it in server.
4. Get faster website hosting
Web hosting is one of the top factors that affect a website's page speed and performance.
By choosing the right website hosting company and plan, you can improve your speed.
This is really one of the best solutions for performance issues.
Even though we recommend changing to a fast web host, make sure that you apply some of the techniques mentioned before switching to a new host or upgrading the server.
With that said, even after doing all the fixes, your site might still be loading slowly because of a bad server or being on the wrong plan( sometimes you have just outgrown your plan so it is time to upgrade).
If you want to consider other providers we recommend NameHero, GreenGeeks, or BlueHost.
But for a fully managed WordPress site hosting( if using a WP site) go with WPEngine or Kinsta.
5. Correct site tools settings
Another method you can apply in other to speed up your site is to make sure that your website settings are done correctly, especially for those using CMS.
Every website is different because of the type of CMS being used, web hosting provider server settings, how it is coded, etc.
Sometimes the basic default setting is enough for a website tool.
But enabling all the features on a site or its tools can slow it down.
For example, it might take a lot of tweaking to find out the best CDN setting that works best for your website as opposed to others. And sometimes the basic setting is enough and won't cause speed issues.
6. Limit .htaccess file use
We have tested this countless times and have noticed that the order of directives and having a lot of code in the .htaccess file affect website's performance.
All the good things that may help with site performance and functionality that you add to your .htaccess will slow down your TTFB and overall speed if you don't add them correctly in the order of importance and/or have too many codes in it.
For example, when adding Gzip compression and Browser Cache codes in the .htaccess, the order matter.
Gzip compression directives should always be before Browser Cache.
This is because you want to compress resources before sending them to a browser.
Better yet do that compression on the server level and avoid putting things in your website .htaccess.
Most modern web hosts are moving away from using the .htaccess file.
They are applying functionalities in the server.
Specialized and fully managed WP hosts like WPengine & Kinsta don't use it and will apply any functionality you need on the server which is better for security and loading time.
7. Reduce HTTP requests
Your server can only handle a certain number of HTTP requests per second and you should be mindful of it.
Note that reducing requests doesn't always lead to loading time or TTFB reduction but it may lead to a better score(the most important factor for a website speed is the loading time and TTFB not how high you score, however, increasing the score too doesn't hurt).
8. Try using a CDN
Enabling CDN is another solution. Especially, for websites with a lot of traffic and/or global audience.
Content Delivery Network service is a collection of distributed servers that are responsible for serving up web content to users with high availability and performance.
CDN serves up data to the customer from the node located at the nearest geographical location.
As mentioned above, it is particularly useful for sites that have a global audience and big traffic spikes as it can help alleviate it.
Also, CDN frequently caches accessed data which leads to reduced time in the loading of pages.
Be cautious of CDNs. Some people have complained about how having a CDN didn't help.
Some people experienced their website loading slower or constant downtime.
So make sure that any CDN you use is configured properly and that you pay attention to your website performance once you enable it.
Sometimes, just enabling a CDN without spending time to tweak it will cause more harm than help.
So either spend hours of your time tweaking it( there are so many settings on CDNs like Cloudflare to play with) or hire a CDN performance expert to do it for you.
9. Enable browser cache
A how to fix a slow website guide won't be complete without touching on this.
Caching your website can make a huge difference in how fast it loads, especially for repeat visitors.
Enabling caching like browser caching and setting it correctly is one of the top ways to increase slow loading websites speed.
Caching stores frequently accessed data as cached memory.
This helps pre-build the page even before a request for the page is served.
Any subsequent request for the same data gets served from the cache memory, thereby increasing the loading speed of your pages.
With caching like browser cache, you can reduce TTFB by almost 80% and loading time by 20% to 60% on some sites.
Almost anything can be cached from HTTP and database queries to images, videos, and documents among other things.
With all of the above said, it takes time and experience to tweak the cache properly for optimal performance for some websites.
There are many tweaks to be done like the "right" expiry time for different assets, enabling or disabling certain caches( page cache, Memcache, OPcache, etc), where you put Browser cache rules in the .htaccess, etc.
If you need help with the proper caching settings for your website OnlineBusinessConsulting provides expert website caching setup services.
10. Eliminate flash contents
Although flash contents are a great way to add animations and interactivity to your site, it comes with an enormous performance overhead.
Use flash replacements like HTML5.
Flash is very bulky and you should consider reducing its size or replacing it altogether with HTML5 is better.
11. Clean codes
Cleaning up whitespaces, unnecessary comments, and inlining some elements is another solution to implement.
Minify your code and try to use one single stylesheet when possible.
However, this doesn't always lead to a speed increase but it helps to keep them clean and it can increase the score.
12. Disable hot-linking
This is one thing that is responsible for a website's performance that most people are not aware of.
However, it is easy to fix.
But first what is hot-linking?
This is basically when people copy and paste an image from a website.
The problem is that every time people visit the website of those that copied and pasted images from your website it adds server resource consumption because those copied and pasted images are loading from your server.
To stop this from happening just contact your web hosting provider and asked them to disable hot-linking on your website.
13. Fix 404 errors
Periodically running a broken link check on your website to find broken internal and external links to fix is very important for your website's health.
Fixing this will not only speed up your website but also help with link juice which in turn helps with your website's search engine ranking.
14. Update the PHP version
One of the easiest ways to improve a site for optimal performance is to make sure that your PHP version is always updated to the latest version.
You do not need technical skills to do this.
Simply go to your website Panel or hosting dashboard and look for PHP Manager or contact your host and they should be able to update it for you.
Important: Just make sure that the PHP version you upgrade to is what's recommended by your host. If your host is recommending PHP 7.1 and you upgrade to 7.4 that might slow down your website.
So don't always upgrade because an upgrade is available. Make sure your host has enabled that version to work with your server settings.
15. Consider a fast DNS solution
Using a fast DNS is another method recommended. This is because DNS lookup speed is part of your website's overall speed.
You can use SolveDNS to test your DNS speed.
The impact may not be a lot but when it comes to improving web pages load time, every small win counts.
16. Avoid redundancy
People often ignore this part but it is extremely important.
For example, if your hosting provider has GZIP and Browser Cache enabled on the server, do not add the same codes or plugins to your website.
If you want to make changes to the browser cache ask your web host to make the change in the server.
17. Use system fonts
This optimization technique can shave off 200 ms to 1 second or more from your site loading time.
When we removed Google fonts from this website theme( the default WP twenty-twenty theme) and started using system fonts, the loading time went from 1.2 seconds to about 650 ms(the test was from GTmetrix and using the default Canada location).
Systems fonts are just as nice as some Google Fonts but way faster.
18. Delete slow extensions & plugins
If you are using a CMS like WP, Joomla, or any site that uses extensions or plugins, delete the ones that are slow.
And proactive stay away from such plugins and extensions that cause loading issues.
The best way to do this for non-techy people is to use WPhive.com to see a plugin's speed and memory impact.
Plugintests.com is another site you can use.
Consider website speed-up support services
If you need help implanting some of the speed-up optimization techniques mentioned properly on your website, OnlineBusinessConsulting experts can help you.
We provide professional speed optimization services to help with user experience, conversion, and SEO.
Contact us to discuss what you need and how we might be able to implement a solution.
We hope that following the optimization techniques listed here will help fix and speed up your website loading time.
A Los Angeles resident who loves to write awesome guides on SEO, WordPress speed/security, content strategies, business and personal finance, digital and growth hack tools, legal stuff, etc, that are helpful to businesses, solopreneurs, bloggers, and consumers.
What I write about is based on tests, extensive research, and 11+ years of experience as a former Senior digital & content marketing consultant with a division of Thomson Reuters and running a successful digital marketing agency...[Read full bio]