Why should we have a fast loading website?
As written in Google Webmaster Guidelines, page load optimization is the best practice to get the internet site on top of SEO rankings. On another hand, a fast loading website is friendlier to visitors. Users may leave several websites just because they are slow.
MEASURE speed of YOUR SITE
Before starting with optimization, always check the how site perform when to post on the massive scale. It will automatically help the user to compare results after the modifications.
Various online websites can measure site performance:
Above are the list of tools or website where the user can test or analyze the speed of their particular internet sites.
If you feel like optimizing your website, here are the few simple steps that can make site GO.
Use A GOOD WEB HOSTING
If you don’t have a good and fast web hosting, all other performance tips may be useless.
Upgrade Joomla and Joomla Extensions
Having the latest version of Joomla extensions and templates are very important for your website performance. Usually, the new version works better than the old version. So upgrade your Joomla to latest version along with extensions.
DELETE EXTENSIONS that are not in use
Each extension installed on Joomla takes some system and database resources. The head section of your template consists of some additional CSS and JS files which may increase the size of the whole website. Keep only those extensions which are in use of your site currently.
ENABLE JOOMLA CACHING
Whenever a user visits a page, all data needs to be loaded per page request, such process takes a long time. By enabling Joomla caching, if someone visits your site for the first time, all data will be cached and stored as lighter and faster content that will be loaded for all the next visitors.
There are two main settings related to caching in Joomla.
To enable Joomla caching go to System → Global Configuration → System then choose the caching method.
Methods of caching
- Conservative – Loaded Cached content will be same for all visitors
- Progressive – Loaded Cached Content is separate for each visitor.
It is recommended to use the conservative method. The progressive approach can be harmful if you have multiple contents and a many visitors.
You can also try JotCache extension as an alternative to Joomla caching which provides various additional settings that allow controlling caching in an advanced way.
ENABLE GZIP COMPRESSION
Another method to boost up your site directly from Joomla settings is compression. When compression is enabled, your site pages are downloaded as a zip file and unpacked by the browser. This way it is possible to reduce the content size over 50-70%.
To enable this option, go to System → Global Configuration → Server and choose Yes for the GZip Page Compression option.
Images occupy the largest part of the overall website size so they should be optimized. Some point to remember while optimizing the pictures –
- Never use large images on the site.
- Images should not be scaled using HTML or CSS.
- Don’t forget to add the height and width attributes for each image so before downloading them, and the browser will know their dimensions
- Use loss-free compression to reduce the size of your images. If you save images using Adobe Photoshop or Gimp, the image size still can be reduced without losing quality. Always remember that images from your camera should be resized and optimized before putting them on site.
Popular tools to optimize images:
Rename .HTACCESS.txt file to .htaccess
Another way to increase your site speed is modifying the .htaccess file. You need to make sure that you have renamed the htaccess.txt file to .htaccess and enabled the URL rewriting in System → Global Configuration → Site
The following rules to be followed-
- Etag – It tells the browser to download a file either from the server or the local browser cache.
- Expire headers – in the local browser cache directory, and It says browser when the file should be refreshed or replaced.
- AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE – it minimizes the output HTML code by removing unwanted spaces and line breaks.
OPTIMIZE CSS, JS AND HTML
Since the browser must process all the files for the current page first, each template and extension load CSS and JS files that may block the content supply. They produce some HTTP requests also.
You can easily compress and optimize CSS/JS files as well as the HTML output If you are using EF4 Framework. It works as-
- The number of requests will decrease when It merges all CSS and JS files so
- To reduce file size, It removes all unnecessary spaces, line breaks, and comments
To enable compression in EF Framework, go to Extensions → Template Manager → [template name] → Advanced Features and enable the options.
You can look for a 3rd party extensions If your template and framework do not allow to optimize files.
TOOLS TO OPTIMIZE JOOMLA WEBSITE
You will find a number of optimize extensions In Joomla Extensions Directory –
It is the best optimize extension for Joomla. It allows to:
- Combine CSS and JS files into one
- Reduce the combined files
- Combine background images into a sprite
- Decrease the HTML output
- CDN support (pro version)
- Load JS asynchronously (pro version)
- Include CSS styles and JS from inline declaration blocks (pro version) and lot more
This is an alternative to JCH Optimize extension. It is very similar to JCH Optimize extension but it has some advantages over JCH Optimize, for example it provides CDN support in free version where JCH Optimize provides this option in paid version only.
It enables us to compress CSS, JS and HTML code. Many other features may be used to test on your site.
Always use CONTENT DELIVERY NETWORK (CDN)
CDN is a vast network of servers. It is located in multiple data centers across the Internet. You can serve all the static content such as scripts, images, videos, music to your visitors from the server which is in the nearest location to theirs using CDN.
JCH Optimize and JBetolo extensions can be used to configure CDN. There are more extensions for CDN available in Joomla Extensions Directory. Check out the most popular Joomla extension in JED.
OPTIMIZATION of MOBILE FRIENDLY websites
It means that on mobile devices, mobile friendly websites get a higher rank in the search results. Mobile and tablet devices create online traffic Over 50%.
You can check whether your website is mobile friendly or not Using Mobile-Friendly Test.
You can use Google PageSpeed Insights to test the list of issues that you need to fix to improve the page load speed of your site for mobile devices.
If you have followed all the above steps, then finally the time has come to check your site result again. Hopefully, your site should load faster than before.