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JBoostup - Your complete guide to speed up Joomla websites

JBoostup - Your complete guide to speed up Joomla websites

Lets save us a bunch of time:
If you are not here to IMPROVE your website load time, ignore what I am about to say.

Otherwise... This will revive your Joomla ears-
Today you could learn everything a non-techie could do to improve his Joomla website load speed.

Why speed?

Slow sites would be the #1 reason why your visitors hate you. They find you on via google search or their facebook friends tell them about you, but who loves to stare at your Joomla website loading? I know I don't.

Google is a search engine, and is alive because of the traffic it gets. If google starts showing slow sites in the first ten results, then google would soon have to vanish into oblivion.

Slow Load Speed = Unhappy visitor = Google not recommending your website

Moreover, google also ranks sites based on how much time people stay on your site and engage with it, by forcing your visitor to see a loading screen, you are not even giving google a reason to rank your site.

I am guessing you are getting it - You need to improve your website speed to

  • keep your visitors happy
  • make Google love your website

So what can you do to make your sites load faster? I promise, this is not as hard as it sounds. Lets get started with our not-so-technical joomla speed optimization guide

1 Rocket - Fast Joomla Friendly Host

Joomla friendly fast web hostThe host handling your website is probably the first thing you should consider changing if your website loads very slowly. Consider moving to hosts like Fastcomet who support Joomla.

Technically Joomla can run on any host supporting up-to-date versions of PHP (older versions are known to be vulnerable) and database like MySQL, however I would recommend getting a host whose support team could help you out in case you are facing basic joomla doubts. A host with live chat/ticket support with tremendously fast response times would be bare minimum. And a lot better if your host offers telephone support like Fastcomet does.

Don't know if your website is loading slow because of a poor host? Check your website at https://gtmetrix.com, once the report is generated, navigate to Waterfall  and check up the time for first row which is the server response time. If this frequently more than 500ms, you should consider upgrading your hosting.

2 Use Content Delivery Networks (CDNs)

Joomla friendly fast web hostContent Delivery Networks turbocharge your website by taking copies of your website images, static files etc to multiple servers throughout the globe.

When your visitor in UK opens your site hosted in a US server, it does take time for your your website content to travel from US to UK via the internet. However with a CDN, copies of your website resources are cached to servers all over the world and loaded from a location closest to your visitor, so your UK visitors not only see your website load faster, but also your server doesn't need to send the images saving your hosting bandwidth and reducing server load.

You might consider getting a KeyCDN account and get started with a free trial (no Credit Card required) and check if they meet your needs

3 Simplify everything!

Lets begin with your joomla template, get a simple and fast loading neatly coded one. Feature heavy templates usually load more lines of CSS making your website slower, and if you are not going to use the features the no use of getting a feature heavy template, right?

Get rid of all plugins and modules you don't use. Uninstall templates that you installed but never used, and disable plugins which you need in the future but are not using for now. 

Keep it simple, silly!

4 Enable Gzip

Gzip your Joomla websiteBy enabling Gzip, your webpages arecompressed by the server and uncompressed by visitor's browser. A 2.3mb page might be compressed to sizes as small as 800kb, and hence your website contents is received faster by your visitor's browser.

However, compressing and decompressing the webpage takes time, and compressing may be a resource intensive process for your web server. So make sure that your host encourages gzipping, if it doesnt, it is a sure sign that they are no good and you need to consider changing your webhost. Check out our recommended host page here.

Additionally, mod_deflate must be installed and enabled for Gzip to work. For additional details you should consider contacting your webhost.

5 Enable native caching

Every time a visitor requests a webpage, your website contents stored in database is assembled and output page is produced via the template. This is a database heavy operation if you have many users requesting many pages at the same time.

Enabling caching means a copy of every webpage of your website is made. Whenever your visitor's browser requests a webpage, an already made copy of that webpage is sent, hence making your webpages load faster.

You may simply enable caching by going to System>Global Configuration > System > Cache setting and turning on Progressive or Conservative caching. Also turn on the "Page cache" plugin by going to your Plugins page at "Extensions>Plugins" and searching for "page cache"

6 Compress images

Compress your joomla web page imagesMonitors have limited resolution and you wouldn't want your visitors to see the image in full resolution either, unless its a photography/portfolio website or the like. 

Loading 1mb images on your visitor's computer not only makes your site load slower but also wastes both server and visitor's bandwidth, so its always a wise idea to compress/optimize images for your Joomla website to perform better. You could use https://tinypng.com to compress images before uploading them to your website.

Also, your images might be too big, consider resizing them to desired size before uploading rather than making a very big image load and using HTML to make the image look resized in your visitor's browser. 

7 Minify and combine HTML and CSS

Remove those white spaces.

Humans need spaces to understand codes, browsers don't. Codes with spaces take more time to load, so use plugins like JCH optimize to remove whitespaces from HTML and CSS, as well as combine multiple css files into single ones.

Visitor's browser needs to send multiple requests to load multiple files from your website, and requesting & loading multiple files is slower. Hence its always wiser to combine all html and css files individually into a total of 3 - 4 files. 

8 Leverage browser caching

Some resources like your website logo and some CSS files may remain constant throughout the site whenever they are loaded. You can leverage browser caching to make sure that the browser stores a copy of such files locally and load them locally than loading them from the server repeatedly.

JCH optimize has a simple click-to-enable button to enable Browser caching, and we would recommend you to utilize it and improve the experience of your repeat-visitors.

Conclusion:

This marks the end of our to-dos to make sure that your site loads faster. 

Optimizing your website will not only show you load time improvements but also lead to increased conversions and rankings. Your server resources, bandwidth will be saved, visitors will need to spend less bandwidth to load your website and they will probably engage more with your website as it loads faster.

Did we miss something? What do you do to make your Joomla website load faster? Let us know in the comments below!

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Monday, 17 December 2018

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