Is your high traffic site taking a long time to load? To be exact, a high traffic site could take more than 2 seconds to load which could send the wrong signals to Google (affecting your ranking) and hinder the possibility for you to reduce your bounce rate. With today's mobile-first, search engines such as Google are putting a heavy priority on website loading speed on mobile (and desktop). There is no denying that having a high traffic website that loads fast will be beneficial for you.
There are several effective steps you can take right now to make a high traffic site loads faster and in this article, you will discover all of them.
When it comes to making a high traffic WordPress sites, there are several factors that you need to focus on such as:
If you are managing several high traffic WordPress sites, you might experience website loading speed slow and being paranoid over it.
After all, you are potentially losing hundreds if not thousands of dollars for every second of a slow loading website.
Here are some quick fixes to make high traffic WordPress sites load faster.
One of the biggest culprits to a slow website loading speed for a high traffic website is the web hosting that you are using. Cheap web hosting especially shared hosting solutions are often not optimized for high traffic.
Since it is a shared hosting solution, you are sharing server resources with hundreds and thousands of other websites. Without a strong server performance, your website loading speed will increase dramatically especially during traffic spikes.
If you are constantly serving over 50,000 visits per month or managing an eCommerce store, chances are a shared hosting solution is not going to fit your needs. A better hosting solution such as more server performance and higher PHP worker counts could dramatically improve your website loading speed.
PHP workers execute the code on your WordPress site. High traffic websites especially eCommerce stores requires to execute multiple codes at any given time. With a limited number of PHP workers, any high traffic site will experience slow loading speed which will impact the user's experience and your overall website loading speed.
Using a much powerful hosting solution allows you to have additional PHP workers per site to handle multiple requests to execute simultaneously.
As a result, the website loading speed will improve dramatically.
While there are no exact method to determine the number of PHP workers you would need, here are two simple guidelines you can follow.
Examples of this type of website include informational websites or small business websites. The content on these websites doesn’t change much and most responses are cached.
If you have less than 50,000 traffic per month, you don't need more than 2 PHP workers.
Examples of this type of website include eCommerce websites or forum-based websites. These websites typically have a much higher volume of traffic and will be much more demanding with uncached responses. The PHP worker limit for dynamic websites needs to be much higher to ensure speed and performance.
These types of websites usually require more than 2 PHP workers.
Determining the right amount of PHP workers is important to prevent performance issues. When you reach your PHP worker limit, they will start building up in a queue and eventually begin moving out the oldest requests.
The result for users could be the dreaded 504 errors, 502 bad gateway errors or other incomplete requests. Often times there will be slow uncached requests that delay processing, but this problem is solved easily by increasing the number of PHP workers.
Content Delivery Network or CDN is an important strategy to improve website loading speed for high traffic sites.
Using a CDN service, you will be able to serve website visitors with faster delivery load and reducing the wait time.
In layman's term, your website will load faster on the user's end.
For benchmark purposes, your website should load under 2 seconds regardless of the number of website visitors or how heavy your site is.
Don't forget that a faster website will be able to reduce the chance of bounce rate and at the same time, sending the right signals to Google for an improved ranking too!
When it comes to CDN services, there are many different CDN services that you can choose from. The most common one is Cloudflare that offers both free and paid plans. Cloudflare paid plans offer superior caching and advanced features that will improve your website loading speed. The free version is sufficient only if you are looking for DNS control and protection from common malware/malicious attacks.
Optimizing your WordPress admin or install is an excellent way to make a high traffic website loads faster. If you are running an aged domain (like over 3 years) or an eCommerce store, your WordPress database would be rather huge.
In this case, you need to perform housekeeping on your WordPress database. Tools such as WP Rocket and Advanced Database Cleaner plugin help you to remove unused content in your database on automation.
Here's how it looks like using WP Rocket to clean your database.
An optimized database also helps you to improve your WordPress backend loading speed while making your frontend loads faster at the same time.
As your WordPress website grows, some of the tables in the database may no longer be in used (especially when you uninstall poorly coded WordPress plugins) and could result in redundancy.
Having a schedule to clean up your WordPress database is a good housekeeping effort to avoid your WordPress taking a long time of load.
Do you know that a slow website loading speed is always affected by the images on the page?
Images play an important role especially when to website loading speed. But, how do you know if images are dragging your website loading speed?
Performing a website loading speed check will help you determine if images are the main culprit. And if the results show that your images are taking a long time to load, you might need to consider using image CDN and optimizing images before and after uploading to WordPress.
There are many speed check that you can use. For us, we tend to use Pingdom Tools most of the time. The results are easy to decipher and understand.
This is how it looks like.
Based on the stats above, the next step is to determine the slowdown and parts of the website that takes the longest to load.
On the Pingdom speed results, here are four parts you need to pay attention to.
Content size by content type. This is the first report that we see. This report allows us to determine the type of content the website has and the exact strategies to take in order for the website to load faster.
Requests by content type. The higher the request count, the higher chances the website will load slower. Reducing the overall requests can improve website loading speed.
Content size by domain. This report is used to understand the waterfall. As the report stated, this is a general report to understand which are the top domains that are serving content on your website.
Requests by domain. Last but not least, this report tells us exactly how many requests are served by a specific domain.
As you can see, images take up a large portion of the website size for WPMaven.net, 61.46% with 899.9 KB in size. We understood this and we integrated Kinsta CDN to cache images so that images can be served faster without affecting the website loading speed.
Script is the second large portion that takes up the loading speed with 21.4% at 313.3 KB. We also optimized our scripts to ensure that they load fast(ers).
Here are the three important tools we used to speed up our WordPress website.
Using a reliable WordPress hosting has the biggest impact on the loading speed for your high traffic website. After a long search, we ended up with Kinsta hosting with Business 1 Plan. This hosting plan gives us the hosting performance and CDN support we truly needed.
With the combination of website loading speed check and proper website speed optimization, you can easily improve the loading speed.
As a result, it will send positive signals to Google for better ranking and improves the overall opportunity for sales and conversions.
Do you have a high traffic site and struggling with loading speed? Leave a comment and tell us all about it!