content delivery network

Faster Website loading using a Content Delivery Network

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content delivery network

Do you see how fast my blog loads?

I have had the problem of slow loading for quite some time and was unable to figure out a solution to it. My Google Analytics report shocked me, when I saw about 60% bounce rate on my blog. The average time spent on my blog gave me a fair idea that the bounce could primarily be because of the slow load time. My blog took a pathetic 20 seconds to load.

It was too much time. If I were the visitor to such a blog, I would obviously browse away, if the blog doesn’t load in the first 5-7 seconds. No wonder I had such a high bounce rate.

I had to spend some time to analyze the reason for the slow page load. One of the resources that helped me a lot in this was http://www.whichloadsfaster.com. They allow for a comparison between 2 sites and analyzes the reasons for the slow page load.

Reason for the slow page load

A few of the reasons I noted for the slow page load were -

  1. Plugins
  2. Images
  3. Hosting Bandwidth
  4. Social Media buttons
  5. Other external scripts

Plugins – I had close to 17 different plugins installed on my blog. All of these plugins were extremely important for my blog and I couldn’t do away with them. The loading time for a few of these were extremely high. But I had to make that decision. I prioritized the plugins based on their criticality and deactivated and uninstalled a few of the plugins. In order to further reduce the page load time, I used a content delivery network about which I will discuss later.

Images – Another major reason for the slow page load was the images on my blog. There were a lot of advertisements that had the image hosted on the advertisers hosting and in order to pull the images and load it, it took a lot of time. I downloaded these images and hosted them on my hosting and this reduced the page loading time considerably.

Hosting Bandwidth – The hosting bandwidth plays a very important role in you page load time. My hosting with Hostgator has not given me any problems but it was a shared hosting and I had quite a lot of blogs installed on the same shared hosting. This problem was resolved by using a content delivery network.

Social Media Buttons – Social Media buttons on your blog could increase you page load time considerably. Facebook buttons in particular are the major culprit. You can resolve this problem by using techniques which can ensure that these buttons load only after everything else on the page has loaded.

Other external scripts – If you have a lot of scripts on your blog that are called from a different server, it could also lead to slow page loads. For eg: Mybloglog badges, blog catalog badges etc. call scripts externally and increases the page load time. I removed all such widgets and it considerably improved my page load time.

Using Content Delivery Network

A Content Delivery Network is a network of servers from around the world that stores a copy of your website data. Since your website is delivered from different servers it gives you the advantage of a larger bandwidth which in turn reduces page load times. Whenever there is no dynamic content involved, a CDN delivers a cached page of your website thus further reducing the page load time.

In case your blog has readers from around the world, using a CDN is the best option because it will make the website available to the visitor from a server that is closest to his location. All of these together helps reduce the page load time of your blog.

Normally CDNs charge you a monthly charge and you have to make a few changes in your domain’s DNS. But one service that I found extremely useful and was free of cost was Cloudflare. You might want to check out their services.

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