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Website Slow/Down – FAQ

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website, web host, website slow, website down

Various reasons might be responsible for website slowdown or downtime to the website. At times its, hard to detect the exact cause. Here are some common reasons or website slowdown or downtime and the suitable solutions.

File Downloads From My Website Do Not Complete

  • There might be various reasons for this problem. If you search for ‘corrupted downloads’ on the net, you will come across a wide range of results. This is an issue that is faced by many website users, it might include the following:
  • Issues related to network / connectivity or interruptions caused.
  • Apache web script settings – The web protocol (HTTP) is not designed for managing large data transfers. This goes on to say that every server is optimized for faster page load speed instead of reliable file transfer. Also, there are many configuration timeouts and limits for preventing large web operations that might overload the web server and it might slow it down.
  • Browser Issues – In case of some web browsers, especially Microsoft’s internet explorer have issues with managing the file downloads.

How To Speed Up Your Website Through Remote Caching Static Content

All the websites are dynamic nowadays and they feature a lot of static content. Static content is the type of content that is not created on the fly and it also does not change frequently, it consists of graphics, videos and also the site css and javascript.

If your visitors come back to the website on a frequent basis, then it is sensible to instruct their browsers for saving the static content locally for a certain period of time and then re-using it. For this purpose you can utilize the Apache ‘mod_expires’. You can enable it in a .htaccess file where you can specify all of the rules as well.

1 <IfModule mod_expires.c>
2 ExpiresActive On
3 ExpiresByType text/html “access plus 1 days”
4 ExpiresByType image/gif “access plus 1 weeks”
5 ExpiresByType image/jpeg “access plus 1 weeks”
6 ExpiresByType image/png “access plus 1 weeks”
7 ExpiresByType image/x-icon “access plus 1 years”
8 ExpiresByType text/css “access plus 1 weeks”
9 ExpiresByType text/javascript “access plus 1 weeks”
10 ExpiresByType application/x-javascript “access plus 1 weeks”
11 ExpiresByType application/x-shockwave-flash “access plus 1 weeks”
12 </IfModule>

The rules mentioned above provide with specific expiration periods for every content type such as images, text, css etc. When the content is accessed once, the counter starts and then certain pre-defined period is added to it that results in the expiration date. After this expiration date, the remote browser has to download the content again unless the browser cache is manually cleared by the user.

If the caching of the content is done at the visitor’s end through ‘mod_expires’, this can increase the speed of your website significantly and the server load can be decreased. Static content is generally the largest and the slowest in downloading. Enabling the ‘mod_expires’ can be useful especially for chats, forums or other websites where the same users revisit frequently.

Factors Due To Which The Website Loads Slowly:

The website load time mostly depends on the following factors:

  • The number and size of the external resources present in the site
  • Size of the images
  • The database queries implemented when the site is loading

Examples:

You have added RSS feeds on your pages. For showing the RSS feeds, your website has to retrieve them from the remote servers. As every connection to a remote server needs some time, the website loading time might increase as a result of the number of RSS feeds.

You have an image with the dimension – 1024×768 that is of 1 MB; and there is also a small thumbnail that shows a preview of this image. It is a common mistake to use the same image as the thumbnail as well. Preferably, one must resize the large image to an appropriate size so that it is perfect as a thumbnail.

You are using database-driven applications for your website and you have added other modules for extended functionality. Some of these modules are not even popular and you don’t have complete knowledge about how well they are optimized. You might not be using all the modules actively and you have not even removed them. The additional modules will create database queries at every visit to your website. If the number of these queries increase or if some of them need more time to get executed, it will have an adverse effect on the website loading time.

Important pointers to speed up your website:

  • Decrease the number of external resources present on your website
  • Optimize the size of the images present on your website
  • Reduce the number of additionally installed modules / components of applications
  • Check the information consisting of specific optimization instructions for the applications that you use
  • Use Google page speed
  • Enable caching (APC or XCache) and gzip compression
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