How I reduced my server response time and increased PageSpeed score

- - Blogging, WordPress

Imaging yourself being in this situation: You are searching for some information on Google that you need desperately. You’ve seen a search result that seems to solve your problem and you click on the link. It took almost 20 seconds to load the page.

What would you do then? Wait anymore or click the “back” button and search for another site? You will obviously push the ‘back’ button and go with another result.

Page loading speed is a major factor that will make your website a king or slave (not literally, just for an example). Don’t let your site unidentified because of your page loading time.

How I reduced my server response time and increased PageSpeed score

How I reduced my server response time and increased PageSpeed score

You are not merely the person suffering from prolonged page loading time. If your site loads more than 5 seconds, you will lose 8 out of 10 visitors.

The tips given below can be done for free of charge.

My issues on PageSpeed:

  • Server response time – Just before a week, I purchased my hosting from Hostmetro who is a reliable web hosting supplier. I was in the process of transferring my WordPress files to the new host. When I was with my previous host, my server responded in about 600 ms. But new host has better response than the previous one. Even though the new one has some good response time, it couldn’t challenge with dedicated servers.
  • Images – Most of my images were heavy and it needs to be optimized.
  • Leverage browser caching – I need to optimize caching.
  • Enable compression – My blog on the new server needs to be compressed.

Are you being troubled with these issues? I have some ways to boost up your PageSpeed score:

If you are looking for the solutions to fix these issues, continue reading.

Before entering into any other sections go to Google PageSpeed Test tool and calculate your website score. Note it down somewhere.

Reduce server response time to under 200ms (Major factor to consider):

Server response time

Server response time

 

Long web server response times delay page loading speeds. Page Speed expects your server to begin responding to resource requests quickly to ensure a quick page load time. For each resource request, your server needs to begin sending the first byte of the resource within 200ms of the request being sent. — GTmetrix

In my words, server response time is the time taken by the server to complete the request made out by the user. It is counted in milliseconds. Lower the milliseconds your sever response, higher the page loading speed you will have. It’s all up to your web-hosting server. Most of the shared web hosting servers have poor server response time comparing to dedicated servers.

But you can improve your server response time, even if you are on a shared web hosting. Sign up for Google PageSpeed service. It’s free now, but Google might make it paid somewhat later. Fill up this spreadsheet form and get an invite from PageSpeed team: Google PageSpeed Service

Watch this video about PageSpeed service.

You can also do this by using any CDNs. Check your PageSpeed after implementing this step.

Optimizing Images without losing image quality:

 

Compress Images

Compress Images

A picture is worth a thousand words. Images are necessary for a post. A post should have at least 1 image. But large sized images will affect the loading speed of your website. But you can optimize your images without losing it’s quality by using these tools.

Tools for compressing JPEG images:

  1. JPEG – Optimizer
  2. JPEG – Reducer

Tools for compressing PNG and other type images:

  1. Yahoo! Smush It
  2. PunyPNG
  3. Compress PNG
  4. Compress Image

Leverage browser caching – It’s easy to do with W3 Total Cache plugin:

W3 Total Cache plugin

W3 Total Cache plugin

WordPress is basically a dynamic site that runs with PHP. When you are loading a webpage, your browser will download static files like images, HTML, Javascript, CSS files from it. You should optimize your blog’s caching system in order to get a better page loading speed as well as better user experience. My friend Aditya has written an awesome post on how to optimize caching using W3 Total cache plugin: The Ultimate guide to W3 Total cache settings.

Read more about web cache here: Web cache

Top WordPress plugins to optimize caching:

If you are running on any other blogging platforms like Blogger, Google PageSpeed service does the work for you.

Enable compression- Use the powerful Gzip compression:

What will you do before uploading a large sized files to a file sharing websites? Obviously, compressing those. This is applicable for this case too. You should compress your files before sending it to your readers. It will reduce your loading speed to a great extent. But in this case, it’s done in a different way.

Enabling Gzip compression in your WordPress site:

Most of the WordPress sites are running in Apache server. Apache servers uses .htaccess as the directory level configuration file. Read more here about .htaccess file.

You can enable gzip compression by adding a piece of code in your .htaccess file.

  1. Go to your cPanel (It should be at yourdomain.com/cpanel)
  2. Click file manager and move to your WordPress installation directory.
  3. Find .htaccess file and click Code editor.
  4. Add this piece of code at the bottom of your .htaccess file.
# compress text, html, javascript, css, xml:
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE text/plain
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE text/html
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE text/xml
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE text/css
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/xml
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/xhtml+xml
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/rss+xml
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/javascript
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/x-javascript

# Or, compress certain file types by extension:

<files *.html>
SetOutputFilter DEFLATE
</files>

It will look like this:

.htaccess file

.htaccess file

After adding the code, check whether your website is compressed or not by this GZIP tester tool.

Check your website score now!

I hope you have implemented these simple tasks. In previous sections, I’ve asked you to calculate your PageSpeed score, right? Now go to Google PageSpeed Test tool and calculate your website score. I think you are wondering at seeing your current score comparing previous one, don’t you?

In this post I’ve shared some tips to improve your page loading speed. In my upcoming posts, I’ll share some more tips. Don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter.

Image credits:

http://www.stockvault.net/photo/100366/pocket-watch

http://www.stockvault.net/photo/127070/documents

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I'm Sriram from India who is the owner and editor of Revealing The Stuffs where I write about blogging tips, SEO, WordPress themes and plugins and PC tips.

119 Comments to How I reduced my server response time and increased PageSpeed score

  1. Great tips buddy. I Once checked the page load speed of my website using gtmetrix and most of the images present on my blog were the major cause of slow speed of my website. I will try the other tips mentioned by you aswell. Thanks for sharing these tips with us. 🙂

  2. Hello Sriram
    This time you have come with a great post which reduced my research totally. I was finding a way to enable gzip compression and now i got the solution. Rest of all are also the best. Thanks again for your hardwork

  3. Hey Sriram,

    Interesting write up and thanks for sharing. Most of the time, it can be done rather quickly but having too many plugins could also be an issue. Number of plugins isn’t the biggest issue. The biggest issue is using plugins that are badly coded 🙂

    Reginald

    • Hi mate,
      Yes having bad coded plugins increases CPU usage and results in suspension of hosting account. CDNs could solve this problem. We can find the plugin that uses too much resources with a plugin called “P3 Plugin Profiler”.

      • Hi Sriram,

        Thanks for the reply. Well it really depends especially when it comes to CDN. Most free CDN cache certain parts only but for plugins that ‘pull’ data across from A to B, CDN doesn’t help on that.

        And yes, P3 is a great tool and until date, my list of no-no is broken link checker, digg digg and jetpack (especially photon). I also use webpagetest to check on the waterfall 🙂

        Keep it up buddy!

        • Reginald, Even though CDN’s could not cache and serve some parts or resources, it cuts page loading speed by 50%
          I know Jetpack consumes too much CPU resources, Is broken link checker and digg digg affects page loading time?
          Undoubtedly, Webpagetest is an awesome tool.

  4. Well, this is something you don’t see every day. However, can this be possible? Seems to me this post is a bit complicated for my part because I really don’t how does the codes work. Nice tips and I am gonna try this though, hope it would work magically to mine….. 😉

  5. Hi Bro,

    Nice article. Even I want to increase my Page Loading speed. No its only 75 and I have heard that getting 90+ score is good for SEO and ranking.

    Thanks for sharing some tips. I’m going to follow it to increase my page loading time.

    • Having score more than 75 is good bro. I found a massive increase in my PageSpeed score after fixing the server response time issue. Implement these tips and tell me the results.

  6. Very useful post Sriram 🙂

    I checked with pagespeed insights, my blog scored 60 and am getting red marks. Hope it is not fine.

    I need to check with my images, i used to take it from Flickr.com. Should i compress the image to use it in my blog?

    Please help me to solve this issue.

    • You can compress only the images that are hosted by you (your server). Try to download the images from Flick, compress it, upload it to your server and use it on your blog posts. Hope this helps, ma’am 🙂

    • If you are using WordPress you should install the WP SmushIT plugin, this will compress all of your images for you.
      Great tips on this page, my site was pretty good, but took it from 80 – 95!
      Thanks

  7. Hi Sriram,

    Nice write-up mate…..You’re absolutely right no one likes to wait, and if the load speed of a blog is bad then it can seriously affect its success….

  8. Thanks for helping my improve my site’s page speed. My score has greatly improved though am still to leverage browser caching and eliminate render-blocking JavaScript and CSS in above-the-fold content as suggested by Google PageSpeed Insights.

    • Optimizing caching is an easy task by using W3 Total Cache plugin. PageSpeed service too has rewriters for caching. Eliminating render blocking JS and CSS in above-the-fold content could be avoided by moving JS and CSS files too footer. But, in most cases, it doesn’t work 🙁

  9. thanks for sharing info about Google Page Speed. i just used it and provided me suggestion to increase the speed of my site.. my site score is 71 but in mobile, i gained 52

    i heavily relied on alexa in terms of page speed. i also use super cache as my caching plugin.

    bookmarked for future use

  10. This guide is useful for increasing page speed score of a wordpress blog. I am using Smushit wordpress plugin along with W3 total cache plugin order to speed up my wordpress blogs. Currently, all of my WordPress blogs have 94+ pagespeed score. Both of these plugins will optimize your WordPress blog for both Desktop and Mobile users.

    • But it is said that smush.it uses too much RAM usages. W3 is also an awesome plugin especially when you are using CDN.
      94+ is an impressive score Aqib. Hope you are ranking well in search engines 😉

  11. Hey Sriram,

    Good to see a tutorial after testing for yourself. These days, I see bloggers who are just blogging by taking a look at what other bloggers are posting. I’m not saying its wrong but its equally important to test the things before blogging about them.

    I’ve pagespeed issues on my blog and I’ll be following this tutorial to increase the score.

  12. Hi Sriram,
    I was having issues as well with blog’s speed but it turn out to those chitika ads and images.
    The plugin SMUSH has done a great job! This is a lovely piece.
    Please expect my guest post on this great blog by the close of this coming Monday!

    • Sometimes, advertisements affects loading time. Smush.it is a good plugin in terms of compressing images internally.
      Wow! Appreciate your interest on upcoming guest post, Emmanuel 🙂

  13. Hi Sriram,

    Thanks for the good tips. PageSpeed gained more importance as it started to SERP ranking.

    If you ask me you need to test and experiment different techniques before you settle to optimize your site. Optimizing images can impact positively but zipping may always not be good solution. Often when it overloads your server to zip and send the content, it may even increase the load and reduce your page speed. However if it increases your score for now, its good. But keep on testing and decide when you should stop zipping.

  14. Hi Sriram,

    I agree that this is a very impatient society and they want things immediately. It’s really odd that when you check the Alexa ranking of a site it always tells you that the site is too slow so I’ve often times wondered do they ever find one that is fast? It says yours is too slow. By whose standards?

    I recently moved to another hosting service myself and the speed of my site drastically improved. But if you test my blog on GTMetrix or even Google PageSpeed Insights there are issues with my theme and a couple plugins that it always tells me to fix. I have no clue what that even means and I’m not changing my theme or getting rid of those plugins. I guess if someone finds my blog to slow to load then I just lose them. I would rather not but this also isn’t my area of expertise either.

    Thanks for sharing this with me and for the most part, I do the majority of what you’ve shared here. I do know how to do a few of them at least. lol… Yay me!

    ~Adrienne

    • Adrienne ma’am, very true. People want things to be completed immediately. Alexa measures the speed of a website and compares it with other tested websites and updates once a month. I think that’s the reason why it said my blog is too slow. I’m not expecting much score because I’ve stopped using Google PageSpeed service (It’s incompatible with my servers)
      Are you on dedicated or VPS hosting? If so, you could experience the faster web page loading.
      Thanks for taking your time to comment 😀

      • Then I guess Alexa isn’t happy with anyone’s speed because I wouldn’t say that mine is slow. That’s okay, those numbers don’t bother me at all so I’m not sure why they even publish them.

        I’m on a shared hosting plan and I think my blog loads just fine. 🙂

        ~Adrienne

  15. Hello Sriram,
    Website loading speed is very important factor for any blog or website owner as it is the first thing which is expected to be good by a reader. You have mentioned a lot of necessary requirements for a blogger to reduce the time taken by the blog in loading, of which I was unaware yet. I like it really and apply all these on my blog. Yet, I was using W3 Total Cache plugin, but I guess now I can optimize it well and increase the PageSpeed Score. Thanks for sharing 🙂

    • W3 Total cache has many more options and features than WP Super cache. And WP Super Cache is easily configurable than W3 Total Cache. Decide yourself dude 🙂

      • If you are serious about speeding up your site Another thing to speed up your site is the DNS your domain use. I have good experience using DNSmadeeasy.
        As a matter of fact a recipe that works for me is DNSmadeeasy as a DNS and CloudFront as the CDN. A good practice is to use different cnames to your content origin.

  16. Excellent and very useful steps to follow to improve the site loading speed and response time. Well, the tool you mentioned are really useful and can give good results. Well, I didn’t know about the gzip code, thanks for the gzip code and tester tool.

  17. i really liked this article on page speed. i have improved my site. and soon i will be sharing it on my facebook profile. I am sure that the informative you shared through your post is useful for my friends and all readers.

    i will follow your blog everyday to see your new post.

    thanking you

    Akshay Naik

  18. This won’t change the server response time.
    That’s the time it takes for to the server to say “oh yes here i am” it’s the very first response, it depends on the server settings and hardware, none of the suggestions here talk about server settings. It’s something else.

  19. I have only one word to say, WoW. I read the article what a awesome article, improving my website google ranking thank you for sharing. I have a lot of work you will find a lovely support.This post is very inspiring me. I always take your advices very seriously, keep posted.

  20. Hi, i just gone through your article. Thanks fo rsharing the helpful info. Can you check my website 123nagar.com which takes too much time to load the home page itself.

    I have tested the site with webtools like tools.pingdom.com and found that it is having more wait time from the server to get the data.

    Expecially the css file.

    i have done the following things
    1. Optimized database tables
    2. Compress the specified MIME types in cpanel
    3. Now again checked the site load time, found that Bunyard shortcodes and Bunyard widgets plugins are taking more wait time. SO, deactivated those 2 plugins.
    4. Again check the loading time, found that still taking 40sec to load the home page. server wait time for http://www.123nagar.com and http:123nagar.com files/paths are taking almost 33sec. Without these plugins, theme will be useless.

    WHat are alll the alternatives for me.Can you please check the site once?

    • Your website loaded completely in 8 seconds. The server took 6 seconds to respond from my side. So I think your primary concern would be reducing server response time.

  21. What if its still showing the “Reduce server response time” being on a VPS? I shifted to VPS from shared host but it still showing that error for this website http://purehcgdietdrops.com/

    It would be great if you can help me out.!

  22. Hi Sriram,
    Nice tips, I have followed the same that you explained in this post. But i am trying to install WP Supar Cache plugin to my wordpress but its not working and returning an error that saying “This plugin is not available for this system” Can you help me to solve this

  23. This post only talk about WordPress not Simple PHP site or Framework.

    Your Code don’t not work on NGINX.

    PHP sites does not use Plugins they use PHP nothing else so any WP plugins is useless for PHP sites.

    GZIP is easy to enable in nginx.

    just uncomment gzip on; line in nginx.conf file.

    Anyways Thanks for post.

  24. Good insight. The aim is to get page speeds under 2 secs (1 preferable) despite how good/bad the score is. I recently got 79/100 for this website – http://www.garciniacambogiareviews.ca/ on Google PageSpeed but my load time in Pingdom was 1.97 secs tested from Dallas where my site is close too. Still, I want my site to consistently get closer to 1 and hope by tweaking as per this excellent Divi postn I’ll reach it!

  25. Awesome tutorial Sriram. 😀

    Website loading speed is the major factor when It comes to improving site rank in SERPs and Google gives more value to fast websites.

    I would must follow your tips to improve the website loading speed of my blog.
    Thanks for sharing this article with us. 😀

  26. You can improve the page speed score by using CDN as well. I have hosted my website on AWS with Cloudways platform. Their platform uses Varnish, Memcached, Apache, Nginx and PHP-FPM with Cloudflare CDN. All this stuff has great improved the performance of my website and hence the page speed score as well.

  27. Thank you for the article, but my site was developed with custom PHP codings and my domain name onlinehomeincome.in

    Recently I faced issues with Cloudflare and hence I opted out from them. This inturns reflected negatively increasing my Page Load time. While searching for answers I found your article and tried what you mentioned.

    Still my problem haven’t been resolved. Guide me to improve server response time for my domain.

  28. But this website’s PageSpeed grade is currently:

    Mobile:
    50 / 100

    Desktop:
    57 / 100

    Both are failing grades, so talk is cheap I guess.

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