Why is My Website Taking So Long to Load?

When your website is slow to load, not only can it be upsetting for you, the website owner, but it can also be frustrating for your web visitors.  This in turn, can result in a significant drop it traffic to your website and ultimately fewer sales.

So, Why is Your Website Taking So Long to Load?

There could be a number of reasons why your website is taking a long time to load, assuming that there is no issue with your own internet connectivity. Here are just a few possibilities.

Huge Spike In Traffic

For many small business websites, having a sudden and significant short term increase in web traffic is really a rare occurrence.  However, if for some reason (perhaps your business was featured on a major television news program) your website does experience a sudden spike in traffic, a slowing down of or even a temporary inaccessibility, to your website, is likely to occur.

Why? Usually this happens because your hosting plan does not have the sufficient resources to handle the additional traffic.  Concurrent connections limit is one common issue.

Simply put, concurrent connections are the number of visitors who are connecting to your hosting provider’s server and processing requests at the exact same time.  This of course, is an over simplification of a complex issue as there are other factors that affect what constitutes a concurrent connection, which we won’t get into here.

Hosting providers put limits on the number of concurrent connections permitted for each hosting plan they offer.  Shared hosting plans typically offer fewer concurrent connections.  So, for example, if you have 10,000 visitors trying to access your website at the exact same time (because, for example, your business was featured on Good Morning America), but hosting plan only permits up to 30 concurrent connections, your website may be unavailable to the vast majority of those visitors. This can be particularly true if you are on a “Shared” hosting plan (rather than a VPS or Dedicated Server).

Remember in the years past, when Apple introduced a new iPhone?  On the first day that it was available for online pre-order, Apple’s servers were overwhelmed with an unusually high spike in traffic so that many could not get through to place an order.

What’s the solution?  You’d probably want to speak with your hosting provider to assess the necessity of upgrading your hosting plan.

Internal Server Error

Have you ever tried to visit a website only to get the following message ” Internal Server Error”.  The good news is that this issue has nothing to do with your website itself.  The bad news is that only your hosting provider can fix it, which means that your website accessibility is at the mercy of their “tech” staff.

In a nutshell, an internal server error occurs when the server that you’re trying to access is in some way misconfigured which prevents it from responding correctly to an HTTP request.
You can always contact your hosting provider to make them aware of this issue, but chances are, they may already be aware the this issue and are working on it.

Web Page Size

When a page from your website loads, the browser is downloading all “assets” to render the page.  Therefore, if your web page has lots of large images to download, along with other complex DOM (document object model) elements, this can significantly increase your page load time.  In fact, large images may be the most common reason why a web pages loads slowly.

The solution?  Reduce the file size (compress) of all images wherever possible, configure your server to enable compression, minify resources (HTML, JavaScript and CSS), optimize delivery of resources by inlining small amounts of CSS and JavaScript needed to render content above the fold and minimize the number of HTTP requests by combining CSS and JavaScript external files.

Optimize Your Database

Optimizing your database means that you should remove any unnecessary data within it.  You can do this by disabling post revisions (in WP) and permanently deleting all items (spam comments, too) from your trash.  You can also optimize a MySQL database using phpMyAdmin in cPanel.

Eliminate Any Unnecessary Plugins

One of the advantages of using a WordPress website is having access to a vast array of helpful plugins. Unfortunately, having too many active plugins can really slow down your WordPress website.  Our philosophy on WP plugins is if you don’t need it, delete it.

 

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