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Why Tolerate A Lagging Site? 10 Speed-Up Tips For Joomla

October 13, 2014
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Why Does Speed Matter?

If you have a Joomla-powered website that is currently slow, you should consider a couple reasons why it’s bad for you. First, users just hate long loading time and quit after 2 seconds of waiting. Second, Google takes your site speed in account for search ranking. That must be enough for you to start fixing your speed problems, isn’t it?

Can I Fix That?

Luckily, improving the speed of Joomla development services and products isn’t very difficult. While you can sometimes hear that Joomla is basically slow, that’s not the reason for your site lagging actually. What usually is is bad hosting companies or incorrect setup. You can fix both especially when you know where exactly to look.

10 Steps To High Performance With Joomla:

Before you start doing anything, measure your current speed using tools like Google Pagespeed Insights, GT-Metrix or Webpagetest.org. Now that you’re ready to optimize, back up and go ahead!

  1. Choose the right web host

A proper host is crucial for performance when you’re into Joomla services development. Even with an optimized site, a bad host may screw up all the efforts in the end. To make an informed choice of host, you may want to read reviews and forums. Free hosts are better to be avoided as after some time with them you’re going to feel on yourself why they were for free. It’s also useful to compare dedicated and shared hosting packages. While dedicated ones are normally faster, they come more expensive.

  1. Leverage the Joomla cache

Don’t forget to clear your cache after every improvement to the site you’ve done or else your users are going to get the old information. Joomla serves cache of three types: page views, module views and component views. You can set the one which better suits your needs. While page views are cached only via the System-Cache plugin, the two latter are set by selecting “Conservative” in the Global Configuration window. Beware of possible cache issues with dynamic pages such as captchas, contact forms, etc. There are also a few extensions which can help you solve such issues, including Cache Control and JotCache.

  1. Use Gzip

On your Server tab in Global Configuration you’ll find the Gzip Page Compression setting. When it’s turned on, the pages are compressed into a zip file, then sent to your PC’s browser and unpacked there. All browsers except some really old IE versions support it and it’s usually safe to be turned on.

  1. Remove unnecessary extensions

You should also be wise while picking extensions for your site since some of them can have an unexpected effect on website performance. You should be especially careful with social media scripts such as counters for tweets and likes, large sliders, image shows, Google Webfonts, Google Analytics and other scripts. If you really need those, at least consider their off-loading to some other pages than your home page.

  1. Try caching in .htaccess

By renaming a htaccess.txt file into .htaccess, it’s possible to add in it some code to stop your browser from requesting certain image types from server provided they are already on your PC. Since images often make up a great part of web pages, this could save you bandwidth significantly.

  1. Optimize images

As you know, images are accountable for more Kbs of your page than the rest of the elements, so optimizing them is an essential step to high performance. First, make you are using only correctly-sized images. Second, use compression tools to further reduce your images’ size by stripping unnecessary data you may’ve not even known of. The helping tools for you include TinyPNG.com, Smush.it, PNGGauntlet, RIOT and others.

  1. Install a CDN

Usage of a content delivery network allows you to serve your static files not from your web host’s location, but from your CDN provider’s global servers network. The advantage of such a systems is that users located far away from your server will receive the files from the location which is the nearest to them. This only doesn’t include the HTML code containing some frequently changing content.

Though seemingly complicated, this is not very expensive and quite easily implemented. This trick is good both for globally operating sites and sites in some large countries.

  1. Brush up CSS and Javascript

Modern sites are known for their multiple Javascript and CSS files. While a site looks impressive with all of these, it often gets considerably slower, too, as these files add to the size and amount of HTTP-requests or even stop further page loading while executing. Luckily enough, you can use a few techniques to overcome most of the issues. You can do that by compressing the files, combining many files into one, or using an async or defer attribute in your scripts to delay execution.

  1. Use speed optimization extensions

Another good helper for speeding up a site is a range of available specialized extensions. Must-have ones are JBetolo, Yireo ScriptMerge, JCH-Optimize and aeSecure. These especially address many issues described in the previous step and under the Advanced tab you can often find some extra useful options.

  1. Make it mobile-friendly

Fast performance of your site on a desktop doesn’t always mean it works on mobile devices just as well. Those who have tried checking the site speed with Google Pagespeed, must’ve seen it separate Mobile performance tab. It appears, despite the improved techniques such as 4G, a site may still not load as fast as expected.

The key solution here should be loading only what is really necessary. The hidden-phone or hidden-tablet classes for hiding stuff don’t really decrease the needed bandwidth. One chance is implementing user-agent detection for checking whether it’s a mobile device rather than just a resized window of the browser. Afer detected the mobile agent you may selectively disable some module positions. This is well implemented with the Advanced Module Manager by NoNumber.nl.

Follow-Up

When you’re done optimizing, check your website speed once again and let us know if these tips helped you!