How to optimize and speed up your server by more than 20%
Many people think that a hardware upgrade is the best way to speed up a server. It seems intuitive that more memory, or CPU can deliver better performance.
But, hardware upgrades are only a temporary fix, if the server’s services are not optimized. If your servers are running resource-hogging applications, your investment on hardware would just go in vain.
A vast majority of online applications are hosted using a web server front-end and database servers in the back-end. Over time, these services tend to cause CPU, memory and I/O bottlenecks, that lead to poor performance or even server crashes.
3 steps to speed up your server
For websites, we’ve seen performance bottlenecks in 3 main places – the website code, the web server and the database server. So, no optimization is complete unless it fixes clogs in all these three areas.
Here’s a generic overview of how we optimize websites, web server and database server:
Step 1 – Make your website lean and mean
We help maintain websites of several small to large online businesses. Many of these sites use Content Management Systems (CMS) like WordPress, Magento, Joomla, etc.
Unless maintained carefully, these CMS applications tend to accumulate needless bulk via additional themes, plugins and media. Here are a few things we do on a regular basis to cut down bloat, and keep our customer sites trim and fit.
a. Delete un-used themes, plugins and add-ons
Themes and plugins are a great way to extend a site’s functionality. However, we’ve seen many poorly coded plugins and themes that delay page load speed by more than 10 seconds.
We support many websites that use Content Management Systems such as WordPress. During our periodic performance audits, we review plugins and themes on these sites to make sure that there’s no performance impact.
Many a times we’ve seen duplicate plugins, poorly coded themes, and external script calls dragging down the website. In these situations, we help the webmasters tweak the plugins or recommend a faster alternative that doesn’t impose a performance penalty.
When website owners signup for our Server Administration Services, one of the things we test at the outset is the number of elements in a single web page. If a page uses more than 30 files, we work with the webmaster to cut it down to as low as 20.
c. Optimize images and defer its loading
While an average CSS file have a size of 5 KB, even a small image can be as big as 50 KB. Many webmasters do not think of images as a bandwidth hogger, and do not reduce their size.
Image optimization is one of the basic things we do in the customer sites we maintain. By choosing the right image format (such as JPG), reducing the resolution, and color density, we’re often able to reduce the size of even a banner image to less than 50 KB.
On top of it, we customize the website to defer image loading only when a visitor scrolls to the image location in the page. This makes sure that the initial page load is not blocked by the image download.
d. Enable compression
A majority of website files are text files such as HTML, CSS and JS. These files can be compressed to less than a 10th of their size, which will result in faster file download speed, and thereby faster page loads.
We maintain websites for small to large online businesses. We periodically audit the page load speeds of these sites, and page compression efficiency is one of things we check.
In some sites that have abrupt traffic spikes (such as during marketing campaigns), compression could cause a performance impact. This is because compressing a page requires server CPU. In such sites, we use statically compressed CSS and JS files, so that CPU usage is saved.
[Are your servers crawling? Our server experts would turn them into blazing fast servers in no time. Click here to see the magic.]
Bobcares provides Outsourced Web Hosting Support and Outsourced Server Management for online businesses. Our services include 24/7 server support, help desk support, live chat support and phone support.