Simon Quinn

Move to a faster host

Most website owners would benefit from moving to a faster host.  Typically websites are hosted on ‘shared hosting’ which means your website is on a computer with 20+ other websites.  That computer has to handle all the websites and all the people on the internet visiting them. That means if there are some busy websites on that computer your website will be slightly delayed while the computer deals with a queue of visitors to other sites before handling yours.

The other option is something called a ‘dedicated hosting’ which means you own a computer and only your site is on it.  That’s perfect because it’s extremely fast, but it’s also very expensive. You’re basically renting a very expensive computer, plus the power, plus the fiber connection, plus the guys who maintain it. So $100+ per month is not a bad deal.

However there is a better option called ‘cloud hosting’.  It’s a lot cheaper and acts like a dedicated server however using a clever mixture of technology and software means it’s not as expensive.

The best VPS hosting we have found is offered by a company called Cloudways. We use Cloudways for all of our clients. Typically all we need to do is make a copy of their website on Cloudways and run a speed test and show them how much faster their site is on Cloudways and they’re happy to move their site over.

The great thing is the price is no different than a decent ‘share hosting’ provider.  For example SiteGround who are hugely popular and a pretty decent host, charge $11.95 per month for their GoGeek package which is on a ‘shared hosting’ plan.  They charge a minimum of $64.99 per month for their ‘cloud hosting’ plan.  Where as Cloudways similar package costs only $44. So over a year you are saving $240.  But it only costs $11 for Cloudways entry level plan so if that’s all you need (most likely that’s all you need) then you’re saving $647 per year.

Install a Caching App

If you’re running WordPress you absolutely need a caching app.  The best one we’ve found is called WP Rocket. It costs $49 per website but the speed gains are incredible and studies show that faster websites earn more money. So if your website is for business then it’s a no-brainer.

However Cloudways have an equivalent caching app called ‘Breeze’ which is included for free. It works just as well as WP Rocket. So that’s another $49 saved per year.

Optimise your Images

Images and photos on websites are typically the things that take the most time for the user to download. The bigger and higher resolution your images the more time it takes for your site to load. Optimising images uses a combination of clever ‘compression’ of the image to reduce the file size of the image with little to no noticeable change in the picture quality. This compress or ‘optimisation’ can make a photo load ten times faster for your website visitors.

We would recommend for most users a plugin called WP Smush. It is free to use, however it doesn’t do as good as job as a paid image optimisation plugin and you will need to sit there and click the big button to run the plugin several times if you have lots of images. But it makes a considerable difference and if you don’t have the money to spend squeezing every little drop of speed from your website, the free version WP Smush will do for now.

Case Study

I followed the advice I give you above and I was able to move a website to cloud hosting, install a caching app and optimise the website images. I was able to make a website which took 5.13 seconds to load, now loads in 0.59 seconds.  From 5 seconds to about 0.5 seconds. Those are some crazy speed gains for something fairly simple steps.

 

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