5 More Ways for You to Speed Up Your Website

In another post that I've written, I talked about some ways to make your website load faster. Here are some more ways to speed up your website.

1. Use an external CDN

A CDN is a content delivery network, and it allows you to use scripts that are hosted remotely from your site. This allows you to use common scripts, such as JQuery, that may already be cached by a user's browser.

A commonly used CDN is the Google AJAX Libraries API.

2. Use CSS sprites

Instead of having all separate image files for you graphics, you can combine many graphics into one image and use CSS sprites. This will reduce the file size, and use fewer HTTP requests because once one image has been loaded, it can be cached for use with all of the other sprites.

You can use the single image as a background image, and use the background-position CSS property to only show the part of the image that you want to show. For more about this, you can see this article on A List Apart.

CSS sprites vs. multiple images

For example, I ditched the Sociable WordPress plugin because it didn't replace ampersands with &, creating validation errors. Instead of finding another plugin, I decided to do it by myself. To reduce the number of HTTP requests, I combined all of the icons into one image.

3. Use the WordPress WP Super Cache plugin

If you're using WordPress, a great way to speed up your website is the WP Super Cache plugin.

Normally, WordPress uses PHP scripts to pull the information from the database every time a page is viewed. The WP Super Cache plugin creates static HTML files that already contain the information, ready to be sent to the user.

After installing this plugin of FWebDe.com, there was a noticeable difference in page loading time. I would definitely recommend this plugin if you are using WordPress.

4. Add a slash to your links

Yes, something as simple as adding a slash to the end of your links when you are linking to a directory can help to speed up the page load time a little bit.When there is a slash at the end of the link, the browser knows that it is a directory, and can get to the index page right away, without having to figure out the file type.

5. Use GZip compression

GZip compression can really help to speed up your website. When your website is requested, it is compressed into a smaller file, and that smaller file is sent to the user's browser. The browser then decompresses the file and displays the page.

A guide on GZip compression shows how you can do this with a bit of PHP.

Do you have any more tips to speed up your website?

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8 Comments

  1. August 5, 2009

    Thanks for these great tips. I already have put a couple of them into practice and now I'll look into the others.

  2. August 7, 2009

    The add a slash tip is helpful, I think I should redesign my url, thanks!

  3. August 7, 2009

    I have a question: WP Super Cache. If careted the html file, how can the reader read the newest information?

  4. August 7, 2009

    And does it mean we can not use the rewrited url such as: http://example.com/postname/ and only can use http://example.com/postname.html?

  5. August 7, 2009

    Hua Chen: When there is a new post, the cache is rebuilt with the latest information. And you can use the rewrited URLs because normally, WordPress has to generate all the information when it is requested, but WP Super Cache gets the information from html files and inserts the html files into the requested page.

  6. August 14, 2009

    You have listed a few good points here. I have Super Cache and it helps a lot. One could also try and keep the plugins to a minimum, the more plugins the more load on your server.

    Some things you could program in PHP to do. For example, Tweetmeme has a plugin, but they also give you the script coding for it. I use the script coding and then it's one less plugin for me. There are more examples.

  7. January 30, 2010

    I didn't know that about adding a slash. Interesting.

    Taking that information, could it be said that if your link is NOT to a directory that you shouldn't add a slash?

    For example, I use a custom permalink structure on my WordPress site, /%postname%/. This Transforms my WP URLs to http://mysite.com/sef-link-to-postname/. <- Notice the trailing slash. Even though that link is NOT a directory, it has a trailing slash. Would that slow down my website, because it makes the browser THINK that it is loading a directory, when in fact it is not? Should I change my permalink structure to /%postname% and leave off the trailing slash?

    • January 30, 2010

      I'm not sure about that one. Because WordPress permalinks don't directly access files, but they do something with index.php. I don't understand those mod_rewrite rules, I just let WordPress handle that for me :P

      I think it's fine with a trailing slash, because in WordPress themes, the_permalink() outputs the URL with a trailing slash.