10 top tips for website performance

Top practices for speeding up your website

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Here are some handy and yet simple tips to ensure that your website is optimized for speed and performs to its full potential. Although some of the tips below are on the techy side, it is worth knowing how they might influence the way you present your website content.

1) Hosting
Host your website with a company known for performance. In shared server environments, not dedicated hosting, some web hosts will put up to a thousand sites on just one server. At Melon Creative we provide a hosting service for our clients which is reliable and efficient, that is regularly updated with up-to-date technologies, and will also back up your website multiple times a day! Additional benefits also includes extremely impressive uptimes, and dedicated 24/7 support to ensure any issue are resolved quickly.

2) Image dimensions
Reduce your image sizes by reducing its physical dimensions. One method is to crop your images, also known as relevance-enhancing, which can reduce size and help focus the attention of your audience quickly. Our Engine CMS will help you achieve this with it's in-built image editing tools!

3) Number of images
Try to reduce the total number of images on any one page of your website. Most web browsers download up to 4 images concurrently; however, each connection adds to the overall response/load time.

4) Image compression
Save your photos or images containing many various shapes and colors to a .jpg format for optimum compression. Tools such as Photoshop and GIMP can easily convert and save out images from one format to another and allow you adjust compression levels. You can also reduce the size of your images by reducing the number of colors it contains. Images which contain few colours and simple shapes are best saved in .gif format. You can use Photoshop, ImageReady and GIMP to optimize your images for the web.

5) Image dimension attributes
In your code specifying image WIDTH and HEIGHT attributes will help your browser load faster.

6) Consolidation
Consolidate your CSS and Javascript files. This will reduce the number of requests made to the server, which will in turn reduce the number of connections that need to be initiated by your browser.

7) Caching
One tip which we can all try, is to enforce caching. Web caching is important for three reasons:

1) It reduces user-perceived Web-site delays
2) It reduces network bandwidth usage
3) It reduces server loads

If you examine the preferences of your web browser (Internet Explorer, Safari or Firefox), you will find settings for your cache, in Internet Explorer this will be known as 'Temporary Internet Files'. This lets you set a section of your computer's hard disk to store copies of web pages, images and media for faster browsing. Caching is especially useful when you hit the back button or click a link to see a page you've just looked at, so that it doesn't have to reload the entire page contents from the server.

8) Database efficiency
Use a SQL Server or another professional level database over Access. At Melon Creative we build our websites to utilise MySQL databases on a Linux server. This ensures that the websites we create will perform at optimum speed when collecting data from the database.

9) Database Queries
The fewer number of queries your code makes to a database will greatly improve speed. Also it would be better to create fewer larger queries, than having many smaller ones. Join and Union will help with this.

10) PHP Functions and loops
In any PHP code there are multiple methods of achieving the same result. If you try and keep the number of loops to a minimum, and make sure the functions you are using are current and not depreciated.