Adam Norris

Adam Norris

Front-End Developer

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Speed Up the Web

The web is an ever-changing entity. With the rising use of smartphones, tablets and other touch screen devices it is becoming more and more likely that somebody will want to view your webpage on a slow internet connection such as 3G. This is fine of course, I would estimate I use my phone for more than 50% of my internet traffic. The problem is people expect the web to be fast and this means making sure your page is optimized and speedy. Gone are the days of waiting 10 seconds for a beautiful flash splash screen to load. Nowadays, if your site takes more than 4 seconds to load you’re probably going to lose a lot of customers.

Thinking about this I decided to investigate my own site using a tool called GTmetrix which allows you to analyse your sites performance and offer suggestions about how you can improve page load speeds. When I first submitted this site I received an F grade (not good at all!) so I decided to invest some time to see if I could reach a respectable score.

According to GTmetrix, the main culprits were lack of gzip compression, specifying a cache validator and optimizing images. After a quick google search I learned I could easily solve these first two problems by adding a small snippet of code into my .htaccess file, then I used an online compression tool to resize my images and strip away any meta data before re-uploading them to my website.

After a few more minor tweeks such as minifying files and combining some CSS/JS files to help minimize http requests I eagerly re-tested my site on GTmetrix. Amazingly, I received an A grade, my page speed had greatly improved and I had slashed my website page size almost in half. Not bad for 30 minutes work! Now I’m off to test other websites to compare their speeds to mine – and yes I will feel a little smug about myself if I win.