It’s a scary moment when you open your web browser, type in your website url and sit waiting for your website. Seconds pass, maybe even a minute, then the anxiety sets in. Before you go any further, get a second opinion. The first step will be to confirm a basic question:
Is my site down?
I use these basic utilities to find out if other computers can access my website.
- http://www.host-tracker.com/ —> Sign up and get an email alert when your site is in trouble!
- http://www.monitor.us/ —> Free weekly email updates on your site’s load time.
Why is my site slow?
Once I’ve confirmed that my website is loading, I may investigate a bit more. Perhaps the website is slow and I would like some insight into what is keeping it from loading fast. These next utilities will deliver your website load time as well as detailed analytics.
Online utilities are your best friends – These online utilities will point out bottlenecks and usually give you advice how to improve the overall performance of your site.
Now that you’ve tested your site, here are some solutions to work on.
Requests per domain – Most browsers will only fetch 6 files at a time from one domain (web host). If your website is constructed with 50 files from your domain, the visitor will experience a site load delay while the browser waits for 6 requests to download. Don’t be penalized by browser limitations:
- Sprites – Layout each of your images on a single png file. Your visitors will load the png sprite into the page once, and repeat the file each time you need it to show a specific section of that large image. Specify what section of the sprite you want to show in your html by using CSS image background code. Define the width, height of the cell, then move the sprite within that window by using background-position. background-position: -329px -175px; CSS Tricks will teach you how to do this and much more!
- Domain Sharding – If your website uses a variety of images, or each of your urls uses different images within the content, you should store those images on another server. Of course, if your website only loads 12 files from your domain, you do not need to split your resources up. Once you have this set up, visitors will be able to load 12 files at the same time. Read more about sharding at gtmetrix.