Loading time is one of the important factor for a blog. It directly affects the browsing experience of your visitors. It also plays a major role in ranking your pages on Google. With Google using speed as an important ranking factor, it is a mandatory step for a blogger to improve the loading time.
Here in BlashO, I used to have a loading time of ~2-3 seconds earlier.
Recently, when I focused the topic of my blog towards beginner “blogging”, I added lot of content to my homepage. If you see my blogs homepage, there are lot of text, images as well as YouTube video.
I well know, all these resources will badly affect the loading time.
At the same time, I don’t want to compromise the content on my home page just to reduce the load time. Instead, I looked for different ways to improve it.
Earlier, I was using Godaddy and in the end of this article you will understand, why I migrated to SiteGround web hosting.
Steps I Took to Reduce Blog Loading Time.
- I am already using W3 Total Cache WordPress plugin which caches all the pages/posts as static HTML files and also, enables gzip compression (you can test it using a gzip test tool).
- The Avada theme that I am using here at BlashO is one of the well optimized theme which loads faster.
- I already minified the complete source code (HTML, CSS, JS scripts) and also, line spaces – using Autoptimize plugin. You can also take a look at the list of WordPress plugins to minify scripts for reducing load time.
- Optimized images using WordPress plugins like WPSmush, EWW Image Optimizer.
- I also read the PageSpeed Insights Rules from Google for better understanding.
Yes, with all these above optimizations in-place, it took ~5.5 seconds average to load the home page.
Yet another screenshot showing, higher response time from the server (yellow bar).
I wanted to reduce the loading time further.
More Steps to Reduce Blog Loading Time.
There were only 2 options left for me.
- Migrate my hosting from Shared server to dedicated/VPS server – I am not interested at this moment for this migration because my blog is not generating much traffic (since I took 2 Years of break from blogging and resumed recently).
- Use a Content Distribution Network – Here I don’t want to spend money now. I tried to use free JetPack and activated Photon CDN, it totally slowed down my blog (and also, the admin dashboard). Then I explored Cloudflare.
Cloudflare is offering a free CDN service and I found there are lot of mixed reviews about them.
- Many were hesitant to use Cloudflare because you have to change DNS records to integrate it.
- And many were worried about the 24 hours downtime.
In actual, there were no downtime and I integrated Cloudflare in less than 10 minutes.
Signing up to Cloudflare is simple, follow the below steps:
- Just register with your email and password.
- Login and click “Add Site” at the top.
- Enter your domain name and click continue till the last screen [choose free plan]
- You have to update the Nameserver of Cloudflare’s, for that you have to login into your webhosting cpanel(Cloudflare automatically finds your hosting provider and shows the help accordingly). It’s simple.
- Once updated, it shows “Status: Pending”
- Wait for few minutes and check again, it shows “Status: Active”
- Go and run a speed test, now your blog’s loading time must be reduced.
I tested the speed again using Pingdom tool. Here is the screenshot after using Cloudflare with reduced Load time [2.56 seconds].
Yet another test’s screenshot showing, lesser response time (see the yellow bar).
Looks the pro-version of Clouflare has advanced optimization and more security features. I don’t feel they are required at this point of time for my blog. The free plan is well enough to quickly boost the loading time of my blog to ~50%.
I recommend you to go for Cloudflare and reduce your loading time free of cost, if you are looking for a simplest solution.
How Web Hosting Reduced Blog’s Loading Time to Less Than 1 Second?
As stated earlier, I was not interested to go for a costlier dedicated/VPS hosting plans.
I explored a lot about different hosting providers and finally, decided to go for SiteGround hosting.
There are a lot of reasons I found great about SiteGround.
- Server-Side Cache: SiteGround supports server side caching that means you don’t need any cache plugins – they have their own caching system (3 levels of caching supported like: static cache, dynamic cache, memcache) which greatly reduces loading time.
- GoGeek Plan: I opted for the GoGeek plan which is even more faster compared to other low cost plans – in spite of being a shared hosting, SiteGround is hosting very less number of accounts on their GoGeek servers. Hence the servers are not slowed down.
- Cloudflare Integrated: By default, SiteGround hosting has Cloudflare solution integrated and you don’t need to manually integrate it.
- Quick customer support: I am amazed by their response time – so far happy with their customer support.
- Free Migration: They offered free migration service and they moved the complete site from Godaddy “without any downtime”.
I am completely satisfied with the steps that I took to improve the blogs loading time to less than 1 second.
Currently, I don’t use any cache plugin like W3Total Cache or WP Super Cache.
The end result:
- a fast loading web page impresses the visitors and serves them quickly – improving overall user experience
- even search engines find the pages are quicker to crawl – hence ranks higher
I can proudly say that BlashO loads faster than 91% of the sites tested using the pingdom tool.
I also tried to test the blog using Google PageSpeed Insights and got “Good” rating.
To quickly summarize, following are the steps that I took to reduce the blog’s loading time:
- Migrated to SiteGround web hosting and have Cloudflare integrated automatically – disabled all cache plugins
- Enabled Gzip compression from SiteGround cpanel
- Now go & test the loading time – you will be surprised.
Now BlashO loads under “1 second”.