When we talk about website speed, we usually focus on the front end and do everything possible with the website elements to improve the speed of page opening. It is undoubtedly essential but not the only way to ensure that websites open faster. You have to look at the back end of the delivery system of website pages too because the server that hosts the site plays a critical role in ensuring that websites run at top speed.
Unless the front end and backend components synchronize correctly, you will never get the desired speed that the site is capable of delivering. Before we enter into the discussion about how to reduce server response time WordPress, it is essential to understand why website speed is so important and what constitutes website speed. It would help to address the issues of speed improvement in a better way.
Why we need speedy websites?
WordPress, which is the most versatile and user-friendly CMS, can ensure that pages open in not more than 2 seconds, for which you have to choose suitable WordPress themes. Achieving the target would keep users happy because they would be encouraged to look at your website and then it is up to you, how much you can make use of the user’s attention to improve SEO performance.
The search engines are a notch above the users in their expectation about how fast web pages should open. Google has set a target of 200 milliseconds, which might sound too ambitious but true. To provide the best user experience, Google has set the goal that all websites should try to achieve because speedier sites now mean higher ranks in search results as it has announced that website speed is a factor in search rankings now.
The elements of page load time
For addressing the issues related to website speed, you must understand what constitutes page load time. The page load time is the time it takes for a webpage to appear on the screen of the device from the time of clicking. Clicking on the mouse or tapping the smartphone initiates the process of page loading that involves the front end consisting of the device and website and the backend comprising of the server side components.
The operations take place in a sequential manner that begins with the device at the front end and culminates in generating the page by the server elements. The total page time is the sum of the time that the front end and back end elements take to make the page visible.
Look beyond the website
For improving the speed of sites, you have to look beyond the front end and explore the opportunities of improving the speed of the server elements that can enhance the page load time further. By optimizing the process used by the server to generate the page you can experience further improvement in site speed. How much time the server takes to create an HTML page indicates its performance. You should target to keep this time less than one second.
Reasons for slow server speed
There may be many reasons why servers run slowly, but broadly, these come under two heads. Inefficient coding is one of the main reasons for making servers run slowly. Another reason is that there might be bottlenecks in the delivery system that make servers slow down.
The problems are specific to websites, and there is no generalized solution for making servers run faster. It not always that optimization would work well because some sites might need servers that are more powerful.
The custom platforms of WordPress, Magneto, and Drupal use some databases like MySQL, Microsoft SQL, Postgre SQL or something similar and deploy the programming languages like PHP, Python, Pearl or ASP. Despite being optimized software, the custom platforms often go through customizations of plugins and code. If an inefficient code is used or the database queries are not optimized, then it would result in slow performance.
Code optimization is the process of spotting inefficient code and slow database queries and then fixing the problems. Code improvement involves code modification or finding a better algorithm. Adding indexes can speed up database queries.
Websites extract information from the database, place the data on templates and serve it. The power of the code and the efficiency of servers determine the time it takes to complete the process. The process repeats whenever someone requests a page from the server. To prevent repeating the process frequently that would waste time, page caching is the method of building the page once and serving it as many times as requests for the page keeps coming. Cached versions of pages are like photocopies served much faster.
The above methods reduce the server time but if further improvement is necessary, switching over to dedicated hosting is a good option.