So you are using Shared Hosting (or planning to buy one) and worried about slow loading speed of website. But first take a brief look at what Shared Hosting really is and what you should be expecting from it before we take a look at Proven Ways to Improve Website Loading Speed.
Shared Web Hosting Explained
Shared hosting is what is sounds like, its “SHARED”. A web server is divided into smaller part, each part is allotted to a single user, this is called Shared Hosting. How many parts a server is divided in? it depends on the hosting provider preferences, what kind of servers are they using and how many users allotted per server, users can be from 2 to 1000+ per server. More users means more load on server and speed may gets slow for everyone.
Benefits of shared hosting includes no technical setup, you will get a pre-configured environment (cPanel), you can start building website in a minute. Shared Hosting prices are low as compared to VPS or Dedicated servers as you are sharing resources with other customers.
So is it a good idea to host website on Shared Web Hosting?
Table on Contents:
1. Web Server Response time and speed.
2. Use CDN if Distance between your website users and the shared hosting server is huge.
3. Decrease Web Page Size to Improve Web loading Speed.
4. Size of images you are using on website.
6. Website Security – SSL Certificate (HTTPS).
7. Use Few Plugins to Improve Website Performance.
Well it depends what are you deploying on it. Ideally if you are just getting started with your business and you don’t have much of a user load. Its good for any static, business websites and can keep up with dynamic and eCommerce websites with few optimizations.
Now that you have a good idea of what is Shared Hosting, lets get down to improving website loading speed by looking at the best 07 Proven Ways to Improve Website Loading Speed when using Shared Hosting.
1. Web Server Response time and speed.
First thing first, before buying Shared Hosting from any company do check their website response time because 90% of the time they are hosting their website on the same server that you are going to use.
Speed can be checked through different free tools like:
Anything below 5-6 second of loading time is ideal. Anything more then this will cause your users to suffer. Here are test results of our servers as an example.
GMatrix Test Results
Pro Tip: It is a common mistake that websites front/main page is optimized, but other pages are left unattended. Its obvious optimization applied to the front page do put a positive effect on all other pages, but you should put efforts to optimize every single page separately, e.g. below is the result of our Shared Hosting page. You can view the live results here.
2. Use CDN if Distance between your website users and the shared hosting server is huge
Let say you are in Pakistan and your Shared hosting server is in USA/UK/Germany etc. It pretty far, every single byte has to travel all the distance and reach you. To cater this problem Content Delivery Network (CDN) came to existence.
CDN helps you load website from the nearest server on their network. It copies static files of your website e.g. images, videos, css and script files on every server they have around the world. So when user access the website it loads from the nearest possible server, as a result your website loads faster.
There are free and paid CDN companies. To name few big ones CloudFlare and Amazon CloudFront. CloudFlare plans range from free to paid. Where as AWS CloudFront is only paid.
At Next Gen we are offering AWS CloudFront free with every Shared Hosting, the reason we choose it is that AWS has servers in 28 countries including Singapore and India, which is the nearest possible to Pakistan, so the distance is practically none between users from Pakistan and your website.
3. Decrease Web Page Size to Improve Website loading Speed
We have tested our home page with page size of 2.5mb and with page size of less then 1mb, and we found that page size does effect the overall loading speed of website.
To be on the safe side try to optimize you website to have pages with size no more then 1mb in size. You can put allot of stuff within limit of 1024kb (1mb) if you use the space carefully.
4. Size of images you are using on website
Use images when its necessary only. Try to avoid using images for background or parallax effect. Optimize all the images, there is no need to use ultra HD images. Optimization can be done through photo editing softwares like Adobe Photoshop, CorelDraw and Adobe Illustrator.
If your website is made in WordPress then you can easily use some suitable optimization plugin for images. One good choice is reSmush.it which is a free WordPress plugin to optimize image file size, you just have to compress your images once through reSmush setting, afterwords when ever you upload an image it will auto optimize them. Image quality level of 80 would be fine. This one is very important proven way to improve website loading speed and performance.
Using caching for website is a necessary thing to improve website loading Speed if you are on Shared Web Hosting. You need to enable leverage browser caching for your website. Leverage cache means for how long the web browsers will keep files stored with them, this help them in downloading less data next time user visits the same website, hence improve page load speed.
This can be activated manually by editing your website’s .htaccess file, which is located in root folder of you website and put the following line of codes in it:
Recomendations: There is a great article on “How to Leverage Browser Caching in WordPress?” by wpdatatable which in depth explains this topic.
If you are using WordPress then you should use Cache Plugin for this purpose. A list of good cache plugins that helps to improve website loading speed are as follow:
Tip: We at Next Gen using WP Rocket plugin, due to its easiness and good support for website content.
6. Website Security – SSL Certificate (HTTPS)
Its official that google will rank websites domain with SSL Certificate higher then with no certificate. Also other search engines like Bing and Yahoo would prefer https instead of http request in their search results. Chrome Browser will start showing “Not Secure” message which will impact negatively on your audience.
With the help of SSL you website might load faster because it will use HTTP/2 technology which is now actively supported by all modern web browsers to improve website loading speed. Try to use SSL with any CDN network, this will make sure your website is performing well.
Next Gen is offering Free SSL Certificate with all hosting packages.
7. Use Few Plugins/ Scripts to Improve Website Performance
If your website is made with custom html/php then try to minimize the usage of external scripts. An example of external script is Facebook Comments widget on every page so that user can post comment directly through their Facebook account.
Try to minimize the number of plugins you use. Deactivate any plugin that are not required. Avoid using Nulled/Crack plugins as this can lead to running Virus scripts which will eat your server resources. Always scan your plugins for virus infection before uploading/ activating them. A simple way of doing is to use VirusTotal to scan plugin files.
These are the few ways you can improve you website performance and loading speed. We have shared some good sources that will definitely help you. Applying the above mentioned optimization does help increase your website speed, but if your hosting server is slow, then no matter what you do, your website won’t load quickly. As i said early you should check server response time before subscribing to it. And in case your website is heavy like it has to load allot of stuff, then you should consider upgrading to VPS Server hosting.
At last let us tell you few of the optimization that we are currently using on our website and we recommend to use them. List is as follow:
1. Wp Rocket (For caching and minification)
2. Amazon CloudFront as CDN
3. Yoast SEO Pro (For SEO optimization)
4. OneSignal Push Notifications.
5. Website compression using GZip Compression.
6. reSmush.it (For image optimization)