Now that you have your results from Pingdom and PageSpeed you can use that data to help you make changes to your website to speed up the page load times. This part of the series will focus on teaching you how to decipher the results from the speed test sites and use it in a proactive way.
What Is REALLY Making The Web Page Load Slowly?
Hand written, plain text HTML web sites usually do not have many speed problems, but as stated above if you are using a content management system (CMS) like Joomla, WordPress, Drupal, or others the CMS alone can be a major source of the slow down. The optimization of your CMS’s underlying code as well as the congestion of your hosting and database server can play a huge role in how fast your content is delivered to the end user but with a little work and some changes to a few files you can speed up even the largest and most complicated website. Here is how to get started.
Analyzing The Results Of Speed Test Tools Like Pingdom and PageSpeed
First go back to the Pingdom report and look around for the initial server response times. This should be at the top of the list. This tells you how long it takes from the time your server gets a page request before it starts sending out the data. Two things can make this be slow. One is a congested, overloaded server. If you are on one of the giant mega-hosts this may be part of the problem as some companies will cram as many as 500 sites onto a single server. If you think this might be part of the problem take a look at my article on web server speed for some tips and assistance on solving hosting server speed problems.
The other thing that can cause slow initial page loads is how much stuff your server has to calculate before it fully renders the page. This is the main problem with very complicated CMS based sites which use many different modules, plugins, and widgets to display things on the page. Each widget you add to a page requires the server to make a request to the database system to pull in the data before it can be placed in the appropriate place on the page. Lots of widgets equals lots of requests and thus, lots of time spent processing.