Increasing Web Site Speed

People were complaining to me about the speed of this site, but I ignored them, mostly because I didn’t have the time to bother with it.  Besides which, I’m not an internet professional.  I’m just a gobshite who writes stuff that might or might not interest anyone.

Still, it annoyed me that there should be such problems, and finally I decided to do something about it in the last few days.

My Google speed rating was something like 62 out of 100, which doesn’t look all that great, even to my untutored eye, but in the end it was a small matter to bring it up to a respectable level, even for an idiot like me.

Having performed various little tweaks, it currently stands at 95 out of 100, using the Google assessment tool, which is ok, comparing favourably with many local sites (and here, please forgive me for being parochial).

For example,, a site paid for and operated by the local authority, scores an abysmal 23 out of 100, yet I have no doubt in my my mind that this site is managed by the finest internet professionals known to mankind.

Likewise, only manages 87 out of 100.  Now, I’m not saying that this is a poor result, but compared to a snake-oil salesman such as myself, I would have thought that a highly-trained professional could surely do better.

What about the local rag?  Well, sadly, I’m sorry to report, fares slightly worse than Local Heroes, despite its access to keenly-honed killer professionals.   86/100. Sorry.

It’s time to look further afield, I fear.

RTE?  Now that’s better.  Their multimillion euro budget brings them to within one point of a website run on a shoestring by an unlettered gobshite from Limerick.  94/100.

Disappointingly, the BBC only scores 79/100, while the Google analyzer is likewise scathing of the Huffington Post at 90/100.

So there you have it.  Internet nonsense exposed in thirty seconds.   You can spend thousands on a website that’s still shit, you can pay more thousands to people who call themselves professionals and still end up with shit performance, or you can apply a little intelligence as an interested amateur and do better than the whole lot of them.

This is why the internet is so full of chancers and frauds.  Nobody understands a single thing about it, including, often enough, those who tout themselves as consultants and web professionals.

Just out of interest, I decided to check out Google’s own performance by its own standards, and guess what?

Google scores 99/100.  That leaves one percent room for improvement.

Must try harder.  Maybe they’d like a little advice.



13 thoughts on “Increasing Web Site Speed

  1. To really know if a server [farm] is fast and adequate, you have to organise DoS attack and count how many bots it takes before it keels over :-)

  2. Its mainly the images, youtube and wordpress, isin’t it?
    The downside of a CMS
    Even the avatars are coming from elsewhere.

    cmsmadesimple , would be faster than wordpress, but you’ll hardly go there at this stage.

    I still use “screen capture” of a youtube video, and link out (new window) to it -rather than waiting for youtube to load their “stuff” on your page.
    Even if don’t embed a video, your page will still be slower to load, because of the facility present, to do so (makes it easier for the user – a component).

  3. I’m no expert on these things, but I don’t think Youtube affects loading time. There are a few high priority things that make a big difference and are easy enough to do. Images should be compressed, so now I’m working on a very large backlog to sort out that problem.

    The main point I’m making here is that anyone can speed up their site if they just follow the recipe book, and it appears that the involvement of “experts” isn’t a guarantee of good performance.

  4. Yes, even at its depth, ordinary folk can help themselves, especially these day. will even present you with “optimised” images, which you can copy and use instead of the original – you can usually reduce the image memory size by at least 50% , which any great noticeable difference in quality.

    There are different sets of images; ones you insert into an article, and the others which are “pulled” in, to create the template – the likes of border lines and “arrows”, are often images, etc..

    Anything, which is pulled/drawn from outside , is going to increase the load time/ speed.

    All that is needed is a strong stomach, in the beginning so that you don’t get so sick, that you can’t continue with the process. Its not rocket science, at all, as you say.
    Validating the html, can help to find errors and increase load speed – punch the web address of this page ( ), into , and it can point to issues (like the footer problem, which might not be immediately visible). If you can keep your dinner down, it would surprise you, how this would make sense, within a week or so.
    As for the “pros”; there are any amount of bullshitters out there, but plenty who do know – however, there is almost an expectation, that news sites, have too many images (eye candy for visitors), but that visitors will leave if they are not stimulated by pictures. Almost all the big sites, are caught by this no-win situation.

    Whether they bother to validate the html (this just means, that your content will appear in the majority of compliant browsers, in much the same way – a standard, if you will); is another story!!
    The big sites are also caught, by having to include the various “gadgets/widgets”, that are now also expected – the likes of facebook “stuff” and feeds. Again, these are pulled in, from outside, and an expectation from the visitor.

    If a visitor was content to read raw text, life would be faster and simpler.

    On balance though, this site is not particularly slow, as these things go.

  5. Again, its about stomach and sphincter control, but if you do run something through and it returns anything like (example only);

    “Line 10, Column 142: Bad value template for attribute name on element meta”

    You might say “WTF, AND WTF IS LINE 10 AND COLUMN 142”???????

    Download the sometimes useful and free editor at . Paste the source code of this page (example only), and it will give you an idea, of where to look for stuff – it shows “line numbers”.

    I’d say, anyone would grasp the totality of these things, in less than 20 hours – beyond that, one would have to be familiar with the various cms’s ( like wordpress, for example), to be able to hack (too strong a word -edit) into the templates (free and paid templates, can often have issues, within them).

    No lessons/experts, required – just application/interest.

  6. Yes, but it won’t relate the line number to individual template files. You still have to search through them to find the dodgy code.

  7. Yes Bock,
    The source code of this page, for example, tells us that it (the one example, already mentioned) is in the footer template – even if it didn’t, its at the bottom which is not definite proof either – in this case, I’d say so).
    Now, I have never used Word Press.

    Do you edit any of these files yourself – if so, what ones? names

  8. Normally, it wouldn’t be considered a wreckless practice, to name such files, because all the C.M.S.’s come with the same file names (per product), and few people ever change them.

    I’m not familiar with wordpress, but do imagine that anyone can download it, and discover the names of every file which comes with it?

    Anyway, your answer means a possible yes, to the direct editing – this is enough to know.
    And it means that you can fix it.

    To remove the “stuff”, at the very bottom of this page, when it is viewed in a browser, move noscript to the right and right beside /script
    [note; there should be like angle brackets around noscript and /script, but I don’t know yet, how wordpress would treat it, if I pasted the code into this box – it might not show].
    You are NOT removing/cutting anything, just rearranging the order.
    When saved, this will cure the error at line 525, and remove the curious “symbols”, at the bottom of this page.

  9. Everyone who runs a WordPress site edits the code. That’s not revealing anything. I just don’t want to list the specific elements.

    Look, I appreciate your interest, but I’ll clear up the various little glitches myself when everything else is sorted out.

  10. just one observation; the homepage itself involves close to 1 megabyte’s worth of images…now this in itself is not much for the average joe’s internet connection to deal with, but I reckon it could cause your server problems serving them speed-wise when a lot of people are hitting the site.<br.
    just a thought.

  11. I agree. More study required. But hey! I’m just an amateur, not a professional like the guys running those other sites. Right?

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