Site Speed & Testing

About Site Speed

Site Speed is based on how quickly users are able to see and interact with website content. FreshySites optimizes sites to help avoid issues during the build process - Areas can be identified and corrected as time goes on, especially if new functionality is added to the site.

Page-load time (front or backend viewing) is determined by many factors:

  • The database queries executed while the site loads. Functionality on a website can directly affect site speed.
  • The number or size of external resources included in the site.
  • Speed can differ across a variety of perspectives (ie: in different browsers, in different countries, on different networks).

Not All Site Speed Tests are Created Equal

Testing Method and Weight Variances 
One of the important things to note in differing site speed test results, is that the metrics by which the site speed is measured vary greatly from test to test, as does the weight they’re given when calculating the final scoring,  even if the core measures remain constant.

A number of the more popular testing sites, such as Google’s Page Speed Insights, can provide some data; however, often these rely on virtual devices with heavily throttled, or artificially slowed, connections. For example, the most recent update to Lighthouse, a popular testing tool, imposed restrictions on options to adjust the throttling settings, defaulting to a 2g connection speed, which means the connection is VERY slow, and will give a low testing grade, even when the site performs far better than the industry standard for loading time in real world applications. 

Why we test the way we test, and why you should too
Webpagetest.org: This tool gets a 10/10 from our support team all-stars, in managing and improving site loading times. 
Our preferred testing method, tests your site on real devices with complete control to test for specific device results, allowing us to tackle site speed from every possible angle and connection speed. With iOS, Android, Desktop and a multitude of browser, connection and location options - we’re able to pinpoint specific interventions to improve the end user experience, without negatively affecting the visual output. 
Accurate Real World Data is better than any virtual, or simulated dataset; thus grounding our recommendations in improvements that will only enhance the end user experience; rather than adjustments made solely for the purpose of improving scoring results that don’t truly reflect performance.
Historical testing data access cannot be overrated. Testing every site post launch, gives us full measure as the site ages, and helps us assess options for additional interventions, should the need arise in the future; while allowing us to make best practices recommendations that will help keep your site loading fast. 

Top 3 Critical Areas 

The following are three of the top areas that affect site speed.

1. Image/Asset Optimization

We know that large, uncompressed images and videos can slow down your site to a crawl.

One of the utmost important processes is to utilize image compression and lazy loading of off-screen images, to ensure your site performs its best in both site speed testing and real-world application.

Recommend Tool: The reSmush.it plugin is a user-friendly tool for image compression of not only your existing images but also any assets uploaded in the future.

What can be done to help? 

Best practices, are to have images saved as the proper size dimensions before adding to a site to help with loading of images and page elements. 

FreshySites has the recommend tool above already installed and working on sites. Feel free to reach out to support for more information.

2. How 'JavaScripts' Are Handled During Your Site’s Load

There are two attribute options widely accepted by all browsers: defer or async. Defer parse internal js files, we tell the browser to load the page, before running the script. The async attribute is similar but is used for external assets. Essentially telling the browser that it can download the script while the page is loading, and to pause the site load and run the script only after downloading of the script has been completed.

Recommend Tool: Async Javascript (https://wordpress.org/plugins/async-javascript) is a great little plugin that handles defer parsing and async without having to get under the hood, so to speak, and edit the script attributes. It is important to keep in mind, when utilizing this plugin, that most WordPress builders will have to be added to the exclude list so that the visual output integrity is maintained.

3. Leveraging Browser Cache

Serving your assets and files from a content delivery network is, hands down, the best option for passing these criteria in site speed tests, and providing your end users with the best possible user experience.

There are a number of CDN options to choose from, but whichever you utilize will go a long way in speeding up your website.

In addition to adding a CDN to your toolbox, cache plugins can help in serving static assets to your visitors.

Recommend Tool: WP Rocket. 

What can be done to help?

Get in touch with support if you're experiencing caching or CDN errors. 

FreshySites server environment has excellent caching mechanisms and we are happy to clear your site from the server level to assist. 

Read How to Clear Browser Cache Here

Read How to Clear your Local Storage Here