What Causes My
Website to Load Slowly?
The loading speed of your website on your
web browser is affected by more internal and external forces
than you can imagine.
Earlier this week I received an email from
a client saying her website was loading slowly. This concerned
me so I immediately checked how the website was loading on
my machine over three different browsers: Internet Explorer,
Fire Fox and Chrome. The website loaded nice and fast so I
was left to ponder all the different reasons that cause a
website to load slowly. Reasons for a slow loading website
fall into two categories: Internal Forces and External Forces.
Let's take a look at both.
1. BHO - Browser Helper Objects
Many people unwittingly load “browser helper objects”
in their browser that actually tax the speed of the browser
interface. Examples of BHO's include: Adobe Acrobat (PDF),
Bing, Google or Yahoo tool bars, Anti-Virus toolbars and so
on. These get installed when you download or install software
to your computer. In the snap shot below you can see 4 different
helper objects installed in my IE 8.0 browser. I can elect
to turn these off by un-checking the boxes.
2. Browser Cache
A browser cache is a temporary storage area in your computer
that holds the most recently downloaded web pages. This is
meant to help speed up the loading of websites you visit most
often. But this is a Catch 22 feature because the browser
cache can actually slow down the loading of websites on your
browser when the temporary storage reaches capacity. For this
reason I elect to clear my browser cache every other day.
Instructions for clearing your browser can be seen here: http://www.visionefx.net/articles/clear-browser-cache.htm
3. Trojans or Viruses
Sometimes there could be Spyware, Malware, Trojans or Viruses
running in the background disguised to look like a legitimate
program. These can slow down your browser as well. Make sure
your anti-virus and spam killer software is update.
4. System Registry and Computer
If your system registry contains errors this can tax the random
access memory (RAM) of your computer and slow down your browser.
5. Old Browsers
If you are using an old browser this could be a big problem.
Update your web browser. If you are feeling really techie,
then download and install three different types of browsers.
Try all three and then use the one that is fastest or works
best for you. I like Chrome, I.E. 8.0 and Fire Fox.
In most cases, 90% of the time your browser
is slow because of something happening outside of your control.
1. Traffic over your ISP
Your ISP is your Internet Service Provider. In Hampton Roads,
VA, well known ISP's include Cox Cable, Verizon Broadband
Sometimes service providers may experience heavy online traffic,
service outages or upgrades and maintenance. All of these
can slow down your connection (your browser) on the Internet.
2. Traffic over the Entire Internet
There are hubs, routers and switches all over the globe that
route data packets of information from point A to point B.
There are lots of moving parts to sharing, viewing and receiving
information over an electronic connection.
3. The Host Server You Are Accessing
Every website you access is hosted somewhere on a computer
server. About 75% of websites hosted in the U.S are on shared
servers. On average these websites get a very small amount
of traffic versus websites that are hosted on dedicated servers.
However, it is possible for a website on a shared server to
hog or consume bandwidth from other websites on the same shared
server. In most cases good hosting companies have bells and
whistles in place to detect and correct these circumstances,
but it can still happen for days or weeks before corrections
4. Wireless Routers
When connecting to a wireless network (Wi Fi), your Internet
connection speed can be affected by both where your computer
is located and whether other wireless devices are in the same
area. Wireless networks operate on frequencies that are similar
to those used by other devices, such as microwave ovens or
cordless phones. Operating a 2.4 gigahertz (GHz) cordless
phone next to your 2.4 GHz wireless laptop can cause interference,
or completely block the wireless network connection. If you
want to make phone calls while surfing the web, either use
a wired telephone or cordless phone that operates at a different
frequency than your wireless network.
Proximity to the wireless access point or router, as well
as physical obstructions, can affect the quality of your Internet
connection. To improve your connection speed, move closer
to the access point and make sure that there are no physical
obstructions between the access point and your computer.
Rick Vidallon is President of Visionefx,
design company based in Virginia Beach, Va. They provide
services to national companies as well as small to medium
businesses throughout the United States. Rick can be reached
at (757) 619-6456 or firstname.lastname@example.org.