Top 10 Reasons Why Your Website May Be Slow

Scalable and reliable enterprise Web-based systems entail smart systems design, database architecture, modern hardware and software, and experienced coding. This is the reason a software architect's job is one of the most well-paid jobs in the industry. A software architect (solutions architect, systems architect or an Application architect) ensures that the foundation of the system (or software or Application) is strong enough to support its scalability, reliability, integrity and security.

Several studies suggest that the Website users expect a Website to load within three seconds. The ideal page load time of a Webpage is 1.5 seconds or less. The speed and performance of a Website means the page load time, function execution time, and how quickly the content of a Webpage is available to the users.

Depending on the complexity and architecture of the Website, the following factors may affect the speed and performance of a Website:

  1. Hosting Environment (Hardware)
    Do you have the latest hosting environment, including the Servers, network switches, high-speed Internet, high-speed hard-disk and other hardware configurations? For example, fast speed network switches and SSD disks may drastically improve the processing performance. If you have not moved to a public cloud, you may want to think about moving to a cloud. Public clouds are designed to be scalable, reliable, and provide high performance on-demand. If you don't know which cloud is the best option for you, check out Top 10 Cloud Service Providers in 2021.
  2. Old Operating System or Web Server
    Old or obsolete or inefficient operating systems and Web Servers may be the reason for the slow Website performance. If you are running an old OS such as Windows Server 2003 or 2008 or even old version of IIS or other web servers, you may want to think about upgrading it. Operating Systems and Web Servers are getting upgrades each couple of years if not faster. You may want to make sure not only you have the latest OS and Web Server but also want to keep up with the latest patches and minor updates. Each minor update these year may help improve security and performance. 
  3. Inefficient File Storage and CDN
    An inefficient file storage Server and CDN may be the reason for a Website's performance. If your Web application has high traffic and uses file download and uploads, you may want to think about using a CDN (Content Delivery Network) service. CDNs are not only provider faster upload and downloads but also are cheaper in costs. Most public CDNs have local regional data centers that allows files to be downloaded from local data centers. If your servers have old file strorage, you may want to replace them high speed SSD and latest storages.
  4. Database Server
    In the heavy data-driven Websites, a database system and Server usually are the culprits. Some of the key areas may include the database architecture, slow queries, missing indexes and non-optimized resources. By reachitecting your database may also help. If you have a website like C# Corner that has millions of users downloading TBs data each month, you may have to reindex and reorganize your data so the queries do not take too much time. Often database servers also do not have much memory and high speed storage. Using SSDs and high speed disks and sufficient RAM helps improve database server's performance. Here is an article to get started with database performance: Tips To Improve SQL Database Performance.
  5. Backend Services and APIs
    If the backend services and APIs are not designed property, it may be a cause of slow performance of a Website. You may want to test your APIs performances using various testing tools. 
  6. Bad Code
    In my 23 years of software development, bad code is one of the prime suspects of the slow speed and bad performance of a Website. Most of the time, the reason is inexperience developers write code without understanding of Web and how Web requests work. For example, if a web page shows 1 million records in a grid control, you may not want to fetch all 1 million records at once. You may want to fetch the records that needs to be displayed. Some UI operations that take time or create a bottleneck needs to be managed properly. The functions that take too much time may be put as sync so they don't affect the performance of the UI. 

    The best solution to deal with bad code is to hire experience architects, do proper code and performance reviews, and follow industry's best design and coding guidelines and best practices. Also do not forget to keep yourself up to date with the latest changes in the development framework or platform or libraries you're using in the project. Using old frameworks or libraries may also affect the performance big time. For example, C# 10 and .NET 6 are many times faster than C# 3.0 and .NET 4.0. 
  7. Non-Optimized Web Design
    Poor design of a Website, heavy use of graphics, Browser and device compatibility, un-optimized CSS and images may cause performance issues. 

    You wan to make sure the UI elements of the web pages are designed property by following industry's best practices and guidelines. You want to use the right file formats, sizes, and storage. For example, if you have a web page showing thumbnails or profile images, you do not want to load 4MB files as thumbnails. You may want to have a smaller version of the file for thumbnails. If you are using multiple CSS files with unused code, you may want to merge them into one and remove any unused code. 
  8. File types and content size
    Large non-optimized content pages and file types may cause the performance issues. You may also want to look at the upload and download sizes. 
  9. Third-party libraries
    Use of inefficient third-party libraries and components may cause performance issues. Any third party library or component you use, make sure to do your research and also make sure that you're using the latest version of the library.
  10. Non-Scalable Platform
    All the above factors get worse as traffic increases on a Website. You may have a great high-speed Website, when few users access the Website but it may not respond at all when you have thousands of users using the Website simultaneously. This usually is a result of a bad system, Website architecture, and design.

More resources

The Daily Egg blog suggests the following 10 points:

  • Minimize HTTP requests.
  • Reduce Server response time.
  • Enable compression.
  • Enable Browser caching.
  • Minify resources.
  • Optimize images.
  • Optimize CSS delivery.
  • Prioritize above-the-fold content.
  • Reduce the number of plugins you use on your Website.
  • Reduce redirects.

Montis blog recommends the following eight points to improve your Website performance.

  1. Code your site for the mobile-first quality and speed.
  2. Reduce the image size.
  3. Try a CDN.
  4. Cache as much as possible.
  5. Combine images into sprites.
  6. Load JavaScript asynchronously.
  7. Review your hosting service plan.
  8. Adopt cloud-based Website monitoring.

Next Article - Top 10 Tips For Building High Performance Websites

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