All Hosting Servers are not created equal

Google page speed performance report

Summary

  • Google Pages peed Test
  • ‘Local’ Page speed Test
  • The Difference
  • How to make the website faster


The other day, a customer end of ours, Mark White, who runs a successful VoIP IT Company rang me. He said, “I am concerned about my website. It is running so slow, I am afraid no one will have the patience for the website to display the content. They may just click away. Can you please make the website load faster?”
I said, “sure”. I logged into the website and found that the home page took more than 9 seconds to load. That was a red flag. It needs to be less than 5 seconds to be in the good books of Google.

Many of the pages came up with the dreaded “503 Service unavailable” errors. I ran some reports and tests on the website.

Google Page Speed Test

For testing the Page Speed, Google PageSpeed Insights is a Gold standard. It measures the following:

  1. First contentful paint. (the time it takes for the content to load when the user lands)
  2. Time to Interactive. (how long it takes a page to become fully interactive. A page is considered fully interactive)
  3. Speed Index
  4. Total Blocking time
  5. Largest Contentful paint (the point in the page load timeline when the page’s main content has likely loaded)
  6. Cumulative Layout shift


Google calculates the weighted index of all the above factors and gives us a composite score in the following manner.

 

Google's page speed test

A ‘local’ Page Speed test

The web server OR the website itself was so slow that the Google Page speed test failed to return a result.

I tried a Page Speed test run locally from Australia.

So where is the issue?

Before going headlong into optimise the images, the pages, products and other interesting stuff, I wanted to see if I can separate the slow loading website into its two factors – server delay and website delay. So I ran a test that determines the server delay with a pingdom tool. To compare, I also submitted one of my websites hosted in Auckland . The results were revealing. The website server had a very large lag – 197 ms compared to 31 ms for my hosting server. The website will most likely be punished by Google. The site is likely to be pushed to page 3 or more and faster-loading websites will take its place.

The proof is in the pudding

You can see for yourself some of the sites we have hosted in the past, all of which are successfully accessible from our nearest server in Sydney, Australia. This is just a taste of some of our work.

Migration to our hosting server

I then proceeded to migrate the website from the original (slow) hosting provider to our server  The result as below:

  1. All the pages were loading within 5 seconds
  2. All 503 had errors vanished.

Customer could not believe the speed

I explained to Mark that I had migrated the website to our server and sent him the link. He was gobsmacked. You can read his comments here

 

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