If you want to provide the best user experience on your website and rank on the first Google search result pages then increasing your server speed is a must.
Although that is easier said than done, there are many steps you can take right now to improve your server speed.
So, if you are wondering how to increase server speed, you’re at the right place. We’ve compiled 10 of the most important tips to optimize the speed and performance of your website.
But first, let’s see what server response time is and why you should care about it.
What is Server Response Time and Why It’s Important
Server response time measures how long it takes for a server to respond to a client request. For example, if a user is trying to access a website, the server response time indicates how long it takes for the website to start loading from the server.
Server response time is called TTFB, which stands for time to first byte. It is expressed in milliseconds and it measures how long it takes for the first file of a website to load from the server onto the client’s side.
Server response time is an important metric because it helps you determine how fast your website or application can be accessed. Thus, achieving fast server response times leads to a better user experience (UX). Not to mention, page speed is a ranking factor for Google and can significantly impact your SEO.
According to Google, the ideal server response time is under 200ms. Any slower response than that will start impacting your website negatively.
If you want to know how to increase server speed, keep on reading!
10 Tips on How To Increase Server Speed
Follow these steps one by one to ensure your server is running optimally and no time is wasted loading your website files:
#1. Host With a Reliable Provider
If you are wondering why is your server slow or how can you speed up your slow server, you should start by getting a server from a reliable hosting provider.
It’s easier to get reliable hosting rather than trying to fix a slow server. For instance, you will get better server response times if you opt for a hosting provider that offers top-quality hardware, a fast network connection, and a lightweight control panel.
So, before trying to optimize your hosting server, make sure you have a good server to start with.
#2. Minify Your Scripts
Minifying your code scripts means cleaning them of any unnecessary or redundant code. This practice will decrease the size of the files and they will load faster.
You can also compress certain scripts, which will further reduce their size.
#3. Cache Your Website
Every time a user requests to access your website, the server must fetch all necessary files to load your website. This impacts the response time of your server, especially when many people are trying to access the same files at the same time.
Caching your website solves this problem. It keeps recently requested files in memory and displays them immediately when a user requests the same files, thus increasing your server speed.
#4. Optimize Your Databases
Optimizing your website’s databases is a crucial step to increasing server speed.
Over time, your databases accumulate new information. Besides adding new data, users also remove old information. This can result in gaps in your databases and longer query execution time on your server.
Thus, you should frequently defragment your databases, organize your records, and fix broken or missing records.
#5. Update to the Newest Server Application Versions
To ensure your server is running optimally, update any applications you use on your server.
Software updates include the latest bug fixes and speed optimizations, so you can improve the overall speed of your server by simply keeping applications up to date.
#6. Reduce Image File Sizes
Large image files on your website can slow down your server response time. Images take a long time to load, especially for users with a slow internet connection.
Before uploading images to your website, reduce the size of the image file. Or, if you’re using WordPress for your website, you can install plugins like Smush and Lazy Load to reduce the size of all your images and load images only when users scroll down to them.
#7. Remove Unnecessary Plugins
Speaking of plugins, it can hurt your website to have too many of them installed. Plugins take time to kick in and do their job when your website is loading, so having too many plugins installed will inevitably slow down your server response time.
Go through your installed plugins frequently and remove any unused plugins. Also, think twice before installing a new plugin and consider whether the benefits of the plugin are worth potentially slowing down your server.
#8. Optimize Your DNS Speed
A huge factor determining the speed of your website is how long it takes to perform the DNS lookup.
When a user is trying to access your website, they use your domain name to reach it. Their web browser then performs a DNS lookup, which means it looks for your IP address in the DNS records. The DNS records are stored on a DNS server.
If you are experiencing slow DNS speeds, you should consider switching to another domain provider with a faster DNS server response.
#9. Reduce Round-Trip Time
As we’ve already mentioned, your website is made up of different files. When users try to access your website, they have to request and receive each file individually.
This means that your server receives individual requests for each file and then responds to them by sending the correct file.
Each of these file request and delivery combinations is called a round trip, just like the round trips you make to your car to move all your groceries to your house.
#10. Use Fast Storage
Last but not least, if you want to increase your server speed, it’s important to use fast storage in your server.
SSD and NVMe storage are much faster than HDDs. If you are still using hard drives, it’s time to migrate your data to faster storage.
And if you are still unhappy with the speed of your storage, consider upgrading your SSD or NVMe drives to higher quality ones that have greater read/write speeds.