How to Fix a Slow Loading Website

How to fix a slow-loading website and the reasons for slow website loading are two top things website owners need to know about when dealing with website speed.

Fixing slow-loading website issues and having fast-loading web pages are extremely important for the success of a website focused on ranking, generating revenue, and creating a great user experience.

In this guide, you will get unconventional and honest answers for the best ways to fix a slow-loading website with a good hosting provider, tweaks, better themes, plugins, and more.

The tips on this page on how to fix slow loading websites are some of the steps we have used to get this website and others to load time under 1 second and TTFB(first to byte) of < 100 ms ( you can use Pingdom to see that this website loads under one(<1) second) and score between 98 & 100 on Google PageSpeed Insight on both mobile and desktop.

This post is packed with brutal honest truths that are based on many website tests and maybe things you never heard before.

However, if you stay open-minded and are willing to not follow the hoard, you will appreciate the information and save yourself thousands financially and from frustration.

By the time you are done reading this action-packed guide, we hope you gained more knowledge on the best ways to fix your website’s slow speed in other to improve your business or personal blog website performance and bottom line.

So sit back and enjoy the read.

Disclosure: We are supported by our readers, so when you decide to purchase a service through some links on this post, we may earn a commission, at no cost to you. And this doesn’t prevent us from being brutally honest with You can read more…

How to Fix a Slow Loading Website

So how do you fix slow-loading websites?

Here is how:

Fix a Slow Loading Site Fast by Changing Your Mindset

Your philosophy needs to change when it comes to building and running a website.

If you are serious about website performance( security & speed) you need to keep things simple and do the below:

1. Start the optimization during development

What this means is that you have to focus on picking the fastest themes and plugins if you are using WordPress.

These two are usually the biggest culprit when it comes to slow-loading websites.

2. Stop buying and adding things to your website just because

A lot of people add all kinds of plugins or themes just because they read that they should have them or use them.

3. Get a Better Hosting Company From the Start

Why did we put choosing the right hosting service as one of the first things to fix?

Web hosting is one of the top factors of website speed.

It is usually the top reason for slow loading WordPress websites and other types of sites.

The reality is that you can do most of the below recommendations, but without a well-optimized server from one of the best web hosting services providers all you are doing is putting a bandage to your website’s slow loading issues.

Without the right web hosting services in place, it will be like building a house without the right foundation.

Starting with or switching to a better hosting service provider that uses faster, more powerful servers, and processors that support higher bandwidth is very important.

When choosing a new host, investigate the service provider to find out whether they have sufficient data centers across the world to deal with traffic issues and provide lower latency by distributing traffic to the data center closer to the user’s location.

If having an affordable and reliable web host that is rated the #1 in multiple Facebook polls, provides 99.9-100% uptime, top-rated customer service, recommended by WordPress, used by Yoast (the developers of number one SEO plugin Yoast), 6 data centers across the globe( 3 in Europe – UK(1 here) & Amsterdam(2 here), 2 in North America – U.S, and 1 in Asia – Singapore), 24/7 chat, email, & phone support, 30-day money-back guarantee then choosing SiteGround for your hosting needs may be what you need.

Siteground is a great value and one of the best web hosts out there. We have had great experiences with them for years now. Their server has helped us get our websites to load <1 second on GT Metrix and on Pingdom.

You can start with them for 65% lower than the typical monthly price through this special link for our readers(this saving is for multiple-year signup).

Being with a hosting company that optimizes our website for the best performance allows us to just focus on providing readers with great guides like this one.

Set the Order of .htaccess Directives Correctly

We have tested this countless times and are here to tell you that the order of directives in your .htaccess affects your website speed.

All the good things that may help with a website performance that you add to your .htaccess will slow down your TTFB and overall speed if you don’t add them correctly in the order of importance.

For example, when adding Gzip compression and Browser Cache directives in the .htaccess, the order matter a lot.

Gzip compression directives should always be before Browser Cache.

This is because you want to compress resources before sending them to a browser.

If I were you, I will hire a good website speed professional( not a developer or web designer because a lot are horrible when it comes to speed optimization) to help you set up your .htaccess directives to help with improving your website loading faster.

Wrong Theme, Plugin, & Tool Settings

Another way to increase your website speed is to make sure that your theme, performance plugins, and tools settings are set correctly.

Most people will just go with the default settings or use settings that some “gurus” recommended.

The problem with that is every website is not the same because of the theme, plugins, host provider server settings, etc.

It takes a lot of tweaking to find out the best setting of theme, a plugin, and CDN that works best.

Optimize Your Images To Avoid Slow Loading Website Issues

One of the fasted ways to fix a slow-loading website is to reduce uploaded images size.

The good news is that it is also one of the easiest to fix.

As many website performance experts will tell you reducing a webpage image size will go a long way in improving your website speed. 

Scaling down an image before uploading it is very important to have images compressed down to a lower size before uploading it.

Often images used on your site can be compressed by 20-50% without significant loss in quality.

So always opt for lossless compression.

The image format should also be considered and pick JPG as JPG images are smaller than PNG and GIF.

Tips: Save your image to next-gen formats like JPEG 2000, JPEG XR, and WebP for better quality and less usage of resources. However, before you do make sure that it is set up in your server to support them. It is not, it may increase your speed slightly instead of reducing it. This is why it is important to not just enable something without testing to see if it helping you meet your website speed goal(s) or not.

If you are using WordPress we recommend Imagify or ShorPixel Image Optimizer

For Joomla users, the ImageRecycle Image Optimizer is a great extension option for optimizing images.

Enable GZIP Compression

How can a how-to-fix slow-loading website guide be complete without mentioning the importance of Gzip compression?

This is so important that Yahoo says that Gzip is the most popular and effective compression method currently available and generally reduces the response size by about 70%.

Enabling GZIP compression wraps up all the web objects (CSS, JavaScript, Images, etc.) into a single container that can be sent to the requesting browser.

It reduces the size of the data being transferred from the server to the user.

This compression lowers response time and provides an easy performance win.

If you are not implementing gZip compression on your website already then this is the first thing you must consider doing.

Remove Useless Bloated Plugins & Extensions Want to fix your website’s slow loading?

Remove unnecessary bloated plugins and extensions

It is a myth that more plugins slow down a website. The problem is bloated

Decide on the important and useful plugins and remove the other unwanted ones.

A lot of plugins load data from third-party vendors which is hard to detect and can cause performance overhead.

Also, remove inefficient resource-hungry plugins that are slowing down the website.

Tips: Whenever you remove a plugin run a file and database clean because sometimes WordPress plugins and Joomla extensions will still leave their junk(codes) on your website database tables even though you already deleted it.

We recommend using Plugins Garbage Collector By Vladimir Garagulya for WordPress websites.

Very easy to use and free.

Also, whenever you use certain plugins delete them until you need them again.

Such plugins are plugins like the ones you used for cleaning and optimizing your database.

Just upload them again when you want to optimize your files and database.

By the way, not cleaning your website database every month or two is another reason for a slow-loading website.

For Joomla users, there are not many extensions that do the same cleanup as they have in WordPress.

You can do it manually by going to your Cpanel and then to the phpMyAdmin service tab under the Database section.

Then select the database you want to clean, when it opens then select Check all.

You will then see a drop-down box on your right select Optimize Table and that’s it.

Reduce HTTP Requests

Having excessive JavaScript, CSS, and image files can lead to too many HTTP requests which may significantly reduce the page load speed.

Reducing the total number of such files and minifying your CSS and JavaScript files can improve speed.

Your server can only handle a certain number of requests per second and you should be mindful of it.

Fix JavaScript Issues

There are too many JavaScript and jQuery plugins available that allow you to add flashily and over-the-top behavioral elements to your site.

Most of these features exist only for increasing UI appeal and are not functional and practical.

Remove them from the website as they cause a delay. Also, audit your JavaScript code to detect multiple API calls and remove them or optimize them to increase site load speed.

Inspect code to detect script bloat and remove them and make use of JavaScript’s asynchronous loading feature.

 Enabling CDN May Help With Slow Loading Web Pages

Content Delivery Network service is a collection of distributed servers that are responsible for serving up web content to users with high availability and performance.

CDN serves up data to the customer from the node located at the nearest geographical location.

It is particularly useful for sites that have a global audience and big traffic spikes as CDN can help alleviate it.

Also, CDN frequently caches accessed data which leads to reduced time in the loading of pages.

Note: Be cautious of CDNs. Some people have complained about how having a CDN didn’t help.

Some people experienced their website loading slower.

So make sure that any CDN you use is configured properly and you pay attention to your website performance once you enable it.

Sometimes, just enabling a CDN without spending time to tweak it will cause more harm than help.

So either spend hours of your time tweaking it( there are so many settings on CDNs like Cloudflare to play with) or hire a CDN performance expert to do it for you.

Enable Caching with The Right Tweaks

Enabling caching and setting it up correctly for that particular website is one of the top ways to fix slow-loading websites.

Caching can bring a world of difference to the responsiveness of your pages.

It lets you store frequently accessed data as cached memory.

This helps prebuild the page even before a request for the page is served.

Any subsequent request for the same data gets served from the cache memory, thereby increasing the loading speed of your pages.

Almost anything can be cached from HTTP and database queries to images, videos, and documents among other things.

With all of the above said, it takes time to tweak the cache properly for optimal performance of a particular website.

There are many tweaks to be done like the “right” expiry time for different assets, enabling or disabling certain caches( page cache, Memcache, OPcache, etc), and where you put Browser cache rules in the .htaccess, etc.

Eliminate Flash Contents

Although flash contents are a great way to add animations and interactivity to your site, it comes with an enormous performance overhead and slows down your website by a significant margin.

If you want to make your website faster then, search for flash replacements like HTML5.

Flash is very bulky and you should consider reducing its size or replacing it altogether with HTML5 if you want your website to load faster.

Keep the Code Clean

A how-to fix a slow loading website won’t be complete without mentioning how important it is to keep codes cleans

A common cause for website slowness is bulky and unclean code.

If your backend is clogged up with large and dense code elements then it will slow down the site.

Excessive inline styles, whitespaces, empty new lines, and unnecessary comments add to the size of the stylesheet.

Minify your code and try to use one single stylesheet.

It is also important to have adequate knowledge of the programming paradigm to write better logic and make better coding choices.

 Disable Hotlinking

This is one thing that is responsible for a slow website that most people are not aware of.

The good news is that it is easy to fix.

But first what is hotlinking?

This is basically when people copy and paste an image from a website.

So how does that slow down my website platform?

The problem is that every time people visit the website of those that copied and pasted images from your website it adds server resource consumption because those copied and pasted images are loading from your server.

To stop this from happening just contact your web hosting provider and asked them to disable hotlinking on your website.

We thank our host for doing this for us in less than 5 minutes of chatting with a live rep.

Fix 404 Error

This is another cause of a web page lagging in speed.

Periodically run a broken link check on your website to find broken internal and external links to fix.

Update PHP Version To The Latest In Accordance With Your Host Server Setting

One of the easiest ways to fix a slow website page loading and for optimal performance is to make sure that a site’s PHP version is always updated to the latest version.

You do not need technical skills to do this.

Simply go to your website Cpanel or hosting dashboard and look for PHP Manager or contact your host and they should be able to update it for you.

So if your site is slow, one of the ways to determine the reason for it is to check to make sure the PHP version is updated to the latest version.

Just make sure that the version is in accordance with your server setting.

What do we mean by this? Well, if your host is recommending PHP 7.1 and you upgrade to 7.4 that might slow down your website.

So don’t always upgrade because an upgrade is available. Make sure your host has enabled that version to work with your server setting.

Use Fast DNS To Improve A Slow Website Speed

Using a fast DNS will also contribute to your website’s overall speed. This is because DNS lookup speed is part of your website speed.

You can use SolveDNS to test your DNS speed.  

The impact may not be a lot but when it comes to fixing a slow-loading website, every small win counts.

Avoid Redundancy

Enabling the same setting on different speed optimization plugins doesn’t help a website.

It causes more problems and slows down your website. Adding the same rules in your .htaccess twice doesn’t help you.

To avoid redundancy. If your web hosting is taking care of it on the server-side and have a must-have plugin auto-installed already, do not install a similar plugin.

More Tools & Plugins For Fixing Slow Loading Websites

Below is a quick overview of some tools and plugins you can use to detect and fix a slow-loading website.

The following tools will help to improve the performance of your website if you already have a good web hosting service in place.

The right website hosting service is the foundation of your website’s speed and security.

Once you have that in place you can then use these tools to maximize the performance of your website.

We have to mention the above because oftentimes people will use the tools below and their website performance is still not as fast as they want or should be.

So make sure that you have the best web host in place first in other to maximize the below tool’s efficiency in improving your website speed.

1). Diagnosing

Below are the tools you can use to diagnose the issues.

These tools will point out the reasons for a site loading slowly and what you should do to fix the problem.

2). Helpful plugins for fixing a slow loading WordPress or Woocommerce website 

These plugin tools will help you fix some of the issues mentioned above on your WordPress and optimize your website speed.

Some of the below will help clean your database while others help with caching your scripts.

  • Plugins Garbage Collector
  • Short Code Cleaner Lite
  • WP-Optimize
  • Clearfy
  • WP Hosting Performance Check
  • Autoptimize
  • WP Fastest Cache
  • Asset CleanUp

SG Optimizer: All around website speed and cache optimizer as mentioned above. Remember that you need to have a Siteground host( highly recommended to have it as the value for the price is amazing) to use this.

3). Helpful plugins for fixing a slow loading Joomla website 

You can find some of the following extensions on the Joomla extension directory

Here are the ones you can turn on on your Joomla CMS.

Turn on Global Configuration > Server click yes for gzip compressions.

Enable Joomla caching on the global configuration.

Final Thoughts On How To Fix Slow Websites

Did you enjoy reading our guide on how-to and the best ways to fix slow-loading websites?

We hope that now that you are done reading this guide, you are more enlightened than ever before about the best ways to fix your slow-loading website(s).

If you are interested in a new web host that can help you speed up your site speed checkout SiteGround.

Once you make sure that you have a good hosting plan and provider, and a lightweight theme in place, avoid bulking of any kind – be it code or plugins that will slow your site down.

Really following the guidelines listed here will increase the speed of your site and have a positive impact on your users.