Need Fast Web Page Loading Speed
Need for a New Website Host
Every year I update my website. Better SEO, Better Content, Better User Experience, ad infinitum.
This year I became obsessed with improving website load speed. I put my website vendors up against my stop watch.
At the Starting Line
Evaluating My Crew
Basic stats for my website:
WordPress: Divi Theme
Content Delivery Network: Absolutely not!
Web Host: InMotionHosting Los Angeles data center.
Cache plugin: WP Fastest Cache.
WordPress Theme: Divi
Divi: Divi by Elegant Themes has some basic speed settings such as minifying java script. These made minor improvements. But I will need help from other services to throttle up my quest for speed.
While speed optimization is not Divi’s strong suit, it has many other attributes. Primarily, easy to use. I often switch between the traditional word press builder and the drag and drop visiual builder.
Divi maintains an abundant knowledge base. This big learning platform increases radically with thousands of third party tutorials.
Money wise, I bought a lifetime liscence at a very reasonable price. Divi is priced fairly. A couple times a year, Elegant Themes throws a sale and creates exceptional value.
Content Delivery Network-Absolutely Not!
Content Delivery Network: No!
I am a local business in the US with a local customer base using a local website host. No reason to pay a CDN to increase website speed in Asia or Europe. I’ll spend this money on other, better speed improvement tools. I gave Cloudflare CDN (free version) a trial. After months of monitoring my load time, Cloudflare consistently slowed my site locally. Maybe it sped up my site across the world. But, that is not my customer base.
Click here for my brief rant on CDNs.
Web Host: InMotionHostting
InMotionHosting has been an excellent host. Extremely good support. Extensive written knowledge base. In the past, speed was superior. However, I began experiencing a long delay on my contact form. When I would submit an email through the contact form (as a User Experience test), I would wait, and wait and wait for a confirmation that the email successfully transfered. This lead me to closely monitor my page load times. Seventy five percent of the time, load times ranged from .8 to 1.4 seconds. My home page consists of 2 megs of data (lots of photos). But, 25% of my tests resulted in pathetic load times ranging from 7 to 10 seconds. I was unable to identify a cause from waterfall charts. InMotionHosting had no answer. Their server is located in Los Angeles. Maybe the problem is latency from overcrowded networks in southern California?
Footnote: After leaving InmotionHosting I learned the long wait time for submitting an email was caused by a host spam filter. Still, no answer for the random, slow loading pages.
Decision: Got to Change
With the problem continuing for two months, it was time to search for an new host. Primary criteria for the host would be a local data center to reduce latency, high reliability, and fast servers. My traffic is relatively low, a couple hundred unique visitors each month, so shared hosting fits my needs. But, I want a host that would guarantee other sites on my shared server would not hog resources and slow down my site. I wasn’t set on finding the cheapest service, but looking for a fair value.
I built a simple test site on my first the candidate host site. The first host was a disaster. After two weeks I was still unable to get the website loaded for testing. I requested a refund. This was a hassle also. During the process of requesting a refund I realized the cost was 15 bucks for a year of hosting. Insanely cheap. I couldn’t hold a grudge or trash talk the host with a price like that.
Found a Quickie: MonsterMegs Webhost
My second choice, MonsterMegs, has turned out to be fantastic. They have earned my trust. I was reluctant to leave InMotionHosting because of their customer service. The crappy load times may or may not be in their control. I just know the poor load times are real.
Now, after 60 days of running a test site with MonsterMegs web hosting, I am ready to migrate from InMotionHosting. My 2 mg test page loads consistently in the range of .9 seconds to 1.4 seconds. Very similar to InMotionHosting, but without the 25% of slow, crippling load times.
MonsterMegs customer service is by ticket only. No phone or chat. The tech department is available 24/7. I requested technical help twice. Both times I received excellent service. Instead of pointing me to an article on how to complete my task, MonsterMegs just went ahead and did it for me. Sweet! Their written knowledge base seems small, but growing.
This year my priority has shifted from web hosting customer service to web hosting speed.
MonsterMegs servers are fast. Hardware incpludes NVMe SSD hard drives and Intel Xeon Platinum 8260Y scalable processors, 128GB DDR4 ram, and a quick 10 GBPS port. NVMe drives are the latest in hard drive technology, offering twice the speed of the latest SSD hard drives.
On the software side, MonsterMegs uses LiteSpeed Web Server, CloudLinux and CPanel- Control Panel. One hazard I find unacceptable is a web host company placing my webiste on an overcrowed, overrsold server. MonsterMegs claims CloudLinux is set to guarantee my site always has 100% use of a single core processor.
In the competitive world of website hosting, claims are exagerated (IMHO they are frickin lies). What do the accolades above really mean? I don’t know. I am not an expert in these things. But, I can read a GTMetrixwebsite speedtest report. My website with MonsterMegs consistently loads fast.
WP Fastest Cache
I am saying it gain, I am not a tech genius. But, I can open any webpage, especially mine, in a bowser and decide if it is too slow. I can also read a website speedtest report. WP Fastest Cache is faster than the other cache plugins I have tried, including Litespeed WP. WP Fastest Cache is simple to use. The freemium version worked so much better than the others, I purchased the premium. Premium covers mobile. Freemium does not. I like the guy’s business model- perfect it then let the customer set it and forget it. When updates are required, they are easy and seemless through WordPress.
The Finish Line
Another successful DIY adventure. It is possible to find a local webhost with fast speed and reliability. MonsterMegs is a winner.
Rant about Free CDNS
If you have a free Cloudflare account and have not notice an improvement in web page loading speed, or suspect slower speeds, you’re in good company.
I remember a Cloudflare article explaining that with a free plan, I was not guaranteed to have my website served by a local server/ data center. I can no longer find the article. Maybe it has been taken down or, my research skills are lacking. In my opinion Cloudflare’s motivation for offering free service isn’t to speed up your site, but to collect your data. Use of Cloudflare lets them peer into your web stats and traffic. Fact: Cloudflare serves up more web traffic than Facebook. Private data is the king of commodities.
Off with their heads.