The Art of Fast Websites

The Art of Fast Websites

Ready to learn the tricks we use to make our websites super fast, faster than any famous CDN provider around the world?

The typical WordPress website struggles to load within 1 second. But websites powered by Website World use enhanced caching technologies to deliver near instant speeds of between 50 and 200 milliseconds from all corners of the globe. 

How Do We Achieve These Amazing Speeds?

It's really quite simple; we have a simple "publish" button, that will push websites changes around the world. This process pushes your pages and images as close as possible to where end users reside, wherever that is in the world. This may sound like an ordinary Content Delivery Service (CDN), but really it's quite different. A CDN only caches popular pages, and only for a short time. It then needs to go back to the origin server to load the latest version of the page (even if that page has not been changed in months, it cannot tell the difference).

What Is An "Origin Server"?

An origin server is the location where your website resides. Some people think their website resides "in the cloud" or "on the internet", but really it doesn't. Your websites will be hosted on a particular server, in a particular data center, somewhere in the world. That location really affects your speed. A page load from London to NZ or vice versa, will take approximately 500ms on average for the data to travel around the globe. If your web host can distribute your website via a CDN, that will speed up your website for sure, but never as much as a published mirror.

The hit rate on a CDN cache, is often less than 70%, meaning 3 out of 10 requests go back to the origin server. In fact, that statistic is misleading, because the typical wordpress website sets a session cookie, and thereafter, every page request goes back to the origin server. Only images and static resources are cached by the CDN.  

Why Are WordPress Websites Particularly Slow?

WordPress websites are quite amazing, because there are so many plugins to do all sorts of different things. WordPress has been designed to make it easy to add all sorts of features to your website, and mix and match the plugins. However, the websites generated by having lots of Wordpress Plugins actually slow down your website. Some plugins are worse than others. Likewise, you can add caching plugins like WP Rocket, and W3 Total Cache, that will speed up your website, but they will never deliver the speeds that the native Website World platform can deliver with static content pushed to edge nodes. This is especially so because most WordPress websites generate session cookies, when they are not needed. 

What Is A Session Cookie?

A session cookie can be used to monitor a visitor session, to track their navigation, to maintain a shopping cart, or to maintain a login session. Ideally, you should not create cookies until a user adds an item to a cart, or logs in. If you use third party tracking cookies, then that will affect the speed of the tracking service, but not your own. The concern around session cookies relates only to how CDNs default to passing cookie related requests back to origin servers. 

Other Speed Mechanisms

Website World also uses many other secret tricks to speed up it's websites. We have all the typical settings like http2 keep alive and automatic gzip compression, but check out some of these others 

  • We automatically combine and compress all CSS files used by a webpage, saving server hits / bandwidth
  • We use very efficient javascript libraries, and only load the features required by a web page
  • The size of our HTML files is far smaller than a typical website generated by most other content management systems. Far, far smaller than Wix or WordPress.
  • We cache most of the database used by each website, so that pages are generated from in memory data. This is the reason our webpages are faster than WordPress, even when loaded from the origin server. Not even the best WordPress caching plugin will beat our native caching logic. 
  • We use the very best server architecture, with low CPU competition. Our servers average 5% CPU usage on average, and have more than enough RAM to ensure we never swap out to disk. Most of our RAM is dedicated to caching, not to page generation. 

Sample Speeds 

Sample speeds from around the world, independently tested by Hetrix Tools. 

  • Auckland ~ 30-100ms
  • Sydney ~ 30-100ms
  • Singapore ~ 30-100ms
  • London ~ 30-100ms 
  • Frankfurt ~ 30-100ms 
  • San Francisco ~ 30-100ms
  • Toronto ~ 30-100ms
  • New York ~ 100-200ms
  • Dallas ~ 100-200ms
  • Mumbai ~ 130-200ms
  • Moscow ~ 130-250ms
  • Tokyo ~ 100-200ms

Speeds below 100ms are typically within the same city as our edge nodes. Speeds from 100ms to 200ms relate to expectations of speeds within the same continent. 

Ready to take advantage of our super fast websites? You can! Grab yourself a free trial today - or if you already have a website hosted elsewhere, ask us to migrate it to our CMS for you!

Tags: web hosting  

Posted: Monday 15 July 2019