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Fix Your Web Site Performance Problems

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Ivan Pepelnjak describes tools that can help you to analyze your website's performance, as well as several common configuration changes that can improve response times experienced by your non-broadband or international visitors.
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My article "Why Is My Website So Slow?" describes limitations of the Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) that can result in unacceptably long response times for non-broadband or global visitors to your website. To improve the website's performance for these visitors, you have to do the following:

  • Minimize the amount of information (HTML code, JavaScript files, CSS stylesheets, images) needed to display a web page in the browser.
  • Minimize the number of HTTP requests required to download all the necessary information.

This article describes a few guidelines that can significantly improve the response time of your website. However, before jumping into optimization tasks, you have to analyze the current structure of your website to select the areas that would benefit most from optimization activities. For example, it doesn't make sense to focus on reducing the size of your HTML code if each web page loads 10 long non-cacheable JavaScript files in the HEAD section of the web page. Fortunately, a number of free performance analysis/reporting tools are available to the web developers. The following sections cover some of my favorites.

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