Website load time is affected by tons of different factors, from the amount of images and pages on your site to the type of computer and Internet connection that the user loading it has. If your site is running slower than you'd like, there are a few things to consider.
Hosting - Shared vs. Managed vs. Optimized
The type of hosting that your site is on has a major impact on site speed. Your host is where you site lives and is probably a company like Dreamhost or Bluehost.
Many hosting companies offer different kinds of hosting, but the three main types you'll see are 1) Shared, 2) Managed, and 3) Optimized.
Shared hosting (like Dreamhost) is the cheapest - and slowest - type of hosting. Your site is sharing space on a server with lots of other sites, so if one of them is getting a lot of traffic, it could affect your site, either by making it slower or, even worse, taking it down for a period of time. Think of shared hosting like an apartment building - if someone starts a fire, it could very likely spread to your unit.
Managed hosting (like DreamPress) is an upgrade from shared hosting, and is often significantly faster than shared hosting. With managed hosting, your site is own server, so it can't be affected by what's going on with other sites. But with managed hosting, it's up to your own IT staff to optimize your server to make things run really great. Think of managed hosting like moving into a house on your own, but it's up to you to decorate and fix things.
Optimized hosting (like Pantheon) is where your website is where your website has its own server with lots of bells and whistles to make the site run much faster and efficiently. Optimized hosting also includes things like automatic scaling, so if your site is a lot more traffic than usual, your host will add servers to keep up with the load. Think of optimized hosting like moving into a house that's been fixed up and decorated just right for you, where help is always a phone call away.
Upgrading Your Hosting
If your site is running slowly, you may want to consider upgrading from Shared to Managed or Optimized hosting. Clients usually see a very significant increase in speed on their sites when they do so.
The cost of making a change in hosting depends on the complexity of your site. Feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for an estimate!
Using a Content Delivery Network (CDN)
If you're not ready to switch hosts just yet, a less intensive option is to begin using a Content Delivery Network, or CDN. A CDN stashes your content on servers around the world so that it can be served more quickly depending on a user's location. For example, if a user in London visits your site, it will be served to them from a server in London instead of one in New York.
Our favorite CDN is CloudFlare. We can typically set up and configure CloudFlare on your site in 3-4 hours of development time. If you're interested, get in touch at email@example.com.
Site Speed Audit
If you're still having trouble, or if you want us to consider other options, we can do a site speed audit for you. Upon completion of the audit, we'll provide you with recommendations on next steps to increase your site's speed. If you're interested in a site speed audit, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.