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Slow Loading Site

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8 replies to this topic

#1 madams


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Posted 27 February 2010 - 05:51 AM


I purchased a cms site, after a lot of research and it seemed the perfect choice for my needs.

I soon realised there was a problem. The main pages take 1 minute 20 seconds to load in a browser.

This was due to the yearly calendars that are essential to the site pages. I made a test and removed the calendars and the page loads in 20 seconds.

I contacted my host and they tell me nothing is wrong their end and they checked the slow load logs and found no problems. They suggested it was a software issue.

I contacted the software provider and they tell me
Our team confirmed the problem
was in your low-performance server (overloaded)

How can I tell if my host server is "low performance" or "overloaded"? Is there some sort of test I can send to the server to check the load times?

Example page here...

#2 Randy


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Posted 27 February 2010 - 01:34 PM

Don't ya just love it when they start blaming each other and you're stuck in the middle? lol.gif

Assuming you do not have shell access, there are some PHP scripts available out there that should show you the server load average. They would help you determine if there is a CPU load issue. The problem is they're not going to tell you why there's a load issue. It could be anything ranging from the hardware in the server (such as lack of RAM Memory or older, less powerful CPU) all the way to badly a constructed script or a badly optimized MySQL database that is eating up more resources than necessary.

Without having admin or root level access to the server via shell it's probably going to be pretty difficult to figure out the root cause.

Given the symptoms you've laid out, I would lean more towards the latter since simply removing the calendar calls removes the page load problem.

Is there a way you can remove the multiple calendars loading each time a page is loaded and instead have a link that fires to bring up certain months? I'm thinking something like have the current month and maybe the month coming up next display, and offer links to load additional months. This could even be done as an Ajax routine so that the whole page didn't need to load again, just the calendar portion, if you wanted to get a little Web 2.0.

#3 rogerbauer


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Posted 27 February 2010 - 08:11 PM

Good stuff, Randy.

I agree and would add to that: before you sign up with a host, ask to see reference sites (if they don't already have them publicly listed) then check out some of those sites. I realize the host provider has already been selected and (likely) paid already in this case, but doing a bit of due diligence before going with a host can save some headaches like this.

Reason I say this: a former partner used to frequently suggest we put sites on one of his friend's servers to give him some business, but the sites on his friend's servers take forever to load so no dice.

Google is paying closer attention to load time so it's not worth the risk to save a few bucks anymore.

#4 Mooro


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Posted 28 February 2010 - 03:49 AM

Google might be looking closer at load times but pay some respect first to your visitors before you think of Google!

Personally speaking, a few seconds wait and I'm away from a page. In the time it takes your page to load the James Villas website has let me find a property and presented me with a full quote and book now button.

Speed is an abandonment nightmare, conversion and bounce rate killer.

1: Get firefox http://getfirefox.com/
2: Get Firebug http://getfirebug.com/
3: Get Google's Page Speed http://code.google.c...eed/page-speed/
4: Get Yahoo's ySlow http://developer.yahoo.com/yslow/
5: Bookmark http://www.webpagetest.org/test

Here's what I've picked up on your site in no time with ySlow:

This page has 13 external Javascript scripts. Try combining them into one.
This page has 12 external stylesheets. Try combining them into one.
This page has 9 external background images. Try combining them with CSS sprites.
There is 1 stylesheet found in the body of the document
There are 73 static components without a far-future expiration date.
There are 3040 DOM elements on the page

Once the client side is efficient then work on a server side cache to reduce the load times and server stress even more.

I've run a webpagetest.org report for you:



If you're thinking it's impossible to get green ticks on 99% of things see this: http://www.webpagete...lt/100228_5G6W/ - that report was run from a different continent to where the server is and still delivers a page quickly.

In terms of speeding up the code I see you're using PHP so this might be handy: http://phptutorial.b...ation-tips.html

These performance optimisations are not for Google, they are for users. Speeding up your site will have a positive effect for those using it!

If you take all of the tips from the tools above into acount and it's still slow it would suggest your host is to blame. Still, rule out any possible issues on your side and see how it goes.

Totally seperate note, I find it bad you disabled right click. You have no right to disable any of my browser features, what if I were a disabled user who used right click as a primary means of navigation?

#5 hittjw


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Posted 28 February 2010 - 10:30 AM

Even at 20 seconds a page load is slow. You really ought to be in the single digit seconds.

You said you purchased a CMS package, why not contact them first? Find out what type of hosting they recommend, if they have any benchmarking options that can be enabled (something to tell you how fast it talks to the database.)

If you are in a shared hosting environment, then your server could be overloaded. However, unless you are at some third-tier provider, your site doesn't look that complex.

Use the Mozilla plug-in YSlow to see if slow on the the browser side. If database and hosting performance is okay, you could have issues with how the page is rendering. I noticed some elements loaded slower than others.

Many things can cause poor performance, it's just a matter of systematically timing parts until you find the slow ones.



#6 madams


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Posted 02 March 2010 - 08:13 AM


My host say... (I have been with them 10 years and they always respond quickly)

The server is not under high load, high CPU usage, or high disk I/O. And it's not caused by bad SQL queries. There are a few factors affecting your site:

First, there's your use of PHP sessions. This is how the server keeps track of visitors to your site; there's a session file on the server for each visitor.

Imagine that this file is like a baton in a relay race. Each hit to a PHP file has to have exclusive rights to the session file, because only one can write to the file at a time. By having multiple PHP page hits occur on the page, each one has to wait in turn for the file.

Second, some of your PHP pages read an image file and then send it to the client. This can be much slower than having the server send the image, and the PHP code is also disabling caching on the client which forces it to hit the file over and over again instead of storing it locally. Take a look at this for an example:

http://www.spain-holiday-sun.com/holidays/photo_view_photo _big.php?photo=30456

Additionally, your use of ionCube may have an impact, but we are unable to evaluate its impact on your site, because disabling it causes your site to cease functioning.

While it is a shared hosting environment, and PHP is running as a CGI (which adds startup overhead to a script), we have many other customers with PHP-driven sites on the same server, and they are not experiencing any of the page load issues that you are seeing.

Not sure what I can do personally about the above.

The developers say...

Your webserver seemed overloaded
and therefore the resources are shared with other servers. To test, we can prove this.
How about to test it on our trial server? You can transfer the domain name and use
our nameservers :... Then you can see if it is working fast on our trial server or not.

I like the idea of testing the site on a different server, But not sure what the implications are with transferring my domain name over, and then back if it has the same problem.

I am using all my time trying to solve this problem and not doing the the things I should be sad.gif(

#7 Jill


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Posted 02 March 2010 - 10:11 AM

When I looked at it, it definitely felt like a problem with those calendars not the server.

But that wasn't scientific, just my opinion from having viewed millions of web pages in the past.

#8 madams


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Posted 02 March 2010 - 10:29 AM

Yes Jill, I think your right

A couple of years ago I hired a coder to make some calendars for me for my old site.

I have tested putting the old calendars on the new site property pages and they load really fast.

Problem is, at that time I was the only one updating the calendars.

On the new site, clients can update their own via login admin. So im going to have to learn how to implement the old into the new site.

Or go directly to rentacoder (dot) com

#9 hittjw


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Posted 02 March 2010 - 11:19 PM

QUOTE(madams @ Mar 2 2010, 08:13 AM) View Post
My host say... (I have been with them 10 years and they always respond quickly)

Your hosting provider is right on the money! That's a really poor way to handle user session information. It also sounds like the CMS application is doing a lot of extra work with images. Your programmer on the other hand either has limited skills, or is trying to cover {his,her} butt. Good sleuthing.



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