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Website loads very slowly on first visit

simondcoll 3 years ago in Server / General Server Setup 0
Hi there,
I signed up to the Launch plan with my Wordpress site (www.simondcoll.com) a few days ago, and after carrying out a few speed tests I've noticed that the site often loads very slowly for the initial visit. Dotcom-Monitor, for example, has the site taking up to 18 seconds to load when requested from London, Montreal, Seattle and a couple of other locations, with an average of 7.1 seconds. This drops to 1.8 seconds or under for repeat visits. Other tests (Google PageSpeed Insights, GTmetrix, Pingdom, etc.) give the site a decent rating, but their free tests generally only test from one location, so they may be lucking out. Loading the site on my own devices is also pretty slow initially (I'm based in London).

I've gone through and acted on quite a lot of advice for speeding up the site, and have optimized all images, configured W3 Total Cache and so on, so I was wondering if there was anything that could be done server-side to improve things? I realize there's a limit to what can be done with shared hosting, but if I'm missing a trick (is it possible to set up origin caching on shared hosting, for instance?), I'd be massively grateful if you could let me know.
Hello Simondcoll, Sorry for the problem with site load times from different locations. The performance sites you've mentioned like GTmetrix (which uses Pagespeed), typically look at the site to see if the structure of the site can be optimized to increase website performance. This is not taking into account possible network issues that can also be a factor in the website access speeds. Additionally, in looking at your performance marks, they fail you for non-use of a CDN for delivery of your website media. It's possible that the load times from a distant location such as London may be taking time to access media before it can show the page. Having it load from a central server location instead of a distributed server system (i.e. CDN), can result in some latency when the page loads. The improvement in load times after repeated testing is normally the result of local caching since the media does not have to be loaded again. You should be aware that since you are on a shared server account, that the server's resources are distributed across multiple accounts. This means that although you may have implemented optimization for your website, there may be times when resources such as CPU or memory is limited. This, combined with the issues of loading media files and possible latency through network access could be the main reason for your slow load times. If the site is loading quickly from one location and not from another, then it does mean that the issue isn't typically server-side. This can also indicate latency in the network route from the other location. If you run a traceroute from that location to the router, then you can check to see what may be causing that issue. If you want control over all the resources for a website that must have them when needed, then you need to upgrade to a VPS or dedicated server. It's also recommended that you look into finding a CDN solution such as Amazon's S3 or other options. I hope this helps to address the issues you're seeing. If you require further assistance, then I recommend speaking with an experienced web developer to evaluate the issue. You can also directly contact someone like Gtmetrix for further advice. If you have any further questions, please let us know. Kindest regards, Arnel C.