How can I optimize my website’s load times for desktop and mobile?

When browsing a website, a slow experience is a bad experience. To improve the performance of your website for both your mobile and desktop users, we recommend that clients utilize a CDN (Content Delivery Network)

What is a CDN?

A content delivery network (CDN) refers to a geographically distributed group of servers which work together to provide fast delivery of Internet content. A CDN allows for the quick transfer of assets needed for loading Internet content including HTML pages, javascript files, stylesheets, images, and videos. The popularity of CDN services continues to grow, and today the majority of web traffic is served through CDNs, including traffic from major sites like Facebook, Netflix, and Amazon.

To get a better idea of what a CDN is and how it works, please take a look at this page provided by CloudFlare: https://www.cloudflare.com/learning/cdn/what-is-a-cdn/

 

How to get started with Cloudflare CDN

Create an account and add a website

  1. Go to www.cloudflare.com and click the Signup link at the top of the page. 

  2. Create a Cloudflare account by typing your email address and password. Click Create account now to proceed

    Pro Tip: We recommend using an email alias or distribution list. For example, cloudflare@company.com. Billing and service-related email notifications will be sent to this email address.

  3. Enter the domain for your website and then click Add Site. It's not necessary to add "www" to the domain. For example, if your website is www.example.com, type example.com.

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  4. We will scan your domain's DNS records. This will take approximately 60 seconds to complete. Once the DNS scan has finished, click Next.

  5. Select a plan that fits your needs and then click Confirm Plan.

  6. A list of all the DNS records found is displayed, including your subdomains. In this step, you can decide which subdomains you want to enable Cloudflare () or bypass Cloudflare (). Some records, like MX, never go through Cloudflare (no cloud).

    If there are any additional records you'd like to add, you can add them here. After you've reviewed your DNS records, click Continue.

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  7. On the final step, you are given the Cloudflare nameservers for your domain. The Cloudflare nameservers are assigned to your domain and listed on this page.

Note: Please write down the Cloudflare nameservers. You can also find your Cloudflare nameservers in your Cloudflare dashboard under Overview.

Click Continue.

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Congratulations! You've successfully created your new Cloudflare account! But you're not done yet! The final step is to update the nameservers for your domain with the Cloudflare nameservers provided in the previous step.

You should now proceed to the Crypto tab of your new Cloudflare account to verify that Cloudflare's Universal SSL records have been provisioned for your domain. They should appear as two records in the Edge Certificates section: One for your root domain (example.com) and one wildcard subdomain record (*.example.com). Once you have verified that those are in place you are all set to serve SSL! If you do not see those records quite yet do not worry, they should be provisioned within 24 hours (please contact support@cloudflare.com if they are not). In the meantime, we would recommend Pausing Cloudflare until they are provisioned.

Note: Allow up to 72 hours for the nameserver information to propagate. You will receive a confirmation email from Cloudflare when the nameservers update is complete. Your site will not experience any downtime during this period.

Recommend Cloudflare Optimizations 

Once Cloudflare is enabled, we recommend that you enable the following on the "Speed" tab of the Cloudflare control panel.

  • Auto Minify - Javascript, CSS, HTML
    Enable Accelerated Mobile Links
    Enable Brotli Compression
    Enable Rocket Loader

Other Recommended Website Optimizations

Using a CDN is a great way to improve the speed of your website. However, it's not the only way to improve load times. It's possible to shave off time on page load by simply optimizing some of your website's resources. One resource, in particular, your photos, can often slow down a website quite a bit. This happens when a website uses really large uncompressed images. To combat this, it's smart to compress your images before you upload them to Gutensite. 

Here at Gutensite, we recommend that our clients use TinyJPG.com

To compress an image using TinyJPG, it's very easy. You simply browse to the website and upload the images you want to be compressed. Once done, you'll be provided a zip file of all the compressed mages to then be uploaded to Gutensite. 

 

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