In the process improve response of the site and help your SEO team
There is a diverse ecosystem of web sites out there running on different platforms but for the most part the base infrastructure they sit on is either Windows IIS server or Linux Apache and/or Tomcat server depending on the version of Linux OS you are running. You could also be hosting the application on Apache Tomcat on a Windows server and cache configuration would be similar to what you have to do on a Linux environment.
Whether you are running a simple WordPress blog, your company’s web site or hosting a web site for a customer most likely in the mind of the business team to a certain extent using the site as a marketing tool will be on everyone’s mind. Besides that point when building and/or hosting a web site, performance is one of the top items everyone is looking for.
Sometimes mainly for WordPress bloggers your performance is limited by the bandwidth you are willing to pay for, that means that your ISP will be throttling your bandwidth based on the hosting package you are paying for.
That’s not our case. If you get a vm with us either hosting Windows 2012 or Linux CentOs or Ubuntu you’ll have access to the pipe available to us in our data centers. You are looking at somewhere between 50Mbs and 100Mbs.
That’s similar to what you get with other cloud providers such as Azure, AWS, Rackspace and others. The big difference between them and us is that with us you pay a fix monthly fee for the use of the resources and with other cloud providers your monthly fee varies based on the power/resource utilization and that includes usually the amount of processing power per vm and outbound bandwidth utilization. That in broad terms means that you never know what your exact monthly cost will be.
Anyway, returning to the topic. The tips in this article will only help those hosting on their own vps like the ones you can get from iPage or Goddady and the like or if you are using the services of a cloud provider like us or the ones mentioned above. If that’s not your case then you are pretty much stuck with what you have.
Evaluating performance and tracking performance improvement
The first thing you are going to want to do is to find out what the performance base line is for the web site you are testing. The point is to have a value against which you can compare whether you are achieving any improvements as you apply your infrastructure and application changes.
There are a couple of tools I use which not just provide detailed information on the different performance issues and provide tips on what to improve but they also give me an idea of what the actual search engines are going to “think” of it.
The first tool is called GTmetrix. This is a web site that provides SEO tools. You can test the performance of your web site for free and if you decide to use the additional tools they have available you can signup for it.
These tools analyze one page at a time. Just type in the url for example to the index page of your web site. We have to start somewhere why not from the beginning right?
If you click analyze it will start testing the performance and in a couple of minutes will display the overall performance of that page and detailed information concerning the different items causing the page to respond slowly. It also shows the potential causes for the low performance and offers tips on what you should do to improve it.
The other tool you can use to measure the performance of your pages is the PageSpeed you can find in Google’s Webmaster Tools. If you are doing this adjustments with SEO in mind then you should also use this tool because of course it gives you the sense of how Google’s search engine perceives the performance of you site to be.
Now that we have a way to measure the performance of the pages we are testing and obtain a baseline to validate the performance improvements we can start working on making the necessary changes both to the infrastructure and to the application in order to improve the performance score.
If you are specifically looking for SEO tips you should have a look at the resources below:
To not make this article even longer I’ll discuss the second part the changes you can make to your environment and application in order to improve performance.