Optimizing your server enables you to enhance its speed and overall performance. Countless businesses use a variety of techniques to optimize their servers and ensure they meet their websites’ functionality, availability, and accessibility requirements. Server optimization has a direct impact on a website’s main functions, but how does it work?
We’ll take an in-depth look at optimizing servers below, covering the benefits, key techniques, and essential server optimization tips to help you get started.
Server Optimization Explained
Server optimization encompasses a number of processes intended to boost a server’s application configuration, the efficiency of its data processing, its overall speed, and general performance. Organizations can utilize certain optimization methods that allow them to build and maintain an application delivery network that operates at its best.
Why Should You Try Server Optimization?
Servers play a crucial role in a website’s function. Whenever a user enters any webpage on a site, the web server receives a request to show that specific page. The server will process this request and present the relevant response to the user. The server’s performance characteristics determine the speed and overall quality of this response.
Simply investing in hardware packed with the latest features won’t always enable companies to meet their expectations, and it can’t solve all of a server’s issues either. That’s why server optimization is so important.
Here are five signs that a company needs to use server optimization:
- Their site is unresponsive, even if only on an intermittent basis.
- Webpages take longer to load than they should.
- Users encounter server issues that affect their experience and potentially affect sales.
- Conversion rates drop, signalling a problem with speed and/or performance.
- Specific applications (e.g. VoIP) struggle to run properly.
In any of these scenarios, it’s highly likely that the server has become overloaded and is unable to complete key functions. The website’s availability will continue to get worse, and the server will be unable to accommodate its usual flow of traffic.
What are the Top Server Optimization Methods?
Organizations can try numerous server optimization techniques to boost their server speed and performance. In this section, we’ll look at some of the most popular and effective options:
One of the most effective server optimization tips is to enable caching. This involves storing a website’s present versions on the hosting server and providing users with these until the site gets updated. As they have been cached, pages have no need to send database requests every single time.
Caches can be enabled in multiple locations, including:
- Memory cache
- HTTP cache
- Application cache
- OpCode cache
During server virtualization, software is used to split a physical server into numerous virtual servers. Those virtual servers are isolated, and are capable of independently running their own operating systems. With server virtualization, physical servers can run a number of operating systems and servers simultaneously.
Database optimization is a way to cut database systems’ response times and boost a website’s performance. The databases provide information kept in a related hierarchical structure designed to ensure content can be arranged and extracted in a simple way.
Content Delivery Network
A content delivery network (CDN) is a group of servers based in different locations, all working harmoniously to deliver various types of online content including:
- HTML pages
Today, CDNs serve the majority of web traffic from major sites like Netflix and Facebook. With the right configuration, CDN can also keep sites safe from common cyber attacks (e.g. ransomware or botnet attacks).
Optimize Image Sizing
Images add weight to webpages and reduce their speed. But they’re a critical element of an engaging, visually satisfying website, whether presenting data or showcasing products. So, what can you do?
Image optimization enables you to increase the speed of a site and enhance its performance: it cuts the amount of space required to keep those images and means they consume less of a user’s bandwidth overall.
Use Fewer Plugins
Plugins are vital for websites, bringing new third-party features that enhance functionality. However, using more plugins means you need more resources to get the most out of them. Your websites will start to slow down and you may experience security problems too.
Fortunately, you can either turn off or delete non-essential plugs to achieve better performance and speed.
Taking Advantage of Prefetching
Prefetching is a popular method of reading and undertaking site instructions before a user initiates them. As it’s assumed behavior on the user’s part, today’s best browsers enable prefetching as standard.
While prefetching is certainly useful, intensive analysis of user behavior is essential to ensure assumptions are precise. Three key forms of prefetching are available:
- Link prefetching
- DNS prefetching
Use Fewer Redirects
When relocating or deleting pages, redirects are vital. They’re the most effective way to avoid issues related to broken links. However, excessive redirects can lead to extra HTTP requests and ultimately reduce speed (especially for mobile users). Getting rid of non-essential redirects can improve performance and speed significantly.
Using the Best Hosting
A fast web host is fundamental to achieve quality optimization. You can choose from three types of hosting:
The latter is the most popular, most cost-effective option. But it’s not as quick as the others as you’re sharing server resources with other clients’ websites. VPS and dedicated servers tend to be significantly faster as a result.