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How Hosting Affects Site Speed: Why it Matters

Michael Ericsson
|
January 18, 2018

Why does it matter?

SEO - Page-load speed has been a factor in SEO’s Ranking Index since 2010 and more recently announced in their Google Mobile-First Index. It’s essential to make your site as fast and accessible as possible.

UX - The impact of page-load speed is—in our opinion—just as import than its effect on Google rankings. Studies have shown that slow load times lead to user abandonment and decreased conversion rates.

Web hosting effects page load speed

When you browse a site and load a webpage, you are mainly running programs on—and opening files from—a remote computer (the webserver). The faster that remote equipment is, the faster the webpage can be loaded. There are three primary tasks the webserver has to complete:

Executing Code - At the most basic level, whenever a browser needs a file hosted on a web server, the browser requests the file via HTTP. When the request reaches the correct web server (hardware), the HTTP server (software) accepts a request and finds the requested document.

Running Database Quires - for any CMS-based website, the website code will have to run database queries to retrieve the webpage content from a database.

Server files - Once the webpage content is retrieved from the database, the web site's data are sent to the browser as a series of small chunks called data packets.

Why we host our sites with Webflow

Time to First Byte (TTFB)

When someone selects your website from Google, their web browser requests information—or bytes—from a server. TTFB is the number of milliseconds it takes for a browser to receive the first byte of the response from your web server. Sites hosted on Webflow use Fastly CDN to deliver the first HTML document.

Infographic showing how time to first bite (TTFB) works.

CDN (Content Delivery Network)

CDN distributes your files throughout data centres worldwide, then delivers them to visitors via the nearest data centre. This means snappy page-loads for all your visitors—worldwide. Amazon Web Services (AWS) Cloudfront delivers your site’s assets to you from even more locations (or, PoPs, for “Points of Presence”). This ensures that images and videos will also load exceptionally fast.

Infographic showing the difference between CDN and non-CDN web hosting.

HTTP/2

Webflow’s hosting is HTTP/2 compliant. This means that your browser can receive requests over multiple connections, not just one. Rather than the browser having to go back to the server to fetch every single resource, it's picking up all the resources and transferring them at once.

Minify CSS, JavaScript, and HTML

Minification works by analyzing and rewriting the text-based parts of a website to reduce its overall file size. Minification extends to scripts, style sheets, and other components that the web browser uses to render the site.

infographic showing standard human readable website codes vs a minified version.

Optimized images

Webflow automatically scales, compresses and optimizes online images for every device—at every resolution. So your pages load up to 10 times faster.

Infographic showing how image scale for desktop vs mobile.