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10 common causes of slow loading websites


slow loading websites

When you set out to make a website, it can be tempting to jump right into the aesthetics elements that make a site wow-worthy. But if it takes ages to load, your visitors might bail before they even see your design. In fact, poor performance can even affect whether people can find your site as all, since search engines penalize slow-loading websites. Therefore, you need to bake performance optimization into every step of the website building and managing process.


No idea where to start? Not to worry—we’ll walk you through common site speed mistakes that lead to slow-loading websites, then offer suggestions for resolving them.


Want to build a site that's speedy from the get-go? Start your engines with Wix's website builder.



10 common reasons behind slow-loading websites




reasons for slow-loading websites


01. Your servers aren’t reliable


The server is like the engine of a website, and if it's not up to the task, your website's performance can suffer. Your choice of web hosting can profoundly influence how quickly your web pages load for users. A subpar server, such as shared hosting with limited resources or an outdated server infrastructure, can result in frustratingly slow load times. To address this issue, it's crucial that you find a reliable hosting provider to host your website.


Wix invests heavily in server infrastructure and technology to ensure high uptime and reliability. We monitor our servers 24/7 and use redundant systems to minimize downtime.


Additionally, we’ve designed our server infrastructure to handle websites of all sizes—from small personal websites to enterprise-level online stores—so you don’t have to worry about switching to another hosting provider when you make it big.


Get free website hosting services from Wix.



02. Your server is far


When your website is hosted on a single server in one location, users accessing it from distant places encounter longer data travel distances, resulting in increased network latency and sluggish load times. This setup can also lead to traffic congestion during peak usage, server overloads and a higher vulnerability to cyberattacks like DDoS.


To resolve this issue, you can use a Content Delivery Network (CDN), which is essentially a network of servers thoughtfully positioned around the world. These servers work in tandem with the origin server, the host of your website's content.


The magic happens when the CDN caches your website's content and spreads it out across these geographically diverse servers. Consequently, when a user from, say, South America visits your site, a server nearby is delivering the content rather than one that’s halfway around the globe. This minimizes data travel distance and accelerates load times.


Wix comes equipped with a globally distributed CDN of its own, so you don’t need to worry about hiring an external provider. This CDN is strategically designed to deliver your website's content rapidly and efficiently, irrespective of where your users are located. By utilizing this internal CDN, Wix effectively minimizes network latency and ensures that your site loads swiftly for users around the globe. This approach simplifies the process for website owners, as you don't need to configure or manage an external CDN separately—it's all seamlessly integrated into the Wix hosting experience.



03. You haven't enabled caching


When you're fine-tuning your website configuration, enabling web content caching can help to speed up load times. Caching essentially allows web content, such as images, scripts and style sheets, to be stored locally on a user's device after they've initially accessed your site. This means that the next time they visit your site, the browser can retrieve these assets from the local cache rather than having to download every single asset all over again. It's like having a well-organized file cabinet at your fingertips, with frequently used documents readily available.


Caching lessens stress on your website's infrastructure while improving site performance. Wix enables caching automatically, but you can choose to disable it if you need to make real-time, dynamic content updates or perform extensive, on-the-fly data processing that can't be cached effectively.



04. Your media files are heavy


While it might be tempting to decorate your site with large, intricate illustrations or images, beware: heavy media files like high-resolution images and videos can stealthily sabotage your website's load times. These large files, while visually impressive, can slow down load times and hinder the overall user experience.


By optimizing heavy files and employing best practices for media management, you can maintain a visually stunning website while ensuring swift load times. Here are some strategies for doing so:


  • Compress your images: Reduce the size of images without sacrificing quality by using image compression tools. These tools remove unnecessary data from image files, making them smaller and quicker to load. Popular options include Squoosh for PNG images and mozJPEG for JPEG images. If you’re a Wix user, you don’t need to worry about this as the website builder automatically optimizes images for speed and quality.

  • Use modern image formats: Embrace modern image formats like WebP and AVIF, specifically designed for web use. These formats offer high-quality images at smaller file sizes. WebP, in particular, is supported by all modern browsers, making it an excellent choice for web graphics. Wix automatically converts images to modern image formats, like WebP, resulting in smaller image sizes.

  • Size your images for different screen sizes: Display images in the appropriate resolution for the user's device. There's no need to load a high-resolution image on a mobile screen when a lower resolution suffices. Wix users don’t need to worry about this step because the website builder automatically optimizes desktop websites for mobile, which includes the adjustment of image sizes.

  • Consider alternative media: GIFs are a crowd-pleaser, but they are very heavy files. But that doesn’t mean you have to ban animation from your site. Animated WebP or looped HTML5 videos are more efficient and can provide the same visual impact without slowing down your site.



05. You haven't optimized your site for mobile


In the age of mobile browsing, catering to on-the-go visitors is a non-negotiable aspect of web design. When your website doesn't perform well on mobile devices, it's not only frustrating for users but can also harm your search engine rankings. Google, in particular, prioritizes mobile-friendliness when indexing and ranking websites.


When a website is not adequately optimized for mobile devices, it often relies on larger image and media files that are designed for desktop screens. These hefty files can overwhelm mobile devices, causing longer load times. Additionally, improper mobile optimization may involve inefficient coding practices, resulting in clunky and non-responsive layouts.


Wix's mobile optimization doesn't stop at decluttering the user interface. It also adjusts layouts to different screen sizes while giving you the option to make tweaks as needed in the mobile editor. This guarantees that visitors accessing your site from smartphones and tablets encounter a smooth and visually appealing experience. With Wix, you can count on your website looking and functioning its best, no matter where your audience is coming from, and that's a win-win for both users and search engines alike.


Pro tip: Wix has a Site Speed Dashboard that allows users to analyze your site’s performance for both desktop and mobile.



Wix's site speed dashboard can help you figure out why you have a slow loading website


06. You aren't using lazy loading


This may sound technical, but it's a vital concept in web performance optimization. Synchronous loading is when a page is loaded from top to bottom which basically just means users will essentially be staring at a blank page until the whole page is fully loaded.


To address the issue of synchronous loading and speed up website performance, web developers often employ techniques like asynchronous loading and lazy loading. These methods load the images at the top of the page first, then load the other images as users scroll through the page, resulting in faster, more responsive websites.


Wix automatically enables lazy loading so that your website loads quickly and seamlessly.


07. You're using third-party plugins


Third-party plugins, although valuable for extending your website's functionality, can often serve as an Achilles' heel for website speed and performance. Too many plugins can slow down your site, especially if any particular plugin requires a lot of resources to load.


Another challenge stems from the unpredictability of third-party plugin performance. Plugins are developed and maintained by external providers, and the speed at which they load can be affected by various factors, such as the server's response time, network conditions and the efficiency of the plugin's code. This unpredictability can lead to inconsistent loading times, making it difficult to ensure a consistent and speedy user experience.


To avoid these issues, be selective of the plugins you add to your site. Only keep the ones that are absolutely essential, or choose from apps that are fully integrated into your website builder (such as the ones in the Wix App Market). If you’ve installed a plugin that you rarely use, remove it.


It’s also worth finding a website builder that has essential tools built into its platform to limit your dependency on third-party plugins. For example, if you're an online seller, Wix’s eCommerce solution includes native payment solutions as well as inventory tools, multichannel tools and more to cover all of your bases. You don’t necessary need to install another app to get started; you can launch your store directly from Wix and only add plugins if and when you need to.



08. Your hosting provider has a low uptime rate

Uptime is the percentage of time a web server has been working and available. Ideally, the uptime should be 100%, meaning there is no time when your web infrastructure is unavailable. That’s almost impossible to achieve, because factors like hardware failures, software updates and unexpected traffic surges can throw a wrench into the smoothest-running servers. So, you just want to find a provider that gets as close as possible.


Wix stands out by eliminating the need for maintenance windows, ensuring uninterrupted access and functionality. This exceptional site reliability results in Wix websites consistently achieving an impressive 99.98% uptime. Wix employs a multi-cloud hosting approach, distributing workloads across global data centers to enhance performance and guard against localized disruptions. As a result, Wix sites load swiftly and efficiently, and remain unaffected by potential regional outages.





09. Your CMS is outdated


When your content management system (CMS) lags behind in updates, it not only fails to keep up with the latest technological advancements but also exposes your website to a series of risks:

  • Security vulnerabilities: Outdated CMS versions are known targets for cybercriminals. They exploit vulnerabilities in the software to gain unauthorized access, compromise your website's security and potentially steal sensitive data or inject malicious content.

  • Compatibility issues: Modern web browsers and devices evolve rapidly. An outdated CMS may not be fully compatible with these new technologies, leading to functionality issues, rendering problems and an overall subpar user experience.

  • Performance deterioration: An outdated CMS often lacks the performance optimizations present in newer versions. This results in slower load times, decreased responsiveness and potential loss of website visitors who expect seamless and efficient browsing.

  • SEO impacts: Search engines favor websites with updated and secure CMS systems. An outdated CMS can hinder your site's search engine ranking, making it less visible to potential visitors.


Wix offers automatic CMS updates and maintenance, allowing you to focus on creating content. You can breathe easy knowing that Wix will keep your website secure, up-to-date and running smoothly.



A high-quality CMS is essential for fixing a slow-loading website


10. You're experiencing high traffic


Imagine your website suddenly becomes the talk of the internet, attracting a flood of visitors due to viral content or a successful ad campaign. While this surge in traffic can be a cause for celebration, it can also strain server resources and lead to frustratingly slow load times if your website isn't prepared.


To navigate this scenario, the first step is to analyze the root cause of the traffic spike, making sure that it's not a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack. If it's determined that the spike is legitimate, the next step is to check that your web hosting plan is able to handle that extra load—and can scale with your business. Scalable web hosting plans allow you to temporarily boost your server's hardware resources to manage unexpected traffic surges.


However, if you anticipate regular spikes in website traffic, it's prudent to proactively enhance your server infrastructure. This entails selecting a more robust hosting plan that offers servers capable of handling increased loads.


Wix simplifies this process by automatically scaling its infrastructure to meet traffic demands. With Wix's enterprise-grade scalability, your website can grow seamlessly, ensuring visitors enjoy consistent and speedy performance, even during periods of heightened traffic.

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