Better Site Speed: 4 Outside-the-Box Ideas

Posted by Tom-Anthony

Most of us have done site hurry examines, or realized investigations done by others. These can be really helpful for businesses, but I often find they’re quite restricted in focus. Typically we use well-known tools that throw up a knot of things to look at, and then we dive into things from there.

However, if we burrow deeper, there are often other ideas on how site rate further improved. I often experience plenty of possibilities that are never covered in site accelerate reviews. Most site rush improvements is the product of a assortment of small change, and so in this post I’m going to cover a few plans that I’ve never seen in any place fast inspection, all of which can make a difference.

A different slant on persona optimization Consider optimized SVGs over PNGs

I was recently looking to book some tickets to realize Frozen 2( because of, erm, my boys …) and so moored on this page. It concludes implement of three SVG idols for freight icons 😛 TAGEND

SVG idols are vector epitomes, so they’re well-suited for things like icons; if you have images exposed as PNGs you may want to ask your decorators for the original SVGs, as there can be considerable savings. Though not always better, exploiting an SVG can save 60% of the filesize.

In this case, these icons came to see you at about 1.2 k each, so they are quite small. They would probably fly under the radar of site velocity examinations( and neither Page Speed Insights or GTMetrix mention these portraits at all for this page ).

So you may be thinking, “They’re less than 5k compounded — you should look for bigger topics! ”, but let’s take a look. Firstly, we can run them all through Jake Archibald’s SVG compression tool; this is a great free implement and on larger SVGs it is capable of make a big difference.

In this case the registers are small, so you may still be thinking “Why bother? ” The tool squeezes them without any loss in quality from~ 1240 bytes to~ 630 bytes — a good rate but not much of an overall saving.

However … now that we’ve tightened them, we are unable to foresee differently about delivering them…

Inline portraits

GTMetrix makes recommendations around inlining small bits of CSS or JS, but doesn’t mention inlining idols. Images can also be inlined, and sometimes this can be the liberty approach.

If you believed that even a very small persona document is in need of end round trip( which can have a very real impact on quicken ), even for small files this can take a long time. In the event of the Cineworld transport portrait above, I simulated a “Fast 3G” associate and identified 😛 TAGEND

The site is not use HTTP2 so there is a long wait period, and then the image( which is 1.2 kb) takes almost 600 ms to laden( no HTTP2 too intends this is blocking other entreaties ). There are three of these images, so between them they are able to having a real impact on sheet speed.

However, we’ve now contracted them to merely a few cases hundred bytes each, and SVG epitomes are actually made up of markup in a similar fashion to HTML 😛 TAGEND

You can actually kept SVG markup immediately into an HTML document!

If we do this with all three of the transport portraits, the compressed HTML for this page that is sent from the server to our browser advances from 31,182 bytes to 31,532 bytes — an increased number of exclusively 350 bytes for all 3 idols!

So to recap 😛 TAGEND Our HTML request has risen to 350 bytes, which is barely anythingWe can dump three round trips to the server, which we can see were taking considerable age

Some of you may have realized that if the likeness were not inline they could be cached separately, so future page petitions wouldn’t need to refetch them. But if we consider 😛 TAGEND Each portrait was originally about 1.5 kb over the network( they aren’t gzipping the SVGs ), with about 350 bytes of HTTP headers on top for a total of about 5.5 kb assigned. So, overall we’ve shortened the amount of content over the network.This also means that it would take over 20 pageviews to take advantage of having them cached.

Takeaway: Consider where there are opportunities to use SVGs instead of PNGs.

Takeaway: Make sure you optimize the SVG portrait, use the free implement I linked to.

Takeaway: Inlining small-scale personas can make sense and bring outsized conduct gains.

Note: You can also inline PNGs — see this guide.

Note: For optimized PNG/ JPG images, try Kraken.

Back off, JavaScript! HTML can handle this …

So often nowadays, thanks to the prevalence of JavaScript libraries that give an off-the-shelf solution, I find JavaScript being used for functionality that could be achieved without it. More JS libraries necessitates more to download, maybe more round trips for additional folders from the server, and then the JavaScript execution time and costs themselves.

I have a lot of sympathy for how you get to this point. Developers are often given poor briefs/ specs that fail to specify anything about performance, only role. They are often time-poor and so it’s easy to end up only discontinuing something in.

However, a lot of progress has been moved in terms of the functionality that can be achieved with HTML and or CSS. Let’s look at some examples.

Combo container with examination

Dropdown containers that have a text hunting option are a somewhat common boundary element nowadays. One recent clause I came across described how to use the Select2 Javascript library to make such a list 😛 TAGEND

It is a helpful UI element, and can help your customers. Nonetheless, in the Select2 library is a JavaScript library, which in turn relies on some CSS and the JQuery library. This implies three round trip to collect a knot of registers of differing immensities 😛 TAGEND JQuery – 101 kbSelect2 JavaScript – 24 kbSelect2 CSS – 3kb

This is not ideal for site acceleration, but we could certainly fix the occurrence it is worth it in order to have a modernized boundary for users.

However, it is actually possible to have this functionality out of the box with the HTML datalist constituent 😛 TAGEND

This allows the user to search through the roster or to free sort their own response, so provides the same functionality. Furthermore, it has a native interface on smartphones!

You can see this in action in this codepen.


LonelyPlanet has a beautiful website, and I was looking at this page about Spain, which has a’ Read More’ link that most web useds will be familiar with 😛 TAGEND

Like almost every implementation of this that I visualize, they have consumed a JavaScript library to implement this, and once again this comes with a knot of overheads.

However, HTML has a pair of built-in tags announced items and summary, which are designed to implement this functionality accurately. For free and natively in HTML. No overheads, and most accessible for useds needing a screen book, while also conveying semantic meaning to Google.

These calls is feasible to styled in many adaptable rooms with CSS and recreate most of the JS copies I have recognized out there.

Check out a simple demo now: https :// TomAnthony/ pencil/ GRRLrmm

…and more

For more examples of functionality that you can achieve with HTML instead of JS, check out these joins 😛 TAGEND

Takeaway: Examine the functionality of your sites and see where there may be opportunities to reduce your reliance on sizable Javascript libraries where the authorities have native HTML/ CSS options.

Takeaway: Remember that it isn’t merely the size of the JS files that is problematic, but the number of members of round trips that are required.

Note: There are cases where you should use the JS solution, but it is important to weigh up the pros and cons.

Networking tune-ups

Every time the browser has to collect resources from a server, it has to send a message across the internet and back; the accelerate of this is limited by the speed of light. This may sound like a ridiculous thing to concern ourselves with, but it means that even small requests add time to the page load. If you didn’t catch the link above, my berth showing HTTP2 discusses this issue in more details.

There are some things we can do to help either increase the distance of these requests or to reduce the number of round trips needed. These are a little bit more technological, but managed to achieve some real wins.

TLS 1.3

TLS( or SSL) is the encryption technology used to secure HTTPS attachments. Historically it has taken two round trip between the browser and the server to setup that encryption — if the user is 50 ms away from the server, then this symbolizes 200 ms per joining. Keep in subconsciou that Google historically recommends aiming for 200 ms to deliver the HTML( this seems somewhat loosened in most recent revises ); you’re losing a lot of that time here.

The recently characterized TLS 1.3 standard abbreviates this from two round trips to precisely one, which can scrape some prized time off the users initial connection to your website.

Speak to your tech unit about migrating to TLS 1.3; browsers that don’t support it will fallback to TLS 1.2 without question. All of this is behind the scenes and is not a movement of any style. “Theres no reason” not to do this.

If you are using a CDN, then it can be as simple as just turning it on.

You can use this tool to check which versions of TLS you have enabled.


Over the last 2-3 years “weve had” seen a number of locates move from HTTP 1.1 to HTTP 2, which is a behind-the-scenes upgrade which can make a real improvement to accelerate( discover my associate above if you want to read more ).

Right off the back of that, there is an emerging pair of standards known as QUIC+ HTTP/ 3, which further optimize the connection between the browser and the server, further reduce the number of round trips required.

Support for these is only just beginning to become feasible, but if you are a CloudFlare customer you can enable that today and during the coming 6 months as Chrome and Firefox roll support out, your useds will get a hurry boost.

Read more now: https :// http3-the-past-present-and-future /

Super routing

When customers is attached to your website, they have to open network associates from wherever they are to your servers( or your CDN ). If you imagine the internet as a series of arteries, then you could imagine they need to’ drive’ to your server across these roads. However, that intends congestion and traffic jams.

As it turns out, some of the large cloud companies have their own private roads which have fewer potholes, little traffic, and improved quickened limits. If simply your website visitors could get access to these streets, they could’ drive’ to you faster!

Well, guess what? They can!

For CloudFlare, they provide this access via their Argo concoction, whereas if you are on AWS at all then you can use their Global Accelerator. This allows requests to your website to make use of their private systems and get a potential fast boost. Both are very cheap if you are already customers.

Takeaway: A lot of these sorts of benefits are considerably easier to get if you’re squandering a CDN. If you’re not already squandering a CDN, then “youre supposed to” is required to be. CloudFlare is a great choice, as is CloudFront if you are using AWS. Fastly is the most configurable of them if you’re more of a pro.

Takeaway: TLS 1.3 is now very widely supported and offers a significant speed improvement for new connections.

Takeaway: QUIC/ HTTP3 are only just starting to get support, but over the coming months this will roll out more broadly. QUIC includes the benefits of TLS 1.3 as well as more. A normal HTTP2 connection nowadays needs 3 round trips to open; QUIC needs only one!

Takeaway: If you’re on CloudFlare or AWS, then there is potential to get speed up time from flip-flop a switch to turn on smart route features.

Cause CSS do more

Above I has spoken about how HTML has built-in functionality that you can leverage to save relying on answers who the hell is’ home-rolled’ and thus require more system( and processing on the browsers side) to implement. Now I’ll talk about some examples where CSS can do the same for you.

Reuse personas

Often you find sheets that are using similar personas throughout the page in various regions. For lesson, variants on a logo in different complexions, or arrows that object in both directions. As peculiar resources( however same they may be ), each of these is therefore necessary to downloaded separately.

Returning to my hunt for cinema tickets above, where I was looking at this page, we can see a carousel that “ve left” and right arrows 😛 TAGEND

Similarly to the logic consumed above, while these likenes files are small, they still require a round trip to fetch from the server.

However, the arrows are identical — exactly pointing in opposite tacks! It’s easy for us to use CSS’s transform functionality to use one epitome for both tendencies 😛 TAGEND

You can check out this codepen for an example.

Another example is when the same logo appears in different wordings on different parts of the sheet; often they will load multiple discrepancies, which is not necessary. CSS can re-color logos for you in a variety of ways 😛 TAGEND

There is a codepen now showing this proficiency in action. If you want to calculate the CSS filter value required to reach an arbitrary color, then check out this amazing color calculator.

Interactions( e.g. menus& tabs)

Often sailing constituents such as menus and invoices are implemented in JavaScript, but these more can be done in pure CSS. Check out this codepen for an example 😛 TAGEND Animations

CSS3 introduced a lot of powerful living ability into CSS. Often these are not only faster than JavaScript accounts, but can also be smoother more as they can run in the native code of the operating system rather than having to execute relatively slower Javascript.

Check out Dozing Bird as one example 😛 TAGEND

You can find plenty more in this article. CSS animations can add a lot of character to sheets at a relatively small performance cost.

…and more

For more examples of functionality that you can achieve abusing unadulterated CSS solutions, take a look at 😛 TAGEND

Takeaway: Use CSS to optimize how many folders you have to load exerting spins or filters.

Takeaway: CSS livings can add character to sheets, and often require less assets than JavaScript.

Takeaway: CSS is perfectly capable of implementing many interactive UI elements.

Package up

Hopefully you’ve noted these lessons beneficial in themselves, but the broader point I want to acquire is that we should all try to think a bit more out of the box with regards to site velocity. Of particular importance is reducing the number of round trips needed to the server; even small-minded assets make some time to fetch and can have an appreciable impact on performance( extremely portable ).

There are plenty more doctrines than we’ve covered here, so satisfy do jump into the comments if you have other things you have come across.

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