Slow website? Here’s how you can identify issues without developers

Slow website? Here’s how you can identify issues without developers
For most people, the first impression of a company/business does not come from a visit to the office, a visual presentation, or word-of-mouth. Instead, it comes from visiting the company website. Accordingly, even the best-looking website can leave a bad impression if the user has to wait a long time for it to load. In fact, it is very likely that someone with this impression will leave the website altogether. A slow-running website is a hazard to any business, but it is also a very common problem. Thus, if you notice your website running slowly, or you hear it from other people, or you just suspect that something should be working faster, this is no cause for despair.  There are many ways to troubleshoot and fix the issue without having to pay for a developer. We will examine the different types of issues and provide insights on possible solutions, from Magento 2 performance optimization to virus scan to code audit and many others.  

Security issues affecting website speed

In most cases, website security issues arise from vulnerabilities in third-party services and applications running on the website. Apart from the risk of data being stolen or intercepted, there is also a danger of the website slowing down as a result of the security issues. Thus, website owners and administrators can use the graph below to check whether their site is using any vulnerable services and follow the recommendations to boost security and speed up Magento. To better identify issues and find relevant solutions, it is important to have the right tools on hand. For example, the free browser plugin Wappalyzer can help identify the services and applications running on a website. You may use it for further troubleshooting.  
Service Description Recommendations
Cache tools like Varnish are installed in front of a server and utilizes efficient caching technology to deliver web content faster. Caching of traffic takes place from the side of the server. However, issues with the service’s configuration and maintenance may occur. One preventative step is to update this software on a regular basis. It is important to note that a running Varnish service will not necessarily indicate that the website is working well. There is a big difference between working well and fast. Varnish does well in masking issues, but you will better understand the core problems affecting the site through performance tests.
CDN (content delivery network) services like CloudFlare and Sucuri speed up delivery by distributing data transfer to many server locations. Caching of traffic takes place from the side of the service. These services also offer firewalls and other features that improve speed and security. Security should be of paramount concern when using these services. CDN services do not protect from all vulnerabilities, so online stores remain open to viruses, especially those designed specifically for them. Finding the root of these issues is also possible through performance tests.
MySQL is one of the most common database management systems in the world, while Nginx is a web server with top-notch performance and load balancing capabilities. When we see these services engaged, it indicates that the server’s security should be given a tune-up. It is possible for hackers to use this information. Potential vulnerabilities can be negated and the security situation improved through monitoring and audit of the server.

Console Errors

A web browser console is useful in many ways, including identifying various issues that may be slowing down your site. Console errors come in a large variety, and most of them are connected to running scripts. Resolving the errors is one of the major focuses of Magento speed optimization. You can check your console for errors the following way:
  1. Press F12
  2. Choose the "Console" tab
  3. Refresh the website main page
If you see sections of red text, this indicates errors and an issue that should be resolved. There are different possibilities:
  • A script is not working (guaranteed to influence performance)
  • Selection of options may not work properly when adding items to the Shopping Cart
  • The Shopping Cart/checkout process may not work altogether
  • Various files (like images and styles) are lost
  • There may be a virus present attempting to integrate with the website
It is essential to check for these console errors in key pages of your website, including the Shopping Cart and checkout pages. If the errors are present and no Magento performance optimization is applied, the negative impacts on your business can be substantial. For example, if you find errors in the console for the checkout page, it is very likely that you have lost many clients and sales. To prevent further losses, such issues must be investigated and resolved ASAP.  

Network troubleshooting

“Network” is another key section of the console useful for troubleshooting. It is primarily concerned with how long it takes for a webpage to load, and not additional factors that slow the page down after it has already loaded. Still, even the initial loading statistics can provide valuable insights. If you find that the loading time exceeds 1 second, this is an issue. E-Commerce businesses should pay special attention to the repercussions of slow speed on sales. Possible causes of slow loading speed include:
  • Errors in the back-end code
  • A problem-solving error: when a developer made an incorrect choice, causing a flawed solution
  • Errors in the server or store configuration

Browser performance audit

Rounding out the set of console tabs useful for resolving speed issues is “Audits”. This tab is great because it gives you a general statistic of how your page is performing in different metrics. Special attention should be paid to the “Performance” and “Accessibility” metrics, as they can point to issues with the code in the back or front-end. It is difficult to achieve Magento page speed optimization without reaching high scores in these metrics. When it is inconvenient for clients to work with a website, this is a major problem reflected in “Accessibility”. You should take all measures possible to keep Accessibility in the green and stay on Google’s good side. Google will first scan the mobile version of the site, and even if the server generates the webpage quickly but there are large files or an unwieldy interface, Google can assign a very low score.

In conclusion

Although we didn’t list all of the myriad factors that may cause a website to work slowly, we went over the most important ones, and took a quick look at how they are most commonly approached. Each website and situation is different, but we hope that at least a few of the guidelines we outlined will be helpful in your case. When you encounter slow speed on your website, your first instinct may be to urgently contact a trusted developer. Hopefully, this article will make you think twice before making such a decision, considering all of available the steps you can take to audit your website yourself. Still, some cases are more difficult and critical, so you may need some qualified assistance and optimization when facing them, but you should have a better understanding of the solutions beyond your capacity after reading. SOFTLOFT is one of many companies offering website optimization and audit services, with 12 years of development dedicated exclusively to Magento. We are always on the lookout for new and interesting projects, so don’t hesitate to contact us if you are considering our services and would like to learn more.  
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