Site speed in the focus again – How we make our sites superfast

Monday, June 20, 2011

Within the last couple of weeks, Google updated it site speed algorithm, which calculates how well a website is configured for optimal site speed. We have been working hard keeping our websites as fast as possible: last fall, Google made it clear that site speed is going to be an important factor in Google's search ranking algorithm. As a result of our efforts, our websites obtained a site speed of 80 to 95 on average.

Considering the competition of our Vancouver focused websites, the site speed of the competition was hovering at 60 to 65 on average putting us in a comfortable leading position.

However, the current site speed update threw new challenges in our way. One of the outstanding issues we did not solve was the browser caching configuration on our server. It turns out that Google, in the site speed algorithm update, increased the weight of the browser caching configuration dropping the site speed of our websites by 10 to 15 points. So, time has come to resolve that issue as well. Our developer team has rolled out a server configuration patch that was installed one by one at the root of our websites. The result: our site speed scores are back to the 80 to 95 range, alongside with a visible website load speed increase. Try it: our websites are really fast: don't you think so?

Nevertheless, we don't want to stop here. Hostgator, the company who is running our server infrastructure is one of the first companies who set up a partnership with one of the cloud based content distribution network (CDN) pioneer companies, CloudFlare. Hostgator made CloudFlare available on our server and so, we started testing the system. The initial tests are showing quite promising results: site speed gains of around 10%, enhanced security and for our international sites, load-times that are more or less independent of the available cross-continental internet bandwidth.