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Making Pagelines Faster


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#1 tsalstrand

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Posted 14 February 2012 - 09:21 AM

Well, lately my website has been getting slower and slower on load times. I kept pushing it off and said that I'd do something about it when the load time got over 10 seconds. Today I checked it and it was almost at 13 seconds!

So I ran a page speed test and studied the waterfall graph to see where I could improve my load time the easiest. I focused on 3 main areas that could bring my time to under 5 seconds. They are:
1. TTFB (Time To First Byte)
2. Content/Java loads
3. Image Loads

#1 would have to do with my server mostly, and being as I'm on a shared server with a TTFB of 1.5-2.5 seconds I figured I'd have to upgrade or change to a VPS/Private server.

#2 Was something I could do though... however I'd need a heavily customizable caching plugin. I had been running Quick Cache for a while now but without the customization, I couldn't do much. So I switched over to W3 Total Cache and almost instantly (with minimal configuration) I dropped 3.4 seconds on load time. Now I was under 10 seconds. (NOTE: don't enable minifying HTML & XML as this alters Pagelines' menus to be vertically aligned for some reason, however minifying Javascript and CSS is OK).

However, I needed more out of it. But next I decided to see just how heavy (all 34 of) my plugins were by disabling them. I dropped down to 6.4 seconds! Wow. But unfortunately, I still need a lot of them. I was able to trim it down to 16 plugins and kept the page speed to 8.7 seconds. Respectable for a shared hosting account, but I needed better.

Then I decided to setup a CDN (Content Delivery Network) to help my shared host. I ran some estimates and found that I needed 2GB of storage and 5-10GB of bandwidth. Keeping in mind that W3 Total Cache integrated with some CDNs, I started with that list and found that some of them were upwards of $39/mo. Wow, I might as well migrate to a VPS and consolidate my efforts for that price. However, W3tc supports Rackspace Cloud Files, and after pricing them out I found I could get what I needed for $0.18/GB/mo. So for under $5... awesome. It was very easy to setup. If you need help, just watch this video.

Now with this added to my website, I am reliably under 6 seconds. I still need to figure out if I'm going to do something about my TTFB by changing hosting... we'll see.

However, there were two major things that I couldn't solve that were related to Pagelines Framework 2.1.
1. Logo Image (1960ms load time)
2. Background Image (1400ms load time)

Since the template requires that the images are loaded into it, independent of the media library, I couldn't add them to the CDN and couldn't hotlink them via a filesharing site like Flickr.
Admittedly, my logo image is huge (800x283), but I shouldn't have to reduce my image just to my the site function timely. I tested hotlinking my logo and was able to get a load time on it of 421ms, almost 4x faster. Problem is that currently hotlinking breaks the image.

I would like to humbly suggest that the next upgrade to Pagelines Framework include a way to hotlink those images or support them out of the media library instead of loading them into the theme files.

All-in-all, Framework has been nothing but the best for my needs. Thank you for this awesome platform. As far as performance goes it really is a great framework if you could just tweak those two things.

Thanks again for such a great Framework!

-Steve

#2 tsalstrand

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Posted 14 February 2012 - 10:12 PM

Hi, I just wanted to follow up and see if anyone at Pagelines knows if this might be a possibility for this to be included in a future update? Thanks!

#3 jkeller

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Posted 22 February 2012 - 09:00 PM

You should be able to put the content on Rackspace CDN (logo, background), then go into Settings and change the path of the logo and the background to the CDN and click save; don't click upload. Let me know if you have any further questions.

#4 tsalstrand

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Posted 25 February 2012 - 03:21 PM

Thanks for the suggest... I actually tried that last week... not really helping :(

#5 Simon_P

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Posted 25 February 2012 - 03:37 PM

How is the logo and background images PAgeLines fault?

#6 Simon_P

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Posted 25 February 2012 - 03:39 PM

I use this plugin for CDN: https://github.com/wmark/CDN-Linker