Hosting Change – Ten Times Faster
Website Loads 10 Times Faster After Hosting Change
One of my sub-sites loads 10 times faster after moving the domain to an offshore server. To be totally fair and put the improvement in perspective, the actual server is not that much faster; the big difference is route latency or lag.
Before moving the average time it took Google-bot to load a page from this site was around 1100 ms. Now, a month later we can see the improvement – average time is about 100 ms..
Sample Website Structure
The site used to show the improvement is not a CMS based site – it’s a static HTML site using a sub-domain. I decided on discussing a static HTML site for this article for the following reasons:
- No database access time; the time it takes a CMS (e.g. WordPress or Drupal) to read the database and start serving data is removed from the equation.
- Simple Structure; with only one or two stylesheets, a single html page and only one or two pages use Java files hosted on-site, these do not affect the measurement.
The HTML files are small, about 20kBb each. Stylesheets (.css) are also small, averaging 5kB each. Images add the most overhead – around 170kB to each page. I can assume the total page load is 210kB per page. This is a good average, as most pages use an entirely different set of images, as well as separate stylesheets.
1000 ms Latency
It’s a nasty thought for local webmasters – 1000ms added to every page Google trawls – becoming a small but significant factor in SERP. Of course the reverse is true – local visitors accessing offshore sites get this lag added to page load speeds. But then SA internet users are used to poor performance – very few have internet access faster than 512 bps.
Where is the Delay Coming From?
I cannot provide a definite answer. It seems impossible the full second lag is due to the international cables; one hundred milliseconds maybe, but not a thousand. So it must be the network infrastructure at the local loop end of the connection. Us local-yokels with genuine broadband (HSPA) capable technology of 21Mbps now know we are not getting more than 4Mbps at best – maybe a few businesses with R35000 a month budgets for fixed fibre connections are.
No-one is telling. Mobile internet service providers continue to claim 10 and 21 Mbps, and make excuses like “your signal strength is too low” when customers complain… The main fixed line infrastructure provider, Telkom SA, just doesn’t say anything – mostly they don’t even bother to respond to complaints. If they do, they want to send out a technician to the customer; to do what?
So all we have is speculation. And speculation is rife in among tech savvy South Africans. On that note, I’ll leave you to speculate as well.