There are many reasons why you might want to optimise your existing Shared Hosting plan. For starters, you may have reached your limit in terms of storage and may want to do something about it without upgrading to a more expensive plan. Or you might have started seeing considerable traffic on your website, and the resources on your plan aren’t enough to cater to them all without sacrificing performance. There are many more situations that may prompt you to think of optimising your Shared Hosting setup.
Irrespective of what your motives are, optimising a website in a Shared Hosting setup has one main advantage — improving the performance. You’ll see that your website speed will go up, and overall load time will come down.
Shared Hosting is an affordable hosting solution, and depending on your web hosting provider, you may have limited options to add resources to your website. Now, if your needs are expanding rapidly, you may actually have to upgrade to a VPS Hosting plan. However, most of the time, optimising your website will suffice.
How to Optimise your Shared Hosting Website?
When you’re using a Shared Hosting setup, more often than not, you have limited resources to spare. So, when your traffic goes up, these resources fall short. One of the easiest ways to reduce the need for resources is by enabling caching.
When a browser accesses your website, a lot of data is transmitted to the browser by your server. Transferring data takes time. However, when you enable caching, some of the common data items of your website (like your logo, general layout, main headings, etc.) are stored locally by the browser. In a way, it saves all the main, immovable parts of your website locally on the device.
Subsequently, whenever your website is accessed, your server won’t have to send saved data to the browser. The browser automatically loads up whatever is saved, and your server just sends over the remaining data.
Enabling caching is crucial, and depending on your website, you may see a significant increase in the speed of your website. Irrespective of whether your website is light or heavy, enabling caching is a must.
Monitor the size of your system logs
By default, a lot of websites come with pre-enabled logging tools that monitor customer behaviour on your website. They keep track of how long someone stayed, which pages are popular, which pages aren’t — things like that. These are useful features as they provide valuable insight.
However, these files, over time, become very big. If you don’t have a lot of disk space on the server, this can be a problem. There are two basic ways to deal with this. The first is to delete the old log files that have captured data a long time ago. Or else, you can simply download them and store them on an offline hard disk. This will free up some valuable space on your server.
Keep track of user input
If your website is quite interactive and a lot happens on the ‘comments’ section, it’s essential to keep track of it because it’s essentially your storage that’s being used to store and load these comments.
One of the ways to optimise here is to make your comments section text only and limiting the number of characters that can be typed. While this might seem a bit too stingy, it really isn’t. Images, especially high-quality ones, can be upwards of 15MB. Get a hundred of these, and you’re looking at a serious storage problem.
Enable expires headers
As mentioned earlier, caching is very useful and therefore enabling caching is crucial. However, that’s just half the game. To make caching even more effective, enable expires headers. The concept is best understood through an example.
Let’s say someone visited your website for the first time just two weeks back and they’re accessing your website again today. Normally, the browser would ask for all the data again, even if you’ve enabled website caching on your website.
The reason is that browsers delete cached data from time to time. They delete data of those websites that aren’t frequented a lot. So, in this case, your website would be slow because the browser has deleted all the cache data and everything needs to be sent over again.
Enabling expires headers basically enables your webserver to tell the browser to use its local data rather than server data. You can set a time limit of say, two weeks. So, if a browser has accessed your website in the last two weeks, the server will tell the browser to fetch data from the device rather than from the server.
Use Google PageSpeed
If you are not aware of Google PageSpeed, it’s a free, online tool developed by Google to assist websites in their optimisation efforts. You just have to insert the URL of your website, and the tool will tell you how fast your website is if that’s good enough, and what you can do to make it better.
If you have a website for your small business or if you’re a blogger and you use Shared Hosting, this is a fantastic tool that can help you optimise your website easily. What’s more, it’s free, and there’s absolutely no cap on how many times you can use it.
Less is more
While this is true for all websites, it’s particularly relevant for websites that are hosted on a Shared Hosting setup. Less is more basically means that simple designs, a basic layout, few images and videos are always better than a media-heavy website that’s loaded with all sorts of photos, animations, and videos.
The simple reason for this is that simpler websites have fewer data, and that makes your website fast. On the other hand, heavy and cluttered websites are difficult to load.
Shared Hosting is one of the most popular web hosting solutions and offers a host of benefits to websites that are just starting out or have limited traffic. However, when you’re working in a Shared Hosting environment, website optimisation is key. You have limited resources to work with, and optimisation makes a huge difference. Apart from that, it’s also important to partner with a reputed web hosting company that allows for a decent room and doesn’t stuff its servers full of websites.
HostGator offers reliable Shared Hosting plans that are designed to offer lightning-fast websites speed. Our Shared Hosting plans come with a pre-installed control panel, unmetered disk space, unmetered bandwidth, free SSL Certificates, one-click Softaculous script installer, 24×7 customer support and highly affordable plans. With Shared Hosting plans from HostGator, you have more headroom to grow and chart out a decent growth plan.
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