WordPress 101: Reducing HTTP requests

WordPress 101: Reducing HTTP requests

John Hewick

If you own a website that is powered by CMS, then you should know how to reduce HTTP requests in WordPress. Here, we are taking you through the definition of HTTP/S requests, why you want to keep these numbers low and how you can reduce the number of these requests.

What Is A HTTP/S Request and Why Is It Important?

So, the first thing to talk you through is what exactly an HTTP or HTTPS request is. Really, the only difference between both of these is whether or not you have HTTPS encryption installed on your site.

When a browser requests something from your server, this is known as an HTTP request. This could be a file such as style sheet, an embedded video, an image or a script. When all the requested files are delivered to the browser then your website will be rendered. Until every file is delivered, users will not have access to the website. This means that the more your website has to process, the longer the page will take to load. This is even more if an issue if your site is extremely popular as it will have to deal with more HTTP requests than it normally receives. As you can see, this can have a big influence on the user experience and success of your site.

Increase Conversions and Sales

HTTP is incredibly important in influencing your bottom line. Site pages that take too long to load means more people will log off before they have even reached the site. A good example here is Amazon who worked out that a delay of just a second would mean $1.6 in revenue losses every year. With statistics showing that 40% of users leave a site that takes more than three seconds to load, this highlights the importance of HTTP. Furthermore, Google also uses this as ranking factor too.

There are a number of tools out there that you can use to check how many HTTP requests you are receiving to your website such as Chrome Developer Tools and Pingdom. Once you know this information, you can look at solutions as to how to reduce this number.

Ways to Reduce HTTP Requests in WordPress

Plugins are the biggest culprit when it comes to excess HTTP requests. So, take a look at your plugin list and strip this down just to what you need. Be really ruthless in this process as this will all benefit your site speed! You should also look to delete any used images as they are a major factor in weighing your page down. With the remaining images, you should optimise them to ensure they are loaded quickly. Other things you can do include minifying CSS and JavaScript files as one larger file usually downloads better than lots of smaller ones. Finally, you should also limit any external resources such as external images, embedded videos, social media buttons and custom fonts.

Now that you are a whizz with HTTP requests, crawl through your site to ensure that it has a fast loading page time.

John Hewick

Author John Hewick

John is a full stack developer, with 10 years’ experience building websites with WordPress. Working with Elementary Digital for the last 4 years John has met all the challenges that have been sent his way.

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