Web Performance 101: 4 Recommendations to Improve Web Performance
Web Performance and the impact of SPDY, HTTP/2 and QUIC
April 22, 2016

Jean Tunis

Share this

As websites continue to advance, the underlying protocols that they run on top of must change in order to meet the demands of user expected page load times. This blog is the second in a series on APMdigest where I will discuss web application performance and how new protocols like SPDY, HTTP/2, and QUIC will hopefully improve it so we can have happy website users.

Start with Web Performance 101: The Bandwidth Myth

Here are some common recommendations to optimize the steps of a web page request. Having looked at a number of web applications over the years, there have been numerous recommendations I have made over and over. Each web app is different, so these recommendations don't apply to every one of them, but should offer some guidance.

1. Reduce latency between user and server

I talked about this one in my last blog. It's not the bandwidth that matters most; it's latency. You need to reduce time it takes for a packet to go from your user or visitor to your server.

Whether the users are coming from the Internet or within the Intranet, the goal is to make the latency is short as possible. You can't get around the physics around distance, but there are some things you can do.

Externally, you have CDN providers that can help caching. Internally, you can deploy WAN optimization devices to do the same, and more.

If you have more control, you can simply ensure that your application is used by those who are closer to the server.

Closer distance between user and server can mask a lot of issues with an efficient application.

2. Increase number of connections, but up to a point

You want to maximize the number of connections you are making to the server to get as much data back to the visitor as possible. With HTTP/1.1, you don't want just one connection.

But you don't want too many connections either. Too many will start to impact the resources on both the server and the visitor's PC. And that would be bad for web performance.

Opening up these connections takes time as well. The TCP 3-way handshake needs to occur. It would occur every time, and if latency is not low enough, site visitors are impacted by this for every new connection that gets opened.

3. Compress all data

You want to minimize the amount of data that gets sent to the visitor's browser for it to download or render on the computer screen. So file sizes should only be as big as they need to be. If they cannot get any smaller, they should be compressed if that's possible.

This is something that doesn't happen enough. Nearly every modern browser supports gzip compression, yet some servers out there still do not have it implemented.

4. Increase server resources

Like bandwidth, server resources have become less of a constraint over the years. We now have multi-core, GHz processors, TB storage, GB RAM, etc. But there are still times when a website is using up these resources, and the immediate way to reduce response time may be to increase server resources. Due to the availability of such resources, it's usually not a big issue upgrading.

There are many other recommendations. This is just a sample of the things that can be done to improve web performance.

In upcoming blogs on APMdigest, I will explore the impact of SPDY, HTTP/2 and QUIC on web performance.

Jean Tunis is Principal Consultant and Founder of RootPerformance
Share this

The Latest

March 26, 2020

While remote work policies have been gaining steam for the better part of the past decade across the enterprise space — driven in large part by more agile and scalable, cloud-delivered business solutions — recent events have pushed adoption into overdrive ...

March 25, 2020

Time-critical, unplanned work caused by IT disruptions continues to plague enterprises around the world, leading to lost revenue, significant employee morale problems and missed opportunities to innovate, according to the State of Unplanned Work Report 2020, conducted by Dimensional Research for PagerDuty ...

March 24, 2020

In today's iterative world, development teams care a lot more about how apps are running. There's a demand for fixing actionable items. Developers want to know exactly what's broken, what to fix right now, and what can wait. They want to know, "Do we build or fix?" This trade-off between building new features versus fixing bugs is one of the key factors behind the adoption of Application Stability management tools ...

March 23, 2020

With the rise of mobile apps and iterative development releases, Application Stability has answered the widespread need to monitor applications in a new way, shifting the focus from servers and networks to the customer experience. The emergence of Application Stability has caused some consternation for diehard APM fans. However, these two solutions embody very distinct monitoring focuses, which leads me to believe there's room for both tools, as well as different teams for both ...

March 19, 2020

The 2019 State of E-Commerce Infrastructure Report, from Webscale, analyzes findings from a comprehensive survey of more than 450 ecommerce professionals regarding how their online stores performed during the 2019 holiday season. Some key insights from the report include ...

March 18, 2020

Robinhood is a unicorn startup that has been disrupting the way by which many millennials have been investing and managing their money for the past few years. For Robinhood, the burden of proof was to show that they can provide an infrastructure that is as scalable, reliable and secure as that of major banks who have been developing their trading infrastructure for the last quarter-century. That promise fell flat last week, when the market volatility brought about a set of edge cases that brought Robinhood's trading app to its knees ...

March 17, 2020

Application backend monitoring is the key to acquiring visibility across the enterprise's application stack, from the application layer and underlying infrastructure to third-party API services, web servers and databases, be they on-premises, in a public or private cloud, or in a hybrid model. By tracking and reporting performance in real time, IT teams can ensure applications perform at peak efficiency — and guarantee a seamless customer experience. How can IT operations teams improve application backend monitoring? By embracing artificial intelligence for operations — AIOps ...

March 16, 2020

In 2020, DevOps teams will face heightened expectations for higher speed and frequency of code delivery, which means their IT environments will become even more modular, ephemeral and dynamic — and significantly more complicated to monitor. As a result, AIOps will further cement its position as the most effective technology that DevOps teams can use to see and control what's going on with their applications and their underlying infrastructure, so that they can prevent outages. Here I outline five key trends to watch related to how AIOps will impact DevOps in 2020 and beyond ...

March 12, 2020

With the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19), CIOs should focus on three short-term actions to increase their organizations' resilience against disruptions and prepare for rebound and growth, according to Gartner ...

March 11, 2020

Whether you consider the first generation of APM or the updates that followed for SOA and microservices, the most basic premise of the tools remains the same — PROVIDE VISIBILITY ...