The loading time of a WordPress website is an important challenge for website owners because of its direct implications on traffic and revenues. At its worst, the slow page load speed results in atrocious user experience.
While many factors affect the page load speed of a WordPress website and often overlooked factor is the data center that actually hosts the website. In practical terms, the distance between the data center that hosts the website and the target audience has a serious impact on the overall page load speed experienced by the users.
Importance of a Local Data Center
Website owners generally do not care about the location of the data center that hosts their website. This is understandable because not many hosting providers disclose the location of their data center.
Experts suggest that the website should be hosted as near to the target audience as possible because of latency issues. For example, a local data center in Australia, being closer to the audience ensures lower latency. While this is not a major issue for small files, latency plays an important role in the file transfer speed of large files such as high-resolution images and videos. Taken as a whole, latency has an important role in the overall page load speed of WordPress websites.
Distance Between Server and Visitor
The popular (but slightly wrong) concept about the Internet is that there are little to no barriers to global communication. Technically speaking, the distance between the server and the visitor is important for the page load speed of the website. The longer this distance is, the longer the user has to wait for the page to load up!
The search giant, Google, recommends that a server response (TTFB) should be less than 200ms.
Launch Vultr in Australia
To evaluate the significance of local data centers, I am using Vultr hosting and its server is located in Sydney, Australia on Cloudways managed cloud hosting platform for WordPress.
First, sign up with Cloudways Platform by completing the simple form and click START FREE.
Wait for few seconds, then click on LAUNCH NOW button to complete the signup process.
After successful signup, click + Add Server button to launch WordPress on the Vultr data center, located in Australia.
Under APPLICATION & SERVER DETAILS:
- Select WordPress.
- Name Your Application
- Name Your Managed Server
- Select Your Project
- Choose VULTR as cloud infrastructure
- Select SERVER SIZE (I chose a 1GB server)
- Select LOCATION (Asia Pacific-Sydney)
Note: For the evaluation purpose, I am naming both my managed server and the app as MicroTech. However, you are free to choose different names. This will not affect this tutorial.
After entering the server and application details, click LAUNCH NOW button.
Once the server is ready, go to the platform and click Applications in the top-left menu then tap on WordPress app.
Use ACCESS DETAILS > ADMIN PANEL to get into the Dashboard of WordPress staging site:
- Click URL
- Copy and Enter Username
- Copy and Enter Password
After logging into the WordPress Dashboard, you will find that Breeze WordPress cache plugin is already installed on your website.
Have You Thought About Caching?
The caching mechanism allows storing of these elements either on the user’s HDD by the browser and/or by the access provider at the proxy servers. Caching, thus reduces server response time by reducing the number of items to be loaded at every visit.
The good news is that you do not need to be a techie to use Breeze WordPress Cache Plugin for reducing the loading time of the pages of your WordPress website. Just go to Dashboard > Settings > Breeze and:
- Enable Group Files (CSS, JS) from ADVANCED OPTIONS and click Save Changes.
Evaluation and Web Analytics Tools
To evaluate and let you know the importance of local data center, I’ll do an experiment. It consists of testing a real WordPress website hosted in Australian data center using the following tools.
3. Pingdom Tools
Use CDN If You Have a Global Audience
A Content Delivery Network (CDN) is a group of cache servers (called nodes) that are networked over the Internet. The nodes distribute the content of the original servers and accelerate the delivery of the content to the end user. The nodes are distributed geographically and are usually connected to the Internet via the fastest links available at the location. When a visitor visits a website with a CDN service enabled, the CDN service determines the visitor’s geographic location and directs it to the nearest or the fastest node available.
In short, a CDN provides the following benefits to your website:
- CDNs are excellent for websites with high visitor peaks
- CDNs ensure that a web page is available around the world
- CDNs reduce server response time and decrease the resource (bandwidth and disk space) consumption rate.
- Visitors will observe an overall increase in the page load speed.
- Websites will rank higher in SERP because of high speed.
If you wish to further speed up your Cloudways hosted website, you could integrate a CDN with it.
To summarize, using a local data center and a cache plugin for your site is a great way of increasing the page load speed while reducing the load on available resources. To further optimize the process, you should consider integrating a CDN on your website with Vultr hosting.
Improving the performance of your WordPress will make your website more attractive to your visitors. Hosting WordPress on a local data center and enabling a cache plugin requires no advanced technical knowledge. So it’s a great win-win for everyone!
If you wish to carry out the tests yourself, get a free trial and launch your WordPress website on Cloudways. Please do not forget to share the results in the comment section below. ☺