How To Make Fewer HTTP Requests: As bloggers, it is always good to know what technical stuffs are involved in the functioning of your website. A basic understanding can help a lot in identifying various problems you face from time to time, which are inevitable. You can even find solutions on your own without having to rely on any engineer or developer.
One of the most important aspects of a website that can make or break it is the page load time. 40 percent of your visitors can leave your site if it takes 3 seconds or more for your page to load. So, if your site speed is not fast enough, you are in trouble.
Now, for website speed optimization, you need to have, among other things, knowledge of the technical stuffs happening behind the scenes, generation of HTTP Server Requests being one of them.
So, in this article, I will explain what is HTTP Server Request and how to make fewer HTTP Requests in your website, WordPress site to be precise. Read on.
What Are HTTP Requests? How To Make Fewer HTTP Requests?
As you know, a single web page contains multiple components or elements, like:
- CSS Files,
- JS Files, etc.
All these elements together contribute to the content and design of your page. To make a web page more interesting and interactive for the users, more such elements are added to the page.
Now when a user visits a page on your website either directly or through a link from the SERP, the visitor’s browser sends requests to your server saying that it wants all those elements in that page. These requests are called HTTP Server Requests.
For each element or component of the page, a separate HTTP Request is made. The HTTP Requests are then processed and the components of the page are loaded on the screen of the visitor.
How Does HTTP Requests Impact User Experience?
The browser sends as many HTTP Requests as the number of components in a page. The more number of elements a page has, the more HTTP Server Requests are sent, which takes more time to be processed. Consequently, it takes more time for the elements to load on the visitor’s screen. This will result in poor user experience because around 47 percent of users expect web pages to load within 2 second or less.
The solution to this problem is to cut down the number of elements in the page, which, in turn, will reduce the number of HTTP Requests made by the browser to the server.
But how to do that? And do you have to compromise with your content and design in order to do that?
Yes and no.
There are many tools to check which particular what is slowing down the website. Once identified, there are ways to optimize them. If done properly, you can retain the overall quality of the page without losing much.
We will look into the methods to reduce HTTP Requests but first let us go through a few tools used to identify what exactly is slowing down a page.
How To Check HTTP Requests Related Issues?
Google’s PageSpeed Insights is a free tool to check your web page performance. It analyzes your page performance and gives a score out of 100. It generates a report on the page load time, breaking down the total time duration based on different events/stages in the process of loading of the page. Tips to optimize the page and the estimated time it will save are also provided. GTmetrix gives a more comprehensive analysis of your page performance.
How To Reduce HTTP Requests Of Your Website?
So, now you know what is HTTP Server Requests and how it impacts page load time. You also know how to check your page performance. Let us now look into how to make fewer HTTP Requests of your site so as to increase the site speed.
1. Delete Unnecessary Images
Most of the times, pages take more time to load because of images. The first thing you need to do is delete the unnecessary images from your media library. There is no point in keeping them if you are not using them. Keep only those images which you are using and delete the rest.
2. Optimize And Compress Remaining Images
Optimize the images and remove the file information that you think are not necessary. Also, make sure the size of the image files are not too large. Compress them if necessary.
3. Use CSS Sprites
Use this technique only for those images which are of similar size, like social media icons. This technique takes multiple images, reduce them into a single image and then display specific parts of the image. As the number of HTTP Requests is reduced by reduction of the number of images, the page will load fast
4. Use Lazy Load Plugin
Lazy Loading is a technique which enables the loading of only those images which are within the view of the user. The loading of the other images is delayed and are loaded only after the user starts scrolling down. This means lesser HTTP Requests. You can use Lazy Load plugin for this purpose.
5. Enable Browser Caching
This will reduce the HTTP Server Requests from the browser of a returning visitor. Because certain elements of the page will be already saved in the visitor’s system from his first visit. These elements will load automatically without having to send HTTP Server Requests again.
6. Reduce Third Party Integrations, External Images And Other Unnecessary Files
Third party integrations, for example, Twitter integration, add HTTP Requests resulting in slow loading of page. Even images of users in the comment section of the page generate separate HTTP Requests. If there are any plugin or themes in your site that you are not using, delete them. To stop HTTP Requests for external images, use commenting plugins, like Disqus, and not the default commenting system of WordPress.
7. Combine CSS Files And JS Files
WordPress themes, in general, have multiple CSS files, mostly because the developers find it easy to work with separate files. Now, to fetch each of these CSS files, the browser makes a separate HTTP Request, which means more time for the page to load.
You can, however, combine all the CSS files together, merge them into one file. To fetch the single, merged file, the browser will make a single HTTP Server Request, which means less load time.
Now, you know how to make fewer HTTP Requests of your WordPress site. For some websites, however, it might not be practical to implement these. Nothing is more important than user experience. So, keep in mind your users and their requirements before you do anything. For example, if your site deals with something that needs a lot of high quality videos, you cannot cut that down.
But most of the websites will be able to reduce HTTP Server Requests by optimizing their site. I hope these tips on how to make fewer HTTP Requests help you there.
If you have any question pertaining to how to make fewer HTTP Requests, comment below and I will get back to you.