Category: Blog

Making a fast website is the most important thing to attract visitors. Websites made using Joomla can load a lot of files which can slow them down. A lot of sluggish templates and extensions make it even worse. In this article, we will go through the top 5 most important things you should do to make your Joomla website super fast.

1. Choose a light weight template

Finding a Joomla template that not only looks good but also is built with proper SEO in mind is not easy. Almost all theme providers create templates without taking speed and performance into consideration. Do not be fooled by a good looking fancy template. The template loads on every single page of your website which makes it the most important factor in improving speed. Here are a few things you can do to make sure the template is fast:

  • Look under the hood - On the demo page of the theme provider, view the source (CTRL + U). Make sure there are only one or 2 javascript and css files. Any template that has more than two css files or javascript files can easily slow your site down.
  • Test the template on Pingdom tools - Copy the url of the template and head to Pingdom Website Speed Test. Enter the URL and choose New York (most reliable)as your location. If the page takes more than 4 seconds to load, it is a useless template. Themes like StarAzure Homerun - Free, loads in less than half a second. It will almost be impossible to find a good template faster than this but try to find something that loads in less than 2 seconds.
  • StarAzure Speed Test

  • Check the number of requests and page size - While you are on the pingdom site, also take a look at the number of page requests. Typically this should be around 20 or less.

2. Do not install extensions unless absolutely necessary

Joomla is very powerful out of the box. Try to use built-in Joomla features as much as possible. For example, just because a layer carousel look fancy, dont install it unless you absolutely need it. If you take a look at themes we offer you will find that they use very light weight modules and extensions. Carousels and sliders should on our themes are built using Bootstrap 4 which does not need to load any extra scripts or templates.

Many extensions that you can download from JED, need css and/or javascript files to work. This puts extra load on your pages and slows your site. If you absolutely have to install an extension, try to copy the css or javascript they load into your template's css and js. Make sure you remove the loading of these files by the extensions.

3. Do not load unwanted files and images

Images can make your site look good but they can consume a lot of loading time. There are some tricks you can use:

  • Use Bootstrap (Latest version) - Bootstrap can do a lot of things - lists, navigation, buttons, text styles, grids and almost everything you can think of. Utilizing bootstrap components will help to avoid additional files being loaded.
  • Use font awesome svg icons - Make sure your template uses Font Awesome Icons. This eliminates the need to load multiple images while making your site look awesome. There are hundreds of icons to choose from and if your template comes with classes for size modifications, its easy to control the sizes of icons as well. Also, using bootstrap color modifiers such as "text-danger", you can add colors to your icons like this .
  • Combine images into css sprites - If you really need to load multiple images, consider combining them using css sprites. There are a lot of tutorials you can find on Google to do this.

4. Use CDN, cloud or fast sources to server images and files

When your website loads, requests are sent to your server. Files and resources are served by your server and the browser shows them when available. Image if your server got some help to carry the load, it would be easier right? There are a few tricks to help your server.

  • Upload your files to CDN or sites like flickr - Sites like flickr is a way to get free CDN. You can upload images to flickr and use them on your site.
  • Compress and resize your images - If you need to show an image which is 200px X 200px on your page, make sure the original size is not a bigger size such as 600px X 600px. Choose the correct image size and compression options which are available in tools such as Photoshop.
  • Leverage caching - Joomla has caching options which can be utilized but your host should have caching tools that are most effective. You do not need an expensive hosting but make sure you do your research when choosing a hosting provider.

5. Keep everything updated

If you are using templates or extensions that do not work with the latest versions of Joomla and php, you are using the wrong product. There are some cases where a template or extension may need time to keep up with the latest version of Joomla but do not keep your site outdated for too long.

If your site is using Joomla version 3.5 or lower, we have no suggestion to offer you. Your site should use php version 7+.

Lets summarize

  • Use a good, light template
  • Install extensions only if needed
  • Use CDN
  • Combine files
  • Choose a good hosting
  • Compress and optimize images
  • Use Bootstrap and Font Awesome
  • Update to latest versions

Template suggestions

  • StarAzure HomeRun
  • StarAzure News
  • Protostar

External suggestions

  • Bootstrap
  • Font Awesome
  • Google Fonts