Good grades, slow loading speed


I’ve been experimenting with speeding up my website and get the following report:

The performance grades my website gets are often quite good, however the loading time is slow in comparison with a few other websites I’ve tested that have worse stats for everything, yet load a lot quicker than my site.

I’m currently using caching and cloudflare, however I notice that my despite my website size dropping from 1.1mb to 15kb on a revisit, the loading time isn’t that much better off.

I ran a test from Dulles on the Thinkpad’s just to eliminate any chance of a slow test agent impacting the results:

Some things that jump out from the initial load (unrelated to the slowness in a repeat view):

  • The 404 for the Times New Roman font from Google. You might want to look into that and either stop trying to use the custom font or find the correct font to use. Probably not impacting perf much but it’s an error you don’t need.

  • The cached static resources are being served from cloudflare quite quickly so it looks to be working quite well.

  • The logo is being served from a different domain, move it over to the cloudflare domain:

  • Looking at the logo, it might be smaller as a png since it’s basically 2 colors. Might be worth trying out.

  • There are a fair number of separate css and js files. Cloudflare does a good job of delivering them quickly but fewer would be better (merging a bunch of them). Since it looks like you are using W3TC you should be able to use it to help merge them for you.

  • This php-generated css is probably bypassing the cloudflare cache. You should see if you can make it static and cacheable:

As far as the repeat view performance goes, you are running into CPU performance just trying to lay out the page and run the scripts (though fixing the font 404 will help a bit). On the fast thinkpads it is pretty screaming fast:

Dear Jake,

I agree with Patrick.

Two quick comments:

A. Optimize the following HUGE image
Location: Cloudflare
Error/Status Code: 200
Client Port: 64521
Start Offset: 1.828 s
DNS Lookup: ms
Initial Connection: ms
SSL Negotiation: ms
Time to First Byte: 50 ms
Content Download: 5108 ms
Bytes In (downloaded): 736.3 KB
Bytes Out (uploaded): 0.5 KB

As you can see it is a 736+KB image and takes 5+ seconds to load!!!

B. Fix one more 404 error for this image



Many thanks for your detailed replies, they’re a great help and have really showed me where to next start working on optimising the site.

I’m also looking to host a new website soon purely for UK visitors as it’s based on a local artistic service I’m offering. I’ve been looking into finding web hosts with servers in the UK, and have narrowed them down based on reviews among other things. I’ve now got down to one possible host I’m thinking of going with. After speaking with them, I was able to get hold of a website which is hosted on the same server that my website would be hosted on:

From looking at the results of this website speed test, it seems it isn’t very well optimised, however which stats should I look for when trying to work out whether or not the hosting company of this website are any good? And which settings should I select in order to run searches? I’ve been setting the location to the UK as that’s where all my possible audience will be located, but I’m unsure as to which other settings to do when starting a search.

Edit: I’ve also been given an IP address from the possible new hosting company of, I’m not sure if I can just put that into a speed test however or whether it’s better to look at the benchmarks from a website on the same server?

Edit 2: I’ve just realised that by keeping the “www.”, it improves the first byte time by a lot as it seems the website was being redirected to the “www.” version when it wasn’t being used.

Thanks Jake

I’m now undecided between the hosting company of the first website I mentioned (, which is hosted in Chicago - but who also offer hosting in another country, Amsterdam, 246 miles away from where I live (as the crow flies).

And the hosting of the second website I posted (, who can host my website in the same country, 45 miles away from where I live (as the crow flies).

How much of a difference will this added distance make to my website speed?

Will other aspects, such as how their servers are setup, have more of an effect on the speed times?

I’m leaning more towards the hosting company of due to how good their support has been, but would value your opinion on the speed side of things.

Thanks Jake

A 200 mile difference would not be noticeable, you’re looking at just a few milliseconds differences in the round trip times to the server (assuming the peering results in relatively straight paths for both). A lot of CDN companies use Amsterdam as the edge node for their European traffic.

Thanks, that’s great news. I did prefer the hosting company in Amsterdam for everything else, so it’s nice to resolve that one little doubt I had about hosting there.