Looking for tips

I just ran a test on www.chantalle.biz and honestly the First Byte Time score is depressing. I use W3TC and I have object caching enabled but that doesn’t seem to help. I have considered changing hosts but tbh, migrating seems daunting and I would have to forfeit 8 months downpayment on their services.

So any tips on how to improve my site speed will be greatly appreciated

Hosting locally is important, especially with an eCommerce site and it makes a difference


when testing from the same continent:
TTFB 5.2s → 2.7s
Start render 21.6s → 12.3s

However, this is still nowhere near enough, but finding hosting close to Uganda is imperative.

There are a number of problems to be addressed. First off, your TTFB needs to be well below 1 second. Not only is DNS slow, but there are some problems with your infrastructure that are also slowing things down - my guess it that you’re running on shared hosting? You really need the power of a VPS to run eCommerce, and of course that provides you with a far better view of what’s going on and how to fix problems.

Second - server location. Like us here in NZ, you’re suffering from narrow pipes from the US, and that’s hurting you badly.

Third, the code isn’t very good. Use resources like https://validator.w3.org and https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights/ to identify errors that will cause both cross browser instability and performance problems.

You also have no SSL cert installed… really is important with an eCommerce site.



Thank you so much. I’m going to migrate to something in Africa. Do you know any good companies that have servers in Africa?

I hade to make the code load less efficiently in order for it to play nice with Ajax. And an SSL certificate is something we are looking in to but since we don’t process cc data or paypay, it has not been a priority

Something with your hosting company is badly broken.

  1. Look at item #1 + #2. Notice the initial HTML asset is being pushed twice.

  2. Look at item #3 + #5. Notice the time to push small files to visitor’s browser.

  3. Look at item #47. Notice DNS lookup time.


  1. Change hosting companies + likely duplicate HTML component + times serving small files will be fixed.

  2. Your site’s DNS is mangled - dig chantalle.biz ns - show this…

a) only a single NS record is set, so if this one DNS server is down, so is your site.

b) reverse lookup on the current DNS record gives no information, meaning this IP likely is some custom DNS system with little or no caching (correctly setup), so DNS times vary wildly.

You can see this wild variance, looking through WPT waterfall.

Your DNS Registrar show to be ENOM (Namecheap imprint), so move all your DNS records out of wherever they currently reside, into Namecheap. Their DNS speed is acceptable + way faster than your current DNS.

  1. Fix all this before you start work with SSL.

https://www.webpagetest.org/result/160824_PH_37N1 shows SSL performance of one of my client’s sites.

This is a WordPress site, so all content is dynamically generated.

<1 second page load speed + site is SSL wrapped.

For this type of speed, you’ll require using Apache (no NGINX or Varnish or Haproxy) + Apache config setup for fast SSL page serving.

This is a new site I just migrated, so OSCP Stapling isn’t running yet. Once this is fixed, site speed will increase.

I’m already looking at moving away. Just some Domain name issues I have to resolve first. I think I’m going to use cloudways and host in India. Client cannot afford a VPS in Africa as all start at around $30 per month and up.

Yes, just found out about Namecheap a few days ago during one of my research sessions for $5 a year for a premium DNS, they are currently number one on the list. Though if there is something better out there for the price, I’d be willing to take a look at them too.

No need for premium DNS.

Just use normal DNS, as your domain is already registered with Namecheap.

This will only fix DNS problems.

The weird duplicate HTML asset problem, is likely due to using CloudFlare.

CloudFlare is only good for covering over problems which require fixing + then adding entirely new problems, which are near impossible to debug.

First action I always take with new clients is strip all cruft (any software) between Apache + visitor’s browsers.

A well tuned LAMP setup runs 1000s of requests/second, which is sufficient for any project.

Anyone who says different is lying or they just haven’t actually speed tested different setups.

I actually just shifted to cloudflare a few hours ago, was using Incapsula before that and wanted to see if switching could solve some of the DNS issues. (Incapsula had me completely reconfigure my DNS)

Well, a bit aggressive on some of your points @dfavor, and yes, I gave up on apache ( 2.0 /2.2 ) because of it’s bloat, poor performance and tuning issues. I now use nginx wherever possible ( my prime market is PHP-based eCommerce sites ), as it’s faster, has better caching, and most importantly is much easier to tune the stack.

+million on the cloudflare stuff… If you want a CDN, then use one, not an all-encompassing power grabbing proxy server.

So I have a few updates. It was a battle but I managed to migrate from that host. Unfortunately, I was unable to retain control of the domain (through spite on his part) so we had had to buy another.

We are now on www.chantalle.ug hosted on cloudways on a server in Bangalore. (The closest I could get to Africa on the client’s budget and still use a VPS). DNS is on namecheap (went for their premium DNS since I kinda felt bad for using their DNS for free without the possibility of transferring the domain to them.)

Now that I’m on a new host, I’m faced with a whole load of challenges that I’m a bit lost on how to address them. An issue on waiting for the page to be dynamically generated still haunts me. It takes up to 8 seconds.

Any advice on this new setup would be much appreciated

Hi - What about AWS South Africa? Could look at getting static content on S3/Cloudfront first. May qualify for free usage tier.

Web fonts aren’t going away but they affect rendering. I count 17 or so fonts. Can you not use one or two, and one for icons?

You’ve got considerable Flash of Unstyled Content at the moment, the page loads unstyled for me then jumps in several stages into it’s styled form. Can you work out the styles required for initial rendering and use just them? Chrome says - autoptimize_fc45f10b4d7499d7e91357e5df7771f9.css
: 91% is not used by the current page. Best not bundle the styles you are using with a load that you’re not. I also get the flash when going to other pages around the site.