Website performance, and testing

Hello everyone!

I have been building a website for one of my clients (http://www.hudsonvalleyweather.com), and I have a few quick questions, for those who are interested and would like to offer up their opinion.

First, I've been trying to optimize the site to load faster. I've installed W3 Total Cache, and set up an Amazon Cloudfront to serve up the pages. My load time is lacking even with these items set up. My client's business is weather, and he requires the integration of weather alerts from alerts.weather.com. Not only does he require these alerts, he requires 10 rss feeds from different counties to be pulled in at once.

He is also serving up Google Adsense Ads, and AddThis social bar.

Can these external requests be causing a big lag? There are times when the site just stops loading. It is usually when I am making edits and refreshing over and over again. Can it be that because I am calling 10 rss feeds from a government weather site, that they are throttling me? And if the feeds were throttled, it would only shut the feeds down, not the entire site .. right?

I've noticed that when I look at the site on my iphone, the load circle continues to spin even after the site "finishes loading".

The strangest thing yet is when I look at the site in Firefox, and I use Firebug.

I am adding a screenshot if this phenomenon, but essentially, the Firebug console profiler is going crazy. After counting really slow to 10, the profiler says there has been 17,432 calls. And the function is "Anonymous" and the files are all over the place.

Click on this link to view the screenshot of the Firebug profiler:

https://www.cubby.com/pl/profiler-screenshot.png/_1f2a4aa955344ccf9b5fbec235c4212c

Please let me know what you think of all of this. It is really weird.

  • Jack Kitterhing

    Hiya @mediastead

    Hope your well today, the site looks great :slight_smile:

    It is quite slow for me as well, according to pingdom tools, it's got a load speed of around 5.24 seconds, in total there 101 requests on the homepage just for it load.

    Have you tried combining those CSS files and minifying Javascript? What's the setup of your cache plugin like?

    Who's your host? Are you on shared hosting? Have you perhaps considered something like Cloudflare? I'm also getting the same as you in firebug which is quite unusual.

    Is this a custom made theme?

    Thanks!

    Kind Regards
    Jack.

  • mediastead

    @Jack Kitterhing,

    Thanks for the kind words.

    Last night, when I was making updates and testing, I disabled some of the W3 Total Cache settings, because it was starting to become very difficult to get my work done. Originally, I had all CSS and JS minified, and I also had Amazon Cloudfront set up as a CDN with all minified CSS and JS being serve by the CDN, but even when I cleared all caching through the plugin, the website would not update, so I had to disable everything to get my work done.

    I am pretty much using all of the other W3 Total Cache settings, as well. Browser and page caching, etc...

    I am hosting this particular site on its very own Mediatemple GS, which is technically shared hosting.

    The theme is custom, and I am using Genesis Framework as a foundation.

    I am using RSS Multi Importer to serve up the 10 weather alerts from weather.gov. I believe that the last time I disabled that plugin and tested on Firebug again, the profiler was not acting all funky.

    In order for the alerts to be scrolled through in my design, I am using Unslider JQuery slider (http://www.unslider.com/). I don't think Uslider would be doing it, as it is a fairly compact JQuery file.

    I absolutely need all of the feeds being pulled in, unfortunately, since the weather in all 10 counties varies slightly. I am not married to this particular RSS aggregator, but I don't know if it is the plugin doing it, or the feeds themselves.

    I can tell you this... the site loads much faster when the RSS feeds are turned off.

    I hope I have given you enough information to form an educated opinion. Any suggestions are welcome.

  • mediastead

    I've been doing some testing, but no changes on the site. I did, however, create a test website using the stock Genesis theme, and I installed the RSS Multi Importer plugin, and put it on the site with all 10 weather alert feeds. I did not use Unslider, and used the plugin's JQuery slide.

    I tested the test site with Firebug and the profiler show no activity.

    I will test Unslider with the test site next, to see why I am getting tens of thousands of calls on this site when the feeds are turned on and no calls when it is turned off.

  • mediastead

    Okay, so I was mistaken. I did more testing, and it must have been a fluke that the profiler calls stopped when I disabled the RSS feed plugin, because I did that same thing again, and it was still happening. So, I continued looking at the profiler more closely, and every single call being logged in the profiler is coming from Google Adsense.

    Check out my screenshot:
    https://www.cubby.com/pl/profiler-screenshot-2.png/_64f4d552f6b94146afcde9d244eaf7b4

    Any idea why Google is making so many calls to the site for 3 little ads? I am literally getting 20,000 calls in a span of 10 seconds.

    As for the other performance issues, I will continue to fine tune the site and move JS files to bottom of page, etc.

    Thanks!

  • mediastead

    Okay, so I have all of the errors fixed, except the Google Adsense errors.

    I am using the new Adsense responsive ads that are in BETA right now. All I am doing is using the "Enhanced Text" widget, and putting the Adsense responsive code directly in the areas that I want to display in. Here is the Adsense code:

    <style>
    .sidebar-skyscraper-responsive-ad { width: 320px; height: 50px; }
    @media(min-width: 500px) { .sidebar-skyscraper-responsive-ad { width: 468px; height: 60px; } }
    @media(min-width: 800px) { .sidebar-skyscraper-responsive-ad { width: 728px; height: 90px; } }
    </style>
    <script async src="//pagead2.googlesyndication.com/pagead/js/adsbygoogle.js"></script>
    <!-- Sidebar Skyscraper Responsive Ad -->
    <ins class="adsbygoogle sidebar-skyscraper-responsive-ad"
         style="display:inline-block"
         data-ad-client="ca-pub-5107561919851744"
         data-ad-slot="8126445316"></ins>
    <script>
    (adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({});
    </script>

    I read a few forum posts about other people having these errors in Firebug, but there was no real resolution. They just said that it is harmless...

    Anyway, I appreciate you looking into this.

  • tripvendor

    I'm always curious about page loading and I took a look at your site on gtmetrix.com which I find very handy to ID issues and performance

    http://gtmetrix.com/reports/www.hudsonvalleyweather.com/kx8LRL1h

    which shows a long time for Time to first byte as also seen on http://bytecheck.com/

    I know cloudflare sort of says the TTFB is misleading... but it looks like it is taking some time for the server to deliver

    I really don't know too much about this, but when I optimize and repair my DB and make sure to get rid of as many plugins as possible the first byte usually improves.

  • mediastead

    Thank you everyone for your replies! I have been testing and tweaking this site for a week, and things are starting to get better. There are so many 3rd party calls happening that there is just so much I can do to reduce the load time, but I am getting it very close to where it needs to be.

    There are thousands of visitors on the site at once on a regular basis, and the performance doesn't seem to be dropping as more and more people use the site, so I am very pleased and will continue to monitor and tweak the performance as time goes on.

    You can mark this topic closed for now.

    Cheers!

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