How to Fix Slow WordPress Hosting on Network Solutions

How to fix slow website on Network Solutions
How to fix slow website on Network Solutions

Important Note on Network Solutions as a Hosting Provider:

Through our web agency work we started optimizing customer sites for speed and it ultimately ended up a new business of its own that focuses on WordPress Speed Optimization –  WPSpeedFix.com.

Since we started we’ve now optimized over 2000 sites so we’ve worked on our fair share of Network Solutions sites.

Before we get into more details on how to fix slow a Network Solutions site, we also want to say a couple of things on this hosting provider and be as honest as we can.

It’s important to be mindful of the quality of your hosting provider. A lot of them are just low to mid-range hosts that lure you in with basic, two-dollar deals and then make you pay your due afterward.

Hosting providers such as Network Solutions, Godaddy, Bluehost, and Hostgator, are examples of this, just a few selected here among the many like them. And although they’ve grown to be pretty recognizable names in the internet space for quite some time now, that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re high quality.

Yes, you can get your site running with a relatively good speed if you go through the steps that you’re about to read below but if you want to make your site go as fast as it can, then these kinds of web hosts won’t be able to give you that as they’re built to be cheap, not fast.

A lot of the time a better quality WP host won’t actually cost you much more than what you’ve initially paid. For example, a hosting provider such as Siteground starts from $4.95/month, and one as devoted as Cloudways will do it from $10/month. If you decide to sign up for one of them or the like, you’ll see an instantaneous improvement in the loading speed of your website.

For more details, you’re welcomed to check our special article on the fastest WordPress hosting services, where we’ve also included a list of WordPress hosts with the highest performances.

(BONUS: most of the hosts inside the list will also let you migrate to their service provider for FREE)

What Usually Happens When You Complain About Site Speed to Network Solutions Customer Support

Another thing before we actually begin with how to fix slow Network Solutions website, aka the more technical stuff, are a couple of words on what typically happens if you complain to Network Solutions about your slow site speed.

Well, first of all, it’s very likely that customer support will tell how you’ve got too much traffic on your website. This is followed by advice such as getting a bigger server and then next thing you now you’re told you should also get a bigger plan that they’re offering or a dedicated server.

And while your site not having enough server resources can, in fact be true, or at least partially true, cheaper hosts (such as Network Solutions one or the others named above) should be able to handle 1000-2000 visits a day without breaking a sweat.

Because these kinds of hosting providers are geared towards being the cheapest they rely a lot on scale, which means stacking up as many sites as possible on a server and then running them to the limit. Their priority is not to be the fastest host available. That’s why a higher hosting plan won’t really save your site if you remain with the same provider.

1. Test Your Site’s Speed

This is the first step you need to do is test your site speed, because it gives you a benchmark for future reference, aka the improvements in speed you want to implement on your website. Our speed testing tool of choice is Pingdom, which you can find here.

Ideally, loading speed should be under 1 second in the country the site is hosted in. The under one-second mark is important because it’s an interval in which your site load feels instant.

But, this depends on what you have running on the site, the quality of the hosting provider, and also third-party tools. With a fast host, we’re able to get the site’s core to load in 600-800ms without any problem. However, if you have tools like Hubspot, Activecampaign and Facebook Ad Pixel or CRM tracking software like Luckyorange, Visual Web Optimizer or Hotjar, don’t expect your site to load in under one second.

A reasonable expectation for most sites would be around the 1.5 second mark, which is still a relatively good loading speed and one that’s fairly easy to achieve.

Other tools with which you can test your site’s speed:

Speed testing tools are abundant on the internet. GTMetrix.com and Google Pagespeed Insights are two popular ones that you can check out.

We prefer Pingdom because it’s a tool that gets the closest to what a real world speed is. Also, it actually measures the speed of your website, unlike Google Pagespeed Insights, for example, which does the measuring by putting your site up against a technical checklist, producing a score for you in the end.

We recommend that test the speed of your site a couple of times, so you can get an average time. Screenshots are a good idea for this because you can always refer to them later.

Pingdom Speed Test

Under this section, you will find a screenshot of a Pingdom test, one that we’ve made for our WP Speed Fix website.

The most important elements of the test:

URL – this is the website address. Always put the primary website address, which means always include the www. A lot of people make this mistake, and by omitting the www part, they unknowingly add 1-2 seconds delay to the speeding test. This is because the website is attempting to load with its primary address.

“Test From” – this is an indication of the country from which you’re trying to do the test. Here you should consider primarily the country where most of your site’s visitors are from. You should be expecting your site to run about 0.5-1 seconds slower in countries that are outside the zone where it’s hosted. The site we did the speed test on is being hosted in the US, and visiting it from Australia would give us about 1 second of loading time.

Load Time – the most important metric of the test. As we said in the other section above, the goal should be loading time of 1 second or less.

Page Size – this indicates the complete size of the page, which means the smaller it is, the better for loading. A site that’s rich with images will weigh about 1-2mb. The one we tested was 502kb (half a megabyte), but it’s not odd to encounter pages weighing from 5mb up to 15mb, guaranteeing a slower loading time on a standard internet connection.

Requests – same as the page size, the fewer requests you have, the better for your site. Most of the time fast loading sites have somewhere between 50-100 requests. When you pass the 200 requests mark, your site will get slower and slower, especially on mobile devices with lower CPU power.

Pingdom Site Speed Explained
Pingdom Site Speed Explained

2. Caching is a Must Have

If you don’t have caching your WordPress site won’t load as fast as it should.

Caching prebuilds each page on your site so the HTML is ready to send when a visitors arrives. Without caching, each new visitor will simply torture the server having to execute PHP code, followed by MySQL database lookups, and then executing some more PHP code, so that, in the end, it can generate an HTML file and send it to the site visitor.

If you, however, get a solid caching plugin, the HTML file will be readily prebuilt and sent to the visitor with no fuss.

When considering caching, it comes down to one or two options:

WP Rocket – a caching plugin for DIY people, or people that still can’t deal too much with technical issues. This easy to use plugin will give your website all the performance boost it currently needs, and it’s very, very cheap. Just give it a try and see for yourself – if you struggle with loading times higher than 5 seconds, with this plugin you’ll see a momentary drop of a couple of seconds at least.

W3 Total Cache – this one is a free plugin and by far the fastest one of its kind. However, the W3 plugin is more demanding in terms of configuration and oriented more to the tech-savvy. (NOTE: if you get this plugin, use the Browser Caching and Page one only.)

Higher quality hosts such as Siteground, Cloudways, and WPEngine have either a built-in plugin or their own they provide separately, which is also one of the reasons why their such good, fast hosting providers.

NOTE: Don’t attempt to install two caching plugins – they will conflict. As we said, for people with less experience in WordPress and lower technical skills, we highly recommend the WP Rocket plugin.

WPRocket WordPress Caching

3. Use CDN and/or Cloudflare

CDN stands as an abbreviation of Content Delivery Network, which is a network of servers that help the static assets of your website get delivered to its visitors (among them are javascript and CSS files, but also image files). They also relieve the hosting server of doing this task.

Cloudflare.com is such a CDN network, that will help you improve the speed of your site, especially when it comes to visitors from other places. The network of Cloudflare is spread out on more than 150 worldwide locations, making it one of the biggest and fastest CDN’s out there.

A visitor from a country like Australia, for example, that’s visiting a website hosted in the US, will get a faster loading time because a lot of the files are actually loaded from local Australian servers, rather than ones located in the US.

For most users, we recommend getting the free Cloudflare plan. For more advanced image optimization, and firewalling, there’s also a 20$/month plan – if you opt for this one, though, it’s a good idea to be either already signed up to a good hosting provider or move to one as soon as possible.

If you want a more comprehensive CDN option, you can check out KeyCDN, it’ll definitely be worth your time.

4. Compress Your Images

The loading time of your website can also be improved by image compression. And the good news is that a lot of the images you have on your website can be compressed without losing their initial quality. Usually, they become 20-50% smaller in size, and this has proven to make an enormous difference when it comes to the loading speed, especially for connections that are slower.

Shortpixel is a plugin that we’d heartily recommend for this, most of all because, unlike other such plugins out there, it has more advanced image optimization features. Plus, they’ve got a FREE plan and a tool that will analyze the images on your website and tell you how many of them can be compressed, as well as the amount of space you’re gonna save by doing all this.

Wordpress Image Optimization Compression Test Tool

5. Be Sure to Switch to HTTPS for HTTP2 Protocol support

Another speed improving trick is switching to encrypted mode, that is HTTPS. The whole world wide web is actually moving over to HTTPS encryption – also Google has already announced that encrypted sites are going to get higher ranking than the ones without HTTPS type encryption.

HTTPS is also important because it allows the web browser software to use a newer and faster protocol, the HTTP/2 protocol which allows your web browser to download files from your site much more quickly.

Network Solutions is an older host so quick often doesn’t support HTTP2 BUT if you have Cloudflare it will add this support as this is one of their features.

If you’re interested in further comparative info between HTTP 1.1 and HTTP v2, you’re welcomed to check out the video below.


6. PHP7 Will Give You’ll 30%+ Speed Increase!

PHP marks the programming language on which WordPress is running, and it has several versions. Most likely you’ll encounter version 5.6 (or lower), but also versions 7.0, 7.1 and 7.2.

The 7.0 version is around 30% faster than v5.6, and what’s great about it is that a lot of sites built in the last two years support it very easily.

Version 7.1 and 7.2 will give you an additional 10%+ speed increase, and if your site is compatible with the newest version we recommend that you switch as soon as possible.

NOTE: Have in mind that you have to do a compatibility test before you do the switch. WPEngine has a free plugin for this, which will work on any hosting provider. By testing your theme and all your site’s plugins, it will confirm whether the website is compatible with PHP 7 or 7.1/7.2.

7. Ditch the Plugins You’re Not Using

Okay, not exactly ditch them, but rather disable them. Many of the sites out there have plugins that they’re actually not using anymore. You should take care of this because enabled plugins slow down the site. Instead, just run the plugins that are really necessary for your site, and make sure it’s a smaller number of them.

Simply go through all the plugins you’ve got installed and check if it’s still being in use – if it isn’t, then don’t think twice when it comes to disabling it.

8. Advanced Troubleshooting

For our final point, we want to give you a few other advanced troubleshooting information:

  • Update plugins to the latest version – this is a common problem that we encounter, sites running plugins already a few years old and incompatible with the WordPress version the site is running. Updating them will also help to fix potential bugs that might be guilty of slowing down the site as well.

Other Resources:

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