If you own a website, then you must know how to rule it on the web. A lot of technical stuff is involved in making a website that runs successfully on the web. While the options are innumerable such as interesting web design, one of the most plausible ways to popularize your site among users is to reduce your website’s HTTP requests.
Imagine a user visiting your website, and trying to explore the interesting facts in your content. On clicking “Enter”, the page loads quickly, but what if it takes more time than you expected? It would certainly be annoying and it could turn away eager visitors from coming to your website. In simple words, the lesser the page load time, the more user-friendly is your website. Apparently, this helps to promote the number of clicks for pages on your website.
Did you know that the number of HTTP requests that impact page load time? Every web page has a certain number of HTTP requests, which eventually influence the bounce rate, user experience and other important metrics attributed to running a site successfully.
What is HTTP & HTTP request?
HTTP stands for “Hypertext Transfer Protocol”. The name might not make much sense, but to elucidate, every time you try to open a page on the web browser (Firefox/Chrome/Internet Explorer, etc), the browser sends a request to the web server. The web server hosts web pages that open on browsers. So, what is this request?
The browser sends a request to the web server for files comprising of content for the webpage that a visitor wants to load. These files consist of multimedia, images and texts that are present on that webpage. Once the server receives a HTTP request from a browser, it immediately responds and sends the files requested by that user’s browser. Automatically, the web pages are loaded quickly.
How HTTP requests impact page load time?
A single HTTP request is made for every file on your website. If your website has lots of files, then the number of HTTP requests is more. This badly impacts the load time of a page. The lesser the number of files, the lesser the time is required for making requests and downloading content on your website. Even, larger files take longer time to transfer.
It is natural that a longer load time is not just frustrating, but disruptive to users’ experiences. Research reveals that about 47 percent of visitors expect a page to load in just two or three seconds, while another 40 percent often leave a website that take more than three seconds of download time. However, it might sound a bit depressing to website owners that good websites including elaborate web design and images usually have a lot of files.
So, does it mean you cannot maintain a rich web design for your website, just because it will negative affect the page load time? No. There are ways to reduce HTTP requests without damaging the look, feel and content of your website. Read on:
How to minimize HTTP requests?
- Reduce Images and Designs – A lot of planning goes into designing a website. To reduce the number of HTTP requests for your web page, you should reduce the number of functional images and unwanted designs. Include only those that are inevitable for your site. You should know this that several badly coded designs use images for buttons, backgrounds, borders, etc. You can achieve excellent visual effects by using CSS, which is the language used for determining the presentation of web pages. This will help in reducing HTTP requests.
- Inline CSS scripts and combine them – The tricky part of a web design lies in choosing the best website themes that require several CSS files. Combining the CSS files into a larger file will gradually help to minimize the number of HTTP requests.
You should keep tab of the number of HTTP requests for your web page by checking on the Google Chrome’s network panel. This will help you assess the different elements on your page and spot those elements that are forcing the page to take a long time to load.
- Eliminate unnecessary images and shrink file size – The easiest way of minimizing requested files for a webpage is by chucking out unnecessary images. Indeed, images add strong visual effects to a web content, but if an image is not contributing much value, then it should be chopped out.
Always use high quality images, and make sure that the images have compressed file sizes. This automatically reduces the amount of time required for making a HTTP request. You may use tools like Compressor.io or TingPNG to minimize size of files.
- Reduce the number of social buttons – An interesting part of web design is limiting the number of social buttons, to make it more conducive to quick page loads. Social buttons or Facebook/Twitter, etc., play instrumental in sharing your websites with other people. The more the number of social buttons on your page, the more the number of HTTP requests. This means that social buttons can slow down your website. Use only those social buttons that you need to promote your site so that in a way you can reduce the number of HTTP requests.
- Look for other factors – After following the abovementioned techniques for checking and reducing the number of HTTP requests, you should look for other factors. Create a sub-domain, if your website domain is receiving lots of HTTP requests. However, make sure you do not use more than two sub-domains.
Summing it up, an ideal web design is all you need to minimize the number of HTTP requests and increases page load time.