Why Is My Website Slow? 10 Reasons for Slow-Loading Websites

Discover the top reasons why websites load slowly, like JavaScript, CSS, and server setups, and learn effective solutions to optimize your site's performance.
  • Portrait of a smiling woman with long hair, transparent background.
    Sarah Berry SEO Consultant
    Author block right corner shape
  • October 25, 2023
  • 4 min. read

Wondering, “Why is my website slow?” Your site speed can slow down due to factors such as too many or too large images, insufficient server, and having poorly optimized JavaScript.

There are also plenty of other reasons why your site is slow. Get answers with this rundown of what causes slow-loading websites (and how to fix them). With this walkthrough, you can learn how to optimize your site’s speed to deliver a better user experience and improve your site’s search engine optimization (SEO).

10 reasons (and fixes) for slow-loading websites

Some of the most common reasons for slow-loading websites include the following:

1. JavaScript

While using JavaScript for your website isn’t bad, using poorly optimized JavaScript is. That’s because unoptimized JavaScript code can slow down your site’s rendering time, whether because of its coding, prioritization, or something else.

Some common fixes for this issue include:

  • Lazy-loading non-essential JavaScript
  • Minifying JavaScript code
  • Using asynchronous loading

2. CSS

With cascading stylesheets (CSS), you bring character to your website. However, that character can backfire and create a slow-loading website that takes forever to load (or what feels like forever). This decreased load speed happens when there are unoptimized CSS files or multiple CSS requests.

Some common fixes for this problem include:

  • Minify CSS files
  • Combine CSS files
  • Eliminate unnecessary CSS rules
  • Use media queries to load stylesheets based on the device

3. Server

Your website’s server can also slow down its loading speeds. A slow server happens for several reasons, from insufficient hosting resources to server-side issues. Typically, businesses upgrade their plan or switch service providers to resolve this issue.

Here is the complete list of how websites solve this problem:

  • Change hosting providers
  • Use server-side caching
  • Optimize database queries
  • Get a Content Delivery Network (CDN)

4. Content Delivery Network

Your CDN can also create a website that loads slowly. A Content Delivery Network optimizes content delivery by using a server closest to a user’s location. However, CDNs are not immune to site and page speed issues. Your setup and your provider’s capabilities can lead to a poor-performing CDN.

Some potential fixes for this issue include:

  • Choose a CDN provider with a broad network
  • Enable HTTP/2 support
  • Use GZip compression
  • Check caching rules

5. Content management system

A content management system (CMS) like WordPress, Joomla, Squarespace, or Flash can also create slow-loading websites. This issue often results from the CMS themes and plugins that businesses use. Whether you use a third-party or in-house theme, you can create page speed issues.

The most effective fixes for this issue include:

  • Download CMS updates regularly
  • Remove unused plugins
  • Use a caching plugin
  • Pick lightweight or optimized CMS themes

6. Caching

Caching, which helps search engines and browsers access the latest stored version of your website, can also decrease page speed. This page speed decrease happens when something goes wrong with caching, like repeated resource requests, as caching should improve load times.

Some common fixes for caching errors include:

  • Use a CDN with caching features
  • Download an optimized caching plugin
  • Enable browsing caching
  • Set up server-side caching

7. Media files

From images to videos to GIFs, your website’s media files can slow down your site significantly. Fortunately, it’s easy to fix speed issues related to media files. However, these fixes can take time without the help of a developer.

The most common fixes for media files affecting page speed include:

  • Compressing media files
  • Resizing media files to a lower resolution
  • Using the WebP image format
  • Enabling lazy-loading for media beneath the fold
  • Hosting videos on external platforms

8. Website scripts

The code that powers your website, especially if you’re not using a content management system, can also affect your page speed. From inline scripts to poorly written HTML code, you can create issues that slow down your website and hurt your user experience.

Some of the most effective fixes for website scripts include:

  • Minimize inline scripts
  • Relocate scripts to the bottom of the page
  • Use asynchronous loading
  • Optimize the HTML code for parsing

9. Website plugins

Many website builders come with their own plugins, like WordPress and Webflow. While plugins offer ease and convenience, they can also slow down your website. In some cases, plugins can introduce security risks that put your website, business, and customers at risk. That’s why it’s vital to vet plugins thoroughly before adding them to your site.

There are a variety of plugins out there, like Chrome and Firefox plugins, and plugins for WordPress, including WooCommerce.

You can help prevent website plugins from affecting your speed with these tactics:

  • Stick to reputable plugins
  • Remove unused or unnecessary plugins
  • Update plugins regularly
  • Limit the number of plugins

10. Website traffic

Your site’s traffic can also slow your site down. This scenario happens when a site receives an unexpected amount of traffic, which strains the website’s server and decreases its response times, thus creating a slowed user experience.

Businesses can respond to this issue by choosing a more appropriate hosting plan.

Fix your slow-loading website with SEO.com

There are multiple causes for slow-loading websites. Hopefully, you’ve found your answer to “Why is my website slow?” above. If you’re looking for further troubleshooting help, contact us online to see how our award-winning team can assist!

Portrait of a smiling woman with long hair, transparent background.
Sarah Berry is an SEO Consultant at one of the largest SEO agencies in the USA — WebFX. With more than 10,000 hours of SEO experience, she offers practical insights and strategies you can use to grow your rankings, traffic, and revenue from search.

Add WebFX to your content marketing toolbox today

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