How to Improve Website Speed In Pakistan
Everyone wants his website to be reachable to his clients and improve website speed is a very hot keyword. If your website is slow, all the energy and money you spend on its development is useless. Now you must have seen many articles on websites slowness online. But most of them are concentrating on the code issues are from a development perspective. Also, all such articles are concentrating on the websites of users in either the US or Europe. All the tools of websites stats that help to check website speed and errors are mostly US-based. So, are they enough to check a website that is intended for users in Pakistan? They are not relevant to users in Islamabad, Peshawar, Quetta, Lahore, Karachi, Kashmir, and Gilgit Baltistan. Users here have different requirements, their site can be in the local language and will require tools for that language. They may have strange downtimes when there are internet issues in Pakistan. They may need to talk to server support and most of the US-based providers don’t understand a small issue which can be a simple email configuration related to SMTP authentication. So, language can be a barrier for users.
The answer is, they are not. Let me give the reasons of websites’ slowness from a system administrator point of view. The technologies used at the server-side that cause slowness. Let me guide you that the location of your web server is a big factor in website slowness.
If you are planning to start a shopping website, educational institution website, business website, or even a government website there are a few points you need to consider in choosing a hosting provider.
Choose a provider whose support is accessible and are professional enough to help you when there are issues. You can google your local providers and select the one who has good reviews and whose support gives you the importance and answer your questions on time. Avoid big providers like Godaddy, HostGator, etc. they really don’t care about small clients and cannot help in small issues. Reach out to your provider whenever you have an issue. They may have an easy solution to your issues.
It is always good to select a hosting provider who has a datacenter in your area. There are two main reasons for the local datacenter. First is latency and the other is issues due to distance. The far your Web server is from your user, the most is the probability, to have an issue due to some maintenance in the route to your server.
What is Latency?
Latency is the amount of data travel time from point A to point B. Now point A can be your home and point B can be your Web Server, where your site is hosted. You can measure latency by simply ping your site in command prompt by writing;
You can also use tracer (windows) or traceroute (Linux) to find the exact path of your data traveling towards your web server.
Effect of latency and distance on your websites
Latency can have a big impact on your website if your website is far from your server. Most of the websites which are targeting users in Pakistan are hosting their sites in the US or Europe. They are completely ignoring data centers in Pakistan’s big cities like Islamabad, Lahore, and Karachi. They don’t even believe in the services of servers from Pakistan and think that they may be down all the time due to electricity outage or network fault. But the reality is different. Most of the corporate internet and data centers in Pakistan are world-class. They have multiple power backups and they never go down.
On the other hand, the latency and faults in the submarine cables, which are connecting Pakistan with the rest of the world are much worse. You must have seen that skype, outlook.com, yahoo, and many others get affected when there is a submarine cable fault. If these providers had data centers in Pakistan they could avoid their downtime and improve performance. No, check the performance of Google.com they have good latency and they never go down. Check the performance of youtube.com they have minimum latency as well. Though their servers are not in Pakistan they have managed to keep their services closer using CDNs and this has a huge impact on their services.
Now compare Telenor site www.telenor.com.pk with Jazz or any other site. Telenor site is live from their Datacenter in Pakistan. Most of the other provider’s sites are life from outside Pakistan. You will notice a clear difference between the page load time of Telenor and Ufone, Jazz, and Zong. Telenor site usually takes less than 3 seconds in loading, their cached pages are loading in less than a second. Telenor site has less then 10miliseonds of latency, you can check it by trying “ping Telenor.com.pk”. On the other hand, Jazz and other sites have 250miliseconds of latency. This high latency causes their site to load in about 5 to 10 seconds on average.
Let me share a graph which shows the latency and time comparison.
In the above graph if your Latency goes high your website load time will go higher. A Pakistan based server will give you latency of fewer than 20 milliseconds, a Europe based server will give you latency of fewer than 150 milliseconds, and a US-based server will give you 300 milliseconds or maybe more in some cases. So it is highly unlikely that you will get good speed from a US bases server for your website or any other application intended for users in Pakistan. Europe is generally a better option for Middle east based websites and for Pakistan based websites. But if your host is in Pakistan you will get the best result for users in Pakistan.
Let me show you some of the speed test tools like tools.pingdom.com, www.dareboost.com, etc. Unfortunately, they will not be able to show you the correct results of the website load time. Why is that? Because Pingdom is in the USA and they are mostly built to check USA based websites speed. They can help you find the errors in your site but they are not good tools to test your website speed for users in Pakistan.
Now some people may say that this latency issue is not a big deal and it is not causing websites, RDP, or a VPN slowness. They are very wrong. Let me show you a perfect website Microsoft Azure has created to help its users chose the best cloud server for them based on the latency. At www.azurespeed.com you can find latency based on your current location. It will show you which geographical location has the best latency for you and based on Microsoft recommendation you should select the closest possible location based on this website. Some might say India or China are closer geographically. But the truth is that Pakistan has most of its internet bandwidth and fiber connectivity through Europe. So, if you want to browse a website in India, you might have to go through Europe and it can be farther in terms of latency.
How to minimize latency?
An easy solution is to host your website on a server that is close to your clients. If your clients are on the website in a US server. But if your users are in Pakistan you need to host your website in Pakistan. You can get hosting from some good hosting providers in Pakistan.
Website slowness due to the server’s restrictions
Many of the hosting providers are hosting thousands of websites on a single server. They are using restriction software like CloudLinux to contain websites. They are controlling the CPU, RAM, storage controls, processes, data i/o, and virtual memory for every website. They have controls to give low resources to each site based on their package. Most of the time these resources are so low that when a website gets users they reach anyone of this limit end they go down. So, it means due to these restrictions your website will go down whenever you need it the most. It happens mostly to shopping websites when they run campaigns, educational institutes when they announce results and businesses when they are doing heavy usage in their season peak.
What will be a solution for these restrictions?
Choose a hosting provider who provides more resources to your website. You can find it from your cPanel if your provider allows it. Let me share a screenshot of these restrictions.
You can check these stats when your site is getting errors due to heavy usage and change your provider if it does not meet your requirements. Also, if they are not providing you these stats you should not trust them.
What are the other factors of website slowness?
There can be also slowness if your database is taking time in getting heavy queries but you can still improve website speed. It is always good to consult your system administrator to share your queries logs and find the queries which need optimization. SSD storage devices are about 20x faster than the normal hard disk and they can give you a good speed for your code and database queries. So it is wise to choose an SSD storage hosting provider. RAM is an important factor in browsing. Web servers and database servers both keep their recent files in ram and if they have more RAM they can give you better performance.
Lastly, you can always check different tools to identify slowness issues related to coding and fix them to make your site faster.
If your website code is not making your site slow, then there is a big chance that your hosting provider is causing your website slowness. You can improve website speed. If it is a big business generating site, then go for a cloud server or dedicated server which has more resources and chose the closest possible server. If it is a medium or small website which you want to keep on a shared server than chose a hosting provider that server near you, that has good support, latest software, and minimum server resource restrictions. Always avoid the big hosting giants, as they don’t care about small users like you.
Also, avoid the very small hosting providers as they mostly have got reseller hosting and they don’t have the expertise to handle hosting servers.