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How can I speed up this slow-ass Joomla site without converting it to Wordpress?

Posted on 2012-08-22
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Last Modified: 2012-09-02
There's nothing special or big about this website but it responds soooo sllloooowwwly that it's not indexing on search engines.

As you will see on the link I will provide, it has a background image, a YT video & some text. Now we've all been to websites that deliver a heck of a lot more data than that & they index on SE's & load quickly, so something is wrong with my site.

A test on www.vertain.com will illustrate the poor performance.

Can anyone help?
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Question by:TonyCabone
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Expert Comment

by:Jason C. Levine
ID: 38323096
Are you using the Joomla cache properly?

http://docs.joomla.org/Cache
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Author Comment

by:TonyCabone
ID: 38323237
Caching is set to default (OFF), this isn't normally a problem though. Will it help with search engine indexing?
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Author Comment

by:TonyCabone
ID: 38323252
What should it be set to , progressive or conservative?
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Expert Comment

by:Jason C. Levine
ID: 38323330
I would start with conservative and see if the site starts responding faster.
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Expert Comment

by:Dave Baldwin
ID: 38323410
In another question recently, the asker found out that some debug function was turned on and the speed of his site increased a lot when he turned it off.
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Author Comment

by:TonyCabone
ID: 38323467
OK it is loading a little faster with caching on. Still needs improving.

Dave thanks for your reply, debug is turned off as far as I can tell in Global Config under Debug Settings.
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Author Comment

by:TonyCabone
ID: 38323511
Also how long should the cache time be?
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Expert Comment

by:fibo
ID: 38325824
Cache is certainly the direction to go.
Note: on an eralier version of Joomla (not sure it applies today) cache files were not properly cleared and they eventually ate all the disk space on my shared-hosting server. I have since place a cro-type job that clear all cache files except the 100 most recent.
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Assisted Solution

by:Jason C. Levine
Jason C. Levine earned 500 total points
ID: 38325867
OK it is loading a little faster with caching on. Still needs improving.

Site speed is a function of many things:

1) Web server capability
2) Database server capability
3) Number of objects loaded by page (and size)
3.5) Number of external objects (e.g. font files from other servers)
4) Number of database queries required
5) Use of caching

So looking at the front end only, I see a ton of external files from Add This, Google, etc. and a lot of javascript loading up.  The fonts from Google really seem to be slower than they should be so I would also look to that and ask yourself (or the client) if they could live without it.  You may also want to look into gzipping the javascript for faster transfer and letting the user's browser rebuild the js files locally.

However, you will eventually need to fine-tune your caching settings and also test Joomla to see if the number of database queries or theme files are just overwhelming the ability of the server to keep up.
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Expert Comment

by:fibo
ID: 38328286
1 - You should install the very simple and very effective "Mobile Perf" bookmarklet trhat you will find at page http://stevesouders.com/mobileperf/mobileperfbkm.php
It will help you monitor more closely the differenyt performance issues.

2 - Now that you have activated the cache, you should consider going further, eg using compression to transmit html and javascript text over the net.

Following some suggestions from Yahoo developer site, I have placed in the .htaccess of my (old) Joomla site the following
############################################
## enable resulting html compression

    #php_flag zlib.output_compression on

############################################
## enable apache served files compression
## http://developer.yahoo.com/performance/rules.html#gzip

    # Insert filter
    SetOutputFilter DEFLATE

    # Netscape 4.x has some problems...
    BrowserMatch ^Mozilla/4 gzip-only-text/html

    # Netscape 4.06-4.08 have some more problems
    BrowserMatch ^Mozilla/4\.0[678] no-gzip

    # MSIE masquerades as Netscape, but it is fine
    BrowserMatch \bMSIE !no-gzip !gzip-only-text/html
    # Don't compress images
    SetEnvIfNoCase Request_URI \.(?:gif|jpe?g|png)$ no-gzip dont-vary

    # Make sure proxies don't deliver the wrong content
    Header append Vary User-Agent env=!dont-vary


FileETag All

## Add default Expires header
## http://developer.yahoo.com/performance/rules.html#expires
   ExpiresActive On    	# enable expirations 
#   ExpiresDefault "access plus 1 year"
    ExpiresDefault "access plus 3 days"

Open in new window

B-) I presume that now the tests for versions 4 of browsers might be dropped
The impact of these various instructions is
a - gzip: compresses text, if the browser knows how to decompress it
b - header, expire: improve the cache management on the clisent side (eg, some css or js files will not be reloadd if they are new enough)

3 - Using the perfomance tools above, have a look at the bytseize of pictures in you page. My suggestion would be to use the "web developper" add-on to firefox. It would show you the pixel size of pictures as they arte in the image file and as they are used in the html page: if you use a 170x120px representation of a 1700x1200px image, you are using 10x10=100 too many pixels, and you could probably make the file 10x100 times smaller by using the correct jpeg compression

Items in 2 and 3 above are probably the simplest to implement... but as jason noted ther are many other routes
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Assisted Solution

by:Abhijeet Rananaware
Abhijeet Rananaware earned 300 total points
ID: 38331947
Install JCH optimize and everything will zipped to superfast site :)
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Author Comment

by:TonyCabone
ID: 38335037
Thanks guys I will give these tips a go.

I wouldn't have thought that loading Google fonts would make it more difficult to get indexed properly on Google, that's ironic.
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LVL 27

Assisted Solution

by:lenamtl
lenamtl earned 400 total points
ID: 38335040
Often the culprit is the server not Joomla itself.
I'm using Joomla since several years on several sites and never add any issue about loading and never use Joomla cache.
Maybe a third component can cause this issues.
Deactivated and uninstall all non necessary third components & plugins.
Are you using a free template a or a commercial one?
Are you using Joomla 1.5 or 2.5?
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Author Comment

by:TonyCabone
ID: 38335952
2.5x with a Gantry-Framework customized template. It is the latest version of the template.

No updates available for Joomla core but the text at the bottom of the admin area that normally reads 'Joomla! 2.5.6' is missing.
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LVL 29

Expert Comment

by:fibo
ID: 38336066
You really need to make you page more frugal. It is currently heavier than 1Megabyte, no wonder it takes forever to load!
You need to seriously chase all the overweight you can find.

Looking at the mobile perf info, you will see that you currently have more than 830K of javascript.
Part of it is gzipped, but there remains more than 300K that could be gzipped to save around 225K
You should also question which of these js are in fact either totally useles or bringing only a minor improvement: axing them will be yet more effective than gzipping them!

You seem to use 2 versions of bkg-solar.jpg. Use just one of them, check if the one of 114K (currently a css-background image) is needed or if the one at 77K (currently used in a img) would be enough. If both are needed, note that this last one is a 1600x977 px file that your site uses as 1280x781: generating a file with these last dimensions would make the file (2/3)x(2/3) as large, ie less than 38K

In your source code, you seem to have 2 links to Google fonts. Not sure of the real impact... but 1 is probably enough.
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Accepted Solution

by:
fibo earned 800 total points
ID: 38336174
Additional look at your pagethru css validators:
- file  http://www.visionelectric.com.au/templates/rt_gantry_j16/css/template.css
Line : 86
      color: #e56boa; should obviously be       color: #e56b0a;


html line 12
Line
<link href='http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Droid+Sans' rel='stylesheet' type='text/css'>
should be removed, since it is redudant and before <head>: this creates an automatic opening of <head> with some side effects, specially barking at the <body class declaration

html Line 123
<meta name="robots" content="noindex">
is redundant and is missing the closing / needed by xhtml

HTML validation: your code is xhtml, therefore you should consider  closing tags sich as <link ...wyz> to <link ...wyz /> (don't forget the space before the /)
and inversely, chase redundant / (eg the closed <a .. />
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LVL 27

Expert Comment

by:lenamtl
ID: 38336475
Some Joomla userts having issue with this template too.

You can try to switch to default template to see if the problem is still there or not.

You can check with the author of the template if there any patchs or a newer version.

http://gantry-framework.org/support
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Expert Comment

by:Andrew Derse
ID: 38345698
Who is your hosting provider?  Is it hosted locally by your or someone else?

I noticed that when I was using GoDaddy...slower than molasses...when I switched to 1and1.com...tripled in speed...

Just a suggestion to look into the hosting provider or the machine itself...if the machine doesn't have much power...the site suffers...

My internally hosted sites run off a 4GB RAM single processesor server and they run fine...externally they run 6GB RAM with dual processors...
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LVL 29

Expert Comment

by:fibo
ID: 38345739
I suggest that first the page is put to a highly extensive diet: this the main factor, and whatever the hosting provider the lightweight cure will be beneficial

The JCH route is probably the fastest route to weight-scraping and should be taken at once.
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Author Comment

by:TonyCabone
ID: 38348293
Thanks guys this is good stuff, fibo thanks for pointing out those errors. I believe the <meta name="robots" content="noindex"> would be what's causing the issues with search engines.

JCH Optimize looks great however it kills the background image on the site (produced by another plugin).
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Expert Comment

by:Abhijeet Rananaware
ID: 38348881
finally you tried JCH optimize after 5 days :) ... can you check error log ...Which plugin are using to produce background image of site ?
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Expert Comment

by:fibo
ID: 38348905
B-) Seeing the "noindex" did not wake me on the issue... Now it seems you just need to remove these 2 to get some chance of being indexed

... Which does not lower the interest of making your pages lighter!

- for your background image: check xhat happens if yhis file is used only in 1 version for the 2 uses
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Author Comment

by:TonyCabone
ID: 38353212
Re background image, I have already removed 1 of the uses which wasn't supposed to be there.
The plugin is called mmBackground Free
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Expert Comment

by:selvol
ID: 38358202
See here Please,

Joomla/Q_27808961.html
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