How to make fewer HTTP Requests in WordPress

When you visit a website, many technical things are happening in the background that we cannot see. However, these are HTTP requests, images are being loaded, and your website is requesting and receiving files.

HTTP requests have an impact on the speed of your website, which in turn has an impact on the user experience, increases bounce rates, and has impact on SEO.

This article will explain what HTTP requests are, how they affect your website, and how to reduce the HTTP requests to make our websites faster.

What are the HTTP requests?

To begin with, every time a website loads there is a lot of back and forth communication that is happening in the background. This process is called an HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol) request. When you land on a website, many assets are being pulled like images, CSS, JavaScripts, HTML, and other content from the data center to your computer.

This happens when you land on a new page and most times when you click on links. While this process happens behind the scenes without us knowing about it, we have little control over it because we don’t have access to any information detailing how our website performs and which resources from which locations are requested by our website.

If your website has a small amount of content, HTTP requests will be few and the page will load quickly. However, if your website is a multimedia site or has a lot of things running and a lot of images, it may take a lot of requests to fully load your website.

You can easily reduce HTTP requests and speed up website loading time by reducing the number of elements on your site.

How to check how many requests your website makes

You can easily find it using Speed Test tools like GTMetrix. Simply go to the site and enter your website’s URL, and it will begin analyzing your website, after which it will show you how many requests it makes in the Page Details section of the Summary section.

page speed details

Easy Ways to Make fewer requests on your WordPress site

Complete these simple steps to optimize your site, reduce the number of HTTP requests, and increase the loading speed of your website.

1. Remove Unnecessary Images and Optimizing the Rest

We’ve mentioned in previous posts that images are an important part of your website. They help to engage users and also affect the loading speed of your site because they take up space on your server and are loaded by HTTP requests whenever the user loads the page.

So it’s better to remove images that don’t add any value or optimize them by resizing and reducing their size. While images will be requested if they are available on the page, if they are optimized, your website will load faster.

Furthermore, use lazy loading to load images only when the user scrolls to that point on your site. Because the images aren’t preloading, it won’t take as many HTTP requests to load the website at first, and it will load faster.

The most recent version of WordPress includes native support for lazy loading, so you won’t need to install a plugin to use this feature.

Furthermore, using the latest generation images such as WebP, JPEG 2000, and JPEG XR can significantly reduce image file size, consume less data, and result in faster loading times as recommended by Google Page Speed Insights.

2. Minify and Combine HTML, CSS, and JavaScript files

When you visit a website, HTTP requests are sent to each of the CSS, JavaScript, and HTML elements to render the entire website. To properly load the website, the browser must download all of the resources. And if the website has a lot of elements, especially if it has a lot of plugins and heavy themes, it adds more CSS and JavaScript elements to the site. This increases the site’s loading time.

To make your website load faster, you’ll need to minify and combine these assets to reduce HTTP requests. This helps to reduce the number of files on your site as well as the file size.

Many caching plugins include options to Minify and Combine CSS and JavaScript files, which you can use to optimize your site with a few clicks.

3. Fix Render Blocking CSS and JavaScript files

This is yet another common problem that degrades the performance of your website. Many asynchronous CSS or JavaScript files are available on the site. Which prevents the browser from loading other elements of the site until it has finished loading first.

You must defer requests for specific files or load them asynchronously; the files will load synchronously with other elements of the page.

Deferring means directing them to another section of your website to load. For example,  Moving a JavaScript file from the <head> section to the bottom section of the page just before the </body> tag.

This ensures that all of the elements listed above will load first, without having to wait for this JavaScript file to load. Following that, this JavaScript will be loaded.

4. Reduce and Block Unnecessary External Requests

External elements such as images, embedded elements, and that you use on your site can also increase HTTP requests. For example, Twitter integration or Gravatar to provide images to users. These elements can make external requests, which increase the number of HTTP requests.

Plugins like WP Rocket can assist you in identifying external integrations that are making requests and slowing down your site. After you’ve learned about it. You’ll be able to decide whether to use it, try an alternative, or remove it entirely from your site.

5. Use CDN (Content Delivery Network)

Using a CDN can significantly improve the speed of your site’s loading. The CDN is a network of servers located all over the world. These servers cache your site’s static content, such as images, CSS, and JavaScript files.

When someone visits your site, the static files are quickly loaded from the closest CDN server to the requester’s location. In this post, we go over CDN in greater detail. To easily cache your site, you can use Cloudflare’s free CDN.

Summary

Now that you’re aware of the issues that cause an increase in the number of HTTP requests made by your site. While there is no ideal number of requests that your website should make. You simply need to work on reducing requests and increasing site loading speed. It will also help you improve your SEO score and rank your website higher on search engine results pages.

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2021-07-22T09:53:08+00:00

About the Author:

He is an enthusiastic writer and WordPress user. He writes on WordPress, WooCommerce, E-Commerce, and open-source projects.

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