The Fast Hiker

I know I certainly don’t look it (and I confess I am not), but the site had been dreadfully slow. Didn’t bother me – I am in no hurry to meet my maker. But I know many of you have better things to do than waiting for pages to load…so i am working on speeding things up.

As I work on it some speed problems may intermitently get worse, but I/we are tackling the issue, and it will get enormously better!

So far the Home Page has shrunk from over 16 megabytes to 1.1 (mainly by removing photos. I compressed all 14,500 photographs (by 69%!) with Short Pixel Optimiser. They are now also available in WebP format on Chrome etc which makes them load a further 30% faster. I also cut out a lot of thumbnail photos at the bottom of the page which were serving no useful purpose. This saves people a lot of data! I updated PHP to version 7.1 which sped things up by about 50%. I have updated the Cron job -whatever that is! I also installed WP Super Cache, which stores pages which have already been accessed and so speeds up loading them. I also added the plug-ins Auto-optimise and Speed Booster Pack. I will be using Cloudflare as soon as i figure out how it works. This should halve loading time yet again. I cut the number of posts shown on the home page from 20 down to 10. My latest test shows the page is now loading in .97 seconds!

The speed to load a page should already have come down from something like 10 seconds (Sorry!) to somewhere around 1 second. I hope I can get it consistently under 1 second (perhaps under .5 second) without any loss of functionality/quality, etc, and the size down to less than a meg. Of course I am no computer expert. I am a retired farmer who still has a lot of thistles (thistles done 12/11) to spray and other odd jobs and who would like to be off hiking/canoeing, etc.

These were the easy fixes. Getting down from around 1 second to under .5 second will involve a whole lot of quite cunning computer programming wrinkles where I may need some professional help, but I will keep hammering away at it over the next few weeks until i achieve that goal if I can. The list is incredibly long and complicated! Thanks for being patient! I could get it to .5 second by just showing the last 5 posts – but I would rather not.

The speedup has already moved the page from Page Three on, to No 3 on Page One! Hopefully increased traffic will also follow…

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