Tips for Optimizing your Web App Performance

By Staff Contributor on January 23, 2020

When your web applications perform below optimal levels, the impact can be significant. Your organization might lose productivity, or end users may have a poor experience and leave your site. That’s why optimizing performance is a top priority for many businesses.

Web application performance optimization involves monitoring and analyzing app performance and pinpointing the ways you can improve it. There are many steps you can take to improve performance overall. For instance, you can make specific code changes, or save bandwidth by preventing others from embedding your images. The following points address some top tips for troubleshooting poor web app performance.

  1. Take Advantage of Key Metrics
  2. Employ a Content Delivery Network (CDN) to Reduce Latency
  3. Be Thoughtful in Your Caching
  4. Bundle Your Files
  5. Optimize Your Images
  6. Keep Your Web Server Up to Date
  7. Reduce Your Number of HTTP Requests
  8. Use Logs to Monitor Performance
  9. Choose the Right Tools for Web App Performance Optimization

Take Advantage of Key Metrics

Leverage key metrics to locate sources of high utilization and better target your optimization efforts. By collecting and indexing metrics on cache operations, queries, and remote calls along multiple dimensions, you can more quickly find the services, operations, and tables causing bottlenecks within your systems. Once you’ve located the specific problem areas, you can target your optimization efforts at known issues instead of trying to improve your web app performance without concrete direction.

Employ a Content Delivery Network (CDN) to Reduce Latency

Since many of the files on your website are unchanging and static, a CDN is a great way to enhance your bandwidth, speed up your delivery of assets, and reduce access latency. In a CDN, different network nodes spread far apart from each other store copies of data and work together to fulfill end-user content requests as they occur.

Be Thoughtful in Your Caching

In line with the use of a CDN, you can also improve your website’s performance by caching static files on servers closer to where your users are located. This lets your sites load more quickly since traffic on your main servers is reduced.

Bundle Your Files

Reducing your overall number of files and optimizing them are important elements of optimization. That’s why you should bundle and minify your files to improve your web app performance. As the name implies, bundling involves combining your files to reduce the overall number. Minification, on the other hand, involves reducing the size of your individual files. One of the main minifying techniques involves removing unnecessary characters that don’t need to load from JavaScript, CSS, and HTML. Some of these characters are new line characters, white space characters, block delimiters, and comments. Because minification reduces the amount of code needing to be requested from the server, it can speed up your load time.

Optimize Your Images

Images can seriously reduce your web app performance. Luckily, in most cases, they can be made smaller and optimized. Both .jpeg and .png files can easily be shrunk down. You should also upload your images at scale when you put them on your website instead of relying on CSS to size them down.

Keep Your Web Server Up to Date

Web app performance optimization is largely focused on server-side optimization, which relates to how long it takes for the server to complete requests. In general, it’s important to keep patches and updates currents for your web servers, as this maintains both function and security. When updates lag, it leaves security gaps and drags down performance overall.

Reduce Your Number of HTTP Requests

Browsers fetch data from servers through HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol) requests. The more requests your webpage is making, the more slowly it will load. Make sure you’re not generating unnecessary and unused HTTP requests that will needlessly slow your loading time. Some of the ways to reduce your HTTP requests include using less code, not using third-party frameworks, and reducing your assets (including third-party plugins making external requests).

Use Logs to Monitor Performance

Use logs to monitor your web application performance. Logs record events as they occur. With a tool to aggregate and display those logs in real time, it’s easy to detect and respond to critical application issues before they have a significant impact on your web app performance.

Choose the Right Tools for Web App Performance Optimization

The top tip for optimizing performance is simply to invest in server monitoring software to capture metrics and provide analysis. With targeted insights, you can focus on fixes for your specific environment. SolarWinds® AppOptics™ is a web application performance optimization solution focused on monitoring the server side of all your critical applications. It’s designed to help companies make sure their services perform above expectations.

AppOptics comes with more than 150 plugins and out-of-the-box integrations, so you can start monitoring your critical applications immediately. Easily monitor key metrics like CPU, memory, disk, PHP, and network performance, or set up custom metrics. With AppOptics you can monitor web errors and response times, or drill deep into the specific lines of code that might be causing issues with performance.

With its customizable, robust dashboard, AppOptics makes it easy to review all your critical performance metrics in real time. AppOptics comes with built-in alerting capabilities to ensure you’re notified as soon as an outage or error occurs—which means you can act right away and minimize end-user impact.

Another tool you can use with AppOptics to enhance your web application performance optimization efforts is SolarWinds Loggly®, an intuitive logging solution. Event logs are a way to gain real-time visibility into the events on your server and prevent application issues. However, aggregating and monitoring logs without a tool is difficult. Loggly is designed to centralize and analyze relevant logs, so you always have useful insight into your web apps. By using AppOptics and Loggly together, you can set up a complete web app monitoring solution

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