Using a content management system (CMS) like Joomla instead of coding a site from scratch is a quick and effective way to create a website. Content management systems offer everything from flexibility and full control over your website to access to advanced features and functionality. These enable users to create beautiful and dynamic webpages. Whether you’re a complete beginner or an experienced web developer, you’ll easily be able to find a CMS suited to your skill set and project needs.
The following are three of the top content management systems:
- WordPress—One of the most popular open-source options, WordPress powers over 60 million websites, including over 33.6% of the world’s top 10 million websites.
- Drupal—Used by more than 2.3% of all websites worldwide, Drupal is an open-source CMS with a community of over 100,000 actively contributing developers.
- Joomla—Another free, open-source CMS, Joomla is estimated to be the most used content management system after WordPress and Drupal.
One criticism often leveled at these CMS platforms is poor performance. However, poor website performance can happen for many reasons, and it often isn’t an issue with the CMS framework. Using a cheap hosting provider, installing poorly coded and bulky plug-ins, and uploading large media elements are a few factors capable of slowing down your website.
In this article, we focus on Joomla and discuss 5 key methods you can implement to help improve your Joomla website’s performance. We share tools, extensions, and actionable strategies to help you fully optimize your site and ensure impressive load times and overall performance.
1. Monitor Your Website
If you want to improve your Joomla website’s performance, the first step is to set up website monitoring. By monitoring your site, you can establish a benchmark for performance and identify issues needing to be addressed. You’ll also be able to see the impact of the changes you make on your Joomla site’s performance.
Metrics to monitor include the following:
- Uptime—Websites suffering from regular bouts of downtime will quickly see a drop in visitors and revenue. An effective monitoring tool will not only provide website uptime statistics but alert you as soon as downtime occurs. This enables you to immediately fix the problem, minimizing user disruption on your website.
- Loading times—Nobody likes a slow-loading website, so page speed monitoring is a must. Page speed monitoring gives you insight into how quickly your pages are loading and which elements are causing your site to slow. This data helps you make informed improvements to your site, optimizing and reordering elements so all pages load quickly and efficiently.
- Transactions—Monitoring transactions on your website (such as contact form submissions, check-out processes, and membership login procedures) is another key way to evaluate your Joomla website’s availability and performance and to keep your website running smoothly. A top-end monitoring tool will track your website’s transactions and immediately alert you when an issue is detected, giving you a head start on fixing the problem before it impacts your users.
SolarWinds® Pingdom® is a website monitoring performance tool designed to enable you to track the above metrics and more. By using a tool like Pingdom, you will stay informed about short-term issues and get an in-depth understanding of site performance over time. This will enable you to put relevant strategies into practice to improve performance across your website.
2. Keep Your Site Updated
One of the easiest ways to ensure your Joomla website is functioning at its optimal level of performance is staying on top of site maintenance. This means keeping the Joomla core and all extensions up-to-date and deleting unused or out-of-date extensions.
- Updating the Joomla core—Every Joomla update contains new and improved code. This helps with security and performance-related issues, so updating your site to the latest version of Joomla as soon as it’s released should always be a priority.
- Updating Joomla extensions—Like Joomla core updates, extension updates will often contain improved code to enhance the plug-in’s performance. If you don’t update your extensions, they’ll be vulnerable to malware and other security hacks. This can greatly affect your website’s performance and the user experience on your site.
- Delete unused or unnecessary extensions—Old, unused plug-ins can become a serious security risk. Installing a high number of plug-ins on your site can increase load times, so try to minimize the number of extensions you use.
Not all Joomla extensions are well optimized—bloated plug-ins can significantly affect your website’s loading times. Choose your site’s plug-ins carefully and monitor your site’s loading times to ensure they aren’t causing issues.
3. Enable Joomla Caching
Caching is a technique used to cut down on server requests and improve webpage speed. Once caching has been implemented on your website, copies of your webpages will be stored (cached) as HTML files. When users visit your website, they will be served these static files instead of dynamic files directly from your server, improving load time.
The built-in caching feature Joomla offers works alongside caching extensions you can install on your website to add enhanced functionality. Caching options for Joomla websites include the following:
- Joomla built-in caching feature—To enable caching on your Joomla site, navigate to System > Global Configuration > System > Cache Settings within your dashboard. Here, you can choose from a couple of caching options, but we recommend Conservative Caching because it’s the best fit for most websites.
- Joomla Page Caching extension—You’ll also need to enable the Joomla Page Caching plug-in. This can be found via a quick search under Extensions > Plugins.
- JotCache—If you’re looking for more advanced caching features and extra control over the caching settings you enable on your website, consider installing the Joomla extension JotCache.
4. Turn On Joomla Compression
Another strategy to greatly improve Joomla performance is gzip compression. This is a built-in Joomla feature, but it needs to be enabled.
The Joomla gzip compression system works by compressing pages before they’re sent to a user. This greatly reduces page size, allowing your pages to load much more quickly.
- Gzip page compression—To enable Joomla gzip compression, simply navigate to System > Global Configuration > Server > Gzip Page Compression. Once this feature has been turned on, you should see a noticeable increase in page speed.
5. Use a CDN
Our fifth tip for improving Joomla performance is to use a content delivery network (CDN). By signing up with a CDN service, copies of your website’s files will be stored in numerous data centers, usually located around the globe. When a user tries to access your website, they will be served files from the data center closest to them. This cuts down the distance files must travel, greatly improving webpage speed.
Popular CDN services for Joomla websites include the following:
There are many Joomla extensions you can install on your website to enable easy integration with a CDN, including CDN for Joomla and jomCDN. You might be interested in reading our blog article, A Beginner’s Guide to Using CDNs.
Final Thoughts on How to Improve Joomla Performance
Evidently, there’s much you can do to improve your website’s performance. By using a monitoring tool, you can gain insight into long- and short-term problems on your Joomla site. This enables you to not only fix immediate problems but proactively implement other strategies to ensure your website performs at its optimal level.
Do you have questions on how to improve your Joomla website’s performance? If so, please ask away in the comments below.