When it comes to website’s performance, speed is everything. It affects your search ranking, conversions, bounce rate, page views, and even your revenue. Today we will help you improve your page load speed using Pingdom website speed test tool.
Pingdom allows you to monitor your website’s data and also shows historical data if you tested your site before. It also allows you to set up alerts to detect any unexpected changes on your website. In this article, we will analyze the free version of this tool.
Founded in 2007, Pingdom has more than 850,000 users. Some of the websites that have claimed to use this tool for checking their uptime and availability include Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, and MailChimp. Pingdom has grown to include servers in 70 test locations across Europe, the US, and the Asia Pacific regions. They became a part of SolarWinds in 2014 to make the internet faster and more reliable for everyone.
Services offered by them include uptime monitoring, page speed monitoring, transaction monitoring, server monitoring, and visitor insights. One of the most popular services is their free website speed test tool. This tool really comes in handy for website owners as website speed is one of the most important aspects of any website.
It currently allows testing speed in 7 different locations:
Asia – Japan – Tokyo
Europe – Germany – Frankfurt
Europe – The United Kingdom – London
North America – USA – Washington D.C.
North America – USA – San Francisco
Pacific – Australia – Sydney
South America – Brazil – São Paulo
Note: The test location is an important factor as it will affect the latency and network connection quality of your website.
2. Services by Pingdom
Pingdom is known for its speed test tool, simply enter your webpage’s URL and select a testing region. It will test your page load speed and performance metrics. This will help you understand overall page load time, number of requests, and size. You can analyze your website’s performance through waterfall charts. All these features are available in the free version of Pingdom website speed test tool.
You can also buy a paid version and get additional features like:
Website Status Monitor
Page Speed Monitoring
Deliver a higher quality web experience
Transaction Monitoring Tools
You can get a 14-day free trial and if you wish to buy this tool, the prices are very reasonable compared to the services they offer. Have a look at their annual price table:
3. Waterfall Analysis
Each aspect of a webpage generates a request to render what we see on the website. Most of these requests increase the page load speed as they take time to render. In this post, we will explain each of these requests by breaking up different sections of the Pingdom website speed test tool.
The first things you will see when you will run your website through Pingdom website speed test tool are performance grade, page size, load time, and the number of requests you have on your website.
Note: There might be a difference in result if you are running your website through the Pingdom website speed test multiple times. DNS caching, CDN caching, and WordPress caching might be some of the main reasons for this difference.
3.2 Performance Insights
The improve page performance section earlier known as “Performance Insight” includes suggestions about optimizing your webpage. These suggestions are not 100% relevant but if you work on these suggestions, you will be able to decrease the overall load time.
Here are some of the general recommendations:
I. Use CDN
You can get free CDN with every plan on Breeze.io.
II. Compress components with gzip
Gzip compression is most commonly known as browser compression or HTTP compression. By using Gzip compression you can compress files for faster network transfer. And since your files will get reduced in size, your website speed will increase.
You will have to enable Gzip compression from the cPanel. You wouldn’t be able to do it from WordPress as you need to access the server.
III. Add expires header
Every script on your website needs to have an HTTP cache header. These headers will tell you when the cache on the files will expire. Make sure your hosting provider has proper cache-control headers.
The problem arises with third-party scripts as you have no control over their web servers to add caching headers. These third-party scripts also include Google Analytics. To fix this, simply host your Google Analytics script locally. Then you will have complete control over the files and you will be able to serve it from your own CDN. This will also remove third-party DNS request issue.
HTTP request is when someone visits a page on your site and their browser request the files that contain the content of the page. These files can be HTML, CSS, Images etc. The problem is every time someone visits your site, their browser will make separate HTTP request for every single file that needs to be rendered on the page.
You will have to reduce the number of elements on your site to minimize the number of HTTP requests.
V. Avoid empty src or href
If the browser encounters an element with an empty src or href attribute it can corrupt user data. Additionally, it can also disable your servers by sending them a large amount of unexpected traffic.
These can appear in two forms:
These are usually caused by the way URI resolution is performed in browsers.
Then add the following code to your theme’s functions.php file:
Now all you need to do is add $in_footer parameter to “true” and your script will be moved to the bottom of the page.
VII. Reduce the number of DOM elements
DOM or Document Object Model is a programming API for HTML and XML documents. It is a structure of documents, the way in which a document is accessed.
Here’s how a DOM looks like:
Widgets, plugins etc can all create additional DOM element. You need to take care of these elements and keep your site clean and minimal for the best performance.
Other than these here are some other common suggestions to improve page performance:
VIII. Reduce DNS lookups
A DNS is like a phone book where people’s names are associated with a particular phone number. To be more clear it is the process of finding which IP the domain name belongs to. DNS lookup is performed by the browser as it finds all resources which require a DNS lookup when someone accesses a web page.
You can simply reduce DNS lookup by reducing the number of host names that are used to generate your web page. Also, try to host third-party resources locally.
IX. Use cookie-free domains
Even though cookies are very useful but while delivering static content, they often become an obstacle in the website’s speed. If a browser is making a request for a static asset like images, there is no need to send cookies to the server. It will only create additional network traffic and later servers won’t have any use of added cookies since these files are static.
Using cookie free domains allow you to eliminate unneeded network traffic since you are able to separate the content that doesn’t require a cookie.
X. Configure entity tags
Entity tags are cache validators that help the browser to determine from where it can retrieve the requested resource, from local cache or server. The problem with entity tags is meant to only deliver content from a single server. And for websites that deliver using various resources from multiple servers, entity tags do not work well.
To configure entity tags you will have to change snippet within your httpd.conf file. You will have to change
FileETag INode MTime Size
FileETag MTime Size
This will fix multiple server issues with entity tags.
3.3 Response Codes
Response codes are like short notes from the web server in response to a client’s request made to the server. These are just like status codes. Response codes are separated into 5 classes and the first digit of these codes define their class:
1xx: Request received, continuing process
2xx: Request received, understood, and accepted
3xx: Further action required to complete the request
4xx: Bad syntax, the request cannot be fulfilled
5xx: Server failed to fulfill the request
3.4 Content size and requests by content type
In the next section, you can see what is taking up the most resources on your web page. It shows the content on your site and how it is affecting the load time. Things like script, images, font, CSS etc are displayed with the size and percentage of space they use up.
Content by domain gets a separate section in Pingdom website speed test result. This section displays how your domains are requesting information. You can say this is a breakdown between the home domain, ad network content and CDN hosted files.
You might be spending resources on some irrelevant site pages which will affect the site of your speed. Request and content size by domain helps you to distinguish such unusual domain requests.
3.6 Waterfall Chart
The waterfall chart is the most important aspect in Pingdom website speed test. It offers a detail and color-coded waterfall chart. This chart shows every script and file on your site as it loads. Every script is presented with its size and a color indicator that shows exactly what the browser and server are doing during the loading sequence.
4. Pingdom Mobile App
Pingdom also has a mobile app for both Android and iPhone users. It is extremely useful as it allows you to monitor your website even when you leave your desk. It lets you view your current status of the servers and websites you are monitoring. You can get push notifications, root cause analysis and response time on this app.
5. Tips to Improve Website Speed
Nobody likes slow websites. You will have to put in efforts to make your website speed faster. With tools like Pingdom website speed test, you’ll be able to easily identify and analyze the problem that causes slow speed. Once you have this information you can start working on your website. Here are some tips to increase your website speed:
5.1 Good Hosting
If you are having problems with your website’s speed the first place to look is your hosting provider.
Bad quality service or shared server can lead to slow page load speed. You might also see a huge difference in choosing generic hosting providers as opposed to companies who offer different platform hostings. WordPress users should stick with premium managed WordPress hosting provider.
Breeze.io is one such platform that offers powerful stack, performance, lowest latency and many more resources to help load your website faster.
5.2 Use browser caching
Caching is the solution for many slow websites. The process of caching involves storing site’s images, files, pages, web objects on the computer’s local hard drive. And whenever someone enters your website to access any information, the browser access all cached files. This creates a static version of your website that does not require going to the database to retrieve information.
You can use browser caching by installing a caching plugin. W3 Total Cache is one the most popular caching plugin. It offers 80% bandwidth saving using minification. You can also see this list of 10 best WordPress caching plugins.
5.3 Use CDN
CDN stores heavy content like images and videos on local servers. This saves the efforts of the host of having to deliver pieces of content on a regular basis.
CDN has a huge difference in site load speed as large files are delivered faster. This is how CDN servers actually work:
5.4 Optimize images
Most websites are filled with images as they help convey the information easily. But the number of images on your website directly affects the speed of your website. Since you cannot compromise with the quality of images, the best solution here is to use lossy compression. It is quality compromised image compression which reduces the size of images on your website.
You can do lossy compression using Optimizilla, an amazing online image optimizer. Simply drag and drop your images and enjoy compression.
You can also consult this complete guide on Lossy Compression & How to do it Effectively.
It is very important to keep an eye on your website’s site and uptime and Pingdom helps you do that. There are many site speed tools available in the market. But Pingdom website speed test is one the easiest and accurate tool for any website owner.
You can use the free version if you have a small website but we do recommend switching to their paid plans for more features. Examine your website carefully and work on areas that need help and you will have a much faster loading website in no time.
Comment down below if you need help fixing your website speed!
Video consumption is at an all-time high and is said to increase in the coming years.
Cisco has projected that more than 80% of all Internet traffic will be video by 2021 (source)
Video marketing can be used in many ways. But one of the ways to get the most attention is video headers.
Video headers give a more engaging look to your website but you need to be careful while using them. Videos can affect the quality of your website by increasing the page load time and speed of your website.
With version 4.7, WordPress has received great applause for its ability to loop video headers. And with this feature, a lot of themes have also updated there setting to allow you to insert a video header easily.
Hit or miss: We think this is going to be a huge hit among WordPress users. The video header will definitely attract many viewers.
2. WordPress 5.0
Every time there is a new WordPress version, everyone gets super excited. But this time there has been a lot of buzz around the new WordPress 5.0 because of Gutenberg editor.
In 2018, WordPress 4.9.8 was released which included the Gutenberg Callout encouraging people to install it and update.
Gutenberg for @WordPress now has 420k active sites and we've tracked 213k posts written with it the past few weeks, only counting @Jetpack sites. Will have some block stats here in future! The original before-5.0 goal was 100k sites and 250k posts: https://t.co/S5Oju7cMRP
According to their official site, WordPress 5.0 could be released as early as January 22, 2019.
Here are some changes that we’ll see after 5.0:
2.1 More intuitive site-building experience
WordPress is already known for its 5-min installation and ease of use. The team is now working on making it even simpler for the users. A much more ease in site building will make sure WordPress continues to lead in terms of market share.
2.2 Building custom themes will become easier
For making and customizing a theme in WordPress, you need a development background. But now with this version, creating themes will be much more accessible, thanks to blocks offered in Gutenberg!
2.3 Less relevance for plugins
Plugins are the backbone of WordPress and almost all the plugins directly interact with the WordPress editor by including a new feature or adding some shortcode. However, now these plugins will have to become Gutenberg compatible or they will lose their relevance.
Hit or miss: This one is controversial. Gutenberg will fundamentally change the way most people interact with WordPress. However, it will be too early to say anything as it’s currently only available as a plugin. I guess we’ll have to wait and find out.
3. Personalized chatbots
Chatbots integrate with your CRM and help you provide a better user support. In the coming year, chatbots will become even more personalized.
By personalized, I mean that you will be able to know more about your user than the fact they are a random visitor. Also, if you are using a CRM like Salesforce, Infusionsoft or Active Campaign, you can also know if they’ve downloaded a lead capture, clicked on a certain promo or even interacted with your social channels.
Hit or miss: Definitely a hit! Personalized chatbots will provide better engagement between you and your website visitors.
4. The REST API
The community has rather gone quiet on the subject of the REST API which was a hot topic two years ago. But in the coming year, you will be able to get the Admin panel on Rest API which will allow you to use WordPress as a framework to manage content for any web application.
By putting the weight of Rest API behind, now you will be able to create mobile apps on WordPress like creating websites.
Hit or miss: Hit; REST API will help bring a new community of front-end developers on board.
Impacts of these changes
Among so many new WordPress trends, which ones will affect you the most?
How can you be prepared for them?
The impacts will be different for everyone.
1. Impact on users
Talking about REST API, as a user, you will not even notice a change. Even while you are using a plugin built on REST API it is unlikely that it will have any impact on you.
For videos and personalized chatbots, it will work in your favor as you will be able to create more helpful and engaging content. It will improve your site experience 3x and help you get more satisfactory results.
Gutenberg, however, will have the most impact on you as a user. It will completely change the way you create and edit a post and there is no guarantee that you will like it. It is not enough to drive new users to WordPress but most of the current users will get used to it.
Although, there can be some teething problems that can arise from time to time. You might need expert help and guidance to solve them.
The problem is who are the experts? Thinking about Hosting Providers? Let’s see what they can do.
2. Impact on hosting providers
Even though there are WordPress specific hosting companies, it is still not sure how well they will have their support personnel trained.
With REST API, your backend will be completely exposed when you will connect your WordPress to any third party. This can easily provide a door to hackers. Managing your site’s security will definitely be difficult with new WordPress trends.
Now is a good time to consider moving to a WordPress-optimized hosting company that is familiar with WordPress changes. Here at Breeze, we have trained support staff and experts for better WordPress Experience.
3. Impact on developers
Tired of slow loading WordPress website?
We have optimized our WordPress hosting server stack to help you run your websites at supersonic speed. With better page-loading speed, give the best user-experience to your customers.
Is your website homepage greeting you with a message “Error Establishing a Database Connection”?
You start to freak out!
We totally understand why.
This is one of the most dreaded error because it doesn’t come with details of what went wrong. And to add to the stress, there are several things that can actually lead to this error.
In this post, we will go over each of these things and try to fix error establishing a database connection.
Let’s start by examining what this error actually means:
What Does “Error Establishing a Database Connection” Mean?
WordPress uses two languages – PHP and MySQL. All your website’s information is stored in a MySQL database and PHP is used to store and retrieve information from that database.
In simple words, when you type your URL in the address bar and hit enter, PHP fetches and displays the contents of the homepage from your MySQL database.
Coming back to the error, sometimes PHP can’t access your MySQL database to retrieve the information it needs. When the connection between MySQL-PHP is compromised for some reason, you see the message “Error Establishing a Database Connection”.
Troubleshoot “Error Establishing a Database Connection”
Understanding what this error means is quite simple. But trying to detect the exact reasons for this error is a little complicated.
Here are some of the most common reasons for this error:
Note: Before making any attempt to fix the issue, I advise you to take a backup!
1. Database Login Credentials
Your Database Login Credentials can go haywire if the wp-config.php file is not updated properly by the system. Wp-config.php is the most essential file of WordPress as it contains all the database information.
To open this file Launch Filezilla > WordPress install folder > public_html.
Right-click on the wp-config.php file and then select download from the menu. Your FTP client will now download the wp-config.php file to your computer.
This is how your login credentials for your database will look:
// ** MySQL settings - You can get this info from your web host ** //
/** The name of the database for WordPress */
/** MySQL database username */
/** MySQL database password */
/** MySQL hostname */
Recheck the following information:
The name of the database (“DB_NAME”)
The login username (“DB_USER”)
The login password (“DB_PASSWORD”)
The database host (“DB_HOST”)
Make sure all the values are correct otherwise WordPress will not be able to connect to the database.
You can also check your database in PHPMyAdmin. It is a tool used for accessing and editing MySQL databases. Simply log into PHPMyAdmin, and click on the name that matches your wp-config file from the left-hand column.
Find the table named “wp_options” and click on Browse.
Check here if all the information is correct or not. If you find any mistakes, go ahead and correct them.
2. Database username and password
You will also have to verify database username and password. You can do this in cPanel and in your Breeze Dashboard.
2.1 Checking Database Credentials In cPanel
To check your Database username and password you will have to create a .php file and store it to your WordPress root folder.
It might take a few seconds before the new file appears in your root folder.
Once it does, right-click it and choose Code Edit > then Code Editor. You will be lead to a blank page, add this code there:
Replace ‘localhost’ ‘root’ and ‘password’ with the database host, username and password. Save changes, and navigate to yoursite.com/check.php.
2.2 Checking Database Credentials With Breeze
If you are a Breeze user, the process of checking your Database credentials is much simpler. Simply go to manage option you see in your Breeze dashboard. Scroll down the Overview section, towards the bottom you will see your database name, username, and password.
Now take these credentials and update your wp-config.php file. This should resolve the credential issue. But if you see “Could not connect: Access denied” your login details are not working, you will have to create new ones and then update.
2.3 Create New Database User
For creating new Database User and Password you will have to go back to your cPanel. Go to phpMyAdmin > MySQL Databases.
Inside MySQL Databases, scroll down to where you have MySQL Users. Locate Add New User. Enter a new username and password, and click Create User.
Remember these details for your wp-config.php file.
Next, you will have to assign the new user to your WordPress Database. In the same MySQL Database, scroll down and locate Add User to Database.
Select the user you just created from the drop-down list. On the next screen, you can also select the privileges you want to assign. Once you complete that, simply go back to wp-config.php and update the file with the new information.
Note: Make sure there are no spaces between the quotes and also use single quotes like – ‘your-username’
Now, access your website. If the issue was with the username, you will be connected successfully.
If you are still getting an error, the problem could be a corrupt database.
3. Corrupt Database
If the error is a result of a corrupted Database, it could be resolved easily. But you need to be careful while doing so, a little mistake can wipe away your entire site.
WordPress actually comes with a database repair mode which you can initiate by simply adding the following code to your wp-config.php file:
Enter https://yourdomain.com/wp-admin/maint/repair.php in your web browser. You will see the options to repair your database.
Click on “Repair Database”. Make sure to remove the code once you are done running the repair.
Even after all this if you still see the error, there could be another reason, corrupt WordPress files.
4. Corrupt WordPress Files
This can occur from transferring some files, or some hack or a problem with your host.
You can fix this easily but make sure to take a backup of your site before proceeding.
You will have to replace the core version of WordPress. First, download a new copy of WordPress from their official site.
Unzip the package and delete wp-config.php and wp-contents folder. By deleting these you won’t break your existing wp-config.php file.
After doing this, upload all your files to WordPress root folder using FTP or the File Manager. If you follow all these steps properly, all the problematic files will be removed.
Now try to load your site, if you still see the error, try clearing your browser’s cache.
If the problem still persists, you will have to contact your web host.
5. Contact your Hosting Provider
Even after following all the above steps your website is still showing the dreaded message “Error Establishing a Database Connection”?
You will have to check with your hosting provider, there is a chance that the problem is on their end. Give them the details of the error and the troubleshooting actions you’ve taken, they will be able to determine the cause of the error.
These problems are very common with a shared hosting. Since shared host uses all the same resources on servers, there is a high chance that you are facing problems because someone else’s site is compromised.
How To Avoid This Error In Future?
There isn’t any way that will protect your site completely. But there are ways to prevent such errors on your website.
Always have a backup. Install a backup plugin, it will always come in handy if something goes terribly wrong.
Invest in a quality managed WordPress hosting company. Work with people who will provide you a with expert solutions and a secure platform.
We hope this guide helped you to resolve error establishing a database connection. If you still need help, you can always reach out to us!
Getting started is a one time process. It really does not matter if one is a bit more time taking than the other.
Talking about WooCommerce, it is super easy for someone already using WordPress. Adding a store to your WordPress website is just a plugin install away. When you first install WordPress, you get a quick setup wizard. On the completion of the setup wizard, you will be having your eCommerce store ready.
Ingredients: a domain, web hosting, WordPress Install
All you need is to pick a plan and start with building your Shopify store. Till the time you’re building your store, you get a subdomain URL to see how your store will look like. You can attach a domain to it and push it live for the web later.
Ingredients: a domain + Shopify plan
Cost is a matter of discussion when it comes to WooCommerce Vs Shopify. Let’s see which is more pricey.
WooCommerce is offered for FREE by WooThemes. It is an extension to WordPress which is also a free open source software based on PHP and MySQL.
When you develop your website on Woo, buying a domain and web hosting for WooCommerce is a necessity. It costs you a minimum of $10+250$ per year.
Shopify is a hosted eCommerce platform where you pay for running and hosting your store monthly or annually.
In case you go with Shopify, all you need to buy is a domain and Shopify subscription. It costs a minimum of $10+$348 per year to run your website for one year.
Thus, Shopify is a bit more expensive than WooCommerce.
Any website that wants to rank needs strong content. Both the platforms understand this need and have a lot to offer.
Well, Basically, WooCommerce is WordPress. You’ll entertain all the features of a WordPress website when you decide to go with WooCommerce for your eCommerce store. In WordPress, you can add pages, write blog posts, create custom post types, install WooCommerce add-ons and make custom landing pages using page builders.
You can also offer your customers to create an account and a public profile on your website where they can socialize with other customers. It is totally customizable and free to use. Wow. Right?
Talking about Shopify, it is especially to host an eCommerce website with product pages and archives. Well, Shopify has an App store that is growing continuously with over 500 cool add-ons to enhance the functionality of your store.
You get a vast resource to help you in selling online from Shopify website since it is a platform especially to help you succeed in selling online.
4. Payment Setup
The next big base of discussion on WooCommerce Vs Shopify is the payment modes that can be integrated.
WooCommerce integrates seamlessly with Stripe and Paypal. However, more payment methods can be integrated with it such as Amazon Payments, Authorize.net etc. It is you who take care of the integration and connection with the payment processors when you run on WooCommerce.
Shopify’s method of processing payments is different. They offer you their native Shopify payments which are powered by Stripe. You have the peace of mind to focus on sales and grow the business. Shopify will pay you after deducting their credit card payment processing fee which is 2.9% + 30 cents. You do not pay any payment processing fee as far as you’re using Shopify Payments.
Unless you bring your business online and then on search engine result pages, your business is not actually kick-started. Here comes the need of SEO compatibility to successfully embark your business online.
WooCommerce Vs Shopify:
WooCommerce is super SEO optimized while Shopify needs your coding skills or additional apps for configuring the rich snippets. Another thing is the freedom to customize the base folder for page and post URLs.
6. Marketing Features (Affiliate/Referrals, Newsletters, Guest Checkout)
The best marketing feature is to offer influencers commission when they sell your product to their followers using their influence.
You can easily integrate an affiliate program in your eCommerce store with WooCommerce by installing FREE plugins while Shopify affiliate marketing apps are not available for free. However, the feature exists in both of the eCommerce platforms.
Next comes the issue of technical support. You need thorough documentation and an active community of users and developers for your help and support. Both these platforms have pretty different ways to offer this service.
In WooCommerce, you either need to hire a developer to solve all your problems or ask in an open WordPress community. This community is helpful and there to assist you out for free. The only hurdle is that you’ll have to do it yourself.
At times you encounter errors inside your dashboard or hear about one from your customer, you will be looking for help. Shopify support is well paid for assistance and they offer you help on email, phone call or chat to solve your issues at your disposal.
Every software company is offering a free trial period for its customers so that they can evaluate the product. You would also want to see how your eCommerce store will look like before hitting it live.
But WooCommerce is open source and totally ‘free’ for all. If you have got a web hosting plan, you can start creating your online store today. Even if you have not decided on the web hosting plan, you can still install WordPress on your localhost. This way, you can learn, create, customize and design your online store offline. Isn’t it amazing!
Shopify offers you 14 days free trial where you can create, customize and design your online store and see changes live. Only admins can see the store for the trial period, to make it visible for the customers, you need to upgrade to a paid plan.
After the full-fledged discussion on WooCommerce Vs Shopify, your next question would be, which platform is best for me? So, let’s come to a decision.
When to choose Shopify?
If you’ve no idea how to sell online, just start with Shopify. You’ll get premium support, documentation help, invoicing and a peace of mind when it comes to billing and accounts.
When to choose WooCommerce?
WooCommerce is for those who can do everything on their own and may want to change their website design according to their needs. WooCommerce is free to use open source WordPress plugin and extensive resources are available online. So, if you’re tight on the budget, going with WooCommerce is the right choice. However, you will still need a good web hosting to manage your WordPress.