Blog speedup

For the past year or two, my blog has been ridiculously slow to load. I think this started when I upgraded to Movable Type 5, but I'm not sure.

It's been so slow that I've seen people say “that link is broken” when I link to my blog. I think it was on the order of 15 seconds to load either the main front page or any individual entry.

I've been meaning all along to figure out why so slow and fix it, but nothing I had tried seemed to be working, so I figured I would need to go into my page templates and do a total overhaul. Possibly even give up on MT altogether.

But this past week, it occurred to me that I could do a couple of easy/simple things to try speeding it up. So I did them, and lo! it worked!

The things I did:

  • Stopped using web fonts. This didn't actually help much with page load speed, so I may go back to using them sooner or later; I really do like the idea.
  • Removed the right-side sidebar from individual entry pages. I'm sad to lose everything that used to appear in that sidebar, and at some point I'll try and figure out how to put some of it back, but removing it resulted in an immediate huge improvement in page load speed; it's now down to a couple of seconds.
  • Heartened by the success of the sidebar removal from individual entry pages, I tried removing bits of the sidebar from the main landing page. After a few minutes of experimentation, it became clear which sidebar widget was the problem, so I removed it, and now the main page loads in a couple of seconds too.

So in case any of y'all had started avoiding clicking links to my entries because it was so damn slow (I wouldn't blame you; I had started avoiding it myself), things are back to normal. Perhaps still slightly slow by web standards, but much much better.

Unfortunately, the widget that I had to remove was the archives module that allowed jumping to a specific month. Which is annoying; I used that navigation tool regularly. And it shouldn't have been terribly slow; it was just iterating over mt:ArchiveList, almost exactly the way that the official MT example shows to do it. Maybe it's just that there were over 120 months to list?

Anyway, at some point I'll probably come back and try to reinstate that widget. But for now, I'm just glad that my blog is no longer impossibly slow to load.

4 Responses to “Blog speedup”

  1. irilyth

    It also seems to be faster to log in to comment now, although it’s still pretty slow. (But that might not be on your side, e.g. if LJ takes a long time to reply to your OpenID query or whatever.)

  2. Jed

    Yeah, the whole sign-in system is a black box—I have no idea how it works or what causes various parts of it to occasionally mysteriously break.

    At the moment, for me, signing in takes on the order of a second, so I’m guessing that you’re right that the LJ server is at least part of the reason for the slowness you’re seeing.

  3. brainwane

    Congratulations on your optimizations!


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