How I made Daily Observations faster

I run Daily Observations on WordPress on a hosted server. And by default, presenting large images on smartphones, iPads, laptops and MacBooks with retina displays are a challenge. 

To present the images fast and optimum, you must regenerate the pictures based on the required image sizes. When you do not regenerate the photos, the web server has to do that on the fly. And that costs website presentation speed. 

If you already have a fast website and used caching software or a CDN, this is unnecessary. But if this is new or abracadabra, then a few sites can help you determine if you need to speed up your website.

The results from these services determine if you need to speed up your WordPress site. 

For my image-heavy site, I used two different plugins. 

Image optimization. 

The first one is a plugin by shortpixel. The idea of shortpixel is that when you upload an image, you upload the version that covers the most significant possible presentation size. But this is seldom the most optimal one. WordPress will regenerate the pictures into smaller ones so that the WordPress site presents the most optimal version of the image available.

They have two plugins. 

  • The first plugin is shortpixel image optimization. This plugin optimizes the images when uploaded into the WordPress media library.
  • With results that go up to 25% reduction. Available in three compression ratios. LossyGlossy and Lossless
  • Lossy compression is the best option for most users. The images processed with Lossy algorithms are the most minor optimized images you can get. So, if the speed of your site is paramount and you want the best balance between optimization and picture quality, we recommend you continue to use Lossy optimization.
  • Glossy compression is the best choice if you still care about Google Insights, but you believe that a slight loss of page speed is an acceptable compromise for top-notch image quality.
  • Lossless compressed, optimized images are pixel-by-pixel identical to the originals, but they offer a smaller reduction than either Lossy or Glossy processed files. If you want your pictures to remain untouched, then select this option.

I use Glossy compression because I want the best possible image quality. But also a quick website. With shortpixel, the images are off-loaded to a server around the globe by Shortpixel

The second shortpixel plugin is shortpixel adaptive images. This plugin regenerates ‘on-the-fly’ the pictures and places them on a shortpixel CDN(Content Delivery Network). That way, even when compressed and regenerated, they are larger than standard text files delivered from servers that are closer to your viewers’ computers than your website server computer is. The original images that you uploaded are on the WordPress website server. But the optimized images are served to your viewer. Super clever. 

It's the last day of the year. Fireworks shops sell out and the last groceries are being bought for New Year's Eve. The treat that everyone wants on the table is what is called in the Netherlands an 'Oliebol'. To get the last ones before they sell out people stand in line at the local stall in De Huesmolen Mall in Hoorn to buy their set of 'oliebollen' 31-12-2018, Hoorn, The Netherlands Het is de laatste dag van het jaar. De vuurwerkwinkels verkopen hun laatste vuurwerk, de laatste boodschappen voor de jaarwisseling worden gedaan. Maar de lekkernij die iedereen op tafel wil hebben is de oliebol. Om de laatste oliebollen te krijgen voordat ze uitverkocht zijn staan er lange rijen voor de 'Sweet Bakery' verkoopkraam in de Huesmolen. 31-12-2018, Hoorn, The Netherlands

The third plugin is Autoptimize. 

Your website is more than images alone. It has HTML files, and PHP files, javascript code, fonts and more. The majority of WordPress themes are not written for speed but the ease of coding. So it is not logically added to the web pages. That is where Autoptimize comes in. It ‘reads’ the webpage and moves the code to the location where it is the fastest. It also uses the shortpixel adaptive images service. You get 500 requests free after that, and you need a subscription. Using the shortpixel service and Autoptimize, I made my sites load at around 5.1 seconds with 7.1seconds globally that is quick.  

So if you want a fast website and present your beautiful picture stories to the world, using shortpixel with Autoptimize will speed your website so that reading your blog posts and pictures stories is fun. 

What is a ‘CDN’?

CDN stands for Content Delivery Network. It is a network of computers that span the globe. The computers are in data centres worldwide and place files requested by computers like the one you are reading locally. When a file or image comes from a server computer near you, it is much quicker than from the other side of the world. 

An intelligent algorithm decides where you are on the internet and points you to the fastest server. Because CDN providers have servers all over the internet and close to the internet exchanges where ISP’s (internet service providers) connect their networks, there is always a CDN server nearby to serve you quickly.

Example. 

Netflix uses a CDN. The movies you see on your television or smartphone are digital files are placed on Netflix in the united states. But if everyone worldwide looks at a Netflix film that comes from the united states, the internet would get slower. That is why Netflix places server computers in the datacenters of internet service providers. When you want to watch a movie, your Netflix app asks for that specific movie from the server computer in your local data centre. If it is not already there, the movie files are placed on the CDN server so the next person that wants to watch it has the movie presented from the server computer at the internet service providers network. 

It is also essential to keep your WordPress site updated. WordPress releases new minor and major versions regularly, and it is crucial to keep them up to date. It is also vital to update all the WordPress plugins and theme files as soon as possible because they close programming holes and fixes bugs that could expose your site to hackers. 

I check Daily Observations every week and update the site and plugins accordingly. In the past, I had some issues with one of my websites that were hacked. But updating them helped to keep the bugs away.

Daily Observations Workshops

By Guillaume Groen
On a beautiful Saturday afternoon in June a boy was disconnected from reality and totally absorbed by his smartphone. 16-6-2018, Only the smartphone, disconnected from reality... Amsterdam, The Netherlands - As we street photographers roam the streets, observing and recording the fleeting moments that we encounter. Those Daily Observations go into photo books or as fine-prints on the wall as Street Photography grows as a profession and a medium.

2022

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