Some owners and users of directory websites have noticed occasional problems with the speed of the theme, especially slow loading of items. This issue occurred on those websites that contained a very large amount of items (from 5,000 to 10,000 and more), while the listing portals with a smaller amount of items weren’t affected when displaying maps.
What was the cause of this issue?
Our developers analysed the problem and found out that one of the causes was a high server load when loading large amount of items. It could happen that on servers with lower performance (especially due to response time limit settings on the server), the website couldn’t load at all. Ok, but what was creating such high server load?
When the Directory themes appeared first on the market more than 5 years ago, there were only limited WordPress functionalities available at that time. WordPress was primarily a platform for bloggers and the individual functionalities that existed didn’t provide much of a basis for an effective work with directory data as is the case nowadays. No one predicted that WordPress will be used so massively also for business or directory & listings websites. But the development was progressing forward and the original “old” WP functions were substituted by the new ones which can now be utilised in more efficient manner by Directory themes.
First positive change occurred when we went from Framework 1 (the original FW for business and Directory templates) to Framework 2 (used on all of our new templates, including the new version of Directory+ Theme), but with the growing number of functionalities of the directory themes, again the demand on database was increasing. Subsequently, following the receipt of requests from our customers, we returned back to this matter and developed an update that can solve most of the issues with items loading.
What enhancements does the update contain?
The latest update brings the following significant improvements:
- Change in the database structure
The database structure was accommodated to satisfy the data requirements of directory templates. We have optimised the way how data is stored and by this the whole process became more transparent and faster. Items, GPS coordinates and other data is stored separately now.
- Innovated Search Engine
The search algorithm underwent a significant change. Search scripts were optimised specifically for directory themes. Searching is now faster; even for the items searched by radius.
- Change of item loading method
The functions that are relevant for the display of items, are now performed asynchronously. What does it mean? It means that individual items are being loaded gradually (not all at once); the website is no longer slowed down. Website presents itself to the visitor instantly and items within the map are displayed in batches. Thanks to this user does not need to wait for extensive period of time for the search results to appear.
Furthermore, this change of method of items loading puts much less load on the server and therefore there is no risk that the website will crash. None of the parts is loading for such a long time that the server response time limit gets exceeded.
How much faster is the loading of Directory websites now?
In general, the speed improvement can be felt most by the users of websites with thousands or tens of thousands of items. More items there is to load, more significant is the speed increase in comparison to the previous version prior the theme update. When testing Directory website with slightly above 10,000 items, we managed to increase the loading time on our developer server in average by 85%.
The loading speed increase rate directly depends on the total number of added items and the server speed where the website is stored. On the servers with higher performance, users will notice the speed increase when loading large amount of data (for smaller amount of items the loading speed wasn’t affected by that much even before the update). The acceleration of loading will however be noticeable also for slower servers – loading won’t be as fast as on the high quality servers, but it should be more convenient to use the directory website now. Before the update this was possible only with limitations, or not possible at all.
Website speed acceleration tips
The latest update increases the search speed and the website loading process for large amount of items. As we already mentioned above, it is important to have a server with sufficient performance that meets the technical requirements in order to ensure the smooth and quick website operation. Another factor influencing the website speed is the hosting itself; therefore be careful to choose a good quality hosting. If you really want to ensure the speedy loading of your website, PHP 7 is a must have!
New update for directory themes brings significant speed increase for Directory themes. We have optimised how the data is stored to the database, we have enhanced the search algorithm and made the searched item loading more efficient thanks to the asynchronously performed functions. We have made all the changes with the aim to speed the directory website performance up and provide user friendly browsing experience to website’s end visitors.
Has the new update helped you with the loading speed of your website? What is your experience? Share it with us in the comments below.