Why do some web pages take forever to load?

In order to make your website accessible you’re going to want to design it in a way that so that it will load quickly for everyone. No one wants to stare at a loading screen for hours when they could be browsing your amazing website right? Here are a few tips to make your web pages load faster when designing your website.

The speed at which a user downloads a web page from the internet has mostly to do with their internet speed. Yet sometimes you will notice that a web page downloads quickly one day and suddenly much slower another day. What gives? The most likely culprit is the server that page is coming from. If thousands of other people across the internet are requesting that same page at the same time, the server can be overwhelmed and respond much slower than usual. Just like when your computer acts slower when you’re running too many programs at once, a server can act slower when it’s sending out a web page to too many people at once. Not to mention that most servers are not direct, meaning that the main server will send that web page to several additional servers that will bounce the page from server to server until it reaches you. If any one of these servers is receiving too much traffic, then that web page is moving at rush hour speed.

Getting the right server for your site that can handle a lot of internet traffic is important, but it’s what’s underneath your site that can really make a difference. The code of a site, when done properly, can make a huge difference when it comes to loading any given web page. Cluttering a page with pictures versus text can take much longer to load. The bigger the picture, the longer it will take to load the page. Other types of media such as videos, ads, or comment sections can all factor in to longer load times as well. Obviously you don’t want your web pages to be exclusively text because well, that’s just boring, but the trick is to use the other types of media sparingly and efficiently.

Besides writing smart code and choosing the right server to host your website, there is little more you can do to make sure your web pages load quicker. Obviously test out your site on multiple web browsers or operating systems to make sure it plays nice on all of them, but this (should be) a given. The actual download speed of one’s internet connection won’t make much of a difference if certain pages load faster than others. If this happens, your best bet is to just close the window and try again in an hour.

Are you waiting forever to load a web page? Let us know what other suggestions you have to improve load times in the comments down below!

Tech News

When I’m not busy with school or work or family or friends, I like to read. To be honest, most of what I read nowadays is in a digital format – I have an e-reader, I catch all my news online, I even read short stories from The New Yorker on their website. In particular, I really enjoy reading about technology and the latest and greatest happenings in the field. Since I go to school in Silicon Valley and I’m majoring in a tech field, you could say I have some experience figuring where to get my tech news from. And as fall approaches, with those cool nights that lend themselves to reading by the fireplace (or wrapped in a snuggie in my dorm room), I thought it would be interesting to share all some of my favorite online sources of tech news. This is my personal favorite list; please share where you get your tech news in the comments below! Or if you don’t read up on technology all the time, what are some of your other favorite news sources? I think it’s always interesting to hear about potentially new sources from people who have vetted them first, especially if they’re in subject areas I’m not familiar with!

Online Tech News

  • Gizmodo.com: One of my top two daily checks for the latest tech news. Gizmodo is branded as a design and technology blog, but it has a fair amount of other science and general geek news as well. The posts are short, sweet and to the point, but with enough humor and information to actually get something from them. I follow them on Facebook and often read their posts from my news feed.
  • Engadget.com: The second of my daily tech news sites. Engadget focuses more on actual tech gadgets/electronics than tech news as a whole; this is where I go to read the latest reviews on emerging technologies. Engadget is also multilingual, so there are several international versions of the site as well for foreigners. Engadget is always on top of the latest expos, conferences and tech company reveals. I also follow it on Facebook to get most of their new stories in my news feed.
  • NYTimes.com/pages/technology: You can’t beat the quality of the New York Times when looking for news, and the same holds for news in technology. I especially like reading the “Personal Technology” section, because I’m really interested in how people interact with technology and what the latest trends are on the market (and what that might mean for the future!). You can also find a number of opinion pieces (especially around diversity in the tech field), business technology, and interesting social good applications for tech. I often get a digest of the most popular articles each day with my IFTTT app.
  • PCMag.com, 9to5mac.com: These two sites are my go tos for any news regarding pcs or macs, respectively. PCMag also has more general news, but mostly pertaining to computers in general. 9to5mac is great for you Apple junkies out there, speculating about the latest iPhone, looking for the next best app or searching for a buying guide to your next piece of Apple hardware.
    Wired.com: Also a monthly magazine. I should really visit Wired more often – they have amazing articles about how technology affects us in a variety of channels – our culture, the economy, the government. And it’s not just about the latest hardware – there are pages devoted to design, entertainment, security and science.

So those are some of my top tech sources to scour daily/weekly/monthly. Where do you like to get your news? Share with us in the comments!

Windows 10 Launch Update

Not too long ago we wrote an article  regarding potential concerns you should have before updating to Windows 10. Now that Windows 10 has officially reached 45 million users per Microsoft’s estimates, it only seemed fitting to do an update on the Windows 10 release. There were some minors bugs as was to be expected, but it turns out a whole list of other features have come up that might have some users scratching their heads.

It was well known that Microsoft was going to take a more invasive role when it came to Windows 10, but there are certain areas that Microsoft’s All Seeing Eye shouldn’t be able to access from a privacy point of view. If you select “Express Settings” during Windows 10 installation you apparently give Microsoft access to contacts, calendar details, text and touch input, location and more. While Microsoft claims this information is only used for personalization and targeted ads, the reality is that it can be potentially hazardous given the nature of cyber-attacks in today’s Internet society. Even more concerning is Microsoft’s access to keystrokes, which include your user name and passwords for most of your online accounts, even online banking. The threats are easy to see, but if you would like to opt out of these settings you may do so under the privacy tab in Settings.

Microsoft has slowly watched its Internet Explorer browser wither and die over the years, and its new Edge browser was designed to reverse this. While Edge is designed to be the go-to browser for Windows 10, it really doesn’t innovate much over other iterations of Internet Explorer. What is more interesting though is the issues some users have been reporting with Mozilla Firefox not playing nicely with Windows 10. Microsoft’s deliberate push to force users into using the new Edge browser has resulted in Mozilla CEO Chris Beard writing an open letter to Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella criticizing the lack of control when it comes to selecting a default browser. While Beard might be making a big fuss over nothing given that users can choose their preferred browser by going into Settings, it does raise concerns over the experience that Microsoft is forcing its users to have.

While not as big of an issue to some users, Microsoft has received criticism for removing its DVD player from Windows 10. In order to play DVDs, users must purchase a $15 app from the app store. There are some work around solutions by using third party DVD players, but in a time where streaming has replaced DVDs as the primary method of viewership, this doesn’t seem like a game breaking issue for Microsoft.

With a launch as big as Windows 10, it’s not surprising that Microsoft ran into a few hiccups. What users should be concerned about is the approach that Microsoft is taking to Windows 10 regarding personal information and privacy. Windows 10 is intended to be the last iteration of Windows, and all subsequent changes will be updates that most users won’t have control over. The best thing users can do is stay informed about any changes coming their way in future updates, and take all the precautions necessary to keep their private information private.

Have you updated to Windows 10 yet? Share your thoughts in the comments down below!