Sefton Digital – Behind the Scenes

Server

Sefton Digital is built on a cloud hosted VPS running a LiteSpeed server with a WordPress CMS.

LiteSpeed gives many benefits over a traditional Apache server, but my main interest was Time To First Byte (TTFB).

LiteSpeed also offers a free WordPress caching plugin for WordPress, which has a multitude of speed boosting features.

One of the best things to do with WordPress to optimise speed is caching, and the LiteSpeed plugin works in conjuction with the server to generate the most optimal caching strategy.

Another benefit of LiteSpeed is the automatic image optimization built into the plugin.

The image module sends all images in the WordPress media library to the LiteSpeed servers, where it is compressed and then returned as a WebP image, improving page load speed for pages with lots of images, automatically.

LiteSpeed also offers JS/CSS minification, which reduces the transfer size, when combined with gZip compression for the HTML responses, leading to a speedier site.

CDN

I chose CloudFlare as my content delivery network, mostly because it’s fast, but also because it’s free.

The Sefton Digital domain points to Cloudflare’s nameservers, which then retrieve a cached copy of the page from their edge servers, which may be closer to the end user, or may have content that they already accessed on another site, such as a jQuery library or a particular Google Font. This makes things faster (usually)

Another benefit of CloudFlare is it offers a feature called Rocket Loader, which defers rendering of JavaScript on the page automatically to reduce the First Meaningful Paint time.