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Factors Influencing Website Performance

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Josh Cahoon

on 26 November 2013

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Transcript of Factors Influencing Website Performance

Factors Influencing Website Performance
Website performance is affected by a variety of factors on both the server and client sides.

This presentation will cover a range of these factors, explaining how they impact performance and comparing how variations in each factor can increase or decrease performance.

Server Side Factors
These are factors that affect the server, independent of any client side factors.
Embedded File Types
Server Hardware Specs
Server OS
Bandwidth affects the upload/download speeds for a connection.
The higher a connection's bandwidth, the more data can be transferred along it.
Different types of internet connection typically feature a wide range of bandwidths
Dial Up
Typically the slowest available type of connection, dial up establishes a dialed connection to the ISP using the telephone lines.

Dial up speeds can range from 0.1 kbit/s to 56 kbit/s depending on the traffic along the phone line.
Digital Subscriber Line
DSL is a form of broadband connection delivered alongside a wired telephone service on the same line.

DSL connections tend to have a higher bit rate than dial up, typically ranging from 256 kbit/s to 40 Mbit/s
Fiber Optic
Fiber is a relatively new type of internet connection made available by using optical fiber cables to transmit data using light.

This is currently the fastest type of connection available, with typical speeds between 10-40Gbit/s.
A website with various different images, videos or audio files will have slower performance depending on the type of files used.
Embedded Files
Video Files
The choice in file type can have considerable influence on a website's performance.

.mp4 files are typically smaller thanks to compression of the data, resulting in lower file size for the tradeoff of a lower quality video.

.mkv files on the other hand are very large, with high quality. This type of file is unsuitable for use on a website as it would take an age for users to load unless they have a very high-speed connection.
Audio Files
.mp3 is the most commonly used type of audio file and is suitable for use on web pages.
This is because mp3 is a compressed file type, typically reducing the file size to 1/10 of the original.

FLAC is an example of a file type that will greatly decrease website performance as it is a lossless audio format, meaning all quality is retained at the cost of a large file size.

For example, a 30mb FLAC file will be 3mb as an mp3
Image Files
As images are one of the most commonly used forms of media on websites it is important that the correct format is used to maintain performance.

JPEG used lossy compression to reduce the file size while reducing quality, loss of quality is proportional to the compression ratio used.

PNG files are also suitable for online use, while slightly larger than jpegs they do feature an alpha channel, allowing for transparent backgrounds that help images fit seamlessly onto a webpage.

BMP files should not be used as it is an uncompressed file format, with very high quality but potentially huge file sizes that would heavily impact upon website performance.

Server Specs
The hardware specifications are an important factor.
Better specifications will increase the performance of a server.
Processors with higher clock rates and more cores will deliver greater performance than those with lower specs, as they can perform more calculations in a shorter time.

For example;
A server with an i7 quad core will have greater performance than one with an intel pentium single core.
The more memory a server has, the better the performance.

For example, a server that has 8Gb of RAM will run far faster than one with 252Mb
OS choice is important for servers.
Linux is typically preferred over Windows as specific builds can be designed with server hosting in mind.
Operating System
Client Side Factors
These are factors that affect website performance independent of the server, specifically factors that are present at the client's side.

Hardware Specs
Hardware Specs
A system with a good CPU and a decent amount of memory will be able to process the data received from a website in shorter time than an old system with poor specs, mainly due to being able to run the browser better.
Choice of web browsing software can affect the speed at which pages and media are loaded. A typical comparison is the fast performance of Firefox and the relatively slow performance of Internet Explorer
The status of the client's network heavily impacts performance. If there is network congestion the website will perform poorly, as the data is taking longer to transfer. On a network with plenty of available bandwidth webpages and media will load far faster
The presence of malware on a client's system can severely interfere with the performance of webpages. This is primarily due to factors that decrease the performance of the client's system as a whole, a virus consuming all available resources for example would leave none for the browser to function. This is why it is important to always have an updated antivirus software installed.
Security Risks
ID Theft
Viruses are among the most common form of malware, the most typical example being a Trojan.

Trojans are viruses that pose as harmless files until they are opened, at which point they deliver their payload which can severely damage a system.
There are several programs available that offer protection against viruses, these are collectively known as antivirus software.

A common example of this type of software is AVG, which offers a suite of tools to protect your system against malware.

These include link and file scanners to ensure that no malicious files are downloaded or opened.

Antivirus programs must be updated frequently so as to stay up to date with the newest viruses and threats.
Spyware is a subset of malware specifically designed to infect a system and gather data such as passwords, bank details and general keystrokes.
They differ from viruses in that they aren't designed to damage a system, but to extract data.
The most common example is the keylogger, spyware designed to record every key entered into the infected system, capturing credentials, passwords, bank details, credit card details and more.
Much like antivirus software, except it is specifically aimed at spyware detection and removal.

This service is offered in several internet protection suites alongside antivirus and id protection features.

Spybot Search and Destroy is a well known example of antispyware software.
Hacking refers to the unauthorised alteration of network behaviour, for good or for bad.
Hacking in the commonly intended sense refers to the malicious alteration of a network or system with the intent of capturing personal information or causing harm to systems.
Firewalls can be configured to restrict certain packets of data from entering or leaving the network.
As such, a properly configured firewall acts as a defense against hacking attempts by refusing potentially malicious packets from accessing the system.
Likewise, applications can be prevented from sending out certain packets that could either leave personal information vulnerable or allow hackers to gain access.

Windows OS's come with a preinstalled firewall that offers protection from the initial installation.
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