Estimating and Improving Latency

We all want our systems and network to run as quickly as possible and there is nothing more frustrating than not being able to do your work as it is too slow. This lag is essentially what latency is. Put simply, it is the term that is most commonly used to describe the delay of communication between data and a network and how long it takes to be received. 

When data is sent, the latency measures how quickly it is received by its destination and also how quick it is for it to get back again. The speed of Latency is most commonly recorded in milliseconds (ms) and is often referred to as a ping rate. 

What Could Cause Network Latency?

There are a number of factors that could cause network latency. These can include:

The distance – If you are suffering from network latency it could be because the servers which are attempting to deliver the request from a device are too far away. When data travels over the internet, the process sees is being broken into smaller pockets when it crosses multiple Internet Exchange Points. The further away the servers are, the longer this will take and the higher the delay.

The makeup of the website – A prominent factor in website latency is the makeup of the website. If a site is trying to process large amounts of data such as big images and videos or content from third-party websites, this can all cause lag. This is why it is important to consider your file sizes and the backend structure of your website. 

Storage – If the servers are trying to access storage data this can have a big impact on latency. It can be a lengthier process for the storage network to process and return information.

How Can I Reduce and Improve Latency?

Luckily, there are a number of ways that you can improve or reduce the latency you are experiencing.

Implement a HTTP/2

HTTP/2 can efficiently compress HTTP header fields and enable full request and response multiplexing. HTTP/2 is faster both in terms of site loading time and performance than HTTP/1 and essentially performs a “minification” to the elements on the site.

Use a CDN

A CDN is a simple and efficient way to reduce latency. It means that instead of receiving data from a location far away, it will cache them in locations all around the world. This means when a user requests information or images for a website, the server only needs to access the nearest network location instead of reaching the origin server far away which takes much longer.

Cache your browser 

By caching your browser it can help to reduce the number of requests back to the server. This is because it will cache specified resources locally, saving time.

These are just a few ways that you can improve the latency of your site. A slow site is frustrating for users and can lead to a loss of business and high bounce rates, affecting your SEO too. It is important to get this rectified as soon as you can to prevent this from happening. A managed service provider can aid with this.

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