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LiteSpeed Web Server: Get faster website loading times

Introduction: What is LiteSpeed Web Server & why should you use it?

As website owners, we should always be looking for ways to make our sites faster.

A lot of factors determine a site’s speed – from the server it’s located on to the type of hosting package you have. But there’s one thing that will have the biggest impact on how fast your site loads, and that’s your web server.

LiteSpeed is one of the fastest web servers available on the market today. In this article, we’ll explain what a LiteSpeed Web Server is and how it can help you create a fast-loading website.

The importance of website loading speeds for your business

Website loading speed is an important factor when it comes to online marketing, SEO, and beating the competition in your industry. It’s not just about how fast a website loads, but also how quickly your site responds to user input. The faster the load time, the better for your business.

According to a BBC study, nearly half of us won’t even wait three seconds for a site to load before trying another site!

If you want your site to rank higher in SERPs (search engine results pages), then make sure that you check your site’s loading speed with a website loading speed test tool like Pingdom or Google PageSpeed Insights before and after making any changes to accurately record any improved performance.

Let’s get technical

What makes LiteSpeed so special?

Apache Drop-in Replacement

LiteSpeed has been designed to read Apache’s httpd.conf and .htaccess files. This means there’s no configuration necessary when you switch to LiteSpeed. Because LiteSpeed can read Apache config files directly and also supports .htaccess and ModSec WAF rules, this means it works out of the box with popular software like WordPress, unlike Nginx.

LSCache Engine with ESI

Advanced server-level cache with hole-punching through ESI.

ESI is a markup language that allows web developers to designate parts of a web page as fragments to be processed separately from the rest of the page.

ESI is processed by what is known as an ESI Engine. ESI Engines can function in any step of web page delivery – ADC, CDN, Proxy, Web Server, Web Application, etc. The engine checks for the response for ESI tags. If found, the engine removes the ESI tag and sends a second request to the backend without going to the browser first. The second request’s response is used in place of the ESI tag, filling the hole that the tag left behind. This continues until no ESI tags remain, and then the complete page is forwarded to the browser.

There are many possible applications for ESI, but its main purpose is to allow pages to be delivered quickly and more accurately using tools such as caching. It is considered an edge computing application, meaning it minimizes the distance that data must travel, the volume of data, and the traffic. With ESI, a web page can be broken into different fragments, processed separately, and then re-assembled before being delivered to the browser.

HTTP/3

Another reason LiteSpeed is so fast is that it can deliver your website to your visitors over HTTP/3. LiteSpeed Web Server fully supports HTTP/3. In fact, LiteSpeed was the first webserver to introduce production-grade HTTP/3 support.

HTTP/3 is the newest version of the Hypertext Transfer Protocol, formerly referred to as “HTTP over QUIC,” and is the successor to HTTP/2.

QUIC was originally a Google effort to improve HTTP/2 by transporting it encrypted over UDP. In 2016, the IETF began working to standardize the protocol. Part of that process involved splitting QUIC into the transport protocol (QUIC) and the application protocol (HTTP/3).

The main difference is HTTP/3 uses QUIC, which is built on UDP, while HTTP/2 uses TCP. In addition, HTTP/3 uses QPACK to compress headers, while HTTP/2 uses HPACK to compress headers.

It is easy to start using QUIC and HTTP/3 with LiteSpeed Web Server. Simply open UDP port 443 on the hosting servers firewall. QUIC is on by default, and HTTP/3 connections will automatically be made with browsers that support it. There is no configuration change required.

You can test if a website supports HTTP/3 or QUIC by visiting https://http3check.net and enter the website’s URL.

What else is important for fast site speed? Consider these other factors!

The page loading time is one of the most important factors for users to judge a website. As it is the first thing that visitors will notice when they visit your site.

Below are some other factors that can affect your site speed. These are also important factors for you to consider in order to improve your site speed.

  • Server resources: Your server resources need to be fast enough to deliver content at a high rate, or else it will affect your loading time.
  • Page size: The size of the webpage is another factor affecting loading time as heavy pages take longer to load than light pages.
  • Browser features: Browser features such as JavaScript, cookies, and third party trackers all have an effect on page load times

If you want to improve load times, then these should also be considered as not everything can be fixed at the server level.

QuickHostUK provide LiteSpeed Web Server on all Linux web hosting and reseller hosting packages as standard. Want LiteSpeed on your own server? Get in touch and we’ll be happy to help!

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