Have you ever visited a blog or shopping website and it took 10 seconds for it to load? I bet you will never come back to that website anymore. Same is true for collaboration platform, like SharePoint. If it takes you 5-10 seconds to load the page so you can retrieve a document – you will soon hate SharePoint. Poor SharePoint site speed and performance will negatively affect its user adoption. Quite often I hear complaints from clients that find SharePoint sites to be slow to load and interact with. While site speed depends on many factors, one of them being the quality of your internet connection, there are things you can do in SharePoint itself to improve its speed and performance.
How to improve SharePoint site speed
Try another browser
I personally find Google Chrome to be much faster and better than Microsoft’s own Internet Explorer. There are certain (SharePoint) limitations you might experience with Chrome (i.e. can’t open a library in Windows Explorer or can’t export a list to Excel), but for 99% of the time – Chrome seems to be the better browser for SharePoint. Give it a try in your environment, try multiple browsers and see which one is best in your unique case.
Stay away from 3rd party web parts
When you use Out of the Box web parts, you use functionality that has been in place for a while and has been tested, improved, optimized in every possible way. There are no such guarantees with 3rd party add-ons and web parts. I am not saying all of them will impact performance or are coded poorly, but you have to be careful when making an appropriate selection.
Avoid custom branding
I have personally seen many cases when the client decided to turn their SharePoint site into a Hollywood special effects blockbuster. The sites look awesome, but if they take more than few seconds to load – your users will hate SharePoint. At the end of the day, it is a collaboration site. Nobody needs to see the constantly rotating sliders, popups and other distractions which might also lead to slower site performance.
Like on regular, public-facing websites, images are often the culprit of site’s poor performance. As such, follow the same technique, as you would on a regular website. Avoid high resolution files, optimize images before inserting them onto the site/page. The smaller the file size – the quicker the load time will be. Also, it is not just the quality of the images, but also the quantity. Fewer images will definitely help.
Avoid unnecessary content search queries
If you are rolling up information/content on a site, be ready for slower load times. This is due to the fact that when you load your site, you have a search query occurring behind the scenes. Obviously, if you need to roll up content from multiple sites, you have the functionality available, so do use it as you need to, just something you and your users need to be aware about.
Use correct search web part for search queries
Kind of related to above, if you need to do a search query (roll up content), make sure to use the Content Search Web Part (CSWP) instead of the older, more sluggish Content Query Web Part (CQWP). The way 2 web parts approach the search is different. CSWP relies on indexing, like Google – hence has much better performance. Here is an article that has some actual scientific comparisons between the 2 in terms of performance.