How to optimize your website speed by improving the backend

  • The N+1 query problem slows down many apps when several queries are issued to linked fields in a database. You can use the ActiveRecord ORM tool in Rails that employs eager loading of all associated elements with a single query to help solve this problem.
  • Normalize relational databases at the design stage itself and ensure effective indexing so the indexes don’t slow down your website. In some cases, denormalization is more effective though - where there are many table joins, adding an extra field to one table may be better or adding calculated values you need often to a table can help if you frequently execute complicated calculations.
  • Cache carefully to speed up your site. For SQL caching in Rails, use low-level caching to store query results for a longer time. In general, prefer fragment caching of page blocks for dynamic web apps, use page caching in Rails with the actionpack-page_caching gem, but avoid it if your web has frequently updated content like news feeds. For authentication actions and error messages, use the actionpack-action_caching gem.
  • Use a content delivery network (CDN) of edge servers to cache static content like images, JavaScript, and CSS files for reduced latency across geographies, reduced operational costs compared to handling your own servers, stability and scalability.

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