Amazon S3 bucket location

Amazon S3 bucket location and why it matters to your website

Paul technical, websites Leave a Comment

When you’re thinking about the structure of your website and its associated services…the amazon S3 bucket location probably doesn’t get thought of as anything important, if at all.

But I can tell you right now that it’s one of those things that can make or break your website in terms of overall speed.

And why is this?

When a visitor comes to your website, there’s a whole ton of files that need to be loaded from your website to their computer.

Text
images
video
audio sometimes.

And each of these elements requires their computer to tell your server that its ready to download the next item in order to fully load your web page.

Once everything is downloaded, they will see your web page as you intended them to.

No one has any time to wait these days, so the faster the better of course.

“It is absolutely critical to have your chosen S3 bucket as close to your web host server as possible”

So what has this to do with the S3 bucket location?

In the words of Yoda…EVERYTHING.

Let’s say your visitor is loading one of you blog posts.

The text is located on your web host in New York.

And you’ve cleverly put your images onto an Amazon S3 bucket…located in San Francisco.

I mean, Amazon has some of the fastest servers on the planet, don’t they?

Well yes they do, but the 3000 mile distance between your web host and the S3 bucket is going to put a huge delay into the page load process.

In this all too common setup your visitor is going to have to wait between 2-5 times longer for the page to load.

And for you, sadly, that means your bounce rate will be sky high.

Which means less visitors staying on your site, less leads, less buyers…

And a big impact on your bottom line.

Here’s an example of a site affected by this problem.

We’re going to use the industry benchmark website gtmetrix.com to carry out the test to ensure an accurate test result.

In this case the web host server is in the UK and they have their S3 bucket in Arizona (a mere 5,200 miles apart)

“1” displays the amount of data being loaded from the images on S3.

In this case it’s a tiny 121.3KB

“2” displays the time it takes to load the data from “1”.

In total it takes 6.3 seconds to load the 121.3KB from the 10 images.

Did you just read that properly?

In total it takes 6.3 seconds to load the 121.3KB from the 10 images

That’s insane…

That’s like the time it takes two content packed web pages to load on a well tuned setup.

And this is the time for one?

In fact, this is the time for ONLY loading the images from S3…

The entire load time for this site was around the 11 second mark before I had finished optimising it.

That’s for another post though 😉

So what can you do to fix this without breaking the site?

Well thankfully there are solutions to this problem.

This post was really to alert you to how and why this problem comes about in the first place.

Now before you start cursing my name for telling you the problem without giving the solution…don’t fret.

I’ll be posting up the solution in my next blog post in a few days time.

Click here to learn the solution to the S3 bucket location problem

In the meantime do the following to see if you might be affected by the S3 bucket location problem:

  1. Goto gtmetrix.com
  2. Type your site address in the bar labelled “Analyze Performance of:” and hit the Analyze button
  3. When the test finishes, scroll down to the tab section and click the tab labelled “Waterfall
  4. Using the chart above for reference, look for the columns labelled with your website name
  5. Now, again using the chart above for reference, look for the columns labelled s3.amazon… – notice the data totals
  6. Glance across to the bar on the same line and see if the load times are higher than expected (you’ll be able to tell if the bars are much wider than the bars related to your website)

Not a lot of data but a LONG time to load?

Then you definitely need to read my next article out in a few days showing you how to resolve the problem.

You can find out INSTANTLY when my next article goes live.

Simply click the red bell bottom right of the page and you’ll receive a message in your browser when it is published.

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