Slow Load Times? Could be your ad network!


On a typical WordPress blog we can optimize the following factors:

  • Caching images and pages
  • Apache response times
  • Cloudflare / CDN delivery of most scripts and css

This will ensure a snappy and speedy loading site, however when it comes to ad networks there are some issues.

Ad Server Latency

The trip from the advertisers server to our server is a factor in load time. We have servers in Montreal and Atlanta (East Coast). A lot of advertisers run out of the west coast or every worse, overseas! This can affect how fast your site loads and should be checked with your ad networks.

Poorly Coded Ads

Ad code that advertising networks provide you with should be examined by a programmer / developer / system admin to determine if it will impact your load time. If the ad code is poorly written, it can have an affect on your load times.

Non Asynchronous Scripts

What does asynchronous mean?

In computer programs, asynchronous operation means that a process operates independently of other processes, whereas synchronous operation means that the process runs only as a result of some other process being completed or handing off operation. A typical activity that might use a synchronous protocol would be a transmission of files from one point to another. As each transmission is received, a response is returned indicating success or the need to resend. Each successive transmission of data requires a response to the previous transmission before a new one can be initiated.

What this means is that if your page has to wait on your ad code to run a bunch of scripts, then your load time suffers as a result of poor planning from your advertisers.

Generally speaking, you should have a chat with your advertisers or ad networks and ask them a few things:

  • Where is your ad code served from?
  • Is your ad code asynchronous?
  • What is required for me to display your ads?

Along with all the other millions of questions you probably had when getting started with an ad network.

Let’s use an example from one of our clients

I am simply looking at load times here with ads and without ads.

Loading with an Ad Blocker Enabled

Craftberry Bush loaded with an ad blocker enabled.

Craftberry Bush loaded with an ad blocker enabled.

As you can see with the image above, the page loads in a little over a second.

Loading without an Ad Blocker Enabled

Craftberry Bush loaded without Ad Blocker

Craftberry Bush loaded without Ad Blocker


While I was able to get a 23 second load time in the test above, several of my tests actually ran longer than five minutes as the ad network tried to load ads that either no longer existed, or were served from a server that was not responding at the time.

In the end

Advertisers help keep your site running and provide you with additional income from running a blog. Just be careful that you’re not sacrificing the quality and speed of your site to do so, as your readership will surely drop off.

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