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How to Make the Umbraco CMS Faster

Updated August 10th, 2023


Umbraco CMS is known for its flexibility, exceptional functionalities, and user-friendly features. As a leading Content Management System (CMS), Umbraco consistently evolves to deliver superior performance and efficiency. However, in today's digital landscape, a CMS's capabilities are not the only factors that determine a website's success. Speed has become a critical element in shaping user experience and driving conversions.

Research indicates that a delay of even a second in page load time can lead to a significant drop in customer satisfaction, page views, and most importantly, conversion rates. A site that loads in 1 second has a conversion rate 3x higher than a site that loads in 5 seconds. This means that a faster website not only provides a better user experience but also drives more conversions, leading to increased revenue.

This article will guide you on how to enhance your Umbraco CMS performance, with a special emphasis on improving page load times. We'll explore the latest performance-enhancing features introduced in Umbraco 12 and provide practical tips on how to leverage these features to create a faster, more efficient website that keeps your visitors engaged and drives conversions. Whether you're a new Umbraco user or an existing one, this guide will equip you with the knowledge to optimize your Umbraco CMS for speed and performance.


Leverage Browser Caching

Browser caching is a fundamental technique that significantly enhances the speed and performance of a website. It works by storing certain webpage resource files, such as CSS, JavaScript files, and images, on a user's local computer when they visit a webpage. When the user returns to the same page, the browser retrieves the cached files from local storage, eliminating the need to reload the entire page from the web server. This results in much faster page load times, particularly for returning visitors, leading to a smoother user experience and potentially higher engagement and conversion rates.

The benefits of leveraging standard browser caching methods include:

  • It reduces the load on your server, as fewer requests are made for the same files. 
  • It saves bandwidth, as the same files don't need to be repeatedly sent to the same user.
  • It significantly improves the speed of your website, as files are loaded locally rather than from the server. 

These speed enhancements contribute to better user experience, higher user engagement, and improved conversion rates.

In addition to these standard caching methods, Umbraco 12 introduces a new feature that further enhances caching efficiency: the Content Delivery API. This API provides a more efficient way to manage and deliver content, which we'll explore in more detail in a later section. By combining standard caching methods with the advanced capabilities of the Content Delivery API, you can significantly improve your website's performance and user experience.


Optimize Images (and ImageSharp)

Image optimization plays a pivotal role in enhancing your website's load time and overall performance. It involves reducing the file size of your images without compromising on quality, which can significantly speed up your page load times. Faster page load times can lead to better user engagement, improved SEO, and increased conversion rates.

Umbraco utilizes the cross-platform image processing library, ImageSharp, to streamline image optimization. ImageSharp provides a suite of tools to resize, crop, and adjust images, ensuring they are delivered in the most efficient format and size for each user's specific device and browser.

In Umbraco 12, ImageSharp has been upgraded to a new version that supports the latest .NET 6 LTS framework, resulting in enhanced performance. This updated version offers new image encoding and decoding options, as well as powerful DecoderOptions for controlling image loading. These features provide developers with more control over how images are processed and delivered, making it easier to optimize images for page load speed.

By effectively optimizing your images and leveraging the advanced capabilities of ImageSharp in Umbraco 12, you can significantly improve your website's performance, providing a faster, smoother experience for your users.


Enable File Compression

Enabling file compression is a powerful strategy for improving your website's performance. By reducing the size of your CSS, HTML, and JavaScript files, you can decrease the amount of data that needs to be transferred over the network, resulting in faster download speed and quicker page load times. This can significantly enhance the user experience.

Umbraco 12 makes file compression even more efficient with its support for the Entity Framework Core (EF Core) library. EF Core is a lightweight, extensible, open-source framework that provides a high-level abstraction over the database. This means developers can work with objects and entities, rather than writing and maintaining extensive database access code. This not only simplifies the website development process but also reduces the amount of data that needs to be processed and transferred, further enhancing file compression efficiency and overall website performance.


Reduce Redirects

Redirects, while sometimes necessary for various reasons like site migrations or URL changes, can negatively impact website performance. Each redirect triggers an additional HTTP request-response cycle, which can significantly slow down your page load speed. This can lead to a poor user experience, lower search engine rankings, and decreased conversion rates. Therefore, it's crucial to manage redirects efficiently, minimizing their use where possible and ensuring they are implemented as effectively as possible when necessary.


Content Delivery API

The Content Delivery API, introduced in Umbraco 12, is a revolutionary feature that significantly enhances website performance and simplifies content management. This API allows developers to access and manipulate content programmatically, eliminating the need for custom code for content management. By reducing the amount of custom code, the Content Delivery API decreases the complexity and size of your website's codebase, which can lead to faster page load times and improved performance.

The Content Delivery API also ensures consistency in content across different platforms and devices. This means that regardless of how or where your users access your website, they'll receive the same content, efficiently delivered for quick loading. This not only enhances the user experience but also simplifies content management, making it easier to implement an omnichannel strategy or manage content from a single location. By leveraging the Content Delivery API in Umbraco 12, you can provide your users with a faster, more seamless website experience.


Entity Framework Core Library Support

The Entity Framework Core Library Support, introduced in Umbraco 12, eliminates the need for writing repetitive and boilerplate database access codes. It provides a superior level of abstraction from the database, enabling developers to interact with objects and entities instead of dealing directly with database queries. This feature boosts developer productivity and enhances performance by reducing the amount of database access code they have to write and maintain.


New Addons – Umbraco Forms, Deploy, and Workflow 12

Umbraco 12 introduces upgraded versions of key addons: Umbraco Forms, Deploy, and Workflow. These addons have been specifically enhanced to fully support and leverage the capabilities of Umbraco 12, providing a seamless and efficient experience for developers and users alike.

These new versions bring significant performance enhancements, particularly in cache refresh operations. They have been optimized to work in harmony with Umbraco 12's features, resulting in a profound 35 to 50% performance improvement in deployment operations. This includes tasks such as restoring and transferring content and updating the Umbraco schema. These improvements can lead to faster page load times, more efficient content management, and an overall boost in website performance. By utilizing these upgraded addons in Umbraco 12, you can streamline your operations and provide a faster, more efficient user experience.


Updated Dependencies

Keeping your Umbraco platform up to date with the underlying framework and all the dependencies used in Umbraco CMS is crucial for maintaining a secure and high-performing website. Updated dependencies often come with performance improvements, security patches, and new features that can enhance your website's functionality and speed.

Umbraco 12 introduces several updated dependencies, including a new version of ImageSharp and the Umbraco UI Library, among others. These updates not only provide improved performance and security but also ensure compatibility with the latest web standards and technologies. By keeping your dependencies up to date, you can leverage the latest advancements in web technology, resulting in a faster, more secure, and more efficient website.


Final Thoughts on Improving Umbraco Website Speed

Optimizing Umbraco CMS for speed and performance is a multifaceted process that involves leveraging browser caching, optimizing images, enabling file compression, reducing redirects, and keeping your platform up to date with the latest dependencies. With the introduction of Umbraco 12, this process has become even more efficient and effective, thanks to new features like the Content Delivery API, Entity Framework Core Library Support, and updated addons.

By implementing these strategies and leveraging the advanced capabilities of Umbraco 12, you can significantly improve your website's performance, providing a faster, more seamless user experience that keeps your visitors engaged and drives conversions. Remember, a faster website not only enhances user satisfaction but also contributes to higher search engine rankings and increased revenue. So, start optimizing your Umbraco CMS for speed today and experience the difference it can make to your online success.


Ready to supercharge your Umbraco CMS and take your website performance to the next level? The Umbraco experts at Marcel Digital are here to help. With our deep understanding of Umbraco and a proven track record in enhancing website performance, we can guide you through the process of optimizing your CMS for speed, efficiency, and an exceptional user experience. Don't let slow load times hold you back. Reach out to us today and discover how we can help transform your Umbraco CMS into a high-performing, conversion-driving powerhouse. Your journey towards a faster, more efficient website starts with Marcel Digital. Contact us now!

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About the author

Kyle Brigham

Kyle Brigham is the Chief Strategy Officer at Marcel Digital. He specializes in client services and project management, but also original Nintendo games and ping pong.