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We are using O365/SharePoint Online 2013.

Is there anything that can be done to get rid of the sluggishness in SharePoint Online? Sometimes when changing a page it can take up to 6 seconds easily. On average changing page (navigating) takes around 2-3 seconds and the overall feel is really sluggish and sticky.

I have searched the internet high and low but all I could find was tips and tricks for on-premises versions of SharePoint telling to improve the hardware and configure/close some processes etc.

Is this sluggishness normal for SharePoint Online and if not, is there something that could beef it up a bit?

EDIT: For testing purposes I created a new Site Collection in the SharePoint Online Admin Center. Without making any customizations (CSS, themes etc.) I created a few pages and a sub site to the new Site Collection. They seem to be almost as sluggish as our official intranet (the root Site Collection).

EDIT 2: I wonder if it boils down to the network/distance lag. I've noticed that really often around 50% of the loading time goes into the "waiting for server" -phase or similar. This would mean that it might be impossible to do anything about it.

EDIT 3: Some additional questions. Which is better for performance, web part pages or the "team/wiki pages" or are they indifferent regarding performance? Also can it impact performance if there are 10 previous versions of a page?

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    Are you using any custom master page, webparts etc.? Start fiddler and check which request is taking more time. – Amal Hashim Dec 11 '14 at 13:05
  • Which of your pages or all are having this issue? Are system pages, such as _layouts, etc., are all quick to load? If yes, then there might a problem because of customization of your application pages. One of the quick checks you can do is measure the speed of Onedrive system page vs your application pages. This will narrow out the issue with customization vs some other root cause. – Ransher Singh Dec 11 '14 at 15:40
  • @AmalHashim We do not have a custom master page. We do have a few web parts. – Tenttu Dec 12 '14 at 7:03
  • @Ransher.Singh Basically all the pages are sluggish/slow, the default/home page, other pages, sub sites and the system pages (site settings etc.). OneDrive seems to perform a bit better than the rest of SharePoint Online. – Tenttu Dec 12 '14 at 7:05
  • Are you using Structural Navigation or Managed Navigation? How many sites/pages do you display as links in your top navigation? – Ransher Singh Dec 12 '14 at 15:17
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I know this is old but that "waiting for server" is normally the server processing your request, this is due to structural navigation being generated, content queries or searches webparts being generated, too many webparts and so on, this is called TTFB or Time To First Byte.

So your "Waiting for server" is not the amount of time it takes to send back the information, is how much it takes to process the information you requested.

Steps to take to reduce the TTFB are steps that reduce server load (Disclaimer. I don't like static content since it takes too much maintenance depending on the size of your organization):

  • Change dynamic for static content wherever possible.
  • Try to use a simple site/sub-site structure (Don't create 5 levels of subsites).
  • Change structure navigation for managed navigation (It also helps to change the structural navigation to not show subsites or pages and manually link items as required).
  • Reduce the Query or Search webparts.
  • Have the main pages as clean as possible and leave the search and queries in places where people that need to see them can reach it.
  • Themes, CSS and of the like won't add much to your load time, unless they are heavily dependant on scripting.
  • Have images and media content as small as possible, avoid them being full sized since it will only get resized by CSS and not in file size.

Not sure if it helps but 2-6 seconds is fast in Sharepoint time. It sounds dumb to put things statically, but sadly Microsoft thinks that loading the page everytime someone clicks on it is the way to go.

One final tip, DO NOT use the "Minimal Download Strategy" option, in my experience it increases the TTFB time by loading two times the html to see possible changes.

  • Thank you for your answer! Some time ago I gave up and accepted the fact that it's normal for SharePoint to load pages sluggishly as you stated also. Still there are some good tips in your answer and it's mostly a sharepoint limitation so I'll accept it as the answer. :-) – Tenttu Jul 13 '16 at 11:03
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Common actions in Office 365 takes up to one second to perform with OOTB web parts or wiki pages. There are really no performance difference between wiki pages unless you collect and filter a lot of data in web parts. If so, web part pages are slower doe to heavier data load.

I think your case boils down to Internet bandwidth, internal network load issue. On our own company intranet in office 365, it's even faster than an on premis SharePoint App. Probably because we use the best intranet on the market.

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    Thank you for your answer! I've been trying to figure it out and it really does seem to boil down to network latency. We are based in Finland and the distance to the nearest SPO/O365 servers (somewhere in middle Europe?) might cause the latency. – Tenttu Mar 3 '15 at 6:15
  • @Tenttu I'm in the south of Sweden, and doesn't experience any network latency. Have you tried this from your own home assuming you have fiber connection? – Benny Skogberg Mar 3 '15 at 6:43
  • Yep I have tried it from home also and seems to have the same kind of latency. Sometimes it works fast but usually there can be even 2-4 seconds of "connecting" time before sites/pages actually start to change and load. Strange! :P – Tenttu Mar 3 '15 at 8:20

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