Web Fonts Are Slow To Load? Use These Tricks To Fix That
Back in the day, we were limited in the number of fonts we could use. Remember when some websites asked users to download and install fonts for everything to look proper? Those were the days before web fonts. Now, primarily thanks to Google Fonts, we can design unique-looking sites without asking our visitors anything. And yet, sometimes, the performance leaves much to be desired. So, if your web fonts are slow to load, here’s what you can do.
Web Fonts are slow to load?
For some reason, I know people who still don’t think about font format. For them, it’s still about TrueType and OpenType, even though WOFF and WOFF2 are a thing. They have better compatibility, better compression, and support.
By the way, you know that not every font on your page must be custom, right? If you were to use the fonts that are already on your user’s system, that would fasten things immensely. Think about it: do you need every font to be fancy? For headers, sure, but body texts are good even with the basic system fonts.
Another way to speed things up is to use a CDN, which is a way to speed up any content from images to fonts. Overall, it’s always a good idea to self-host all your fonts: please, don’t just link to Google Fonts and be done with it! Yes, it’s easy, but the performance will never be great. That is the slowest way of loading a font.
Another neat trick is to subset your fonts. What it means is that you can throw away every unneeded character your font has. For example, we’re a New York web design firm primarily working with American companies and do not need a Cyrillic alphabet. We have no use for Chinese characters, too. If we were to delete all those characters, our font would be thrice as light and fast!
Caching is another good trick: it lets your user’s browser download the font once so that the fonts will load instantaneously on repeat visits. It’s easy to do with a CDN.