There could be several reasons why the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) website is slow, including high traffic volume, website maintenance, technical difficulties, and network connectivity issues. The website can experience particularly high traffic during peak times, such as the start of the FAFSA filing season or deadlines for submitting the form. Additionally, the website may be undergoing maintenance to improve performance or fix bugs, which can also cause slowdowns. In some cases, the website’s server may be facing technical difficulties, which can affect its speed. Finally, issues with the user’s internet connection or network can also cause slowdowns when accessing the website. If you are experiencing slow performance on the FAFSA website, it might be a good idea to try accessing it again later, or check the Federal Student Aid website for any updates or maintenance notifications.
FAFSA website slowdown because the increased traffic
According to SEMrush domain overview, the FAFSA website has experienced a significant increase in traffic. Indeed, FAFSA website visits were doubled from 6 to 12 million per month from 2022 to 2023. This could be one reason because of that FAFSA website is getting more slow than before 2022.
FAFSA website is slow in terms of Google Pagespeed metrics
A First Contentful Paint (FCP) of 5.7 seconds is relatively long, as it represents the time it takes for the first meaningful content to appear on the page. Ideally, FCP should be under 2 seconds to provide a good user experience.
The Time to Interactive (TTI) of 23.2 seconds is also quite long, which represents the time it takes for the page to become fully interactive. A TTI over 10 seconds can indicate that the user may need to wait a while before they can start using the site.
The Speed Index of 11.8 seconds is also relatively high, which is a measure of how quickly the page appears visually complete.
A Total Blocking Time of 2,590 ms is relatively high as well, as it represents the amount of time the main thread was blocked and unable to respond to user inputs. This can result in a slow, unresponsive user experience.
The Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) of 12.5 seconds is relatively high, as it represents the render time of the largest content element on the page. An LCP under 2.5 seconds is considered to provide a good user experience.
The Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS) of 1.306 is also relatively high, which measures the visual stability of the page. A high CLS score can indicate that page elements are shifting and changing as the page loads, which can be distracting for the user. Overall, these metrics suggest that there is room for improvement in the performance of the FAFSA website, and efforts should be made to optimize its speed and interactivity.
FAFSA website is slow according users experiences and opinions
Workalibur analized 89 tweets from November 2022 to February 2023 finding 65% having issues about FAFSA website performance. The site downdetector reports these 89 tweets. The most common website performance issues reported by parents and students are: website down, not working, unavailable, broken, can´t log in. Some users report FAFSA website is down because maintenance. But the most say don´t know why.
How can FAFSA website don´t getting more slow and down?
According to BuiltWith data, the FAFSA website uses AngularJS, Akamai CDN, and CrUX to collect user experience data.
CrUX is a data collection system that gathers information about how real users interact with websites. This website is included in the user experiences data gathered from Google Chrome and thus considered sufficiently popular on the Internet. Relative measure of site popularity within the CrUX dataset, measured by the total number of navigations on the origin. This site is in the top 5k.
Akamai Content Delivery Network provides a distributed computing platform for global Internet content and application delivery.
AngularJS a Mobile and Desktop Framework.
Here’s an action plan based on these information:
- Utilize the data from CrUX: CrUX collects data on how real users interact with websites. This data should be used to understand how users interact with the FAFSA website and identify areas for improvement.
- Monitor performance with Akamai CDN: The Akamai Content Delivery Network provides a distributed computing platform for global Internet content and application delivery. This can be used to monitor performance and identify bottlenecks in the delivery of content to users.
- Optimize AngularJS code: AngularJS is a powerful framework for building web applications, but it can also contribute to slow page load times if not optimized. The code should be reviewed and optimized to improve performance and provide a better user experience.
- Invest in additional server resources: With a doubled web traffic of 12 million visits per month, investing in additional server resources or a better hosting solution may be necessary to handle the increased traffic and improve performance.
- Minimize HTTP requests: The number of HTTP requests made by a page can significantly impact its performance. Minimizing these requests can speed up the page.
- Implement lazy loading: Lazy loading is a technique where images and other resources are loaded only when they are needed, rather than all at once when the page loads. This can improve performance by reducing the amount of data that needs to be loaded.
- Use compression: Compressing large files, such as images and videos, can significantly reduce file size and improve page load times.
- Monitor network performance: If network issues are causing slowdowns, monitoring network performance can help identify bottlenecks and potential solutions.
By incorporating the data from CrUX and the capabilities of Akamai CDN, it is possible to gain a better understanding of how users interact with the FAFSA website and improve performance. The remaining tasks should be prioritized based on their impact on performance and the resources available, to ensure that the improvements are made in the shortest possible time and at the lowest cost.
FAFSA website risk analysis
In our experience at Precise Future we have been able to verify that a slow website is a warning sign of risk of server crashes at times of peak traffic. Therefore, problems must be resolved before they escalate. This is a risk analysis perform for the FAFSA website based on the gathered data.
- Increased traffic: With a doubled web traffic of 12 million visits per month, there is a risk of server crashes and downtime if the website is not optimized to handle the increased traffic.
- Unoptimized AngularJS code: AngularJS can contribute to slow page load times if not optimized, which can result in frustrated users and potential crashes during times of peak traffic.
- Limited server resources: If the current hosting solution does not have sufficient resources to handle the increased traffic, this can result in slow performance and potentially crashes during peak traffic.
- Network performance issues: If there are bottlenecks in the delivery of content to users, this can result in slow performance and potentially crashes during peak traffic.
- High number of HTTP requests: The number of HTTP requests made by a page can significantly impact its performance. If the number of requests is high, it can result in slow performance and potentially crashes during peak traffic.
- Large file sizes: If large files, such as images and videos, are not compressed, this can result in slow performance and potentially crashes during peak traffic.
- Inadequate monitoring: If performance and network issues are not being monitored, this can result in problems escalating and potentially crashing the website during peak traffic.
By addressing these risks, it is possible to reduce the risk of server crashes and improve the overall performance of the FAFSA website, even during times of peak traffic. Implementing the tasks outlined in the previous action plan can help mitigate these risks and improve the reliability of the website for users.
Executive Summary of this analysis of the causes of the slowness of the FAFSA website
The FAFSA website has experienced a significant increase in traffic, with visits doubling from 6 to 12 million per month. This, combined with an unoptimized AngularJS code and limited server resources, has led to slow page load times and a risk of server crashes during times of peak traffic.
To address these issues, an action plan has been proposed that includes:
- Optimizing AngularJS code to reduce page load times
- Upgrading the hosting solution to provide sufficient resources to handle the increased traffic
- Implementing a Content Delivery Network (CDN) to improve network performance
- Minimizing the number of HTTP requests made by the page
- Compressing large files, such as images and videos
- Monitoring performance and network issues to prevent problems from escalating
By implementing these tasks, it is possible to reduce the risk of server crashes, improve the performance of the FAFSA website, and provide a better user experience for students.
Acknowledgment to OpenAI and ChatGPT
This analysis was made with ChatGPT assistance. ChatGPT can serve as an executive assistant by providing comprehensive research and analysis of complex issues, as demonstrated in this analysis. With the ability to process vast amounts of information and provide concise and actionable recommendations, ChatGPT can help decision-makers effectively address challenges and make informed decisions.