Why Do Some Websites Take Longer to Load on Mobile Devices?

Why Do Some Websites Take Longer To Load On Mobile Devices?

Mobile devices have made impressive amounts of progress when it comes to global Internet traffic. According to the latest research from Cisco, this explosive trend will only continue, with global mobile data traffic increasing tenfold in the period between the years 2014 and 2019. For people who own websites, this means that they have a new flavor of visitor to cater to. Sometimes their attempts (or lack thereof) to cater to you will create conditions that make their sites load slower on your mobile than if you would type the same address on a desktop computer. What’s this all about?

Mobiles Are Directed to Slower Servers


Since traffic on sites specifically tailored for mobile devices is often lighter (because of the lightweight text-heavy theme), your phone may be directed to a slower server. Since desktop visitors still need heavy servers to deliver their content, they will always be prioritized to larger and more powerful servers. This is often the case with websites that utilize load balancing which is a way to direct different types of traffic to servers that are made to handle it best. It would also mostly happen in situations where the website itself is receiving several requests from desktop users at the same time. Load balancing isn’t necessarily at fault here; it’s just doing its job. This is usually a decision that the webmaster takes, making smartphones a lower priority during data-heavy periods.

Your Phone’s Power Is Limited


A phone will always draw less wattage from its battery than a computer would from a wall socket. It’s not rocket science to figure out that the power-hungry processors on desktops will not fare well in these devices. As powerful as CPUs on phones have gotten, they have certain limitations that make them inferior as a whole to their desktop-bound counterparts. Most mid-range phones may encounter microscopic delays when loading different elements on graphics-heavy webpages, making them load slightly slower than they would on a PC. On a low-range phone, however, the difference is even harsher, making things like scrolling through a page while loading multimedia an excruciating process for the user.

It’s a fair bet, however, that if you have a high-end phone that still encounters lag issues when loading a site, your phone’s probably not the one at fault.

The Site Isn’t Optimized for Mobile


Most high-profile sites have taken notice of the increased trend in mobile traffic and have since adapted to it by creating a separate mobile-friendly scheme that does not include as much flashy content in the form of scripts and HTML. This helps sites load faster (sometimes even faster than they would on a desktop) on your mobile device. Once in awhile you may encounter a site that doesn’t include these optimizations. If the site looks like a zoomed-out copy of what you would see on a desktop, chances are it will load slower on your phone because it has to work that much harder to parse all of the code the destination server throws at it.


Websites are getting smarter by the day, and phones are gaining power. Each time this happens on a larger scale, the gap between the browsing experiences of phones and desktops grows smaller. While it may be a bit inconvenient for sites to load slower on a high-end phone connected to a 4G network, we must not forget that we’ve come a very long way from the days of text-based browsing on a 2G phone that took five minutes to scroll through one page!

Do you have more ideas about what slows down browsing on a mobile phone? Discuss it in a comment below!

Miguel Leiva-Gomez
Miguel Leiva-Gomez

Miguel has been a business growth and technology expert for more than a decade and has written software for even longer. From his little castle in Romania, he presents cold and analytical perspectives to things that affect the tech world.

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