Along with most bloggers, I’ve lusted over Facebook’s “Like” button. There’s nothing that quite matches it on the web. It’s small and simple. What could be easier than putting a harmless little icon on your site to let visitors vote for you right?
But I got a nasty shock when I installed it. It makes at least thirty separate calls to Facebook servers and your site takes forever to finish loading. Any webmaster will tell you that the first step to improving your page speed is to cut down the number of requests to the server. From this perspective, Facebook commits a crime – an unforgivable transgression.
I’ve tried three different ways to install it on WordPress – using the code from Facebook and installing two separate plugins. It doesn’t make a difference. The button is still a resource hog. Here’s a screenshot of the requests from tools.pingdom.com:
This shows only a part of the total requests made to Facebook’s servers. Go ahead and test any page which has the button on tools.pingdom.com. You’ll be astonished at how long it takes to load – scroll down to the bottom and it’s pretty obvious what the cause is.
While it’s true that the button starts loading only after the page has begun to render, there’s something just wrong about such an obscene number of calls. It just doesn’t feel right you know what I mean? For those with slow Internet connections, I can imagine their systems working hard just to display the damn thing.
Google is rumored to be developing its own “Like” button in conjunction with Google Me. I’m eagerly waiting for it in the hope that it’ll go easy with the http requests. After all, it’s Google who’s really pushing for faster speeds on the Internet and even going so far as to link the PageRank to it. Come on Google! Give me an alternative to Facebook bloat.