RT Cunningham


Third-Party Fonts and Icons - Getting Back to Basics

third-party fonts I just did something drastic with this website. I no longer load third-party fonts and icons. My decision came after measuring web page speed at WebPagetest before and after removing them.

The only things slowing this website down now are the Google ads. If things keep going the way they’re going, I’ll soon remove them as well. That would probably coincide with moving this site to somewhere that doesn’t cost me anything.

Third-Party Fonts

There’s more than one source for third-party fonts. The most popular is Google Fonts and for good reasons. Regardless, I’m no longer using Google Fonts or any other source.

I’m using a system font stack. I chose one of the stacks shared by bitsofcode and changed it. I picked the WordPress 4.6 font stack and inserted “Noto Sans” in front of “Ubuntu”. Chromium-based web browsers on Linux Mint will select “Ubuntu” without it being there.

Noto Sans is a lot like Open Sans, which was the third-party font I used until today. A couple of characters are different but not noticeable at all.

Third-Party Icons

When I had an approved WordPress theme, I had a bunch of icons coming from a third-party provider, Font Awesome. When I created my custom WordPress theme, the one I’m using now, I used a lot less. Today, I’m using none at all.

I’m trying to recreate some of the icons using pure CSS. Mainly the social icons. If I can make them work, I’ll use them. If not, no big deal. Many websites won’t even use social icons. The social icons links are more for me than my visitors.

The Speed Test

I didn’t memorize any numbers. After I removed the third-party services, the home page loaded in under two seconds. Most of the other pages, when the test didn’t bomb out, loaded in under three seconds.

As I said before, I can’t make things faster without removing the Google ads. I don’t want to do that yet, but I will if my earnings dip below $10 per month. That’s how much I pay for web hosting.

It’s Your Turn

Tell me how the font looks on whatever device you’re using. If you have a suggestion, please feel free to comment.

What do you think of social icons? Necessary or not?

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By RT Cunningham
September 23, 2017
Web Development