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Posted 27 Feb 2017

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ASP.NET Performance Optimization

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27 Feb 2017CPOL14 min read
ASP.NET performance optimization

The performance of an application from the perspective of the client is very important and if it is degraded from too many round trips, too many resources, too many Ajax or server calls, it gives the end user no option other than leaving your useful resource. So to end this problem, you must have an eye on ways to boost your application performance by using performance boosters.

Performance of an application is the most important aspect which you need to monitor every day to provide uninterrupted services to your favorite clients and the better approaches your system uses, the better results you will get. I will write the series of Optimization and Performance Techniques for SQL, jQuery, Ajax, JavaScript, C#, query optimization, and Website Optimization in upcoming articles, but for now I am stating ASP.NET Performance Metrics.

But wait, what are the ways that you can judge how you want optimization of your web / application?

Below is the list of optimization and performance metrics that you want to acknowledge:

  1. Speed
  2. Use Logs
  3. Proper Exception Handling
  4. View State
  5. Proper Use of Caching
  6. Avoid Serve Side Validation
  7. Minify and Compress JS, CSS Resources
  8. Session Management
  9. Paging for Large Result set
  10. Avoid Un-necessary RoundTrips to Server
  11. Pages Must be Batch Compiled
  12. Partition Application Logically
  13. HTTP Compression
  14. Resource Management
  15. String Handling

We can discuss each one in detail. So let’s start.


Speed of your application is the most important factor and you need to keep an eye on this factor. There are many factors involved to boost speed of your application:

Reduce Page Size

  • You can reduce page size by means of using external CSS and JavaScript files instead of inline CSS and JavaScript.
  • The other way to reduce page size is to use only the minify version of JavaScript files and also beautify CSS and JS by online tools.

To beautify Cascading Style Sheet files, follow this link.
To beautify JavaScript files, follow this link.

To minify Cascading Style Sheet files, follow this link.
To minify JavaScript files, follow this link.

Beautify means to format the unformatted files (means with white space, comments and without indentation).

Minify means to remove white spaces, comments, non-indent text and the nice feature is to reduce space by giving your functions and variables a single name like function a(b){ if b == ‘4’){ b=’good’}}, move your code to a single line of function defined.

  • It's very efficient way to separate the logic of your page as well as we did to create an application by separating the logic of data access and business layers, so in page level, you can separate it by making user controls of header, body and footer.

Reduce Number of Requests to Server

The fewer number of requests served to the server, the more efficient your page behavior is.

Reduce the number of requests by reducing the number of resources, like move your inline CSS code of all files to single CSS and likewise with JavaScripts. The other way is to cache the non static resources and remove unnecessary headers from requests like version number and ASP.NET powered by. Use CDN (Content Delivery Network) so that it downloads files from the nearest available server and save the concurrent requests if other websites are using the same jquery plug in files.

Use Logs

Use IIS Log to trace out issues on weekly or monthly basis of your application, and the best is that you have to watch it on a daily basis, mainly IIS Log contains information about your server, date and time span, referral page and the original URL and lots more information and also the HTTP Status response codes through which you can understand the nature of the issue.

I have written a post on HTTP Status Response code. You can read it here.

The other way you can customize what to log is by creating a database table and inserting the exception detail in this, I have done it this way in my organization and also tracking module which can search, generate report on a daily basis, insert the log modules and lots more, so that you don’t need to query the table again and again to check for daily error or for reporting.

There are other best approaches to track the error, one of the best available tools is Elmah Tool, which has a config base setting through which you can track it by configuring it with email option to the responsible person.

ELMAH (Error Logging Modules and Handlers) is an open source debugging tool for ASP.NET web services. When added to a running web application on a machine, exceptions that are thrown trigger event handlers in the ELMAH tool.

You can get it from Google code Link OR

You can get it from Nuget Packages Link.

Proper Exception Handling

There are many developers who cannot handle proper exception techniques. As a result, the final outcomes are not pretty satisfied which means they cannot understand if there is any crashing of the application. The best way is to use try….. catch block appropriately to handle the exception in a right manner. User can use (if statement) to check for open connection if not open close the connection to the database. The other way user can use the (try…. catch block) for the connection if not closed, throw an exception. With trycatch, it is best approach to use finally block also with trycatch and then block like this to properly dispose off the unused resources if exception occurs or not.

  1. try
  2. {
  3. }
  4. catch (Exception)
  5. {
  6. throw;
  7. }
  8. finally
  9. {
  10. }

Exception handling is the most important technique for finding the original run time unhandled exception in application, but it should be wisely and judiciously used.

View State

View state is an encrypted component in webforms that maintains the state of pages. It is used to maintain the state of page in post backs, these are the hidden fields and you can check by viewing source of page. iI you are also using the view state to maintain the state behavior of data in web forms in large form, it loads your page and as a result, you have a performance issue.

The potential issues lie with view state; it has large page load times due to increased number of page states.

So what are the best practices to override these types of headoff.

Here are some performance paradigms that must be accounted for while using view state.

  • Use it whenever needed in a page but limit it to small size as possible
  • Don’t use multiple forms in a single page having state management enabled
  • Use it wisely required on page or either in control level to application level
  • Monitor the size of view state by enabling tracing
  • Avoid storing large objects as the size is directly proportional to the objects

Proper Use of Caching

With the proper use of caching, you can get a lot of benefits like reducing the round trips to the server, reducing the number of server resources and it renders faster than in routine normal mode. It can improve the performance manyfold by caching the data on multiple HTTP Requests, it can store the page partially for specified times with some expiration values. It can boost application performance by storing data in memory so that it can be accessed quickly with less time just like CPU RAM. Cache can be accessible in your single application to use in webform you can use the distributed cache managers like memcached to share the cache data within the web form.

Best use of cache is as follows:

  • Use it in all layers DataAccess, Business and UI Layer and use it in a proper way which can give you a performance boost.
  • Caching for large time for static resources or not too used resources and also adding expiration to cache also give best performance.
  • Don’t cache expensive objects in cache like connection and like other resources.
  • Use Output cache for static pages with expiration time and location as per your need.
  • Use partial fragment cache to partially cache the page component.

Avoid Server Side Validation

Validating your system is an important part as you filter what you want very clearly in DB because if you have free type text input, then chances are that the required data cannot be received, that's why validations are required.

Validations are of two types: Client and server side validation.

Server Side Validations are important from the perspective of securing your sensitive information like saving password and other sensitive information. It is always not required to do server side validation as it always submits request and response back to client which causes in the cost and time of the user. This type of validation occurs when submit is Hit.

Best tip is to use whenever you required to ensure that security is not bypassed, otherwise it is better to check the client side validation formats like email, URL , phone number, masking and other required information which need to be correct.

Minify and Compress JS, CSS Resources

The best approach with static content files is to minify which means make them small. Just like in production environment, Jquery is also recommended to use the min.js version file for best operations with their library you also need to include the minified version of your application working JavaScript files as the number of requests greatly increases the page time as some time size of file doesn’t matter but it can also be reduced by using the minified files for JavaScript and CSS files.

In IIS, there is also setting for compressing the static and dynamic content. You can too try this to enable compression in website.

This is also the best approach to use the Cascading style sheet files in the head of the webpage while the scripts must be included in the bottom of the page for fast processing of the page.

As you are all aware that we are using bundles of JavaScript libraries day by day to do our work, but we forget about the behavior and impact which they made to our system. To overcome this, Microsoft announced its Microsoft web Optimization framework which is also useful.

You can read more about this framework here.

You may refer to section 1 of this article about the speed concerns.

Session Management

Session is an important part for ASP.NET applications but its effects are adverse if not handled properly.

Here are some best practices to use it intelligently.

  • Do not store a bunch of data in sessions.
  • Store basic types of data not complex types likes object.
  • Use wisely the available session states like in Proc, out of process using state view and out of process using SQL Server.
  • Out of process is the best option as its application did not restart despite any application configuration changes but it is slow as it is some server of in SQL, while the other in proc is fast as it used same memory as application and their retrieval is also fast.
  • Do not use sensitive data in session state.
  • Always use abandon() method to sign out the user with session enabled.

Paging for Large Result set

Paging on large result sets are an extremely useful approach as we restrict the result to 10 to 30 records per page to be shown and on call of next records, we get more records to load it reduces the extra load server bear to fetch all the records and return it which causes increase in page load times and extra cost to your users as well as the whole page goes unresponsive for about large time. So, the best approach is to make your result sets as few as possible and also use of ROWCOUNT() enhances paging a lot more.

As your client has few resources, either saving the large results set also make an impact on your client.

The basic backbone in paging is the use of row_number ranking function. If you can check time with all records versus number of first page records, then it shows a great improvement.

Avoid Unnecessary Roundtrips to Server

The best method to avoid roundtrips to the server is to ensure that no unnecessary calls are sent to the server as number of requests sent to the server increases the page load time increase in the result client suffers.

So it is necessary that you must use client mechanisms to ensure the validity to get data from server as it does not result in post backs and not involve any server callbacks which result in server involvement and it triggers the request response cycle.

You can following metrics to minimize the round trips between web server and browser.

Use Server.Transfer instead of Response.Redirect for redirecting to certain path. Server.Transfer scope is in current application redirection for redirecting to other than your application use Response.Redirect.

If your data is static, you can use caching for best performance. Use Output Buffering as it reduces round trips by loading whole page and is made available to the client. If you want to transfer some data and client always connected, then use HttpResponse.IsClientConnected as it reduces the chances of any missing change not sent to server.

Pages must be Batch Compiled

The more the assemblies grow in a process, there are more chances that process shoots out and it throws out of memory exception. To overcome this, pages need to be batch compiled as when first requested is initiated to compile pages, all the pages in the same directory batch compiled and it makes a single assembly. The basic advantages is that the max number of assemblies that try to load in the process does not load which did not compromise on server load and only single batch compile assembly loaded in the process.

You can also ensure some things while doing this like:

  • Debug property in the configuration file always set to false in the production environment as if it is set to true pages are not batch compiled
  • Pages also did not time out if certain web service of page is not responding at the desired time,
  • Make sure that different languages are not used in same directory as it reduces the chances of batch compilation.

Partition Application Logically

This means logical partitioning of your application logic like business, presentation and Data access layers. This is very useful as you have control of anything happening in any one can do their respective work in logic layer. This doesn't mean that you have to write more lines of code, proper code with reusability and scalability of the application are the key properties of your application's overall performance.

Don't confuse it with physical separation of logic, as it only separates the code logic.

Below are the key pros of the separate application logic:

  • The main advantage of this is that you have a choice of logic to separately reside on servers for your ease in a web farm environment but it increases the latency of calls.
  • The closer your logical layers are, the more benefit you have, for example, all logic files in bin directory.

HTTP Compression

As the name suggests, HTTP compression means to compress the content mostly in Gzip format or deflate and send with content headers after compression has been applied. It provides faster transmission time between IIS and browser.

There are two types of compression supported in IIS:

Static Compression

It compresses cache static content by specifying in the path of directory attribute. After the first request that is compressed followed by requests used the cache compress copy thus decreases the time to furnish the content and increases productivity and performance of application. You should only compress the static content which does not change, not the dynamic one.

Dynamic Compression

Unlike the static content, dynamic content often changes. As a result, it supports compression by not being able to add into the cache, it only compresses the content.

Resource Management

Resource management is the management of overall resources of your application as it is directly related to the performance of the application. Poor resource management decreases the performance and it loads your server CPU.

Below is the list of the most useful techniques for resource management.

  • Good use of pooling
  • Proper use of the connection object
  • Dispose of unused resources after using them
  • Handling memory leaks
  • Remove unused variables

String Handling

String management is one of the keys to manage the memory of your application.

There are many techniques which are very useful in handling strings, some of them are listed below:

  • Use Response.Write() to fastest show output to the browser.
  • Use stringBuilder when you don't know the number of iterations to concatenate strings.
  • Use += operator to concatenate string when you know the number of strings are limited.
  • Do not use .ToLower() while comparing string as it creates temporary string, instead use the to compare two strings because it has built in check for case insensitive data by using cultureinfo class.

Filed under: ASP.NET, C#, CodeProject, performance, Visual Studio
Tagged: ASP.NET, C#, CodeProject, debugging, optimization, performance, productivity, Visual Studio


This article, along with any associated source code and files, is licensed under The Code Project Open License (CPOL)

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Comments and Discussions

GeneralMy vote of 4 Pin
sundar sahukhala5-Mar-17 23:07
sundar sahukhala5-Mar-17 23:07 
GeneralRe: My vote of 4 Pin
M,AqibShehzad5-Mar-17 23:14
professionalM,AqibShehzad5-Mar-17 23:14 
Thanks sundar sahukhala for your precious comments. sure i will share more articles.
SuggestionSummary of MSDN Document Pin
Muhammad Iqbal28-Feb-17 9:25
Muhammad Iqbal28-Feb-17 9:25 
BugServer Side Validation vs Cliend Side Validation Pin
Peter BCKR27-Feb-17 20:51
Peter BCKR27-Feb-17 20:51 
GeneralRe: Server Side Validation vs Cliend Side Validation Pin
Emily Heiner28-Feb-17 5:08
Emily Heiner28-Feb-17 5:08 
GeneralRe: Server Side Validation vs Cliend Side Validation Pin
Dupsi Yupsi28-Feb-17 22:58
Dupsi Yupsi28-Feb-17 22:58 
GeneralRe: Server Side Validation vs Cliend Side Validation Pin
M,AqibShehzad1-Mar-17 1:04
professionalM,AqibShehzad1-Mar-17 1:04 

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