Why should you speed up WordPress website? Before we really dive deep into optimization techniques. Let’s first understand why should we speed up WordPress website.
Why should you speed up WordPress Website?
When a visitor lands on your website for the first time, you have a maximum of 4 seconds to capture their attention and make them hang around.
If your website is slow, this will hurt you badly.
A slow website results in lots of Traffic loss, poor search engine performance, and reduced sales
- Search Engines (like Google) ranks website with fast loading much higher in Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs).
- Studies show that websites that take more than 2 seconds to load usually results in about 47% of bounce rate.
- Page speed has a direct correlation with visitor retention, bounce rate, and revenues. So it is must that your WordPress website speed is good, to retain the potential audience.
- Online buyers are very impatient; they all expect a page to load within a second. To meet up to their expectations, you need to work on some major improvements to your website if you’re running a WordPress based e-commerce site.
Now the question is how to test your page speed load time?
Here are some of the great tools that help you test the loading time of your website:
Free Website Speed Test Tools
If you already know the load time of your website and looking for tips to speed up WordPress website, you can directly jump to the optimization section.
If you want to analyse the current load time of your website, you can use the tools below:
Keep in mind that the load time may differ from page to page. There are several factors that affect page load time. Here are some of them:
- page size
- number of requests each page generates
- caching is enabled or not
- static or dynamic content
What Can a Website Speed Test Tool Help You Analyze?
- Minification of your scripts
- Time to First Byte (TTFB) test
- large images resulting in bottlenecks
- Analyzing page sizes, total load times, and number of requests
- page rendering speed in different browsers
- HTTP Headers
- performance at different geographical locations
- performance of your website’s Content Delivery Network
- whether assets are loading correctly from your website’s CDN or not
Now, let’s explore how we can speed up a WordPress website. These tips are for both coders and non-coders. They both can use them to improve website performance.
Steps to Speed up WordPress
1. Choose a good host
People prefer using shared hosting because of couple reason like:
- Unlimited page views
- Easy setup
But these two benefits come up with some other costs like:
- Incredibly slow site speed
- Downtime during peak traffic hours
If you are planning to create highly valuable content, you’re just killing your blog posts by running your website on shared server.
There are some blazing fast and affordable Web hosts available nowadays that use for me and my client’s websites. Linode and WPEngine are one of them.
Working with Linode can be a little tricky and risky if you are new to self-managed cloud VPS servers. Linode also provides you with managed service that costs you $100/mo.
So if you are new to this industry, The only WordPress host I recommend is:
What Makes WPEngine standout?
- EverCache is an advanced caching system that WP Engine developed by their own, specifically for sites they host.
- Simple and Automatic Backups. You have access to “snapshot backups.”
- World-class Security
- Staging Included in All Plans
- Awesome support system
2. Start with a Solid Framework/Theme
The success of your website relies very much on the framework, layout and the features that you use on your website. A solid framework must have the following features:
- Solid Search Engine Optimization (SEO) features
- Easy to customize
- Compatibility with the modern web browsers
- Rock-solid security
I spent over 5 years working with hundreds of premium and custom-designed themes for WordPress website. But never found anything better than StudioPress Genesis framework and themes.
StudioPress Genesis framework is the most loved framework amongst the bloggers, designers, and WordPress developers. Whether you’re a novice or an expert developer, you can start using and developing child themes from the scratch using StudioPress Genesis Framework.
So the StudioPress Genesis Framework is the only framework that I use and recommend to all.
3. Optimize All Images
Images with large sizes always increase the image load time and slow down your website. Slow website speed forces the user to wait while the website to loads.
To avoid waiting to load images, always use resized and compressed images for your WordPress website.
Although WordPress lets you display smaller versions of the images you upload, the browsers still have to load the original image of large size.
Using Desktop tools
You can use Photoshop to resize the image size. If you are searching for an open source software that can resize the image for you without degrading the quality of the image, you can use S
Using WordPress Plugins
If you have already uploaded your images on the website WordPress image optimization plugin becomes very handy to help you speed up WordPress.
The plugin is one of the best in the industry. With its’s bulk optimization feature, no image is left behind. Every single image gets optimized by keeping safety first in mind.
4. Use a Caching Plugin
A caching plugin can enhance the page speed of your website up to 300%. WP Total Cache and WP Super Cache are one of the most popular WordPress caching plugins.
I have been using these plugins for a long time and for me, they both are the top caching plugins available.
Although W3 Total cache offers a powerful caching and optimization features that enhance page speed significantly, I prefer using Cache Enabler by KeyCDN.
Cache Enabler is an efficient and fast disk cache engine that creates static HTML files and stores them on the disk of the server.
Every time a user request for any particular resource, the web server will deliver the static HTML file by avoiding the resource-intensive business layer processes (core, plugins, and database).
I recommend Cache Enabler.
5. Optimize WordPress database
It is important that you optimize your WordPress website database so that your website runs efficiently.
WP-Optimize is a WordPress database optimization plugin that I use for all my WordPress websites and recommend to all.
- Removes all unnecessary data like comments (trashed, unapproved and spam), pingbacks, trackbacks and expired transient options.
- Compact/de-fragment MySQL tables
- Auto database optimization
- Show database statistics and potential savings
- Easy optimization options
- Mobile friendly
6. Turn off pingbacks and trackbacks to Speed up WordPress
Trackbacks and pingbacks can be a very useful tool that allows blogs to notify each other that they have linked to a post. However, this feature is mainly used by spammers nowadays to send trackbacks from spam websites.
Apart from spams, pingbacks and trackbacks also slow down your website.
Steps to turn off Pingback & Trackbacks.
Navigate to Settings > Discussion
Under Default article settings, uncheck Allow link notifications from other blogs (pingbacks and trackbacks) on new articles and press save.
7. Reduce HTTP Requests
So, when these files are downloaded, an HTTP request is made to the webserver. The more the HTTP request is made, the more the website load time increases.
Use of additional server for images and videos hosting reduces the load on your web server and hence the page is loaded more quickly.
How can you reduce HTTP Requests?
- Delete Unnecessary Files and Images
- Reduce File Size
- Use Lazy Load
- Create a CSS Image Sprite
- Ignore Irrelevant Assets
- Limit External Images
- Use plugin Asset CleanUp: Page Speed Booster
8. Content Delivery Network (CDN)
The number of concurrent connections to a single domain is limited to the browsers. Most of the browsers permit four active connections so the fifth connection remains paused and it does not start until one of the previous connection has been fully retrieved.
You might get confused as the resources retrieved are for the single domain and single domain can only have 4 active connection at a time but the concept is CDN files are hosted on a different domain.
In fact more the CDN resource URL is there inside the header of the website, more the number of active connection increases for the single domain.
Accelerate your site with Cloudflare CDN
Cloudflare CDN is trusted by big names like Marketo, IBM, Digital Ocean and Zendesk.
It comes up with both free and premium CDN options that improve your website performance, security and reliability.
9. Plugin Performance Profiler (P3) to Speed Up WordPress Website
This is one of the great plugins that help you to measure the performance of the plugins used by you. You can measure the plugins which are making an impact in slowing down your website.
Most of the time, WordPress sites are loaded slowly because of misconfiguration of plugins. By using the P3 plugin, you can minimize the risk of slowing down your website.
You can also remove the unwanted plugins that you do not use. This will really improve the website load speed.
10. GZip Compression
Gzip is a very popular data compression program created by Jean-loup Gailly and Mark Adler. The program was intended for use by GNU (open source, free software).
Let’s understand how you can enable Gzip compression on your server.
For Nginx webserver
To change the Nginx gzip configuration, open the Nginx configuration file with your favourite editor.
In my case, I’m using vim editor.
sudo nano /etc/nginx/nginx.conf
Now, navigate to the
gzip settings section, which looks like this:
. . . #
gzip_min_length 256; directive. This configuration tells Nginx to not to compress files that are smaller than 256 bytes.
Now you need to append the
gzip_types directive with additional file types denoting web fonts,
ico icons, and Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) images.
The final Nginx configuration should look like this:
. . . #
To enable new configuration to take effect, restart the Nginx web server with the below command:
sudo service nginx restart
For Apache webserver
To enable Gzip compression on Apache web server, first enable Gzip module by running the following command in the terminal:
sudo a2enmod deflate
Now you need to configure Gzip configuration by defining the file types which are to be compressed.
Use the below identifier in the configuration file:
Open .htacess file under the root folder and adjust the Apache Virtual Host configuration. The final configuration should look like this:
Once you are done, you can check the Gzip compression level with these two online tools:
11. Monitor For Malware
Malware can reduce the website load speed tremendously. Malware can be difficult to detect but keeping WordPress secure is a pretty simple task.
People consider that WordPress website is least secure, but those are running some of the top WordPress CMS based websites think otherwise.
There are two plugins that I would recommend; WordFence & Sucuri. Both of these plugins are equally good and give you enterprise-level security to your website.
These plugins offer you some of the great tools that will make your website malware-free and secure.
It offers a tool that will scan your site automatically.
Tools like Malware scan, FireWall (WAF) & Post Hack can fulfil all your needs.
If you still need improvement? Use Google PageSpeed Insights to see what you need to do for further improvement. And always listen to what Google recommends.
Hope you will find these articles useful to speed up WordPress website performance.
I would like to hear your views in the comment section below.
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