At a glance......
- 1 How To Improving Your Website’s Speed
- 1.1 Use a Good Web Hosting Plan
- 1.2 Enable Caching
- 1.3 Use Light Weight Theme
- 1.4 Control Post Revisions
- 1.5 Optimize Your WordPress site’s Homepage
- 1.6 Reduce Image Sizes
- 1.7 Minify JS and CSS files
- 1.8 Use a CDN
- 1.9 Enable GZIP compression
- 1.10 Cleanup WordPress Database
- 1.11 Deactivate or Uninstall Plugins
- 1.12 Keep External Scripts to a Minimum
- 1.13 Disable Pingbacks and Trackbacks
- 1.14 Use Latest PHP Version
- 1.15 Decrease Server Requests
- 1.16 Turn off Pingbacks and Trackbacks
- 1.17 Look for Inactive Plugins or for Plugins that Don’t Work Properly
- 1.18 Testing and Digging Deeper
- 1.19 Disable Hotlinking and Leaching of Your Content
- 2 What Slows Down Your WordPress Website?
- 3 Server and Hosting Technology
Best Tips on How to Speed Up WordPress Website/Improving your website’s speed is something you should worry about the most during a technical audit. Generally, users prefer to browse sites that have better page loading speed and there are numerous online tools that offer detailed insights on your website speed performance.
Increasing the speed of a site starts with your WordPress web hosting. It is not much different than the process used for optimizing a website hosted on a shared or a dedicated server. For that reason, you might find some of the tools like Breeze mentioned below as being similar to what you were doing to your shared website.
How To Improving Your Website’s Speed
Use a Good Web Hosting Plan
- It really all starts with choosing the right WordPress hosting plan with the right hosting company. Even before talking about speed, you must have a reliable company with solid and reliable hardware to host your website. If your site is unreliable, it doesn’t matter how fast it performs. Visitors will run away and never come back. Do your homework and check out user reviews for hosting companies.
- Getting back to speed up your website, most hosting companies, such as Bluehost, offer a range of hosting plans, starting with inexpensive shared hosting and moving up through virtual servers, dedicated servers, and cloud servers. The prices increase as you move up through the different types of hosting, but the number of resources dedicated to your website also increases.
- While it is OK, to begin with, shared hosting when you are just starting your site, be sure to regularly track your traffic volume and resource usage so that you can upgrade to a better hosting plan before visitors start noticing your site is sluggish.
- Simply put, caching is the technical term for storing data in a temporary storage area. This improves a site’s performance since a lot of a page’s content is already prepared and available and does not need to be fetched and processed in order to be displayed for a user. It also reduces the load of various system resources on your server.
- We recommend you use the caching plugins provided by Bluehost, that are built to work best in that environment. You can find these cache settings on the performance page of the Bluehost plugin or WordPress section of the control panel.
- If your site is not a WordPress site, enabling caching is more complex and beyond the scope of this article. In either case, you should discuss caching options with your hosting provider, since they will often have recommendations based on the optimizations they have implemented on their end.
Use Light Weight Theme
- There are many shiny and beautiful themes in the WordPress market. But don’t forget, themes with a lot of dynamic content, widgets, slider, sidebar, etc., can cause your hosting server to respond slowly.
- Always optimize the WordPress theme or use a lightweight WordPress theme. The default WordPress themes can be enough if you want to run a blogging website. For more features, you can use themes that are built on Bootstrap and Foundation.
- The best option here is to use lightweight themes, like WordPress’ default themes. The new Twenty Fifteen theme is always a good way to start off a blog. For a feature-rich website, you can also opt for a theme that uses a good framework like Bootstrap or Foundation. For instance, all themes at ThemeIsle are built on top of Bootstrap, which provides a great way to speed up WordPress.
Control Post Revisions
- No doubt, post revision is a great feature in WordPress. But, not every feature is feasible for everyone. There are few users with low disk and database space.
- In post revisions, every time you change the content, a new copy of the post is saved in the database rather than deleting the previous one. So that you can always have a chance to revert. It increases the database size, and a large size database can cause many problems.
- You can limit the frequency to autosave a post. From the root folder of your WordPress installation, open wp-config file with any file editor and write any of the below code before the code requirements.
Optimize Your WordPress site’s Homepage
- Another thing you can do to speed up a WordPress site is to optimize your homepage. Make it look simpler, without clustered content and useless widgets or tools.
- Also, don’t show the posts at their full length. You can show only the first paragraph or a specific excerpt from the text. Displaying too many posts on the same page could cause a longer loading time as well.
Things that you can do include
- Show excerpts instead of full posts
- Reduce the number of posts on the page (I like showing between 5-7)
- Remove unnecessary sharing widgets from the home page (include them only in posts)
- Remove inactive plugins and widgets that you don’t need
- Keep in minimal! Readers are here for content, not 8,000 widgets on the homepage
Reduce Image Sizes
Images are the major contributors to the size increment of a given webpage. The trick is to reduce the size of the images without compromising on the quality.
- If you manually optimize the images using Chrome PageSpeed Insights extension or Photoshop or any other tools, the process will take a long time. Fortunately, there are plugins available for just about everything you can think of, including image optimization.
- Using any of the above-mentioned plugins on your WordPress site will drastically reduce image sizes, thus improving the speed of your website.
- Images bring life to your content and help boost engagement. Researchers have found that using colored visuals makes people 80% more likely to read your content.
- However, if your images aren’t optimized, then they could be hurting more than helping. In fact, non-optimized images are one of the most common speed issues that we see on beginner websites.
- Before you upload a photo directly from your phone or camera, we recommend that you use photo editing software to optimize your images for the web.
- Well, the PNG image format is uncompressed. When you compress an image it loses some information, so an uncompressed image will be higher quality with more detail. The downside is that it’s larger file size, so it takes longer to load.
JPEG, on the other hand, is a compressed file format that slightly reduces image quality, but it’s significantly smaller in size.
So how do we decide which image format to choose?
- If our photo or image has a lot of different colors, then we use JPEG.
- If it’s a simpler image or we need a transparent image, then we use PNG.
The majority of our images are JPEGs.
Minify JS and CSS files
- If you run your website through the Google PageSpeed Insights tool, you will probably be notified about minimizing the size of your CSS and JS files. What this means is that by reducing the number of CSS and JS calls and the size of those files, you can improve the site loading speed.
- Also, if you know your way around WordPress themes, you can study the guides provided by Google and do some manual fixing. If not, then there are plugins that will help you achieve this goal; the most popular being the Autoptimize that can help in optimizing CSS, JS and even HTML of your WordPress website.
Use a CDN
- The people who visit your website belong to various locations in the world, and needless to say, the site-loading speed will differ if the visitors are located far away from where your site is hosted. There are many CDN (Content Delivery Networks) that help in keeping the site-loading speed to a minimum for visitors from various countries. A CDN keeps a copy of your website in various data centers located in different places. The primary function of a CDN is to serve the webpage to a visitor from the nearest possible location. Cloudflare and MaxCDN are among the most popular CDN services.
- For example, let’s say your web hosting company has its servers in the United States. A visitor who’s also in the United States will generally see faster loading times than a visitor in India.
- When you use a CDN, every time a user visits your website they are served those static files from whichever server is closest to them. Your own web hosting server will also be faster since the CDN is doing a lot of the work
Enable GZIP compression
- Compressing files on your local computer can save a lot of disk space. Similarly, for the web, we can use GZIP compression. This maneuver will dramatically reduce the bandwidth usage and the time it takes to gain access to your website. GZIP compresses various files so that whenever a visitor tries to access your website; their browser will first have to unzip the website. This process brings down the bandwidth usage to a considerable extent.
You can use either a plugin like the PageSpeed Ninja, which enables GZIP compression or add the following codes in your .htaccess file.
Cleanup WordPress Database
- Deleting unwanted data from your database will keep its size to a minimum and also helps in reducing the size of your backups. It is also necessary to delete spam comments, fake users, old drafts of your content and maybe even unwanted plugins as well as themes. All of this will reduce the size of your databases and web files, and thus speed up WordPress – your WordPress.
Deactivate or Uninstall Plugins
- Keeping unwanted plugins on your WordPress websites will add a tremendous amount of junk to your web files. Moreover, it will also increase the size of your backup and put an overwhelming amount of load on your server resources while backup files are being generated. It is better to get rid of the plugins that you don’t use and also look for alternate methods to use third-party services for automating or scheduling tasks (like sharing of your latest posts to social media).
- IFTTT or Zapier are two web services that help in automating such tasks and reduce the burden on your website and server resources.
Keep External Scripts to a Minimum
- The usage of external scripts on your web pages adds a big chunk of data to your total loading time. Thus, it is best to use a low number of scripts, including only the essentials such as tracking tools (like Google Analytics) or commenting systems (like Disqus).
Disable Pingbacks and Trackbacks
- Pingbacks and trackbacks are two core WordPress components that alert you whenever your blog or page receives a link. It might sound useful, but you also have things such as Google Webmaster Tools and other services to check the links of your website.
- Keeping pingbacks and trackbacks on can also put an undesirable amount of strain on your server resources. This is so because whenever anyone tries to link up to your site, it generates requests from WordPress back and forth. This functionality is also widely abused when targeting a website with DDoS attacks.
Use Latest PHP Version
- WordPress is mainly written in the PHP programming language. It is a server-side language, which means it is installed and runs on your hosting server.
- All good WordPress hosting companies use the most stable PHP version on their servers. However, it is possible that your hosting company is running a slightly older PHP version.
- The newer PHP 7 is two times faster than its predecessors. That’s a huge performance boost that your website must take advantage of.
Upon activation, the plugin will show your PHP version in the footer area of your WordPress admin dashboard.
- If your website is using a version lower than PHP 7, then ask your hosting provider to update it for you. If they are unable to do so, then it is time to find a new WordPress hosting company. That’s it! We hope this article helped you learn how to improve WordPress speed and performance.
- Go ahead and try out these techniques. Don’t forget to test your website speed before and after implementing these best practices. You’ll be surprised these changes will boost your WordPress performance.
Decrease Server Requests
A server request happens every time your browser asks some type of resource from your server. This can be a file like a style sheet, a script or an image.
The more server requests necessary to complete loading your site, the longer it will take. As a consequence, requests should be as few as possible. Here are a few things you can do to reduce them to a minimum:
- Lower the number of posts shown on a page
- Only show post excerpts, no full posts on your archive pages (find the option under Settings > Reading)
- Split longer posts into pages it’s easy
- If you get a lot of comments, break them up into several pages (Settings > Discussion)
- Reduce the number of images and other elements on your page
- Uninstall unnecessary plugins, especially slower ones (find them with this plugin)
- Deactivate plugins you are not using permanently
- Enable lazy loading to delay loading images until they are actually visible on the page
- Reduce external resources such as fonts if they aren’t necessary
Turn off Pingbacks and Trackbacks
- By default, WordPress interacts with other blogs that are equipped with pingbacks and trackbacks.
- Every time another blog mentions you, it notifies your site, which in turn updates data on the post. Turning this off will not destroy the backlinks to your site, just the setting that generates a lot of work for your site.
- For more detail, read this explanation of WordPress Pingbacks, Trackbacks and Linkbacks.
Look for Inactive Plugins or for Plugins that Don’t Work Properly
- Another solution to speed up a WordPress site is by verifying if your current plugins are working correctly. Everyone uses various plugins and tools for various needs. They sometimes cause lag in your website, rendering it slow to load. You might give it a try and see how fast they are working.
- To do the tests, you can get another plugin. It’s called the Query Monitor. This plugin is free and once installed, it will report any performance problems with your website. If there are plugins that slow down your website, remove them or try to find alternatives. Also, keeping a large number of active plugins will affect your WordPress site speed as well.
Testing and Digging Deeper
- There is really a lot more to site optimization than what we’ve discussed here. However, these are five steps that will give you the most bang for the buck. For those of you who want to learn more and/or further optimize your website, I’d like to leave you with a list of three popular performance analysis sites (all with very useful free versions). These tools will run a series of tests on your site to identify performance issues and direct you as to how to correct them.
- If you’re creating quality content on your WordPress site, then the sad truth is that it’ll probably get stolen sooner or later.
- One way this happens is when other websites serve your images directly from their URLs on your website, instead of uploading them to their own servers. In effect, they’re stealing your web hosting bandwidth, and you don’t get any traffic to show for it.
Simply add this code to your .htaccess file to block hotlinking of images from your WordPress site.
Note: Don’t forget to change wpbeginner.com with your own domain.
- You may also want to check our article showing 4 ways to prevent image theft in WordPress. Some content scraping websites automatically create posts by stealing your content from your RSS feed. You can check out our guide on preventing blog content scraping in WordPress for ways to deal with automated content theft.
What Slows Down Your WordPress Website?
Your speed test report will likely have multiple recommendations for improvement. However, most of that is technical jargon which is hard for beginners to understand.
- Learning what slows down your website is the key to improving performance and making smarter long-term decisions.
The primary causes of a slow WordPress website are:
- Web Hosting – When your web hosting server is not properly configured it can hurt your website speed.
- WordPress Configuration – If your WordPress site is not serving cached pages, then it will overload your server thus causing your website to be slow or crash entirely.
- Page Size – Mainly images that aren’t optimized for the web.
- Bad Plugins – If you’re using a poorly coded plugin, then it can significantly slow down your website.
- External scripts – External scripts such as ads, font loaders, etc can also have a huge impact on your website performance.
Now that you know what slows down your WordPress website, let’s take a look at how to speed up your WordPress website.
Server and Hosting Technology
At the very bottom of how quickly a page load is a server it is hosted on, it’s location and your WordPress hosting plan. Let’s start with the latter.
Generally, there are three different types of hosting:
- Shared hosting — That means your site lies on the same server as a number of other websites and needs to share its resources (processing power, RAM) with everyone else. This can lead to “bad neighbor” effects where one site is hogging the majority of resources and downtimes due to overload.
- Virtual private server (VPS) — With this type of hosting, you usually have fewer sites on the same server. In addition, resources are allocated evenly across all sites present without the option to exceed them.
- Dedicated server — You have one server just for you. There are no resources to share, everything is at the disposal of just your site.
In addition to the type of hosting, the technology used in the servers (both hardware and software) is also important. For example, does your server use the latest versions of PHP, HTML and other web techs? How about SSD hard drives? How much memory does it have? All that factors into how quickly it can serve up your website files.