In our first WordPress Speed guide, we’ll guide you through 18 different ways you can speed up your WordPress website and keep it running as fast as possible. Before we get into the nitty gritty tips we’ll explain why WordPress speed is important.
Why does speed matter?
A speedy WordPress website helps to draw in more viewers to that particular website. By ‘speedy website’, we mean a website that has minimal load time and offers a fluent user-experience.
There have been numerous studies in the past that prove that people do prefer a speedy website over one that lags a lot. A decrease in the website load time by even a single second can cost your website about 7% extra conversions, 11% of the total page views and an overall 16% decrease in the overall user satisfaction. This also means that by decreasing your website load time by even a single second that can help you can 7% more users.
The speed of a website also affects its SEO performance. Search engines such as Google prefer faster websites over the slower ones. Won’t you be frustrated if a website that you decided to visit takes a long time to load? To rank your websites to appear on the first page of Google, you will need to have a pretty snappy WordPress website.
Our 18 tips to speed up WordPress are as follows:-
9. Get rid of all unwanted fluff
1. Use WordPress caching
Caching is the process of storing data in the memory so that it can be used again by directly retrieving it from memory rather than having to regenerate it again.
This same technique is used in WordPress caching as well. In WordPress caching, you will be storing a recently generated web page in the memory and when the same web page is requested. The time that would have been required to regenerate the website is eliminated and thus, speeding up the website load up time. WordPress makes use of caching for multiple processes of its functioning. You will be able to increase the level of caching by using WordPress caching plugins like W3 Total Cache, WP Super Cache or WP Rocket.
2. Use GZip compression
Whenever a web page has been generated on the website, it still needs to be transferred to the user’s system to render. If the web page contains a lot of data, then the time taken to move all this to your computer will automatically be more. By using GZip compression, you will be compressing all the data that needs to be transferred to the user’s computer. Thus, reducing the transfer time and helping speed up WordPress website. The WP Rocket plugin and W3 Total cache provides its user with the ability to enable GZip cache to reduce the load time of your website.
3. Upgrade your PHP engine
Most WordPress websites use the PHP programming language to build a dynamic website. Websites that are coded using PHP using the PHP engine to run the code on the server.
Over the years, the PHP engine has undergone several performance upgrades, and you can find many versions of this engine on the internet. As evident from the website benchmarks for different versions of PHP conducted by the folks at Kensta Managed Hosting, the performance of a website running of PHP 7 is 185% better than the performance of the same website running on PHP 5.
The best PHP engine that one can use if the HHVM engine that has been developed by Facebook. However, this does come with a premium price tag attached to it. Additionally, the performance difference between the HHVM and the PHP 7 engine isn’t very high. So, you can use the free PHP 7 over the paid HHVM engine.
Always consider upgrading the PHP engine that is installed on your server. Most of the highly reputed website hosting companies do this automatically for you. Since not all hosting providers do this, it is better to keep an eye on the PHP engine that you are running and upgrading it whenever there is a new version of the engine.
4.Use a managed WordPress host
This is by far the most important factor to consider when you are on the lookout for WordPress speed tips. You will be aware of the different hosting techniques such as shared hosting and VPS hosting. In shared hosting, your server will also be shared by others as well.
This might result in a decrease in your website’s performance due to lesser available resources. However, by choosing a WordPress optimized hosting plan, you will be able to get great performance even when you are using the shared hosting plan — these plans optimized for hosting WordPress on a shared server. The website might still crash if the traffic to the website goes very high so we really do recommend a managed WordPress host like Kinsta.
Managed WordPress hosting is where the hosting providers takes care of every single aspect of your hosting plan. These hosting plans are optimized to run WordPress websites, PHP engines and all other plugins are updated regularly to reduce the burden on you.
These managed WordPress hosting providers do cost you extra money for the convenience that they have to offer. You might end up paying as high as 70% more than what you would have paid. However, the services and the features offered by these hosting companies are something worth investing your money in as they save you a bunch of time and hassle. So go check out Kinsta or read our in depth managed WordPress hosting review.
5. Improve server location(s)
The location of the server on which your website is hosted is crucial as well. If your server is located very far away from a client machine, then the latency of the transmission is too high. This results in slower website load time.
Make sure that you know from where your website is being accessed the most. By choosing a server closer to this region, you will be able to decrease your website load time for a large number of your audience.
6- Make use of Content Delivery Network
Having a single server will not provide the best user experience for your wide audience around the globe. Choosing multiple servers in different regions of the world might be a solution to this problem. However, this will certainly burn a hole in your pocket.
In such a case, you can make use of the Content Delivery Network. These are servers distributed around the world, that store the data of your website and are capable of serving users with a good experience. You can start with the free CDN networks out there and later upgrade to the paid version of this technology. A CDN will help you build a wide audience around the world.
7. Choose the right theme
WordPress offers its users a wide range of themes to choose from. While some of the themes can be got for free, most of the premium ones cost you a certain amount of money.
As these themes are pre-styled files, you will be able to find the pirated versions of the same on the internet. However, the odds of running into a malware infected WordPress theme is very high. It is tough for even an expert to know the malicious scripts that have been included in the pirated theme. So, refrain from using such themes.
8. Keep plugin use to a minimum
You will get access to a large number of plugins with each WordPress theme. However, if you don’t need the particular for your website, there is no point in activating that particular plugin. You will be saving a lot of processing power that would have otherwise been used for running unwanted plugins.
9. Get rid of all the unwanted fluff
A WordPress theme makes several changes to the look and feel of your website. For a regular visitor of your website, small changes such as a new animation, etc. would not matter much. So, consider removing all such unwanted fluff and increase the load time of your website by decreasing the time taken to process and render such animations.
10. Optimise and compress images
Images take up the most space on your website. So, it is a great idea to shrink all images before transferring them. WordPress offers several image compression plugins such as Smush Image Compression that scan the images and automatically compress them before shipping them to the client’s computer.
11. Defer image loading
For this method, you will make use of the viewport. In defer image loading, the image is loaded only when the user views the image. In other words, if the image is present at the bottom of the screen, then the image is loaded only when the user scrolls down to see the image. This not only reduces the number of initial requests and page size but also reduces the page load time. WordPress provides this facility in the form of plugins such as WP Rocket, Autoptimize.
12. Disable image hotlinking
This has been a major problem faced by several websites. Instead of using the image itself, many users past your website link on their webpage, to view the image. This is called image hotlinking. Even though the image is being viewed on their webpage, the bandwidth cost is being borne by your server. Thus, by disabling image hotlinking, you will be able to save a ton of bandwidth.
13. Upload optimised images
You can already reduce the size of your image in programs like Photoshop, Sketch, Inkscape or any graphical editor. When you upload an image or graphic that is already optimized you save space and improve your page load time.
14. Optimize your WordPress database
The database forms the core of your dynamic website. By optimizing your database, you will be able to get rid of any trash or unwanted data present in your database. This will also organize all the data in a very efficient manner which in turn will reduce the time required to access the database. WordPress provide plugins such as WP-Optimize which will help you to optimize your database automatically.
15. Decrease the number of post revisions
Many users prefer to use the editor provided by WordPress to edit and publish articles. This editor stores multiple revisions of the same post on the database. Thus, using up more space. By decreasing the number of post-revisions, you will be able to reduce the number of unwanted revisions in your database.
16. Empty trash
When you have a database for your website, it comes without saying that the amount of trash that it churns out is also very high. It is an excellent habit to empty the trash very often to save the extra space that is otherwise taken by the unwanted junk. You can do this automatically by setting the empty trash function to execute after a certain number of days.
17. Ensure optimized database calls
It is a good habit to ensure that you are making efficient database calls. This allows you to retrieve any data from the database in a more efficient manner. Make sure that you are using quality queries so that you are not wasting any extra resources to retrieve the data. Tools such as Query monitor will help you check if you have written efficient queries for your website.
18. Eliminate spam
This a problem that has plagued several blogs. Many users spam the WordPress blogs with spam comments that occupy space on your database as well as increase the overall page size. Thus, decreasing the load time of the website. There are several WordPress plugins such as Akismet which identify and block such spam comments.
Ready, set go!
You needn’t spend extra money to speed up WordPress website. By using the information that you acquired from this article and spending a little time on your website, you will be able to speed up your WordPress website in no time.