Are you looking to make your WordPress website faster? Then this is the right post for you!
We’ve prepared an end-to-end guide to help you enhance the speed of your website. First of all, we’ll explain why it is so important to have a fast website. Next, we will analyze the most common factors that compromise website speed and suggest ways in which you can optimize the speed.
Before going into details and looking at each particular element on the website, keep in mind that most sites are slowed done by bad hosting. This is not only the case with WordPress but with other platforms as well. Therefore, we’ll also discuss the key concerns of choosing a good web host.
We’ll also look at designated WordPress plugins that help you improve the speed of your website. Our suggestions and ideas target both beginners and advanced users. Be it a quick fix or a durable solution, you will find this guide helpful.
Tip 1: It May Be Time To Change Your Hosting Provider
As we mentioned before, WordPress websites are often slowed down by bad hosting. This is a good enough reason to consider shared hosting that will provide you with more space, more bandwidth, and even more domains.
Be careful, though. The thing most shared hosting providers won’t tell you is that they can’t deliver optimal loading times during high-traffic hours.
Also, they will try to hide the fact that their monthly uptime isn’t 99 percent. Shared hosting is cheaper and can’t promise ideal performance. The reason is that you are sharing server space with many other websites, and you can’t tell how the resources are being used.
The optimization of these servers is also not in your power, and there is nothing you can do to improve it. But, again, this is not always the case. Technology helped improve a good share of web hosting options and also sunk their prices over time.
At the moment, you can buy cloud server space from Amazon Web, DigitalOcean, or even Site Ground for a fraction of what you’d pay a couple of years ago. This is, of course, if you don’t need help setting up a server from scratch.
The alternative is to go for web providers such as Cloudways. These companies deliver a fully optimized server you can launch and use with a single click.
Tip 2: Be Careful About The Theme & Framework You Use
Almost every WordPress theme is ‘heavy’ in the sense of dynamic elements. It contains widgets, sliders, social icons, and many more catchy items that attract visitors. This, nevertheless, comes at a price – the more elements you have and the bigger their size, the slower a page will load.
Therefore, start with somewhat lightweight themes. If it is important to have all features on the website, consider themes with a better framework, such as Foundation or Bootstrap.
Tip 3: Use Smaller Images
When it comes to websites, size increment is mostly affected by image size. In order not to compromise the quality, make sure you reduce this size as much as possible.
You can do this manually, with the help of tools such as Photoshop or Chrome Page Speed. This, however, requires both time and effort. Instead, consider plugins that can optimize every element on a page, including images.
Tip 4: Reduce JS And CSS files
Try and run your site through Google Page Speed Insights. The tool will notify you that some of your JS and CSS files need to be minimized. If reducing the size doesn’t help, try and remove the ones you don’t need.
You will immediately notice that the loading times are better. You can learn a lot about optimizing WordPress themes from Google’s studies on manual fixing.
If there is something you can’t do, don’t worry – odds are great there is a free plugin out there that serves that exact purpose. We recommend Autoptimize, as the plugin enhances all sorts of JS, CSS, and even HTML files.
Tip 5: Get A Caching Plugin For An Advanced Cleanup
W3 Total Cache and similar plugins simplify the complex mechanism of planning and performing caching on your website. You can easily combine them with Varnish or other caching tools to ensure advanced functionalities. Don’t forget to use them regularly. Ultimately, the loading speed of your website will get to its optimal level.
Tip 6: Consider A CDN
Your website will be visited by people all around the world, including those living far away from your web hosting server. It comes without saying, but this can significantly affect their loading speed for them.
You can solve this problem by acquiring a CDN (Content Delivery Network). It won’t mean that they benefit from the same loading times, but their times will still be brought to the lowest possible level.
What CDNs do is keep a copy of the website in multiple data centers around the globe, so that each visitor is connected to the closest server. Popular CDN choices include MaxCDN and Cloudflare.
Tip 7: Take Care Of GZIP Compression
We are all familiar with working on a slow computer. This being said, we are no strangers to non-compressed files on our local server that take up valuable disk space. Now imagine the same process happening on the web.
Web servers also need GYIP compression. Thanks to it, you can significantly reduce bandwidth usage and enable easy and quick access to all your pages. A tool for GZIP compression zips files and brings them together every time a page is accessed.
Tip 8: Keep The Database Clean
One of your most important tasks as a website owner is to optimize the database. You’ll need to repeatedly remove unwanted data to reduce the size of automated backups.
Make sure you remove fake users, spam comments, and even themes and plugins you aren’t using. As mentioned before, you can also speed up a WordPress website by reducing the size of the web files.
Tip 9: Get Rid Of Plugins You Are Not Using
Outdated and unused plugins are the worst enemies of any WordPress website. Most of the time, they are the sole culprits of heavy backups and overloaded servers that result in annoyingly slow websites.
If you want your web files to be free of junk, remove the plugins you don’t use, or search for lighter alternatives based on React or Vue.js development to automate or schedule tasks. For instance, you can employ third-party services, such as posting content on social media.
If looking to automate tasks, consider Zapier or IFTTT. Both tools are amazing when it comes to reducing the burden of web resources.
Tip 10: Minimize The Use Of External Scripts
Another thing you may not have considered, but which keeps adding data to your loading times, are external scripts. Use as few of those as possible or narrow them down to the base essentials. For instance, you won’t need to get rid of a tool as important as Google Analytics.
Tip 11: Disable The Trackbacks And The Pingbacks
We all like trackbacks and pingbacks, as these are the components WordPress uses to notify us that a blog/page received a link. While they are useful, the functions they perform can be replaced by external services, such as Google Webmaster Tools.
Get rid of them if you don’t want to strain your server resources. Speed is tremendously affected, as each time your website is linked, WordPress keeps sending requests back and forth. Not even to mention the possibility to abuse this functionality with DDoS attacks.
How to turn on these components? Go to WP-Admin → Settings → Discussion. Then, deselect “Allow link notifications from other blogs (pingbacks and trackbacks).” This way, your WordPress website will become even faster.