The Ultimate Guide To Speed Up WordPress: How I Made My Blog Load 3 Times Faster.

If your website is slow, it means that more and more people are leaving your site as soon as they land on it. And this can be really bad for the business. In this guide, we will cover all the basics and advanced techniques to boost your WordPress speed in a few clicks!
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Did you know that most WordPress users are experiencing slow loading speed? The reason is simple: each of us has a personal site with a not-so-good hosting plan. Usually, we don’t have a clue what should be done to increase the speed. In this guide, we will cover all the basics and advanced techniques to boost your WordPress speed in a few clicks!

WordPress, the most popular content management system (CMS) in the world is used by over 30% of all websites on the internet. However, WordPress can be slow for a variety of reasons such as poorly coded plugins and themes, hosting issues, and outdated WordPress versions. In this article, we will cover all aspects of optimizing your site’s speed to get it running at top speed.

Why Speed is Important for Your WordPress Site?

Speed is the foremost requirement for any WordPress site. The best way to make sure that your website is fast and seamless is by minimizing the number of plugins, widgets, and themes on your website.

The more plugins you have, the greater the risk of conflicts. This will slow down the entire process of loading your site. With fewer plugins, pages will load faster, which means visitors will stick around longer. A longer visitor stays time means more chances to convert them into customers.

Since its launch in 2003, WordPress has become the most popular blogging platform and CMS in the world. In fact, it powers over 25% of all websites on the internet today. In this article, we will discuss why WordPress is so popular and then dive into the technical aspects of how to make a WordPress site faster.

The number one reason for WordPress’ success is that it is super fast. By default, WordPress sites are cached by popular CDNs like MaxCDN and Cloudflare. In addition, many WordPress plugins utilize lazy loading techniques to further speed up your blog or website.

What does this mean for you as a website owner?

Websites are getting faster. In fact, Google has confirmed that speed is a ranking factor in mobile search results. That said, there’s no denying that mobile optimization has to be a priority for your website.

It’s not just about the time it takes to load a website and how it ranks in search. The question of “how fast is my website?” has become increasingly important to website owners because of the growing influence of digital and online marketing. People expect your business to be online and accessible 24/7, 365 days a year.

How to Check Your WordPress Website Speed?

Most people don’t know how to check their WordPress website speed and since speed is vital for any website, it is necessary to know how to check it.

Modern browsers like Chrome store your website in the cache and automatically prefetch it as soon as you start typing an address. This makes your website load almost instantly.

However, a normal user who is visiting your website for the first time may not have the same experience. In fact, users in different geographical locations will have a completely different experience.

You can test your WordPress speed using tools like IsItWP’s WordPress speed test.

speed

It is a free online tool that allows you to test your website’s speed.

A good page load time is under 2 seconds. But, the faster you can make it, the better it is.

What Slows Down Your WordPress Website?

There are many reasons why your website might be slow. It could be the plugins you have installed on your website, theme, or just a bloated database, but whatever is causing it, you need to find out.

If you don’t care about your website speed, you should start doing it today. A slow website has a negative impact on your search engine rankings. Google and other search engines won’t rank your website highly if they think your site is going to be slow. And the last thing you want to do is lose ranking positions because of something that can be easily fixed.

If your WordPress site is slow, you are not alone. Most people don’t realize that one of the most popular content management systems in the world can be a bit slower than desired.

Plugins are great but they can slow down a website significantly. Some plugins conflict with each other, some add additional code that needs to be parsed and executed by your web server and some do not play well with certain versions of WordPress.

The primary causes for 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 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.

Why a good WordPress Hosting is important

Hosting plays a great role in the speed of your website. The reason why at SemaSEO Agency we recommend a good shared hosting provider like Bluehost is because they take extra measures to optimize websites for performance.

However, on shared hosting, you share the server resources with many other customers. This means that if your neighboring site gets a lot of traffic, then it can impact the entire server performance which in turn will slow down your website.

This is why you can choose to opt for a managed WordPress hosting service that will offer you the most optimized server configurations to run WordPress. 

Speed Up WordPress In Easy Steps (Without Coding).

During my work with clients on speeding up their WordPress website, I often get asked about how to do this without having to code. While there are a few ways to speed up your WordPress site, the easiest is simply by installing a caching plugin and enabling cache purging.

Install a WordPress Caching Plugin

Caching plugins are used to store your website’s static content and serve it to your visitors. This speeds up page load times and helps reduce server load.

WordPress is an excellent platform for creating a website, but it’s not exactly the fastest one out there. That’s because WordPress is designed to be flexible and give users a lot of options, which sacrifices speed in return.

To make your website faster, you can install caching plugins. Caching plugins will take your content and store it on a server that’s local to your readers. When a reader goes to your site, the plugin will retrieve the data directly from the server instead of having to go back to your website and load the content again.

Here’s how it works.

Instead of going through the whole page generation process every time, your caching plugin makes a copy of the page after the first load and then serves that cached version to every subsequent user.

page caching
Image: WpBeginner

There are a lot of good WordPress caching plugins available, but we recommend using either WP Rocket (premium) or WP Super Cache (free) plugins.

Bluehost Caching

If you are using Bluehost, then go to the My Sites » Performance section to turn on caching.

Optimize Images for Speed

A good picture is worth a thousand words, and today, images have become an integral part of content marketing. Considering that over half of the world’s population has Internet access, it’s no surprise that visual content is so popular. Since the number of Internet users is only expected to increase, the best way for businesses to capture the attention of their audience will continue to be through videos and images.

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.

Images have huge file sizes in their original formats but based on the image file format and the compression you choose in your editing software, you can decrease your image size by up to 5x.

At SemaSEO Agency, we only use two image formats: JPEG and PNG.

A PNG image format is uncompressed. When you compress an image it loses some information, so an uncompressed image will be of 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.

The image format of your choice can make a HUGE difference in website performance.

A List Of Performance Optimization Best Practices.

The web has brought in a lot of positive changes. One of them is the advent of blogs and other content management systems that allow you to share your thoughts, ideas, videos, and whatever you want with a global audience. These platforms have reduced the entry barriers for everyone and anyone who wants to create a website.

Keep Your WordPress Site Updated

Your WordPress site is a living, breathing thing. It’s like an animal that needs to be fed regularly and kept healthy or it will stop working properly. If you don’t keep your site updated by installing the latest WordPress software, you will end up with a slow, buggy, completely useless website.

When keeping your WordPress site updated, there are two options: doing it yourself or hiring someone to do it for you. If you do not have any experience coding, then hiring someone to do it for you makes more sense.

As a website owner, it’s your responsibility to keep your WordPress site, theme, and plugins updated to the latest versions. Not doing so may make your site slow and unreliable, and make you vulnerable to security threats.

Optimize Background Processes

Background processes are awesome. They allow us to do things while we’re not even in the app.

For example, let’s say I want to fetch some data from my server when the user opens my app. Instead of making them wait around for me to get back to them with that data, I can just run a background process that fetches it for me and then puts it in the database.

Background processes in WordPress are scheduled tasks that run in the background of your WordPress site. Following are some examples of background tasks that run on a WordPress site:

  • WordPress Backup plugin tasks
  • WordPress cron jobs to publish scheduled posts
  • WordPress cron jobs to check for updates
  • Search engines and other crawlers trying to fetch content
Use Excerpts on Homepage and Archives

 WordPress displays the full content of each article on your homepage and archives by default. This means your homepage, categories, tags, and other archive pages will all load slower.

Excerpts are commonly used on homepage and archives to emphasize the most important parts of a post or to summarize the content. Excerpts will help your visitors to read only what they need from a post without leaving it and will also reduce the bounce rate.

To

speed up your loading times for archive pages, you can set your site to display excerpts instead of the full content.

You can navigate to Settings » Reading and select “For each article in a feed, show: Summary” instead of “Full Text.”

display excerpts
Split Comments into Pages

With lots of comments on your blog post, it’s a clear indication of an engaged audience but loading all those comments can impact your site’s speed.

WordPress comes with a built-in solution for that. Simply go to Settings » Discussion and check the box next to the “Break comments into pages” option.

Use a Content Delivery Network (CDN)

A content delivery network (CDN) is a network of distributed servers that deliver webpages and other web content to a user based on their geographic location and Internet service provider (ISP). This allows websites to be loaded faster.

If you want to increase traffic and revenue from your online business, then using a CDN is one of the best ways to do it. With services like Cloudflare, you can significantly cut down on the load time and bandwidth that it takes to deliver your content.

Making use of a CDN will help your site handle increased traffic without taking a hit in performance. It also means that you won’t get shut down because you’re using too many resources.

Use a Theme Optimized For Speed

The average web page takes nearly 8 seconds to load, so there is no excuse for not making your pages faster. The first step of speeding up a WordPress site is to make sure the theme you are using is optimized for speed.

Most WordPress themes are designed with aesthetics in mind and not speed. Themes like Avada and Divi have so much going on that they can be difficult to load, slow down your site, and often make it difficult to update.

There is an easy solution – using a theme built specifically for speed. The thesis is the most popular premium theme optimized for speed, but there are other options available that achieve the same goal.

Use Faster Plugins

Plugins are the most popular way to speed up WordPress, with 83% of all respondents saying they use them. But, a lot of people don’t know how to choose, install and configure the best ones.

You can run your own tests. Simply run speed tests before and after installing a plugin to compare its impact on performance.

Fine Tune WordPress For Speed: An Advanced Guide.

Your WordPress site is slow. I know this because it takes too long to load. Plus, your visitors are making a quick exit, disappointed and angry with you for the bad experience.

Split Long Posts into Pages

Long articles are a great way to convert readers into leads and make money. But they can also be hard to read because the scrollbar makes it look like the post is never-ending.

There is a simple way around this! Split your posts into multiple pages by using WordPress’s built-in pagination feature.

By breaking your long posts into multiple pages, you can make them easier to read. And more importantly, you’ll be able to show all of your content in Google’s search engine results page (SERP).

No one likes long articles. The average person’s attention span is 8 seconds, and it seems to be decreasing every year. So the question here is, how do we make long posts more approachable? Well, how about breaking it up into multiple pages?

The first step to doing this is to just break your post into smaller chunks. The key here is to make sure that you don’t disrupt the flow of your writing too much. You want each page to stand on its own.

Reduce External HTTP Requests

Reduce External HTTP Requests

HTTP requests are the lifeblood of your website. They’re what keep your users connected to your server, and they’re what your server uses to send data back and forth. That’s why it’s so important to understand how to optimize them.

The best way to optimize external requests is by combining multiple resources into single files. This can be done with a tool called a ‘file concatenator’, which will combine multiple files into one.

Optimize WordPress Database

Optimizing your WordPress database is an easy way to increase website performance, speed up page load times and decrease your hosting costs. Here are some ways to optimize your WordPress database.

WordPress is the most popular blogging platform, and it’s no surprise. The platform is simple and easy to use, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a lot of room for optimization. Optimizing your database will improve the performance of your blog by reducing load times and freeing up space.

You should regularly optimize your database because it gets bigger as you continue to add content to your site. Most platforms allow you to schedule a database clean-up task in the settings page, but if yours doesn’t then you can manually delete excess tables and data with phpMyAdmin.

Limit Post Revisions

Post revisions take up space in your WordPress database. Some users believe that revisions can also affect some database queries run by plugins. If the plugin doesn’t specifically exclude post revisions, it might slow down your site by searching through them unnecessarily.

You can easily limit the number of revisions WordPress keeps for each article. Simply add this line of code to your wp-config.php file.

1define( 'WP_POST_REVISIONS', 4 );
Use Lazy Loading if Needed

Lazy loading is the practice of displaying a low-resolution image first, and then swapping it out with a higher-quality image when it loads. This saves on bandwidth and load times since the user doesn’t have to wait for the full-resolution images to load. This can be applied directly to WordPress by using a plugin or through theme customizations. It can also be used as a technique for creating an initial render of an article without all the extra media.

Use Latest PHP Version

PHP has gone a long way since its initial release. At the moment, there are two most popular versions of PHP: 5.6 and 7.1. It is important to note that, if you are working on an older website, it might not be compatible with the latest PHP version.

The latest version of PHP offers many notable features, like performance improvements and support for Unicode strings and identifiers, which makes it easier for developers to work with text in their projects. Despite all the benefits of the latest PHP version, some companies still stick to older versions of PHP as they are afraid of compatibility issues.

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