Since speed is a vital aspect of a website’s overall performance and user experience, it is wise to ensure it. However, in case that your WordPress website is slow, do not worry about the low speed because by going through a few simple steps, you can speed up your WordPress website. In this article, we will discuss how to speed up a WordPress website.
Checking for the Site Speed
At the very beginning, all you need to do is checking the current load time of your WordPress site. Keep in mind that the site speed may not be the same on all the pages rather it varies from page to page. Plus, visitors of browsers and geo-locations may also have a different experience to browse and navigate your website. Some crucial factors that the site speed depends on include the size of the particular page, the number of requests generated by a page, whether the particular page is cached or not, and lastly, the type of content on that page. The home page speed is very important as it is the yardstick for testing the load time. There are numerous free and paid tools online that help you go through the speed test meticulously.
Some of those online tools are page speed Insights, WebPageTest.org, Tools.Pingdom.com, PageSpeed Insights, etc.
Steps to Speed up a WordPress Website
Choosing the Right Web Host
The hosting of your WordPress website is something that affects the site speed significantly. As soon as a visitor visits a page on your website, their browser sends a request to your server to show that page. The response time of the server determines how long visitors have to wait to browse that page. So, no matter how efficient your website is, the webserver ascertains how visitors’ requests are handled.
It is seemingly a budget-friendly idea to pick a shared hosting with unlimited” bandwidth, space, emails, domains, and more. But at the same time, you should keep in mind that shared hosting environments are not likely to deliver good loading times on peak traffic hours. Plus, most of them are unable to provide 99% uptime in any given month. Moreover, you tend to get poorer performance from shared hosting because, in that environment, you are sharing the same webspace with numerous other websites. In this case, you do not know exactly how well the servers are optimized.
Thankfully, the web hosting industry has grown rapidly nowadays, and the prices of dedicated cloud servers have also decreased. Therefore, if you increase your budget just a little bit, you can have a dedicated cloud server to improve your WordPress site’s speed. There are many platforms from which you can purchase a dedicated cloud server at a reasonable price, such as SiteGround, DigitalOcean, Amazon Web Services, etc.
Using a Lightweight WordPress Theme
When you are up for WordPress speed optimization, you should choose a theme that is speed optimized and efficient. Although a WordPress theme containing a plethora of dynamic elements such as widgets, siders, social icons, etc. appeal and attract the visitors greatly, it leaves a negative impact on the overall speed of your website.
A common rule is to pick a simpler theme instead of opting for a theme loaded with complex layouts, flashy animations, and other less essential features. However, you can add those features later based on your needs by using suitable WordPress plugins. There are plenty of premium WordPress plugins available on the internet, which are well-optimized for speed. You can also try them.
Using Faster Plugins
Plugins that are not appropriately coded give rise to loading issues. It eventually slows down your site and deteriorates the performance. That is why it is wise to pick a plugin that gives a better user experience and performance. Some recommended plugins are Shared Counts (social media plugin), Envira Gallery (photo gallery plugin), Soliloquy (slider plugin), WPForms (Contact Form plugin), etc.
Splitting Long Posts into Pages
Although longer posts provide more information to the readers and tend to get higher ranks on search engines, plenty of images and other content may affect your website loading time. So, keeping website speed in mind, you can split up longer posts into multiple pages. To split the post into the next page, you can simply add the next page button in your article.
Decreasing External HTTP Requests
There are numerous WordPress themes and plugins that load various files, such as scripts, stylesheets, and images from external websites. In this case, if your plugins make too many HTTP requests, your website is likely to slow down. Hence, you should reduce the number of external HTTP requests. You can do that simply by disabling scripts and styles or merging them into one file.
Reducing Image Sizes
Images expand the size of a webpage. Therefore, you should consider shortening the sizes of the images you use in your web pages without compromising on the quality. To cut the sizes of the images, you can follow several ways, including using Chrome PageSpeed Insights extension, Photoshop, or any other tools or using various handy WordPress plugins like Optimole, WP Smush, EWWW Image Optimizer, etc.
Optimizing WordPress Database
All the website-related data of a WordPress site are preserved in a database. All sorts of content on your website, including user registrations, posts, pages, comments, etc. are stored in the database.As soon as someone visits a WordPress website, they retrieve data from the database in order to view a web page or post. A user action like comment, upvote, or purchase causes data generation. At the same time, WordPress automatically saves the revisions made to the posts. However, if the database keeps on upsizing, the request-response time between the database and WordPress also increases. Consequently, it slows down your site.
To get rid of such a problem and optimize your WordPress database, you can remove unwanted files and data. By erasing unnecessary information, spam comments, fake users, old drafts, etc., you can keep your WordPress database size to a minimum and hence speed up your WordPress website. WP-Sweep plugin can be a helpful tool in this regard to clean up your WordPress database, and it is recommended for this purpose.
Using a CDN
CDN stands for “content delivery network.” It refers to a geographically distributed network of proxy servers and their data centers with an aim to deliver high availability and performance by distributing the service spatially relative to end-users. The groups of servers are placed at strategic locations across the globe.If your website resources like images, fonts, scripts, style sheets are contained on CDN servers around the world, visitors can load them from a server located nearest to them. Hence, by using a CDM, you can bring down the loading speed for all your visitors irrespective of geographical locations.
Enabling GZIP compression
Clearing disk space helps to boost the site speed. One of the methods to save disk space is to compress the files on your local computer. By enabling GZIP, you can compress various files. In this process, both the bandwidth usage and the time to gain access to the website lessen. To enable GZIP compression in your WordPress website, you can use different plugins, and PageSpeed Ninja is one of the most effective ones. In addition to the methods mentioned above, there are many other ways you can speed up your WordPress Website. Those methods include enabling caching in WordPress, updating WordPress and PHP, Image Optimization, Avoiding uploading Audio/Video directly to WordPress, Optimizing background processes, and so on.
Hopefully, by going through this article, you have understood some of the effective techniques to speed up your WordPress site. If you follow them accordingly, you can make your site faster and thus improve user experience. In case of facing difficulty in speed optimization, you can also take an expert’s help.