Is your WordPress website slow? Do you want to increase its speed? The following tips can enhance the performance and speed of your WordPress site. The user experience is greatly improved by fast-loading pages, as well as you increase page views and improve your WordPress SEO.
From why speed is important to what is slowed down on your WordPress site, we tried to explore every aspect of your WordPress speed, as well as actionable steps that you can take right now to make it faster.
In order to make it easier for you, we have created a overview for our ultimate guide to improving WordPress speeds.
- How speed plays a role in WordPress site performance?
- Are You Sure Your WordPress Website is Fast Enough?
- What causes your WordPress site to slow down?
- The importance of a good WordPress hosting service
- Make sure you have the WordPress Caching Plugin installed
- Images should be optimized for speed
- Make sure your WordPress site is updated
- Optimizing background processes
- Video/audio files shouldn’t be uploaded directly to WordPress
- Speed-optimized themes are recommended
- Plug-ins with faster performance
- Activate Lazy Loading if needed
- Reducing the number of external HTTP requests
- Reduce the number of database calls
- Please use the most recent version of PHP
1. How speed plays a role in WordPress site performance?
For you the owner of the website, what does that mean?
You only have a few minutes to present your content and encourage users to stay on your website.
When you have a slow website, users may leave before the website has even loaded.
As a result, Google and other search engines have already started penalizing slow websites by dropping their positions in the search results, which means less traffic to slow websites.
For this reason, you should do your best to make sure that your WordPress site is fast if you are looking to increase traffic, subscribers, and revenue.
2. Are You Sure Your WordPress Website is Fast Enough?
Beginners sometimes believe that their website is okay because it is not slow on their computer. That’s an absolute blunder.
Whenever you enter a URL, modern browsers like Chrome prefetch your website immediately since you are regularly visiting your website. You’ll see almost instant loading on your website.
On the other hand, a user who comes to your website for the first time might not have the same experience.
As a result, we recommend that you use tools like IsItWP’s WordPress speed test to determine the speed of your website.
You may test the speed of your website using this free online tool.
A good loading time for a web page is under 2 seconds.
3. What causes your WordPress site to slow down?
There will likely be multiple recommendations for improvement in your speed test report. Most of it, however, is technical jargon that is difficult to understand for beginners.
Making smarter decisions and improving performance requires understanding the factors that slow down your website.
Here are the main reasons why WordPress sites are slow:
- If your web hosting server is not properly configured, it can negatively affect the speed of your website.
- If your WordPress site does not serve cached pages, then it will overload your server and eventually cause a slowdown or a crash.
- Almost all images are not optimized for web.
- If you use poorly coded plugins, your website can be significantly slowed down.
- Website performance can also be greatly affected by external scripts like ads and font loaders.
After learning what causes WordPress websites to slow down, let’s take a look at how to speed up your WordPress website.
4. The importance of a good WordPress hosting service
When you sign up for shared hosting, your server resources are shared with many others. It means that if your neighboring site receives lots of traffic, then it can negatively affect your server performance, which in turn will cause your website to slow down.
As an alternative, WordPress managed hosting services offer you the best server configurations for running WordPress. Managed WordPress hosting companies can backup your website automatically, update WordPress automatically, and increase security settings for your site.
It is our preference to use Bluehost as a managed WordPress hosting provider. Moreover, they’re the most popular ones in the industry.
5. Make sure you have the WordPress Caching Plugin installed
Whenever you add a new post or page on your website, WordPress creates a new dynamic page on the fly.
To build your pages, WordPress needs to use a process to find all of the required information, put it all together, and then display it to you.
There are quite a few steps involved in this process, and it can make your website very slow when you are receiving multiple visitors at once.
That’s why it’s recommended to use a caching plugin on every WordPress site. Caching can increase your WordPress site’s performance by 2 to 5 times.
You can see how it works here.
Caching plugins generate a copy of the page after the first load instead of doing the whole thing again every time. This is how they can serve that cached version to all subsequent users.
6. Images should be optimized for speed
You can increase engagement with your content by including images. Researchers have found that people are 80% more likely to read content if it is visually appealing.
It’s important to optimize your images, because if they’re not optimized, they would harm your site more than help. We often see beginners experiencing performance problems because their images are not optimized.
For best results, we recommend you edit your images in some photo editing software first before you upload them.
Original versions of these photos can have enormous file sizes. Your image size can be decreased by up to 5 times depending on the image file format and the compression setting in your editing software.
7. Make sure your WordPress site is updated
WordPress is a well maintained open source project that is regularly updated. With every update, new features are added as well as security issues and bug fixes. Plugins and themes for your WordPress site may require regular updates, too.
Maintaining the latest versions of your WordPress theme, plugins, and site is the responsibility of every website owner. You may become vulnerable to security threats if you don’t do this, which will cause your site to slow down and become unreliable.
8. Optimizing background processes
Using WordPress background processes, you can schedule tasks to run in the background of your website.
A website can also be slowed down by other background processes such as backup plugins and excessive crawling by search engines.
When using backup plugins, you need to ensure that your WordPress backup plugin is only running at low traffic times for your website. As well as the frequency of back-ups, you must adjust the amount of data that needs to be backed up.
When you publish new content twice a week while you create a daily backup, you need to adjust the backup schedule.
9. Video/audio files shouldn’t be uploaded directly to WordPress
Upload any audio or video file directly to your WordPress site, and the HTML5 player will display them automatically…
Yet that is a very bad idea!
Bandwidth will be used up when you host audio and video. Your hosting company might charge you overage fees, or they might shut down your site even if your plan claims to offer “unlimited” bandwidth.
The storage of large media files will also increase the size of your backup and make restoring WordPress from a backup very difficult.
The best solution is to upload audio and video materials to audio and video hosting services such as YouTube, Vimeo, DailyMotion, SoundCloud, etc., and let those services handle the hard work. Their bandwidth is sufficient for it!
You can embed videos directly into WordPress posts by copying and pasting the URL of the video into the post and it will embed for you automatically.
10. Speed-optimized themes are recommended
Speed optimization must be considered when selecting a theme for your website. Theme developers can sometimes create beautiful themes that look impressive, but are actually poorly coded, which can cause your website to load slowly.
A simple theme is usually more effective than one filled with complex layouts, animated effects, and other unnecessary elements. Plugins provide those features, so you can always add them to your site.
11. Plug-ins with faster performance
Many poorly coded WordPress plugins add too much bloat to your site, regardless of whether you need it or not. In turn, this slows down your site and increases page load speed.
We frequently publish our expert pick of the best WordPress plugins so you can select the perfect plugin for your needs. User experience and performance are particularly important to us.
Run speed tests before and after installing a plugin to see how it impacts performance.
12. Activate Lazy Loading if needed
In blog posts with a lot of images, videos embedded, and photo galleries, lazy loading is effective.
By lazy loading, you do not have to download all your images and videos at once, but only those that will appear on the user’s screen. All other images and videos are replaced with a placeholder image.
You load images that are now visible in the browser’s window as the user scrolls down the page. Using lazy loading, images, videos, and even WordPress comments and gravatars can be loaded when needed.
13. Reducing the number of external HTTP requests
Plugins and themes for WordPress typically load content from other websites. These files can contain scripts, style sheets, and images from external resources like Google, Facebook, analytics, and so on.
Some of these are fine to use. Many of the files are optimized to load as quickly as possible, so storing them here is faster than hosting them yourself.
However, if a lot of requests are made by your plugins, then that can significantly slow down your website.
Scripts and styles can be disabled or combined into one file to reduce the number of external HTTP requests.
14. Reduce the number of database calls
There is a bit more technical knowledge needed for this step, which requires basic knowledge of PHP and WordPress template files.
It is unfortunate to see so many WordPress themes poorly coded on the web. Using direct database calls, or using too many unnecessary queries to the database, is against WordPress standards. This will actually slow down your server since there will be too many tasks that need to be addressed.
Many themes can make database calls to retrieve your blog’s basic information even when they are well-coded.
15. Please use the most recent version of PHP
PHP is one of the primary languages used in WordPress. This is a server-side language, meaning it runs on your host server.
A good WordPress hosting company always chooses the latest PHP version for their servers. In some cases, hosting companies run older versions of PHP.
With the new PHP 7, you will see twice the speed of the previous version. Your website needs to take advantage of that massive performance boost.
I think that’s it. It is our hope that this article was helpful to you in learning how to develop a faster and more responsive WordPress website.
Take a look at these techniques and give them a try. Before and after implementing these best practices, be sure to test your website for speed. With these changes, you will see a noticeable increase in WordPress performance.