10 tips for speeding up your WordPress website

by Oct 14, 2019

10 tips for speeding up your WordPress website

You would think that making WordPress fast and getting it to load in less than 3 seconds would be easy since so many sites use it and the code is quite standard. Unfortunately, this is not the case because there are so many different types of hosting, so many plugins and so many different themes and designs. Having worked with hundreds of websites and optimised them to load fast, I can tell you the main issues that cause slowdowns:

1) The hosting. All hosting is not created equal. I have created a free plugin that will test your hosting speeds so give it a go at https://www.wordpress.org/plugins/super-host-speed-benchmark/
Typically you want a hosting provider that provides SSD drives, but see my other article https://www.quickwpsite.com/where-to-host-for-best-wordpress-speed/

2) The design. Believe it or not, the design of a website is a significant factor that impacts speed. If you have a plan text website with two paragraphs its easy to get it to load in well under 1 second, but add a whole lot of design, fonts and images and all of sudden your up to 12 seconds. When choosing a theme, speed test the demo or when having a site designed asked the designer to check the speeds as he works on it.

3) External services. Calls to external services like Google Analytics, Facebook pixels, tracking software, live chat software and generally anything that wants you to add some javascript to your site often also slows down the load times. Some of these calls can be done in a way that does not slow the website down; others one may have to choose speed over functionality.

4) Images. So often quite high res images are used on a website and in formats that are not optimal. Images can be made smaller to the size actually used on the webpage and also stored in formats that load quicker and use less space.

5) Server location. So you are sitting in Adelaide, but your best hosting deal you could find results in your hosting being in Dallas. Those packets of data have to travel 15000 km and back all the time, that is not going to perform well if you clients are mostly in Adelaide, although excellent if your clients are somewhere in Texas. It depends on where your customers are as to where is the best place to host or if you need to host centrally in Europe and use a content delivery network to deliver your site worldwide.

6) Plugins. With 54881 plugins WordPress is very expandable, but most of those are free and often not that well maintained or supported. Also, some of the best looking plugins that provide excellent features are poor performers under the hood that use poorly thought ways of query data from the database and end up slowing down your site. If you are having issues, it is well worth exploring ways to determine how much each plugin you are using is slowing things down.

7) 404 errors and missing resources. When a WordPress site gets a request for something that does not exist, it is one of the slowest performing requests as a site can get and slows down the loading of your pages. Investigate and fix any 404 errors.

8) Web Server configuration. There are hundreds of things that can be tweaked as far as settings go on web servers. Most sites are on shared hosting plans and have little say over what these settings are. Hopefully, your host has done their job correctly. If you have a VPS or Dedicated server, you are however in control of these settings and need to take care they are set optimally.

9) Too much traffic for your hosting plan or server. An excellent problem to have, but there is always a limit to your memory, CPU or number of requests that can be processed at a time (processes). Clearly, if you have this problem you have been successful and should spend a bit more on your hosting plan, but it always worth asking your hosting provider to check your resources usage or using the tools they provide to do so. Also, make sure backups are running in off-peak periods.

10) Cacheing. For small sites, this is usually the easiest way to fix issues, and that is to generate the web page and store it in a cache that can quickly be served up when requested. You can also allow the user’s browser to cache pages.

CONCLUSION

Your site probably has many of the issues outlined above, and I will be writing more in-depth articles about each of the above in the coming weeks, so subscribe to my newsletter or follow me on Flipboard, Medium or Twitter to follow this series.

What speed tip did you found made the biggest difference on your site (maybe something not on my list above), would love to hear your feedback in the comments.

Anthony Walker

Anthony Walker

Anthony is a Digital Marketing and SEO Expert with extensive experience. He has worked for financial services companies and web hosting business and in those roles has created many very successful online business and brands. He has a wide range of Business, Marketing, Financial and IT experience.

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