If your website takes more than 3 secs to load, then this guide to speed up WordPress site is surely going to help you out.
Speed is one of the most crucial factors of growing your online business. Why?
Because 53% of people will leave the page if it takes longer than 3 seconds to load. (Source)
It’s a sheer disappointment for them and they close your website right away even before it has properly loaded. See, how quick you have lost your customer before even getting a chance! This is why even after having a wonderful looking website and quality product or services, many businesses don’t reach the apex of success that they easily could with a ‘faster WordPress website’. But don’t worry, by the end of this blog, you’ll know how easy it is to speed up WordPress.
Let’s get started.
Why is WordPress Speed Important?
Website speed is critical.
- A fast WordPress website helps improve your brand value and increase revenue at the same time. When users visit your website, it makes them happy if your website opens in a blink of an eye – they are more likely to hang around.
- Your WordPress website speed can also be a dominating factor when comes to the Google ranking algorithm and long-term customer relationship. Moreover, good speed reflects your alertness towards your website’s health and readers’ concern.
- In a nutshell, your online venture can’t win with a turtle-speed website; you have to have a fast WordPress site to defeat your competitors.
Signs Your WordPress Site Is Slow
If you see these issues with your WordPress site and have no idea of what to do, talk to a WordPress expert.
1. Slow Page Load Speed
If your website takes more than 3 seconds to load, you are truly slow. It’s the obvious sign for a SLUGGISH WP site.
2. Frequent error logs
If you use an online service such as Google Analytics for your statistics, make sure you also check your web server logs from time to time. Repetitive error logs can be another indication for the slow speed of your site.
3. Images and videos load slowly
Do your visitors complain about the slow loading of images and videos on your site? This tells that there’s something wrong with your site’s speed and you need to speed up WordPress.
4. Loss in Revenue
Did you see a sudden fall in your revenue, or got lesser number of clicks this month? Check your website speed. It could be the culprit behind the loss!
Common Reasons for a Slow WordPress Site
Now that you know your website is sluggish, you must also be acquainted with the possible causes behind the slow speed of your site. They can be:
- Poor Web Host
- Wrong Server Location
- Server Load
- Un-updated Software & Plugins
- Use of Heavy Themes
- Non-optimized images
- No Content Delivery Network
Yes, there can be many more!
Okay, you know the signs and reasons now, but how to speed up WordPress, and have a faster, more powerful WP website?
We’ve got your back! The given long list mentions and discusses 21 proven practices that can instantly make your WordPress website lighting fast.
21 Best Practices to Speed up WordPress Website
- Enable Image & Video Compression
- Enable GZip Compression
- Enable CDN
- Install Caching Plugin
- Pick Right Server Location
- Use Minification & Speed Optimization Plugins
- Avoid Too Many Plugins/ Delete Unused Ones
- For Head use CSS, For Body -JS
- Update the Existing Ones
- Switch to Better ‘Managed’ Hosting
- Use a Lightweight Theme
- Optimize WP DataBase
- Minimize External HTTP Requests
- Try Google Pagespeed Module
- STOP Uploading Videos to WordPress Directly
- Disable Trackbacks & Pingbacks
- Go For a Responsive Design
- Widget Optimization
- Reduce Post Revisions
- Add Expires Header
- Avoid Google Maps
1. Enable Image & Video Compression
Large images eat up a lot of space and take time to load. Same goes for the videos which are much heavier than the images and consume even more space and time. So, how can you make images and videos load much faster? You can do it simply by compressing them.
- Compression helps you resize (reduce the file size of) these contents and quickly minimize the load time without compromising on the quality and clarity of the content.
- You can install the plugins like reSmush.it or Imagify for excellent image and video compression.
- Here are the Best WordPress Image Compression Plugins -Revealed!
2. Enable Gzip Compression
We’ve already talked about image compression but what about the heavy files that might be the malefactor for your slow WP site? Enabling Gzip compression would compress those files for faster network transfer. In this way, your server will get the files of smaller (reduced) size and thus affect your website’s speed too!
Gzip compression is also widely known as a browser compression or sometimes referred to as HTTP compression. Here’s something to know about Gzip compression.
- You can enable Gzip compression straight from the cPanel.
- You needn’t use WordPress to enable Gzip (it doesn’t handle it), the server has to be accessed for that.
- It’s advisable to rely on your hosting provider for an effective Gzip compression.
3. Enable CDN to speed up WordPress
CDN is the acronym for Content Delivery Network. It is the network that’s spread geographically to access and load your files from the nearest data/server center. A few interesting points about CDN, here:
- This, in turn, reduces the page load time and enhances site performance.
If you don’t have a clue on which CDN is the best for you, there’s no looking further than ‘Breeze’. The best part? It’s FREE!
We at Breeze, help to distribute the content and rewrite URLs in the code. Breeze helps put all of your static content on a CDN with little configuration and help you speed up WordPress instantly.
4. Right Server Location
Your business is in India and you’re using a server that’s in Africa -how do you expect a great speed with a server situated at the other part of the planet? The wrong server location is again a critical reason behind a sluggish WP site.
If you don’t want to pick an expensive CDN service, or in case you are a small business venture that’s spread only across your country you can choose a single server that’s situated nearby for a better speed. Right host location can improve page loading time 10x.
5. Install Caching Plugin
When you’re done with image compression, Gzip compression and have enabled CDN, it’ time to install a good caching plugin to do the rest of the work for you. As their name explains, the WordPress caching plugin caches your WordPress pages and posts as static files and helps open your website really quick as soon as your frequent visitors try to open it. So, install the cache plugins like ‘WP Super Cache’ or ‘W3 Total Cache’ to speed up your site, today!
Here are our top five caching plugins for WordPress.
6. Use Minification & Speed Optimization Plugins
Minification plugins and WordPress speed plugins can be a relief when you’re suffering from a clumsy site.
Enabling a minification plugin helps means:
- Making your site light weighted by minifying CSS, JS, and HTML.
- Helping compress styles and scripts to fasten your website.
- Autoptimize is one such example. It makes your site load quicker, and codes -easier to read.
Just like minification plugins, there are WordPress speed optimization plugins that may work wonders for your turtle site.
7. Avoid Too Many Plugins
Too many plugins can slow down your site, without even your knowledge. A few major plugins are requisite but flooding your WordPress with lots of plugins is not a good idea! Why? Because they can consume time and space to function well, ultimately making your website slow forever.
Also, if you wish to speed up WordPress, delete the unused plugins and themes that can be lying on your WordPress unnecessary and increasing the ‘page load time’ of your website.
8. Update the Existing Plugins
You can’t expect speed if you don’t regularly update your software and plugins. Performing routine maintenance on your software, themes, and plugins are crucial for your website speed and security. Also, check that there is no un-updated plugin left on your WordPress that’s making your site slow; if you find any, delete it right away.
9. For Head use CSS, For Body – JS
If you consider HTML recommendations, CSS should be loaded in the <head> section. Addressing the stylesheets outside of the <head> section will restrict the browser from displaying your content as soon as it is loaded. So, you better use CSS in the head section for an easy and fast page loading.
- JS generally blocks progressive loading.
- It prevents the code from showing before loading the entire page as soon as the browser encounters a <script> tag.
- Keep CSS for the <head> section.
10. Switch to Better ‘Managed’ Hosting
Your poor shared hosting is doing no good to your website speed. Also, it’s no longer compatible to combat the growing competition across the web. Shared web hosting not just makes your website slow, but can also raise security issues too. I hope you don’t want either of these!
On the other hand, a good web host understands all your problems and solves them. How they do it? Here’s all you want to know. A good managed web host:
- Analyzes your website
- Overcomes the hurdles
- Tweak the weaknesses
- Helps speed up WordPress
When you choose a dedicated managed WordPress hosting you get a strong, secure and fast WordPress website instantly.
Need more reasons to switch to a new hosting? Know whether it’s the right time to take up a new web host? It will surely help you make a better decision.
11. Use a Lightweight Theme
Heavy themes can be bloated, provide more options, are highly customizable and very pleasing to eyes, but when it comes to speed, there is no beating a lightweight, responsive theme. Light-weighted themes are the key.
- They make your WordPress site blazing fast
- Helps load your site in a fraction of second
- Lighter themes are more responsive and consume lesser space.
- They enhance your site performance and boost speed drastically
As far as the beauty is concerned, you can anytime customize your theme and make it even more appealing. I bet you can!
12. Optimize WP Database
WordPress Optimization is the key to a fast WP site. WordPress in its root is based on the MySQL Database. And you must be aware that as the time passes, your pages, posts and other data consumes space in the database and also accumulate a heap of clutter that makes your site slow.
So, in order to speed up WordPress:
- Declutter the Database
- Optimize your WordPress
- Make use of the plugin called ‘WP-Optimize’ for WordPress database optimization.
- Such plugins help delete unnecessary posts revisions and spam comments.
13. Minimize External HTTP Requests
Did you know, using files from another site can extend your page load time? Alas, it does!
The plugins and themes that you use on your website load files from other locations (sites). This, in turn, slows down your site speed and make your webpage sluggish. How? By making the use of scripts, images and other data from search engines and social platforms.
Thus, it’s advisable to cut down the external HTTP requests to regain your WordPress site speed and performance. This process of minification just eradicates the extra characters from HTML, CSS and JS files; it doesn’t affect anything negatively.
14. Try Google PageSpeed Module
Are you on a VPS, or are bored of using cache plugins? For both the cases we have a cool option: use Google PageSpeed module. This is a price of software made by Google; What’s special about Google PageSpeed module?
- It can be installed on your web server instantly
- Takes care of the tasks like caching and optimizing your HTML and CSS
- You can easily keep an eye on your page speed with this module.
- It also gives feedback on what should be done to optimize your WP
15. Stop Uploading Videos To WordPress Directly
Do you know what takes a toll on your website speed slowly yet steadily? It’s the videos that you upload directly on to your WP site. It not just ridiculously affects the speed but also highly increases your bandwidth consumption. No one wants that. Here’s what to do.
Instead of the direct upload of the videos, try using the URL cleverly to embed the videos indirectly on your site. You see how easily you can cut down the bandwidth consumption and get a higher speed at one fell swoop!
16. Disable Trackbacks & Pingbacks
Trackbacks and Pingbacks can take a toll on your website speed. This is because a trackback automatically gets created every time your website gets a link; thus utilizes server resources. Don’t worry! You can easily turn off the trackback and pingbacks by unmarking the option for ‘allow trackbacks and pingbacks’.
17. Go For a Responsive Design
Your design must be flexible and responsive to all sorts of devices that people use these days. Why? Glad you asked!
- A responsive design flaunts the screen beautifully, and your content still looks crisp and clear.
- Whether it’s a large screen desktop, a tablet or a mobile phone, a responsive theme would load the images effortlessly and accordingly, thereby speed up WordPress.
- Google also considers the sites with responsive themes, better than the rest.
- You can instantly see a boost in your SEO and site ranks as soon as you switch to a responsive design.
18. Widget Optimization
By optimizing widgets we mean to delete the unnecessary widgets (like sharing widgets on the homepage makes no sense), and keeping the no. of widgets on your homepage minimal. It not just enhances WordPress performance tuning, but also helps your webpage looks clear and spacious. Just like we discussed that too many plugins can harm your WP site speed, so do widgets!
19. Reduce Post Revisions
Post revisions aren’t good for your site speed. If you talk about WordPress, it will surely store your each and every unused post in it as a draft and create post revisions. If you want to make your site blazing fast, you need to control these post revision and keep them limited.
You don’t want to clutter your backend with trivial drafted posts. Do you?
So, add this line of code in the wp-config.php file:
define( ‘WP_POST_REVISIONS’, 3 );
20. Add Expires Header
Want to cut down your page load time significantly for your regular visitors? Try adding expires header. Although most cache plugins already do this task for you, if they don’t you can still add it in the YSlow tab. Just add this code to the top of your .htaccess and you’re done.
ExpiresByType text/css “access plus 30 days”
ExpiresByType text/html “access plus 30 days”
ExpiresByType image/ico “access plus 30 days”
ExpiresByType image/jpeg “access plus 30 days”
ExpiresByType image/gif “access plus 30 days”
ExpiresByType image/png “access plus 30 days”
21. Avoid Google Maps
Google maps can bog down your website speed and put you in a problem. Especially if you have used maps in your footer or sidebar. Why? Because it will load every time a new page is opened. Thus, it’s advisable to avoid using Google Maps in order to speed up WordPress. If it feels really necessary, keep it in your ‘Contact us’ page only.
The Bottom Line
Slow speed is like standing on the doorstep and knocking repeatedly, but nobody opens the door. It’s irritating; make sure your site isn’t.
Count on Breeze for fastest Managed WordPress Hosting and make your website lightning fast. With Breeze, you also get 100% uptime, fail-proof security, and an improved website performance – all at one place.