Worried about slow loading WordPress sites? Follow these speed optimization tips today
Top easy-peasy tips to boost the speed of your WordPress site
For any WordPress site owner, learning the tricks to increase the loading speed of the site is very important. It is critical for a site because the page loading speed will influence everything right from bounce rate, user experience to the traffic coming to the site. On average, it is said that it should not take more than three seconds to load a page. Around 47% of consumers believe that it should only take two seconds or less for a website to load. So as a business owner, it is important that you learn the different tactics to improve the speed of your WordPress site and keep your users happy.
To help you out, here we have put together a detailed guide that you can go through to boost the speed of your WordPress site.
Choose a right web hosting provider
The hosting of your WordPress site can be one of the important factors that may be influencing the website speed. So, one of the first steps that you should be taking to increase the speed of your site is to find a good host. You may find several cheaper hosting options in the market but always keep in mind that you will get what you pay for. As website speed is important, don’t ever think about compromising in this area.
Avoid shared hosting if it is possible. Such a step will help you avoid having wrong people sharing your server space and this can slow down your website. If you don’t have a big website and if you don’t need to have more budget and manpower to run it, then it would be wise enough to find a dedicated server. Again, you will be able to find cloud hosting providers at a reduced rate without compromising on technology.
You can even choose to go for managed WordPress hosting. This means you will have a server to run your website which has been specially optimized for WordPress and so you don’t have to worry about any technicalities.
Always update your web technology
Keeping your core technologies updated is the next thing you should do to keep your website speed better. The updated version of technologies like PHP, HTML, and others come with some improvements and new features. Such improvements can help you enhance speed too. So it would be wise enough to keep your site updated in terms of such technologies. If you have found a quality host then they will take care of such updates. Still, it is your responsibility to check things from your end too.
Choose a WordPress theme or framework which is lightweight
WordPress themes that come with widgets, dynamic elements, social icons, sliders, and others can definitely feel appealing to the users. In case your website has too many elements then the load will increase on the server. So the best solution here is to make use of themes that are lightweight. Going for default WordPress themes is another solution you can go for. You can even choose to go for a theme that makes use of a framework like Bootstrap to build a feature-rich website.
Always use the latest version of WordPress and its components
Just like we say in case of any software, it is even justifying in case of WordPress when it comes to pressing on the need of using the latest version. Every new WordPress version comes with bug fixes, feature updates, etc. This means such updates increase the efficiency of your WordPress site and thus increases the speed of your site eventually.
Apart from speed, updated WordPress site works in terms of ensuring security too. Updated WordPress version brings to you updated themes and plugins and so any issues in them get resolved too.
Minimize CSS and JS files
In case you are making use of the Google PageSpeed Insights tool to run your website then you must have received a notification asking for minimizing the size of CSS and JS files. There is a reason for doing this. When you go ahead and reduce the number of CSS and JS calls, and shrink the size of such files, you will be able to improve the loading speed of your site.
Again, if you are aware of WordPress themes then you can try to fix things manually by studying the guides offered by Google. If you don’t want the manual option then there are plugins that can help you get the work done. One such plugin which you can use to optimize the HTML, CSS, and JS of your WordPress site is Autoptimize.
Reduce image size
The major part of the webpage is occupied by images. This is the usual case as images need more space than words on the webpage. In order to boost the speed of your WordPress site, you need to reduce the size of images on the website while ensuring it does not compromise in terms of quality.
In case you try to optimize the images using Photoshop, Chrome PageSpeed Insights extension or any other such tools, it will take more time to get the work done. But, you are saved now as several plugins are available for the tasks that you think about achieving. Some of the plugins which can help you reduce the image sizes on your WordPress site drastically are WP Smush, Optimole, and EWWW Image Optimizer.
Keep your site free of hosting videos
Just like images, videos can even turn out to be an issue over the website. You can easily host videos and play them on WordPress but it is not recommended. The main reason for it is that videos use your bandwidth and this is very important to know especially in the case when you have a limited hosting account. Videos will even increase the size of your WordPress site and this will make taking backup a difficult job.
Now, instead of loading your server with such videos, you can use superfast video hosting sites for your WordPress site. In this manner, you can easily include the videos that you want into your website content just by copying the link from YouTube, DailyMotion or Vimeo and paste into your editor.
Use a CDN
A website is visited by people across the world and so if the visitors are away from the location where the website is hosted, differences in site-loading speed will be visible. Now with CDN, it will be possible to keep the website loading speed to a minimum for the users across different countries. A copy of your website will be kept by CDN at datacenters which are placed at different places. CDN is mainly used to deliver the webpage to the visitor from the nearest point. Some of the popular CDN services in the market are MaxCDN and Cloudflare.
Set up monitoring
Unless and until you are not aware of the issues on your website you cannot take action to resolve it. Things are not much different in the case of website speed. You can set up automatic monitoring of your website by choosing tools like Pingdom. So all you have to do is to register on such tools and if your website gets slow, they will send you an email regarding the same. Once you know to measure things, managing them becomes easy.
Use a caching plugin for advanced caching mechanisms
WordPress caching plugins have been used for a long time now. It helps to take care of complex issues by having the website elements caching rules added. You will be able to boost the loading speed of the website by making use of plugins with advanced caching mechanisms.
Reduce server requests
When a browser asks for some resource from the server, a server request takes place. The resource can be a script, style sheet, or even an image file. The more requests the server will have to process, it will take more time for it to load. So it is important to keep the requests to a minimum. You can do this in several ways like reduce the number of posts on a single page, reduce the number of elements on the page, remove unnecessary plugins, reduce external resources, etc.
Enable GZIP compression
You can save a lot of disk space when you compress the files on your local computer. For the same results, you can use GZIP compression for your website. Such a step will drastically reduce the usage of bandwidth as well as the time taken to access the website. GZIP compresses different files together and so it has to unzip the website whenever a visitor tries to access it. This way the bandwidth usage comes down drastically. You can either use a plugin or simply add in the code mentioned below into your .htaccess file.
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE text/plain
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE text/html
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE text/xml
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE text/css
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/xml
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/xhtml+xml
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/rss+xml
Uninstall or deactivate plugins
You will be able to keep all the junk away from your web files by removing all the unwanted plugins from the WordPress sites. Moreover, by keeping such files you increase the risk of having bigger backup files and this will end up increasing the load on your server. You should work towards removing all the plugins which you don’t use on your website anymore. Rather, it can be wise enough to make use of third-party services to schedule or automate tasks.
Cleanup WordPress database
You can keep the website size to a minimum by removing all unwanted data. This will also help you to reduce the size of your backup files. You should remove all the fake users, spam comments, old drafts as well as unwanted themes and plugins. Such activities will reduce the size of your web files and databases, and thereby speed up the site.
Use minimum external scripts
Your total load time can increase when you make use of external scripts within your web pages. So it would be better to only use the necessary number of scripts on the website.
Disable trackbacks and pingbacks
Trackbacks and pingbacks are two important WordPress components which notify you whenever you receive a link on your blog or page. No doubt these components are good but then, you can make use of other services like Google Webmaster Tools to look for links on your website.
Moreover, you will end up using more server resources by using trackbacks and pingbacks. This is because whenever someone tries to link your website, a request is generated to and back from WordPress. In the case of DDoS attacks, this functionality is greatly exploited.
So all you have to do is keep them disabled and you can do that by visiting WP-Admin ? Settings ? Discussion. There you will find “Allow link notifications from other blogs”, just deselect it.
Hotlinking is the process of making use of images within your content which are actually not hosted on your website. Here you link an image from another site on your site which then loads from there, instead of uploading the image on your website and then having it added into the media library.
Now, this can be the issue with you too in case your website and content becomes popular in the market. So, the issue here is that you will lose more bandwidth as your server will have to work in order to deliver the image for some other websites. Such a step will do no good to your website rather than bringing traffic for someone else!
You can stop such a thing from happening to your site by just disabling hotlinking. You can achieve this by adding a few lines of code into your .htaccess file.
There can be several benefits of a fast loading WordPress site, but one that stands out is that you will be able to offer an excellent user experience if your website loads fast. Even Google loves fast loading sites and this means you will be able to climb high on SERPs if you manage to perform well in terms of speed. Reduced load on the server and lesser bandwidth usage is definitely a thing to note! In short, if you haven’t yet thought about working on improving the speed of your WordPress site, it is time you start working in this area.