If you have a WordPress website just like most of the websites present on the internet, then you have to do some work on optimize the performance of your WordPress website. Today, countless websites are available on Google and only a few get high ranks on the search engines. Search engines use different criteria to rank your websites on the internet and one of the main factors which search engines consider is the speed of your website. Here Why is speed so crucial in today’s web environment?
Importance of fast loading website
There are many reasons for that such as:
Search engines (like Google) rank websites with fast-loading times higher than slow-loading ones.
May Studies have shown that site-loading speed of more than 2 seconds usually results in about 47 percent of visitors bouncing off the website.
Infographic by Kissmetrics
How to test the loading time of your website?
First things first, you need to analyze the current load time for your website. Keep in mind that this speed may differ from page to page, as it depends on various factors, namely:
- The size of that particular page,
- How many requests it generates,
- Whether it is cached or not,
- What kind of content (static or dynamic) it host.
The homepage of a website is usually used as a benchmark to test the load time. In order to check the speed of a website, the following three tools are used extensively across the web:
How to Speed up WordPress Website
So, if you have big dreams of ranking your website on the first page of Google, then you have to speed up WordPress website performance. There are various small tricks present by using them, you can easily speed up your website. Some of the quick speed-up methods are –
Get Good Web Hosting Service
The main factor that influences the speed of a WordPress website is the hosting service. It might be an attractive idea to host your website on shared hosting where you get unlimited bandwidth, space, domains and much more at affordable rates. But, in this great package deal, a thing that we mainly forget is that shared hosting fails to offer a good loading time on traffic hours and drastically fails to provide 99% uptime any month.
The shared hosting fails to deliver good speed because you are sharing the same server with countless other websites. Moreover, you have no idea about the optimization of the server. But, thankfully web hosting companies with advanced technology are also present in the market. Such as SiteGround, DigitalOcean, Amazon Web Services, and even Google Compute Engine. However, setting up a server on these servers could be a daunting task, but it is worth it to the high speed.
Generally, there are three different types of hosting:
- Shared hosting — That means your site lies on the same server as a number of other websites and needs to share its resources (processing power, RAM) with everyone else. This can lead to “bad neighbor” effects where one site is hogging the majority of resources and downtimes due to overload.
- Virtual private server (VPS) — With this type of hosting, you usually have fewer sites on the same server. In addition, resources are allocated evenly across all sites present without the option to exceed them.
- Dedicated server — You have one server just for you. There are no resources to share, everything is at the disposal of just your site.
Use Light WordPress Theme
There are plenty of different WordPress themes present containing numerous elements, sliders, widgets, and much more. But, if your selected WordPress theme is too bulky, then it will cause your web server to take a thumping. So, the best solution here is to use lightweight themes such as the default WordPress theme. If you have a blogging site, then the new Twenty Fifteen theme is good for you. But, if you want to build a feature-rich website, then you can use a good framework like GeneratePress, Astra, Bootstrap or Foundation.
Decrease Image Size
Images are the major part of your website that adds an attractive touch to it, but they consume a large space. So, you have to reduce the size of images present on your website that’s without compromising the quality of the images. You can manually optimize your images by using the Chrome PageSpeed Insights extension or Photoshop or any other tools, but it will take you lots of time. However, there are some plugins available to ease out your workload such as Optimole, WP Smush, etc.,
Use Advanced Caching System
There are WordPress caching plugins available for a long time to make the complex task of adding cache rules to your website super easy. However, by emerging together caching plugins with the advanced caching system, you can increase the loading speed of your website and easily speed up WordPress performance.
There are several premium all-in-one caching plugins for doing this in case you want support but be careful as these can be quite bloated and have more features than you actually need and can actually end up breaking your site! It would also be a good idea to ask your host if they provide server-side caching first (see below) before tinkering with any caching plugins.
Adopt Content Delivery Network
The visitors of your website belong to different geographical locations around the globe and the speed of the website may vary if visitors are located away from where the website is hosted. The solution to this problem will be using the content delivery network. CDN helps in maintaining the loading speed of the website maximum for visitors from various parts of the globe. The CDN record a copy of your website in different data centers which are suited in different places. The prime function of the CDN is to server the nearest possible location of your website to the visitors.
Use GZIP Compression
By compressing files on your computer, you can save up lots of disk space. Similarly, by using GZIP compression on the web, you can free up lots of space on your website. This practice will drastically reduce the bandwidth usage and time it takes to access your website. This tool can compress various files for you so that means whenever a visitor tries to open your website, then their server has to first unzip the website. This will reduce down bandwidth usage to a certain level. You can add plugins to GZIP files or you can use the following code in 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
Minify JS and CSS files
If you run your website through the Google PageSpeed Insights tool, you will probably be notified about minimizing the size of your CSS and JS files. What this means is that by reducing the number of CSS and JS calls and the size of those files, you can improve the site loading speed. Also, if you know your way around WordPress themes, you can study the guides provided by Google and do some manual fixing. If not, then there are plugins that will help you achieve this goal; the most popular being Autoptimize which can help in optimizing the CSS, JS and even HTML of your WordPress website.
Clean up Your WordPress Database
Regular database maintenance is crucial for keeping your database lean and usable. By deleting unwanted data from your database, you can reduce the size of your database and the size of your backups. You can delete spam comments, fake users, old drafted content and maybe even unnecessary downloaded plugins and themes. There are many tools out there that can help you. A personal recommendation is WP-Optimize, which makes the process quite comfortable. And by clearing all this data size of your database and website will reduce which will eventually increase the speed of your website.
Decrease Server Requests
A server request happens every time your browser asks for some type of resource from your server. This can be a file like a style sheet, a script or an image. The more server requests necessary to complete loading your site, the longer it will take. As a consequence, requests should be as few as possible.
Here are a few things you can do to reduce them to a minimum:
- Lower the number of posts shown on a page
- Only show post excerpts, no full posts on your archive pages (find the option under Settings > Reading)
- Split longer posts into pages
- If you get a lot of comments, break them up into several pages (Settings > Discussion)
- Reduce the number of images and other elements on your page
- Uninstall unnecessary plugins, especially slower ones
- Deactivate plugins you are not using permanently
- Enable lazy loading to delay loading images until they are actually visible on the page
- Reduce external resources such as fonts if they aren’t necessary
Disable pingbacks and trackbacks
Pingbacks and trackbacks are two core WordPress components that alert you whenever your blog or page receives a link. It might sound useful, but you also have things such as Google Webmaster Tools and other services to check the links of your website. Keeping pingbacks and trackbacks on can also put an undesirable amount of strain on your server resources. This is so because whenever anyone tries to link up to your site, it generates requests from WordPress back and forth. This functionality is also widely abused when targeting a website with DDoS attacks.
You can turn it all off in WP-Admin → Settings → Discussion. Just deselect “Allow link notifications from other blogs (pingbacks and trackbacks).” This will help you speed up WordPress some more.
The significant turnout of lowering your website loading time is that you can offer an improved and better experience to your users. And, this is the priority of every website owner is to provide the best experience to their users so that they visit again. So, website owners need to increase the speed of their websites.