WordPress is a great free content management system that comes with everything you need to create an amazing website however webmasters, developers, and web designers don’t pay enough attention to the overall speed of the WordPress website.
A fast website is essential if you want to get website visitors and generate sales. Customers hate slow websites and so does Google.
This blog post will provide you with some practical tips to help you speed up your WordPress website.
Why is Website Speed Important
You only have a few seconds to capture a website visitor’s attention. If a website is too slow they will leave the website and move on to the next website which is most likely your competitor’s website.
- Google prefers fast websites and ranks them higher in the search engine listings
- Website visitors and customers don’t like slow websites and will abandon a slow website
- Fast websites get more traffic, customers, and sales compared to slower websites
- According to a case study that involved Amazon, Google, and other larger sites, a 1 second delay in page load time can lead to a 7% loss in conversions, 11% fewer page views, and a 16% decrease in customer satisfaction.
Tips To Speed Up Your WordPress
The following practical tips will help you improve the overall website performance and page speed of your website.
Choose A Good Hosting Service
A good hosting service can make a big difference to the overall speed of a website. Do your research before choosing a hosting service. Don’t rely on Google to provide you with this information. Google is full of advertisements from the same companies or websites which have affiliations to the hosting companies which pay them a commission.
Visit the web hosting talk forum which includes user reviews and feedback from real people who have used the web hosting services. We would also recommend you take a look at Trustpilot which also includes lots of useful feedback and reviews.
When it comes to choosing a hosting service you have a number of options available to you.
- Shared Hosting: Your website is sharing the same hardware ( CPU, disk, memory ) and software ( Apache, SQL ) resources with 200+ other websites. Shared hosting is cheaper and can have a negative impact on your website speed.
- VPS Hosting: A VPS ( virtual private server ) is an isolated software server environment just for your website however you will share the same physical hardware with other VPS customers. A VPS is more expensive than shared hosting but your website will load faster as you will have your own dedicated virtual resources.
- Dedicated Server: A dedicated server is basically a server for hosting only your websites. The physical and software server resources are used by you and you only. A website will load a lot faster on a dedicated server compared to a shared hosting service.
Installing a WordPress caching plugin can improve the performance and page speed of a website. We would highly recommend you look at a caching plugin for WordPress which can make a huge difference to the speed of your website.
Every time a website visitor requests a web page from a non-cached site, WordPress has to process the PHP request and get the information for the request from the MYSQL database in order to serve the website to the visitor. If you have a busy website the server will be using lots of PHP and MYSQL resources to process the website requests. This overall process can slow down a website. On a shared hosting plan, you can also run out of resources which means the website will go offline.
A caching plugin simplifies this entire process. It builds every HTML page on your site with PHP, then saves these full HTML pages which are sent to future visitors when requested. By skipping over the building process, your content reaches visitors more quickly
If you’re looking for a caching plugin we would recommend the following WP Super Cache W3 Total Cache WP Fastest Cache
Use A Fast Light Weight WordPress Theme
Use The .Htaccess File
You can easily optimize your WordPress website to load much faster using the .htaccess file using Gzip, Deflate Compression, and browser caching. To find out more read how do i speed up my website using the .htacecss file
Only install the WordPress plug-ins you need and remove the plug-in you don’t need. A plug-in is like a piece of mini-software on your website, too many running at once can negatively affect the performance of the website. Even if you’re not using a certain plugin, there’s a chance it’s doing unnecessary work in the background and consuming resources.
Update WordPress Plug-ins & Themes
Ensure you are running the latest version of WordPress and the latest versions of the plug-ins and themes you have installed on your website which are compatible with the latest version of PHP running on the server. We also recommend you enable automatic updates for WordPress and plug-ins which will ensure they get automatically updated for you.
Content Delivery Network CDN
Optimize Your Images
Image optimizers can help you reduce the file size of your images without affecting the image quality. one of the big mistakes people make is by uploading and displaying large images on their websites without optimizing the images first. Over bloated JPEG, PNG, and GIF images can have a serious impact on the speed of your WordPress website.
Fortunately, there’s a great free plugin called Smush which will optimize all of your images automatically as you’re uploading them to WordPress. You can also compress, and optimize your images before you upload them to your website without a plugin using https://imagecompressor.com or https://tinypng.com
Clean Up Your WordPress Database
If you’ve had your website for a while, chances are you’ve accumulated some old, unused files in your database. These files might be comment spam, leftover data from unused themes and plugins, old users, unpublished content, and old media, all of which take up valuable storage space and put unnecessary load on your server.
Plugins like WP Optimize and Advanced Database Cleaner will conduct an audit of your files and scrap any non-essentials. This is a much faster and safer alternative to deleting the files off your server yourself. It’s also safe to manually delete unused media files directly in your WordPress media library.
Use PHP 8
PHP is the scripting language that powers all WordPress websites. It’s a server-side language, meaning that its files are stored and executed on the web server that hosts your site. The core WordPress code, themes, and plug-ins all use PHP.
The latest version of PHP is version 8 if you running version 7 it can negatively impact the speed of your website as PHP 8 processes PHP scripts more effectively.