How To Speed Up WordPress

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In this fast running world, where we prefer everything to happen in a blink of an eye, a slow-loading website is a big No! You may have seen a lot of tutorials of ways to optimize and how to speed up WordPress. 

It can get confusing trying to find everything you need in one place. Also, many of us have fallen victim to hundredths of hovering plugins. Did you know, There are 55,048 plugins on the WordPress plugin repository!

In this post, we’re going to share absolutely everything there is to know about WordPress speed optimization from beginning to advance level! So, let’s begin with the ultimate guide of WordPress 2019 from scratch on How to speed up WordPress.

In case if you are new to WordPress, you might find speeding up WordPress video tutorials, and WordPress error fixes video series very useful. Another pre-requisite that will help you effectively to follow this guide is to create a child theme: A child theme makes it easy for you to make changes to your site. 

A child theme ensures that any changes you make, theme files aren’t overwritten when you update the theme. Don’t hesitate to check them out before reading on. Furthermore, beginners do not overlook the essential points given below.

Basics of WordPress Performance

  • Why is Speed Important for WordPress Site?
  • How to Check Your WordPress Website Speed?
  • What Slows Down Your WordPress Website?
  • Importance of Good WordPress Hosting.

There will be some optimizations that you will come across on how to speed up WordPress, where you feel uncomfortable with coding, or the general idea of editing your files, but there is nothing to worry about. 

Google has given you the codes you can copy-paste into your website. In some instances, we have recommended some plugins for specific optimizations, as it would only be far too complicated to replicate. 

To make your life easier, we have given a table of contents to help you navigate through our ultimate guide on speeding up your WordPress site.

speed test tool

Get to know how to speed up WordPress in easy steps:

Now, let’s dive right on to the speed up process. But first, Test Your Website’s Speed! As a matter of fact, since you often visit your website, modern search engines like Google Chrome store your site in the cache and prefetch it as soon as you type your website address. 

It is why your website gets loaded almost immediately. So, a user who is visiting your site for the first time may not have the same story as you.

Thus, we recommend you to test your website speed using IsItWP’s speed test for WordPress, a free online tool that helps you to test your website’s speed. 

You can also use Pingdom, GTMetrix as well as Google Pagespeed Insights.

Remember, a good page takes a load time of under 2 seconds.

Choose a Fast Web Host

Using a slow host doesn’t actually mean that you can’t optimize your website, but it will fail you. Free and unlimited hosts are great to hear, but in reality, as you heard, nothing is free and unlimited ever. 

Hence, it is wise not to choose a host that makes outrageous promises which are merely unreasonable. A good shared hosting provider like A2 Hosting, Bluehost, or Siteground take the extra measures to optimize your website for performance. Using a managed WordPress hosting service gives you the most optimized server, which helps the configurations to run your WordPress site. 

Managed WordPress hosting companies offer automatic backups, automatic WordPress updates, and more advanced security configurations to protect your website. We recommend choosing the A2 Hosting’s WordPress hosting.

Choose the Right WordPress Theme

Whatever the theme you would like to choose for your site, always remember to prioritize performance over functionality. Update Your WordPress, Themes, and Plugins. It is a crucial part when you are learning how to speed up WordPress.

It might sound harsh, but it’s significant to remember always that there is a huge difference between a theme that is made to perform well and one that is built to perform extremely well under load.

Update Your WordPress, Themes, and Plugins

Proper updates and maintenance of themes and plugins is a part of not only keeping your WordPress site loading quick but also vital if you want your site to be always secured.

Major releases for WordPress themes and plugins should also be carefully taken into consideration before you update as the same problems could appear for them! In other cases, keep your WordPress site setup, themes, and plugins updated to the latest version.

Only Use PHP 7 and Above For Best Performance

Wouldn’t a slow and sluggish response time of a website drive you crazy?

That is how all your website visitors feel if you use PHP 5.6.

Sadly, statistics show only a handful percentage of 6.8% of WordPress installations use PHP 7.3, while a great crowd of 28.6% still use PHP 5.6, which was released back in August of 2014. 

The only way out of this is to choose a host that supports PHP 7.2.It is dynamic in keeping its technology stack, including WordPress, up to date.

Use SSL/HTTPS & HTTP/2

ssl

Google has officially confirmed that the correct use of HTTPS/SSL is a ranking signal. Meaning that not having a configuring SSL certificate for your site will make you fall behind in search results, which is something you exactly don’t want.

It will be amplified when Google starts highlighting non-secure websites in a few months. If your site is not safe for users, it will have a big red sign in the address bar, which will say “non-secure.” Avoiding this message will be crucial!

The second reason is consumer trust.

Of course, trust is a crucial factor for any conversion happening on your site, so no matter what you run; a blog or an eCommerce website, you should switch to SSL. 

The third reason is security.

With the recent GDPR, data privacy and security is vital. So why would you like to pay some fines?

Having an SSL certificate that needs to be installed on your website all the time will help you by encrypting the data transferred to and from your site, which will make your site more secure than ever.

Rethinking Your Plugin Use

We are not feeling surprised by the fact that this is such a big problem if you think. Yes, the official WordPress plugin repository has over 55,000 plugins to choose from for your necessity. 

Finding the right ones when you need can be tough! So, next time you go to install yet another plugin for your website – please take a look at the article where we have shortlisted some of the best, essential WordPress plugins that we’ve put together just for you.

Use Caching to Speed Up WordPress

“Dynamic” means they’re built on the fly every time someone visits a post or page on your website.

As you know, caching is an effective way and as well as one of the easy ways to speed up WordPress.

It’s a compelling procedure that can turn your WordPress loading time into a fraction of what it once was before. So, when it comes to improving the loading time for a page at scale, caching is one of the techniques that yield the most significant results.

Let's see how it works on your site:

Rather than always going through the whole page generation technique every time, the caching plugin just makes a copy of the page after the first load, then serves that cached version to every subsequent user.

It is caching of resources that are static such as images and scripts that can be handled by Cloudflare.

Image Optimization

According to researchers, using colored visuals makes people 80% more likely to read your content.

Non-optimized images are one of the most common speed issues that we see on beginner websites.

Using images of smaller sizes can help in reducing bandwidth usage for your site. Faster your page loads mean fewer visitors bounce back. So, don’t give search engines a good reason to hate your site no matter how good your site is and make it rank low.

To help choose, all you have to do is drag and drop all your images to a converter and convert them to JPG and PNG. You can then select the images with the smallest sizes for your website according to your preference.

Also, if you don’t want to compress the images before uploading them manually, then choose a WordPress plugin for you to do your work. 

There are plenty of plugins out there which can compress images, but we recommend the ShortPixel Image Optimizer

The only image optimization methods we recommend are:

  • Server-based image optimization
  • Optimize images locally before upload
  • WP media regenerate (WP-CLI)
  • ShortPixel Image Optimizer
  • Imagify (from the makers of WP Rocket)

If you want a different approach, you can use the LiteSpeed Cache Plugin to compress the images you want. 

LiteSpeed is a caching plugin, but it also supports compressing using a free Google Pagespeed addon.

Setting Cloudflare and it's Content Delivery Network (CDN)

Cloudflare improves your website speed by fetching your data and storing it on their servers on your website.Cloudflare needs to set in a way that the visitors coming to your site comes through Cloudflare for your benefit. 

Since Cloudflare has the power to see which pages the visitor has requested, they tend to give a lot of content to the visitor; thereby, your server is saving the hassle of storing to cuts down the load time.

Lazy Loading YouTube Videos and Images

Lazy Loading is a way in which it saves the load time by loading the images. All other heavy assets come when a visitor scrolls to the place on the webpage where they are placed. 

It can help in boosting the website speed to be done right. Hence, this is a fantastic trick when you are speeding up your WordPress site.

Specify Image Dimensions

When a page is loading, all the text for the post is loaded at once and the page layout is set. The images are then downloaded one by one, not all at once. As an image is done loading, the browser finds the image dimensions and adjusts the layout of the page for your website.

For every successive image it needs to load, the browser has to re-create the page on the given dimension. This waste resources, as well as visitors on your page are unable to read as the text on the page keeps shifting.

So, by specifying the dimensions, the browser sets space for the images aside beforehand. Thus, the page does not need to change multiple times for the recreation process.

To specify the dimensions manually, find the size of the image first, which is to be done in the WordPress media library.

Serve Scaled Images

If you upload a photo with 2000px width, this wastes bandwidth and precious resources. Many themes are not made to be able to optimize to handle images and load the full-size image and then scale it with HTML and CSS. 

For being sure that you are uploading the correct size for your images is to use a cheat-sheet simply. For that, go to your WordPress Settings > Media and make a note of the image sizes that your theme uses.

Gravatar Optimization

Gravatar comes from the global avatar. It is the tool that lets you and your website commenters have profile pictures.

Unfortunately, the advantages of using Gravatar is its biggest disadvantage as it affects the loading time. Gravatar also introduces multiple redirects that slow down your site even further. 

There are a few options to get rid of the problem:

  • Disable your Gravatar from your website
  • Delete spam and excessive comments from posts on your website
  • Configure your WordPress website to show a few comments at a time
  • Use a caching plugin for Gravatar, for instance, FV Gravatar Cache on your site

Lazy-Load Disqus

Disqus is indeed a popular method for the default comment system for WordPress. It has become to be so popular because of its advanced moderation functionality and highly effective spam prevention.

When Disqus loads on your website, every time, it results in more than ten more requests, which then affects load time drastically.

Don’t be worried; there is a way out of this problem! There is a plugin named Disqus Conditional Load that has been created by a developer, and it helps in Lazy- Loading of the Disqus comments on your website.

The plugin, Disqus Conditional Load, ensures that the comment section on your site will only load when a visitor scrolls down to the end of the page. 

Hence, ensuring that the page initially loads faster by reducing the number of requests.

Limit Post Revisions

If you frequently edit/update your posts, it might lead to tens of copies of the post. Eventually, this will fill your database. To avoid this problem, try limiting the number of revisions made for a post. 

Although the exact number depends on your preference, we think 3-5 should be more than enough.

define (‘WP_POST_REVISIONS’, 3);

Just paste the code mentioned above in the wp-config.php file. 

Make sure to place it before the code require once(ABSPATH . ‘wp-settings.php’); appears.

This code changes the maximum number of revisions to 3. You also can change the number in the code above to adjust the number of reviews. 

To disable post revisions completely, use:

define (‘WP_POST_REVISIONS’, false);

Just paste the above code inside the wp-config.php file to disable revisions altogether. 

To remove the excess revisions made for older posts, we recommend you to use a tool such as a database cleanup plugin for help. There are also many other useful plugins; here are a few recommendations.

1. WP-Optimize

2. Advanced Database Cleaner

Use Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP)

A mobile-friendly website is mandatory. AMP or Accelerated Mobile Pages is an open-source web standard. It was designed to speed up the delivery of content and advertisements on mobile devices. 

AMP pages help you to load up to 75% faster and consume ten times less bandwidth.

How much more cool can this feature be?

Limit Spiders and Crawlers

These crawl through your website with wrong intentions. It doesn’t provide any value to your site, but your server has to lay out resources in order to serve. 

Since you don’t want this to happen, it will be wise to manage these bot activities on your site so that the crawling process does not affect your users.

Use JavaScript Free Social Sharing Buttons

Most social sharing buttons are Javascript heavy. What it means is:

  • Track users across the web
  • Will take a long time to load on your website
  • Consume more bandwidth when downloading
  • Will block the rendering of the page if not optimized

Hence, to prevent all these issues, Javascript-free social sharing buttons are widely used. As it removes all the inefficiencies mentioned above and helps improve load times.

Tricks for Intermediate Users on How to Speed Up WordPress

For better performance and staying away from the tag of a bad website, the tricks mention down are necessary. 

I understand you want to have everything that has to offer, but what is the use of having the additional load on the server if you don’t even use the feature. It wastes a lot of bandwidth and system resources, which in turn increases load times. 

Just imagine, removing that extra lines of code will reduce the page load by so many bytes. See, it might seem only a few bytes that start to add up when you serve thousands of visitors a day, which can wreck your performance optimization efforts. 

So, to further increase the speed you might want to check the following:

  • Disable Emojis
  • Disable Embeds in WordPress
  • Remove Query Strings
  • Disable XML-RPC
  • Disabling Pingbacks
  • Block Access to xmlrpc.php
  • Remove RSD Links
  • Remove jQuery Migrate
  • Hide WordPress version
  • Remove wlwmanifest Link
  • Remove RSD Link Tag
  • Remove the Shortlink Tag
  • Disable RSS Feeds
  • Disable Self Pingbacks
  • Remove REST API Links
  • Disable Dashicons
  • Disable Google Maps
  • Disable Contact Form 7 JS/CSS
  • Disable Heartbeat
  • Disable WooCommerce Style Sheets
  • Disable Cart Fragmentation
  • Disable WooCommerce Widgets
  • Remove WooCommerce Meta Boxes
  • Avoid Google Fonts and Server Fonts Locally
  • Use WOFF2 Fonts Instead of WOFF
  • Optimize Font Awesome Icons
  • Concatenate CSS and Javascript

Warning: Advanced Optimizations Ahead for speeding up WordPress

Do take a look that the speed optimizations that follow are recommended for advanced users only. 

The tips and tricks mentioned below are to be taken very seriously as you don’t want to ruin your website. Now that you’re a skilled WordPress user, there’s nothing that can stop you. 

Nonetheless, reminding you once again to check the process of the advanced steps from YouTube or from a friend carefully before applying them to your site. 

Only go for them once you know in and out of WordPress, and have also seen each and every usage of it.

Tricks on how to speed up WordPress for advanced users

  • Fix Render Blocking Scripts and CSS
  • Use Async Javascript Plugin for your website
  • Enable Async Javascript to your website
  • Use Quick Settings
  • Async Javascript Method
  • jQuery
  • Use Scripts to Async, Scripts to Defer, and Script Exclusion
  • Find Scripts to Optimize
  • Use Plugin Exclusions
  • Use Theme Exclusions
  • Use Async Javascript for Plugins
  • Optimize using W3 Total Cache
  • Reduce Redirects and Force SSL
  • For www version
  • For non-www version
  • Force SSL
  • Updating old URLs
  • Updating using Code
  • Updating using a Plugin
  • Disable Hotlinking
  • Disabling Hotlinking with Cloudflare
  • Add Expires Header To Static Resources
  • Configuring Expires with W3 Total Cache
  • Preload, Prefetch, and Preconnect
  • Preload
  • Prefetch
  • Link Prefetch
  • DNS Prefetch
  • Prerender
  • Preconnect
  • Disable Scripts on Per-page and Per-post Basis
  • Switch to Nginx or Litespeed
  • Configure Nginx Reverse Proxy
  • Enabling Compression
  • Apache Server
  • Nginx Server
  • Improve WordPress Search
  • Nginx Server
  • Freemium Solution
  • Open Source Solution
  • Use MariaDB Instead of PostgreSQL
  • Convert all your MyISAM to InnoDB Tables in your Database
  • Add a MySQL Index to your WordPress wp_options Table
  • Tuning Your MySQL Database
  • Tuning Scripts
  • Resources
  • Configure Redis
  • Use InstaClick
  • Find Your Slowest Pages and Fix Them
  • Find Bottlenecks by Deep-diving Into WordPress

There, you are just one step behind to kick start into your bright future. So, without further delay, test the results of the optimization you just carried out.

Conclusion

Finally, to conclude how to speed up your WordPress site, remember you might hit a 100 score today, but optimization is a continuous process. After a while, the performance of your site will start to fall back. 

Hence, a regular check on your website’s performance to pre-emptively identify issues and resolve them before they adversely affect the performance. Hoping this article on how to speed up WordPress has helped your website.

Related Articles:

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Yousuf Hossain

Yousuf Hossain

Yousuf Hossain is a young passionate full-time freelancer who loves his work as his life. He has a dream that one day people will not only know him by this profile but also by his name for his passion and dedication toward work.

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