Tips for Boosting WordPress Website Speed
Technologies surrounding us today are affecting the human brain far more than we think.
One example is how our attention span has changed over the years. We are dwelling in the era of “speeding” with everything we do, and the negative impact on our mind and life is concerning.
Remember searching for a specific topic on YouTube and then fast forwarding the video, due to the lack of time and interest to see it till the end?
That is the exact situation web page visitors are in when browsing the internet. For you, as an owner, there is just a small window to get their attention or they are gone.
You have only a couple of seconds to show them your content and have them interested enough to stay. For that matter, following a set of tips for boosting WordPress website speed should be more than helpful.
You can also check server speed at Bitcatcha – Server Speed Test.
There are many ways to group speed optimization tips, however, we will divide them into three groups:
- Starting tips
- Boosting website speed
- Additional WordPress website optimization
1. Starting tips
The most important thing when optimizing your website is that you want to keep things simple and clean from the start. It’s easy to add additional features later.
a. Use a theme optimized for speed
The theme market is overwhelmed with various themes. Some of them are really beautiful and diverse.
However, you need to be careful and choose one that is well coded, not slow and bloated with unnecessary features.
Sometimes simple and clean is best.
b. Use the latest PHP version
PHP 7 is nearly two times faster than PHP 5.6. Just upgrading will give you an enormous performance boost, without changing a single piece of code.
c. Be smart about choosing a hosting plan
Although a dedicated hosting is the most expensive option, it might be the best option for performance and security wise.
You can use shared or VPS hosting but their resource sharing is more likely to negatively impact your loading speed.
d. Select the best DNS for you
The speed of your DNS provider is one of the things that affect your site loading speed the most. It depends directly on the amount of time DNS lookup takes.
A faster DNS provider can speed up the time it takes for browsers to locate your site.
e. Update your WordPress site often
This, actually, requires you to be cautious when dealing with themes. There are a lot of things that can go wrong with an already deployed website, so if you are not absolutely sure, ask for help.
That is highly recommendable since every new update offers new features, security and bug fixes.
f. Remove the old and unused (delete, don’t just deactivate)
That includes media items, other themes, plugins, eye candies, widgets, social sharing buttons, and anything you are not using.
Keep it as clean as possible because they are decreasing the loading speed of your WordPress site even if you are not using them.
2. Boosting website speed
a. Optimize your images
Using large and non-optimized images is one of the most common mistakes people make.
It is possible to reduce your site images’ size up to several times by choosing the right format, height and width, and the quality compression rate.
The image size limit in WordPress is set to 2mb by default. It can be increased manually in configuration files but there is rarely need for that.
Especially since most SEO trends are advising smaller sizes. However, SEO is transforming every day.
b. Enable HTTP compressions
You will want your files the smallest they can be, so they can load faster and thus reduce your website overall loading time.
c. Install a caching plugin
Increase your website speed in WordPress by using one of many great plugins which enable caching. This way you will prevent server overload and provide your users with a much better experience.
Another important thing when talking about plugins is that you need to use faster, updated plugins, and to reduce the number of unnecessary ones.
d. Use CDN and external hosting platforms
Use Content Delivery Network for speeding up loading time by serving files to your users from the servers closest to them.
CDN servers are spread all around the world which reduces the distance your data needs to travel to your users.
Hosting large files like video files on your host can cost you bandwidth, therefore, it can cost you money.
The best and the fastest way is to host them on platforms like YouTube and Vimeo, and then simply embed them to your website.
3. Additional tips for boosting WordPress website speed
a. Break comments into pages
This will save you the trouble of loading all those comments and slowing your page loading speed.
The same goes for splitting long posts into pages – post pagination. Both features are integrated into WordPress and can be easily set.
b. Use excerpts
There is no need for your users to load full posts when browsing your site. It increases the loading time and creates a negative user experience.
Configure in your settings to use excerpts so users get a brief summary for each post.
c. Reduce HTTP requests
For example, you can reduce the number of widgets, plugins, social buttons, and external file requests like ads and font-loaders.
They add many requests to your database or external servers and generally slow down page loading. Using a few is alright, just stay away from bloating your pages with the unnecessary.
d. Have lazy loading implemented if needed
Lazy loading is a nice trick to make better user experience and to increase the browsing speed feeling. Your website will not load all the images and similar content on your page at once.
Instead, it will prioritize only the elements that are visible in the browser’s currently viewing area.
Over time, you will come across many tips for boosting WordPress website speed, and many of them can prove to be useful. Especially in the long run.
As a website owner, you will learn all the tricks of the trade, and all that you need to do is a regular site speed diagnostic and tweak here and there when needed.