Gone are the days when a WordPress site owner could just create their WordPress website, stuff it with plugins, populate their content with images of any size and quality, and hit the Publish button without a second thought. Why? The reason is simple. You need speed! In fact, you need your WordPress site to be as fast as possible to provide a smooth user experience. What this means for you is that your website will be able to attract the visitors’ attention, gain returning visitors, and of course, improve its Web rankings. If all the above got your attention, then get ready to know some useful tips that will improve the speed of your WordPress site. Please don’t just skim through our guide, but read it to full extent so that you don’t skip any useful tricks; they all count and they all render your WordPress site faster. Enjoy your reading
P.S. There’s a Bonus Section for those who are patient.
WordPress speed-up guide synopsis
As we could go on writing for hours on this topic, we decided to divide our guide into sections so that you can refer to it whenever you may need it. We tried our best to not create a tiring guide, but to create a practical and useful guide instead. Thus, we divided our content into the following sections:
- Setting Up Your Site – Before Writing Any Content.
- The Best Plugins for WordPress Speed.
- Dashboard Settings for Even Faster WordPress.
- Content Tactics for WordPress Speed Optimization.
Let’s dive in each one of the above sections to find out how you can speed up your WordPress sites and reap the rewards mentioned in the introduction.
Setting Up Your Site – Before-Writing-Any-Content Speed Up Tips.
We decided to refer to the setting up of your site first so that you have a solid ground you can work on. In fact, a mistake here could ruin your WordPress site in the future. You’ve guessed it right! We’re talking about hosting here. Choosing a cheap hosting company or a shared hosting plan might look attractive in the beginning, but take our word for it. You’re risking a lot in the long run. Shared hosting almost always means low speed and limited resources for your website. So, if you can afford it, pick a managed hosting plan to host your precious Website.
Also, you should always use a clean and fast WordPress theme. A theme full of complicated and badly-written code could really hurt the speed of your site. Thus, you’d better invest in a good WordPress theme or take a look at our free WordPress themes here. You can also check our premium themes here. Our themes use only professional and clean code, ensuring the speed of your WordPress site.
Which are the Best Plugins to Speed Up your WordPress site?
Well, that’s a tricky question. There are a lot of wonderful plugins created exactly for this purpose. However, you should always keep in mind that you should keep the number of installed plugins to a minimum, as excessive use of plugins might slow down your WordPress site even more. That being said, we will try to use only necessary plugins to improve the site of your speed. Of course, you can add any significant one for your work, but don’t exaggerate on this.
First, you’re going to need an image-optimizing plugin. Publishers usually upload images with higher dimensions and resolutions than needed. This means that these images have to be completely downloaded in their original dimensions, even if they appear smaller inside the WordPress posts or pages. Our two favorite image optimizers are WP Smush – Image Optimization and ShortPixel Image Optimizer. Both are excellent plugins, and we’ve used each one on our sites successfully. They also offer automatic image compression and optimization.
Also, you will need a cache plugin. What cache plugins do is optimize your website so that it doesn’t deliver dynamic, thus heavy, pages to your visitors. It delivers mostly static pages that are lighter, thus faster to download. Some of the WordPress caching plugins also offer a full framework to allow you to configure entirely the way your website behaves. Our favorite one is the W3 Total Cache plugin which, at the time of writing this guide, has more than 1 MILLION active installs. It also allows CDN (which stands for Content Delivery Network) integration, which improves the speed of your website even more. We will talk about this subject later.
All modern websites use database caching plugins. What these plugins simply do is clear the database of your websites from obsolete entries that slow down its performance. There are many popular plugins for this purpose, our favorites being W3 Total Cache and A2 Optimized WP which can be found here. The creators of the latter one claim that it can help you configure your website easier that using the former one. Interesting promise don’t you think?
Which are Some Good Dashboard Settings for Even Faster WordPress sites?
There are some nice tricks your could employ to improve the speed of your sites even using the WordPress Dashboard.
- For example, you could disable pingbacks and trackbacks from your Settings > Discussion Settings > Default Article Settings Menu.
- Furthermore, if you don’t plan to use Avatars on your site, just disable them. Navigate to Settings > Discussion and untick show avatars.
How Can you Improve your Content to Speed Up WordPress?
We won’t torture you with lots of information here. Just two tips for you to keep in mind:
- Don’t use images excessively. Apart from being heavy for your visitor to download and see, they also increase the number of HTTP Requests. Simply put, more HTTP requests might render your website even slower.
- Optimize your homepage. We cannot stress out the importance of this phrase. Try to keep your homepage (also called landing page) as minimal and light as possible. Limit the posts shown, choose a low-resolution logo, don’t use heavy backgrounds, use excerpts for your posts, and most important from all…DON’T overuse widgets and plugins. A heavy homepage will make your visitors go away.
If you managed to make it to this paragraph, you should have some very potent tools to improve the performance of your site. If you want more, however, there are even more tips for you. Here you are:
- Did you know you could measure the speed of your website? Well, by visiting https://gtmetrix.com/ and typing your domain name, GT Metrix will perform a full speed scan to find out how optimized your site is. The report will include detailed guides to let you know how to fix any problems that might occur.
- Improve the security of your websites and servers. Install an anti-malware plugin or even an anti-virus protection software on your server.
- Reduce the amount of revisions your website stores for your posts. Keep their number to a minimum so that you don’t fill your disks with useless posts that may slow down your site. Consider using the Revision Control plugin for this purpose.
- If you have returning visitors on your sites and you don’t update your content regularly, consider adding an “expires header” in your .htaccess file. This way previously visited content doesn’t get served to your returning visitors all the way from the start.
- Last but not least, use a CDN. CDNs deliver content based on your visitor’s location. Using cloud servers, they guarantee that your static content gets delivered very fast. Our favorite one is CloudFlare. Give it a try!
This concludes our guide on how to improve the speed of your WordPress website. You probably knew many of the tricks appearing on our guide. We could bet, however, that you’ve also learned some new tricks to speed up your sites. We covered many things ranging from hosting to content optimization and server administration to ensure you’ve got many weapons in your arsenal. Use these powerful tools and tips to provide your users with a pleasant experience while they’re browsing your precious sites.
Good Luck! Thank you for reading.
P.S. If you liked this guide, we encourage you to share it with your friends. We are proud of this report, and we really think it could be of some use to them.