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The Ultimate Guide to Boost WordPress Speed & Performance

WordPress-speedup

Are you looking to improve the speed of your WordPress speedup website? Rapid loading pages can improve the user experience, increase page views, and aid in your WordPress SEO. This article will discuss the best WordPress speed optimization tips that can boost WordPress performance and speed your website.

This article provides a complete guide to optimizing WordPress performance and is not like other “X best WordPress cache plugin” lists.

We covered everything, from the importance of speed to what slows down WordPress sites to actionable steps you can take immediately to increase your WordPress speed.

We have prepared a table with contents that will help you navigate our ultimate guide to speeding your WordPress site.WordPress speedup

Why Speed is Important for Your WordPress Site?

According to studies, the average attention span of humans has decreased from 12 seconds to seven seconds between 2000 and 2016.

What does this all mean for website owners?

It takes very little time for users to see your content and convince them that they should stay on your site.

Slow websites can cause users to leave your site before it loads.

A StrangeLoop case study involving Google, Amazon, and other large sites found that a one-second delay in page loading can result in a 7% loss of conversions, 11% fewer page views, and 16% lower customer satisfaction.

How speed affects your website

Google and other search engines already penalize slower websites by reducing their search results. This means that slow websites will get less traffic.

Let’s sum it up: If you want to increase traffic, subscribers, and revenue, you need to make your WordPress website fast! WordPress speedup

How to Check Your WordPress Website Speed?

Many beginners mistakenly believe that their website is fine because it doesn’t feel slow. This is a huge mistake.

Modern browsers such as Chrome save your website in the cache. They prefetch your website every time you type an address. Your website will load almost immediately.

A normal user visiting your site for the first time might not experience the same experience.

Users in different locations will experience a completely different experience.WordPress speedup

This is why we recommend that you test your website speed using a tool like IsItWP’s WordPress speed test.

This online tool allows you to check the speed of your website.

IsItWP speed test tool

You might wonder what a website speed is after you have run the speed test.

Page load times should be under 2 seconds.WordPress speedup

But the quicker you can make it, it’s better. Just a few milliseconds can make a big difference in your load time.

What Slows Down Your WordPress Website?

There will be many suggestions for improvement in your speed test report. Most of the technical jargon is difficult to comprehend for beginners.

Understanding what slows down your website can help you improve performance and make smarter, long-term decisions.

These are the main reasons for slow WordPress websites:

  • Web hosting your website’s speed can be affected if your web hosting server has not been properly configured.
  • WordPress Configuration – Your WordPress website may not be serving cached pages. This can cause your website to crash or slow down completely.
  • Page Size – Images that aren’t optimized for the web.
  • Bad plugins – Poorly coded plugins can cause significant slowdowns to your website.WordPress speedup
  • External scripts – External scripts, such as front loaders and ads, can have a significant impact on the performance of your website.

Let’s now look at what slows down WordPress websites.

Importance of Good WordPress Hosting

Your WordPress hosting service is crucial in optimizing your website’s performance.

You share server resources when you use shared hosting. If your neighboring website gets a lot more traffic than you, it could impact your server performance and slow down your website.

A managed WordPress hosting provider, on the other hand, will give you the best server configurations for WordPress. Managed WordPress hosting services also provide automatic backups and automatic WordPress updates. They also offer more advanced security configurations that will protect your website.

We recommend WPEngine as our preferred managed WordPress hosting provider. They are also some of the most well-known in the industry.

Speeding Up WordPress in Easy Steps (No Coding)

We understand that changing your website configuration can be scary for newbies, especially if they are not tech-geeks.

Don’t worry! Our services have been a huge help to thousands of WordPress users.

We’ll show you how to speed up WordPress sites with just a few clicks (no programming required).

You can do it if you can point and click!

Install a WordPress Caching Plugin

WordPress pages are dynamic. This means that they are created on the fly each time someone visits a page or posts on your site.

WordPress must run a process in order to build your pages. This includes finding the information needed, putting it together, and then displaying it to your user.

This is a lengthy process that can slow down websites when there are many people using them simultaneously.

We recommend that every WordPress site uses a caching plugin. Your WordPress site can be cached up to 5x faster.

Here’s how it works.

Instead of having to go through the entire page generation process, again and again, your caching plugin creates a copy of the page immediately after the first load. The cached version is then served to each subsequent user.

Page caching

You can see that your WordPress server retrieves information from your PHP files and a MySQL database when a user visits the site. The server then combines the information into HTML content that is presented to the user.

Although it’s a tedious process, you can cut out a lot of it by using caching.

There are many good WordPress caching plugins, but we recommend WP Rocket (premium), or WP Super Cache(free).

It is easy to set up and your visitors will be able to notice the difference.

Bluehost, SiteGround, and many other WordPress hosting companies offer caching solutions.

SiteGround SG Optimizer

If you are using SiteGround, then your WordPress site will come pre-installed with their SG Optimizer. This plugin offers all the same powerful features as WP Rocket’s premium WordPress caching plugin.

Turn on caching in SiteGround

 

It’s optimized for SiteGround Google Cloud servers, which gives you better performance results.

Other than caching, there are many other performance settings like WebP image conversion in WordPress and database optimization.

 

Bluehost Caching

Use this if you use Bluehost Then, go to My Sites >> PerformanceSection to turn on caching.

Turning on Caching in Bluehost

If you’re using a managed WordPress hosting provider, then you don’t need a caching plugin because it is built-in and turned on by default.

Bonus: Caching plugins can be combined with a firewall for web applications like Cloudflare or Sucuri For maximum performance enhancement.

Optimize Images for Speed

Optimizing images for speed

Images can bring life to your content, and increase engagement. Research has shown that people are 80% more likely than ever to read content with colored visuals.

If your images aren’t optimized, they can be more harmful than helpful. Non-optimized images are a common speed issue that we see on beginner sites.

We recommend using photo editing software before you upload photos directly from your smartphone or camera to make them more appealing for the web.

These photos may be large files in their original formats. Based on the image file format compression You can reduce the image size up to 5x depending on what editing software you use.

WPBeginner only uses JPEG or PNG images

You might now be asking: What’s the difference?

You can do it! PNGImage format is not compressed. Uncompressed images will have more detail and higher quality than those that are compressed. It’s also larger in file size so it takes longer for it to load.

JPEG, On the other hand, a compressed file format is one that slightly reduces image quality but is significantly smaller in size.

How do we choose the right image format?

  • JPEG is used if the photo or image contains many different colors.
  • We use PNG if we need transparent images or a simple image.

Most of our images can be downloaded as JPEGs.

Below is a comparison table of file sizes and compression tools that could have been used to create the Strange Loop image.

Image speed chart

The chart shows that the image format you choose can have a huge impact on website performance.

For details on exactly how to optimize your images using Photoshop and other popular editing tools, without sacrificing quality.

WordPress Performance Optimization Best Practices

After optimizing your images and installing caching plugins, you’ll notice a quicker loading site.

These best practices will make your website as fast and efficient as possible.

These tips are not based on programming skills. These tips can help you avoid common problems that can slow down your website.

Keep Your WordPress Site Updated

Keep WordPress updated

WordPress is an open-source project that is regularly updated. Every update will bring new features and fix bugs. Regular updates may be available for your WordPress plugins and themes.

It is your responsibility as a website owner to ensure that your WordPress theme, plugins, and site are up-to-date. You could make your site unreliable and slow, or expose you to security threats.

For more details on the importance of updates, see our article on why you should always use the latest WordPress version.

Optimize Background Processes

Background processes in WordPress are tasks that are run in the background of your WordPress website. Here are some background tasks that can be run on a WordPress website:

  • WordPress Backup plugin tasks
  • WordPress cron jobs to publish posts scheduled
  • cron jobs for checking for updates
  • Search engines and crawlers that attempt to retrieve content

Website performance is not affected by tasks like cron jobs to schedule posts and updates.

Websites can be hampered by background processes such as backup plugins or excessive crawling by a search engine.

For backup plugins, you need to make sure that your WordPress backup plugin only runs during low traffic time on your website. It is also important to set the backup frequency and the data to be backed up.

If you create a daily backup and only publish new content once a week, you will need to adjust this.

We recommend SaaS solutions for more frequent backups and real-time backups. This will not tax your server.

You should also monitor your Google Search console crawl reports. Your website may become unresponsive or slow down if you have frequent crawls that end up in errors.

Use Excerpts on Homepage and Archives

Using excerpts

WordPress defaults to showing the entire content of every article on your homepage or archives. Your homepage, categories, tags, and other archive pages will load slower.

The downside to displaying full articles on these pages? Users don’t feel the necessity to go to the article. This could reduce page views and decrease the time users spend on your website.

You can make your archive pages load faster by displaying excerpts rather than the entire content.

Navigate to settings >> ReadingSelect “For each article within a feed, show the summary” instead of “Full text.”

Display excerpts instead of full text to boost WordPress speed

Split Comments into Pages

Paginate comments

Getting lots of comments on your blog posts? Congratulations! This is a great sign that your audience is engaged.

However, the downside is that loading all these comments can slow down your site.

WordPress has a solution built-in for this. Go to settings >> DiscussionCheck the box next to the “Break Comments into Pages” option.

Break comments in pages

Use a Content Delivery Network (CDN)

We mentioned that different users may experience different loading times when they visit your site from different locations.

That’s because the location of your web hosting servers can have an impact on your site speed.

Let’s take, for example, that your web hosting company has its servers located in the United States. Visitors who are also located in the United States will typically experience faster loading times than visitors from India.

A Content Delivery Network (CDN) can speed up the loading time for all your visitors.

A CDN is a network of servers located all over the globe. Every server will have “static” files that are used to build your website.

These static files contain unchanging files like images, CSS and JavaScript. They are not your WordPress pages, which are dynamic as described above.

A CDN allows users to be served static files from the closest server every time they visit your site. The CDN does a lot of work so your web hosting server will be much faster.

Don’t Upload Audio/Video Files Directly to WordPress

Use video hosting services like YouTube

You can upload audio and video files directly to your WordPress site and it will display them in an HTML5 Player…

This is a mistake!

Hosting audio or video will increase your bandwidth. Your web hosting company could charge you overage fees or even close down your site, even though your plan provides unlimited bandwidth.

Hosting large media files also increases your backup sizes tremendously, and makes it difficult for you to restore WordPress from backup.

Instead, you should use an audio and video hosting service like YouTube, Vimeo, DailyMotion, SoundCloud, etc., and let them take care of the hard work. They have the bandwidth to do it!

WordPress comes with a built-in embed video feature. You can simply copy and paste the URL of your video into WordPress and it will embed automatically.

We recommend Blubrry’s podcast hosting service for podcast websites made with WordPress. It offers the best performance and reliability.

Use a Theme Optimized For Speed

Choose a theme optimized for speed

Speed optimization is a key consideration when choosing a theme for your site. Poorly coded themes can cause your website to be slow.

It is better to stick with a simple theme than with complicated layouts and flashy animations. You can always add these features to your WordPress site using high-quality WordPress plugins.

StudioPress, Themify, and CSSIgniter are premium WordPress theme shops that offer high-quality themes. They are also optimized for speed.

Use Faster Plugins

Choose faster plugins for your website

Poorly coded WordPress plug-ins can load excessive bloat, regardless of whether your site requires it. This can slow down your site and increase page load speed.

To help you choose the best plugins, we often publish our expert pick of best WordPress plugin showcases. We place great emphasis on ease-of-use, user experience, as well as performance.

Here are our top picks for WordPress plugin categories.

  • WPForms – Fastest and most beginner-friendly contact form plugin for WordPress.WordPress speedup
  • All in One SEO – Powerful WordPress SEO plugin that puts extra emphasis on website performance to help you get higher SEO rankings.
  • MonsterInsights – Best Google analytics plugin for WordPress that doesn’t slow down your site. You can even load gtag.js locally for faster Google Core Web Vitals scores.
  • Shared Counts – Social media plugins load additional scripts and not so gracefully. One of the fastest Social media plugins on WordPress is Shared Counts.
  • SeedProd – drag & drop WordPress landing page plugin that helps you build blazing fast landing pages.WordPress speedup

You can also run your own tests, in addition to our recommendations. To compare the impact of a plugin on performance, you can run speed tests prior to and after it has been installed.

Fine-Tuning WordPress for Speed (Advanced)WordPress speedup

You should notice a significant improvement in the loading time of your website if you follow the WordPress optimization best practices.WordPress speedup

Every second matters. You will need to make some more adjustments if you want to achieve the fastest possible speed.WordPress speedup

The following tips are a little more technical, with some requiring you to modify your site files or have a basic understanding of PHP. You’ll want to make sure to backup your site first just in case.

Split Long Posts into Pages

Split long posts in pages

Blog posts that are more detailed and longer-lasting will be appreciated by readers. Search engines rank longer posts higher than shorter ones.

However, if you publish long-form articles that contain lots of images it can slow down your loading times.

Consider splitting longer posts into several pages.WordPress speedup

WordPress has built-in functionality for this. Add<!––nextpage––>a tag to your article that you wish to split into the next webpage. If you wish to split the article on the next page, repeat the process.

Reduce External HTTP Requests

Reduce cross-domain HTTP requests

Many WordPress themes and plugins can load files from different websites. These files may include stylesheets, scripts, images, and scripts from other websites like Google, Facebook and analytics services.

You can use some of these files. These files are optimized to load quickly, so they’re faster than hosting them on your website.

However, if plugins make a lot of requests to your site, it can slow down your website.WordPress speedup

All external HTTP requests can be reduced by disabling scripts or styles or merging them in one file.

Reduce Database Calls

Reduce database calls

Note: This step is a little more technical and will require basic knowledge of PHP and WordPress template files.

There are many poorly coded WordPress themes. These themes ignore WordPress standards and make direct database calls or send too many requests to the database. This can cause your server to be slow and make it do too much.

Even themes that are well-coded can contain code that calls databases to retrieve basic information about your blog.WordPress speedup

In this example, every time you see <?ph , that's the start of a new database call:

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<html xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml" dir="<?php language_attributes(); ?>">
<head profile="http://gmpg.org/xfn/11">
<meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="<?php bloginfo('html_type'); ?>
charset=<?php bloginfo('charset'); ?>" />

Theme developers are not to blame for this. They have no other option but to determine what language your site is written in.

But if you are customizing your site using a child theme, then you can replace these database calls with your specific information in order to reduce all those database calls.

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<html xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml" dir="ltr">
<head profile="http://gmpg.org/xfn/11">
<meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html; charset=UTF-8" />

Review your parent theme. Static information can easily be replaced.

Optimize WordPress Database

WordPress database optimization

Your database will accumulate a lot of unnecessary information after you have used WordPress for some time. Optimizing your database can improve performance by getting rid of unnecessary information.

This can be easily managed with the WP-Sweep plugin. This plugin allows you to clear your WordPress database by deleting trashed posts and revisions. You can also optimize the structure of your database with just one click.

Limit Post Revisions

Limit post revisions in WordPress

Post revisions take up space in your WordPress database. Some users believe that plugins may also be affected by revisions. If the plugin does not exclude post revisions, it could slow down your site by unnecessarily searching for them.

WordPress can limit how many revisions it keeps per article. This line of code can be added to your wpconfig.php file.

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define( 'WP_POST_REVISIONS', 4 );

This code will restrict WordPress from saving the last four revisions of any post or page. It will automatically discard older revisions.

Disable Hotlinking and Leaching of Your Content

Prevent image theft in WordPress

You can’t create quality content on WordPress sites if you don’t do your best.

This happens when other websites display your images from your URLs on your site, rather than uploading them to their servers. They are effectively stealing your web hosting bandwidth and you don’t get any traffic.

Simply add this code to your .htaccess file to block the hotlinking of images from your WordPress site.

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#disable hotlinking of images with forbidden or custom image option
RewriteEngine on
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^$
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^http(s)?://(www\.)?itheaven.net [NC]
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^http(s)?://(www\.)?google.com [NC]
RewriteRule \.(jpg|jpeg|png|gif)$ – [NC,F,L]

Notice: Make sure to replace itheaven.net with your domain.

Some content scraping websites automatically create posts by stealing your content from your RSS feed. You can check out our guide on preventing blog content scraping in WordPress for ways to deal with automated content theft.

Use Lazy Loading if Needed

Use lazy loading in WordPress

Lazy loading is a great option for sites that have many images, multiple video embeds, and galleries.

Lazy loading allows you to download only the images and videos that are visible on your screen, instead of downloading all of them at once. It replaces any embedded images or videos with a placeholder.

Your website loads images as a user scrolls lower. You can lazy load images and videos as well as WordPress comments and Gravatars.

For images, iframes, and videos, you can use the Lazy Load by WP Rocket plugin.

Use DNS Level Website Firewall

Use DNS level firewall

A WordPress firewall plugin can help you protect yourself from hacking attempts and brute force attacks. But not all firewall plugins work the same.

Some of these are installed on your website. This means that attackers can already reach your web server without blocking it. While this is effective for security purposes, it is not ideal for performance.

We recommend that you use a DNS-level firewall such as Sucuri or Cloudflare. These firewalls can block malicious requests before they reach your site.

Fix HTTPS/SSL Errors without Plugin

Using inspect tool to fix mixed content error

You may encounter mixed content issues when you switch your site to HTTPS/SSL.

The easiest way to fix this is by installing a plugin like Really Simple SSL. These plugins will catch all URLs and then convert them to HTTPS before they are sent to users’ browsers.

This can have a noticeable impact on performance. This can be reduced by manually fixing all URLs.

Use Latest PHP Version

WordPress is written primarily in the PHP programming language. It is a server-side language which means that it is installed on your hosting server and runs.

The most stable PHP version is used by all good WordPress hosting companies. It is possible, however, that your hosting company uses an older PHP version.

PHP 7 is now two times faster than its predecessors. This is a significant performance boost for websites.

You can see which PHP version your site is using by installing and activating the Version Info plugin.

Activation will display your PHP version in your WordPress admin dashboard’s footer.

PHP version in WordPress admin dashboard

Ask your hosting provider to upgrade your site to PHP 7. If they are unable to do so, then it is time to find a new WordPress hosting company.

That’s all! This article should have helped you improve WordPress speed and performance.

These techniques are easy to try. These best practices should be tested to ensure your website is running smoothly before and after you implement them. These changes will increase your WordPress performance.

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