10 Ways to Speed up Your WordPress Web Site

10 Ways to Speed up Your WordPress Web Site

  1. Choosing a good hosting service can be quite tricky unless you have experience or advanced knowledge of the subject. Shared hosting should only be an option if you have numerous sites that you rarely use. At an average of $4 per month. VPS is the way to go. They give you more resources and usually offer additional tools and services like automatic updates, mobile site customization apps, backups and more. At an average rate of $25 and up per month, Virtual Private Servers are still very affordable. Dedicated hosting is typically used by webmasters with experience in server technologies or by websites with enormously high traffic. So if you have a hugely popular site that needs dedicated servers, and do not understand the tech behind it, you may want to hire someone else who does. Managed WordPress hosting can be a good way to go.   
  2. Choose a Lightweight Theme. If not, you should consider switching to one. Unlike premium themes that offer many features – most of which you probably don’t use or need – and unnecessarily load too many scripts and styles, lightweight themes come with only the basic features that you need, making them faster than premium themes. You can use various free plugins to optimize your site speed but you won’t see results if your theme is not fast to begin with.   
  3. Reduce Image File Sizes. Images take up a lot of space in your wp-content folder and consequently lower your site speed. That’s why it is always a good idea to compress all your images. Plugins like EWWW Image Optimizer and Compress JPEG & PNG Images reduce image file size without losing too much quality. For example, the latter plugin compresses image file sizes by 40-60 percent for JPEGs and 50-80 percent for PNGs without a visible loss in quality. 
  4. Add Lazy Load to Images. Lazy Load is a tool that can drastically speed up any image heavy site. What it essentially does is force images to load only when they are in a reader’s view, so above the fold. Here are a few popular versions that’ll get the job done with minimal effort from your part: Lazy Load: Straightforward and easy to use. Just install, activate and you’re good to go. A no-brainer for anyone’s site. Rocket Lazy Load: A lightweight plugin with a tiny script (less than 2 KB!). Unveil Lazy Load: More lightweight than Rocket Lazy Load with an even smaller script (0.5 KB). Image Lazy Load: More lightweight version of Lazy load. It does give you more options and has settings for lazy loading images on mobile. 
  5. Use a Caching Plugin is arguably the best way to speed up your site and improve performance.
    A cache is a place where data is temporarily stored. So when you visit a website for the first time, your browser caches active data to quicken the loading speed. When you later revisit the site, your browser will have a large portion of the site’s files stored within its cache, meaning the site will load faster since your browser doesn’t need to collect many files. What caching plugins do is save an HTML copy of a website for a specific time period. The plugin then serves these files from the cache (as opposed to getting the server to process it). WP Super Cache (free), W3 Total Cache and WP Rocket are three recommended plugins to do so. 
  6. Use a Content Delivery Network (CDN) enable you to host images off your server in order to decrease your image load times. They are also helpful in storage and potential migration of your site to a new host. What a CDN does is store requested files – cached static content – close to a visitor’s geographic location. So if your website is hosted in the USA, and a user accesses your site in UK, they may receive your site images from a data center in Islamabad. Similarly, even with your site being hosted in the US, if a user in London accesses your site, they may receive your images from a data center within the UK. In this way, transfer times, hops and other processing parameters are decreased, resulting in a much faster site. Amazon Cloudfront, MaxCDN and CloudFlare are among the best CDN services you can use. 
  7. Minify JS and CSS files. Your website has numerous HTML, CSS and JavaScript files to load. Those files are written by humans, to be read by humans, so they include extra blank spaces, characters, comments and formatting that servers do not need. You therefore need to clean them up so servers can read them quickly. You can use CSS Minifier and JavaScript Minifier – both are free online tools –  to remove the unnecessary spacing, lines, comments and formatting. Simply copy and paste the code you want to minify and you’ll receive a minified version to paste back into your site. There are quite a few reliable plugins that do not require you to tamper with the settings. Better WordPress Minify, WP Super Minify and AssetsMinify are free plugins that’ll do the job for you. 
  8. Clean up Your WP Database hoards a lot of data from inactive plugins to revisions to spam and trashed comments. Getting rid of this unnecessary data can greatly reduce the size of your database and consequently speed up your site and improve performance. WP-Sweep is by far the most popular and effective plugin for cleaning up a WordPress database. It is also quite straightforward to use. Once activated, go to Tools > Sweep and the plugin will begin analyzing your database. It will provide a report of different sections/components of your site that need to be cleaned. You have the option of cleaning individual items or sweeping everything up at once.
  9. Optimize Your homepage is arguably the most important part of your site since it serves as the main landing page. And optimizing it to load faster doesn’t require much effort on your part. Here are a few things you can do to increase the loading speed of your homepage: Limit the number of posts on the page. Don’t show full posts; show excerpts instead. Sharing widgets (i.e. Facebook, Twitter, Google+, etc. share buttons) should only be included in posts. Remove inactive plugins and widgets. Remove all other unnecessary content and elements from the page. The rule of thumb is to keep your homepage as clean and minimal as possible. It will look good and load faster as well.
  10. Deactivate Hotlinking, You may unfortunately be victim to content leeching or theft, other sites may be serving images from your site instead of uploading them on their own servers. In doing so, they steal your bandwidth and you don’t benefit from any of the traffic they generate. This is called hotlinking. The good news is that you can prevent this by adding some code to your .htaccess file. This article from JavaScript Kit takes you through the steps on how to get it done. 

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One Response

  1. Jim 26th January 2017

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