How to speed up WordPress websites

No matter how fast you consider your WordPress website to be, it can always work faster. There are plenty of ways to speed up your WordPress website, and WP Full Care is here to share the best ways to accomplish this. After all, the speed of your website and page loading influence user experience, search engine ranking, website value, as well as your online traffic. So, what are some of the best ways to speed up WordPress websites – learn right here.

Start with learning the current speed of your WordPress website

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You can’t speed up WordPress websites if you don’t identify that speed first.

What is the best way to accomplish this? There are a plethora of online tools that can help you in learning the load time of your website. Some of the most commonly used are:

  1. WebPageTest.org
  2. Tools.Pingdom.com

And then, you also have PageSpeed Insights, which is not so much used to learn the load time so much as to get suggestions on the issues you need to resolve to speed it up. For example, some of the biggest influencing factors on your WordPress website speed are:

  • Page size
  • Number of requests it generates
  • Caching or not
  • The content on it (dynamic or static)

Once you go through these, you can already get a more general idea of how to speed up WordPress websites. In the meantime, here is our choice of eleven other ways to accomplish this.

11 guidelines to speed up WordPress websites

Choose the right web hosting provider

The hosting of your WP website is one of the more significant factors when it comes to speed. Most people fall for the accessibility and appeal of shared hosting providers. The promise of “unlimited” bandwidth, emails, domains, space, etc. It all sounds great in theory when the truth is that such providers fail to deliver good loading time during peak traffic hours.

The fact is that using shared hosting leads to poor website performance in most cases. In addition to the fact that you are sharing the server space with other websites, you also never know just how optimized it is. But, there is a solution, and it lies in buying dedicated cloud servers from SiteGround, DigitalOcean, Amazon Web Services, and even Google Compute Engine.

Use a lightweight WordPress theme/framework

We understand the appeal of having a flashy website, with plenty of dynamic elements. However, using WordPress themes with too many dynamic elements only add weight to page sizes, which leads to a slower website in general. So, try to keep sliders, widgets, social icons, etc. to a minimum.

Image of WP theme
Avoid complex WP themes to keep your loading speed optimal.

The optimal solution here would be to simply opt for lightweight WordPress themes from the start. Of course, if you do want a feature-rich website, you can turn to themes that use well-optimized frameworks like Bootstrap or Foundation. So long as you don’t overstuff, you shouldn’t have an issue to speed up WordPress websites.

Tend to image optimization

One of the most common issues for websites in terms of speed is oversized images. So, if you want to speed up WordPress websites with ease, you need only reduce the size of the images. However, you need to do so in a way that won’t affect the quality of the image. Using outside tools can take too long, so you might want to turn to WP plugin solutions such as:

  • Optimole
  • WP Smush
  • EWWW Image Optimizer

Another common mistake people make in regards to images is the use of outdated image formats – JPEG and PNG. JPEG 2000, JPEG XR, and WebP are image formats that have superior compression and quality characteristics in comparison to JPEG and PNG. Using these Next-Gen formats to encode your images instead of these old ones can ensure faster loading speed and a reduction in data consumption.

Minify JS and CSS files

This is among the common red flags that you get from Google Page Insight. It means that you need to eliminate a certain number of CSS and JS calls, reducing the size of those files in the process. That can directly influence the page loading speed of your WP site, along with ensuring that our Javascript and CSS is properly minimized. There are guides on how you can take care of this manually, but there are also plugins that can handle the entire process for you:

  • WP Rocket
  • Fast Velocity
  • W3 Total Cache

Use advanced caching mechanisms with a caching plugin

Adding caching rules to your website used to be complex, until the introduction of WordPress caching plugins. Combine those plugins with other caching mechanisms and you can boost your loading speed and speed up WordPress websites.

Use a Content Delivery Network (CDN)

Your website traffic will probably attract users from different countries around the world. The loading speed of your website can differ, based on the location of your website visitors. That is why using a CDN is a good idea. A CDN has the task to provide visitors with your webpage from the nearest possible location, thus reducing the site-loading speed no matter the location. It does this by keeping a copy of your website in data centers across the globe.

Enable GZIP compression

Just like you compress files to save disk space, you can do the same with your website, by using GZIP compression. This process can speed up WordPress websites by reducing bandwidth use and site access time. However, you will need to use plugins or special coding to prevent the need for visitors to unzip your website each time they try to access it.

ZIP file
Using ZIP compression can contribute to the speed of your WordPress website.

Clean up your WordPress database

You need to reduce the size of your backups if you want to keep your website lightweight and boost loading speed. Clean your website from all spam comments, fake users, old drafts, unwanted plugins, etc.

Deactivate or uninstall plugins

WordPress plugins can be quite handy, but they also pile up quickly. And with new updates and plugins coming out constantly, you need to ensure a certain level of WordPress website maintenance. So, instead of overloading your backup with a handful of plugins you no longer use or need, it’s better to rid yourself of them. You should also consider looking into alternate third-party replacements for the functions of certain plugins, to help speed up your WordPress website.

Reduce the use of external scripts

Using external scripts on your web pages affect your total loading time negatively. So, the fewer scripts there are, the faster your website will work. And the reduction of the number of external scripts should also include those for tracking tools and commenting systems.

Disable pingbacks and trackbacks

Whenever your blog or page receives a link, it is the pingbacks and trackbacks that are the core WP components that serve to alert you. However, there are things such as Google Webmaster Tools that can take care of this as well. The strain that pingbacks and trackbacks put on your server resources can be vast, which is all the more reason to disable them.

You can do this in WP-Admin -> Settings -> Discussion. Just deselect “Allow link notifications from other blogs (pingbacks and trackbacks).

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