How to Speed up your WordPress Website
Improving the speed of WordPress websites is definitely an ongoing topic. There are a variety of methods you can use to achieve this goal. Therefore, our goal is to present every trick we can think of that will improve the speed of your WordPress website.
Why is it important to speed up your WordPress website?
There are a large number of reasons that will make you want to do optimise your website, some are more important than others, however, they shouldn’t be ignored.
- Google and other search engines rank websites that load faster higher than sites that load slower. Therefore, if you wish to boost your ranking in the SERPs, improving your website speed should be your top priority.
- Studies have revealed that loading times of over 2 seconds typically result in around 47 percent of people bouncing off the site. To keep around half of your customers interested, it is recommended to increase the speed of your WordPress website.
- Customers who shop online are the most demanding of customers, they want the site to load in a matter of seconds. If you’re running an online store that is based on WordPress then you need to be prepared to make some major changes to ensure that your business will succeed.
How can you test how fast your website is?
Start off by looking at the load time of your site. Be aware that this speed can vary from page-to-page because it is influenced by many factors, such as:
- the size of this particular page
- how many requests it creates,
- whether it’s cached or not
- and the type of content it hosts, be it static or dynamic
Normally, developers focus on optimising the homepage as it’s normally the landing page for much of the traffic, keep in mind that depending on the type of website you have, you may want to optimise pages you run ads to over pages that are less important like “about us”, “contact us” or even “Homepages”. To determine whether a website loads fast or not you can use one of the many free resources on the internet, we recommend the following three:
- PageSpeed Insights (this does not really provide information about the loading speed of the page however it does identify the elements you could tweak to improve the speed of your website)
Here are some of the methods you to use to improve the speed of the WordPress website:
1. Select a more reliable web hosting service
The main factor that determines the speed of your website is the hosting you use for the WordPress website.
Many people decide to go with the most affordable shared hosting platforms. However, they often don’t realise that shared hosting platforms do not provide good loading speeds during peak traffic times, the datacenters aren’t in the home country of their website traffic, and that the uptime of the service isn’t even close to 99% in the course of the month.
Shared hosting delivers lower performance due to the fact that you share servers with numerous websites, and there is no way to know how many resources other sites are using. Furthermore, you do not know exactly how the servers are optimised.
Thankfully, the world of web hosting has grown with advancements in technology and the costs of cloud hosting services have been reduced with the passage of time.
We at London Designs offer truly optimised hosting environments for WordPress and WooCommerce that run on virtual servers set up to be in the country where your traffic is originating, running a special server stack on Nginx with multiple layers of caching such as page caching, object caching and CDN.
2. Use a light WordPress theme or framework
WordPress themes that have a large number of animated elements such as sliders, widgets, social icons, and a myriad of other glittering elements are extremely appealing to the eyes. The large number of elements causes pages to be very heavy which will definitely cause the server to load the page slower.
The best solution is to choose themes that are lightweight. One option is to opt for one of the standard WordPress themes. On the London Designs hosting platforms, you are free to use even themes such as DIVI, Elementor, and other page builders due to the amount of optimisation we have running in the background.
3. Reduce image sizes
Images are one of the culprits for large and slow-loading pages. One way to do this is to minimize the size of images, without sacrificing the quality.
There are two ways of optimising your images, you can manually optimise them one by one with the use of Photoshop or Google Page Insights or use plugin-based image compression services such as:
Optimising your images with these plugins not only increases the load time of your website but also reduces the amount of disk space your website takes up which might reduce your overall hosting cost.
4. Reduce JS as well as CSS file
One of the first things you will come across when doing speed tests is that your CSS, JS and even HTML needs to be minimized.
If you are a seasoned developer you will already be familiar with how to navigate WordPress themes and do fixes manually, however, we all know how time-consuming this is! Most of us, however, turn to free or paid plugins which do this job for us in minutes by pressing a few buttons.
Our favourite caching and compressions plugins are Swift Performance (paid and free), WP Rocket (paid), W3 Total Cache (paid and free). Most of these plugins apart from optimising JS, CSS, HTML files, they also optimise your database and declutter it, optimise your images and many others that will speed up your website speed.
5. Using a CDN
The use of a Content Delivery Network also called CDN, is mostly advisable for website owners that receive traffic from several parts of the world. There is a variety of CDN (Content Delivery Networks) that can help speed your website up, our favourite is Bunny. It’s cheaper than most of the CDN’s literally for a small to medium website $10 can last you for a couple of months if not more! Bunny CDN is also a lot faster than other CDNs we have come across so the price and performance of it make it our favourite CDN network.
6. Is GZIP compression is enabled?
In the same way, compressing files on your computer saves you lots of disk space GZIP compression can speed up your website by making. the files smaller and sending them to the client faster. This method will significantly reduce bandwidth consumption as well as the time it takes to connect to your site. GZIP compresses files so that every time a user tries to access your site, the server sends the compressed version which the browser needs to unzip. This procedure reduces bandwidth consumption to a significant amount.
Most of the caching plugins mentioned in step 4 come with GZIP compression.
7. Cleanup your website database
The removal of unwanted information from your database helps keep the size of it to a minimum and reduces the size of backups. It is also essential to remove spam comments or fake users, outdated versions of content, and perhaps even unneeded themes and plugins. This will decrease how big your databases is, which will improve the speed of WordPress and your WordPress.
8. Remove or disable plugins
Not removing plugins that you no longer use is not wise. They not only take disk space, they also still keep information in the database which in return slows your website down.
Another important aspect is to keep down the number of plugins you use, the more plugins used, the more HTTP requests are created, the more CSS/JSS files created so the more bloated and slow your website will become.
Always try to hard code improvements rather than use a plugin, especially for simply stuff like inserting code to headers and footers.
10. Reduce the use of external scripts to a minimum
The use of external scripts on your websites will significantly decrease your website’s load time. Therefore, it’s best to limit the use of scripts, focusing on the necessary ones such as tools for tracking (like Google Analytics) or commenting systems (like Disqus).
11. Turn off trackbacks and pingbacks
Trackbacks, as well as Pingbacks, form two essential WordPress components that notify you each time your website or blog receives an external link. This may sound like a good idea however, you can also use items like Google Webmaster Tools and other tools to monitor the hyperlinks on your site.
Maintaining trackbacks and pingbacks will also place an unneeded amount of stress on server resources. This is because every time someone attempts to link to your website the site generates requests from WordPress to WordPress back and forward. This feature is often exploited when targeting websites using DDoS attacks.
You can turn it all off in WP-Admin → Settings → Discussion. Just deselect “Allow link notifications from other blogs (pingbacks and trackbacks). The speed improvement might not be obvious, but it is there, it also makes your website less predisposed to hacking.
The most significant benefit of reducing the loading time of your website is that it can help greatly in enhancing the experience of your visitors. It’s the same regardless of whether they’re using smartphones or computers. In addition, it will increase your ranking in SERPs.
Need help with your WordPress website? We can help you! Check out our Website Speed Optimisation service and get yourself a faster website today.