How to Speed Up WordPress

Keeping WordPress Fast and Light

WordPress is CMS platform with many capabilities that are just amazing, especially considering it is free. But, nothing is perfect, and WordPress can also become extremely slow if not optimized correctly. In this guide you will find helpful tips on how to speed up WordPress.

1. Use a lightweight theme with clean code.

thesis

There is a theme or framework running every WordPress site, and along with that can sometimes come bloat. Every theme is coded differently and because of that some are better than others.

Avoid bloated WordPress templates

Be wary when purchasing themes on popular marketplaces such as ThemeForest. While there are a lot of great looking themes on there, you also need to realize that developers sometimes just keep adding features — such as five different slider scripts –  to generate more sales. For some users, a ready-made theme might be just perfect, but once you get into making edits and the theme level, it quickly becomes apparent that a five minute task can take fifty minutes, due to the fact that there is so much code to familiarize yourself with. Despite the rumors, it’s not easy to create an lightweight WordPress theme that fulfills the requirements of 30,000 users!

Recommended Frameworks

Using a professional WordPress framework will greatly increase the performance of your website, right out of the gate. Here are a couple of options that we recommend:
Thesis Framework
Genesis Framework

Go Custom for The Win

For websites that sell products, or have a direct impact on the bottom line, it will be worth hiring a professional to create a custom theme for your project. Contact the professional web developers at Wodu Media for more information.

2. Install a Caching Plugin

wp-rocket

Besides having clean code on your WordPress theme, using a caching plugin is probably the best “bang for the buck” in terms of speeding up your site. After years of testing and frustrating interactions with customer support teams with other options,  we recommend you use WP Rocket. It is the simplest, yet most complete solution, and the customer support is actually responsive to questions and tickets.

We Recommend WP Rocket

There are a few free and premium caching plugins including WP Super Cache and W3TC, but the far and away best caching plugin on the market at the moment is WP Rocket. This awesome product does a number of tasks very well, including:

  • Page Caching: The HTML contents of the page are compressed. Ceates an ultra-fast load time.
  • Cache Preloading: We simulate a visit to preload the cache, so it’s always fast for the next visitor.
  • GZIP Compression: To optimize the rendering of web browsers and save bandwidth, we facilitate the work of the browser (gzip compression, expires headers, etags
  • Browser Caching: With browser caching, the static contents (JS, CSS, images) are stored in the browser. When a visitor goes to another page on your website, these resources not need to be loaded again, as they are served from the ‘cache’. This means the first page load might be 1.5 seconds, but subsequent pages the user visits are faster and use less server resources.
  • LazyLoad: Images are loaded only as your visitor scrolls down the page, improving the load time of the page. So if you have 50 listings on the page, but the user can only see 10 at the top, that is all that loads. As they scroll down the other images will load. Reduces load times a lot.

3. Setup a Content Delivery Network

web-hosting

It doesn’t matter how big your WordPress install is or how much traffic your website gets, you will still benefit from implementing a Content Delivery Network (CDN). Due to the substantial price decrease seen for such services over the past few years, the benefits will very quickly;y outweighs the costs. A CDN essentially takes all of your files (CSS, Javascript, Images) and delivers them on a server closer to the visitor, which decreases the download time.  Besides speed, a CDN can also greatly affect your visitors experience by making the site that much quicker, which will decrease your bounce rate and increase time spent on your site. This leads to gains in SEO and increased conversion rates.

4. Delete Revisions From The Database

WordPress will start slowing down if you don’t keep your database tidy and optimized. There are plugins available to help keep your database clean by disabling and or limiting post revisions and deleting old revisions.

databaseWp-Optimize

To clean up and delete your WordPress revisions, you can install the free WordPress plugin WP-Optimize. WP-Optimize is an extensive WordPress database cleanup and optimization tool which doesn’t require PhpMyAdmin to clean and optimize your database tables. In the latest version of WP-Optimize, you can also setup automated cleanup on a schedule of your choosing.

5. Image Optimization

With the advent of retina screens, ultrahigh bandwidth, and non-professionals uploading images to websites, image size and weight has skyrocketed to obscene proportions. Quite often, there is no way to teach someone the finer points of Photoshop save for web, jpg compression, and removing meta data, so it’s best just to have a plugin to handle all those details on the fly as images are uploaded to WordPress. We use Optimus, which focuses on lossless compression, and does the job well with minimal setup.

6. Use Less Plugins

It’s easily done, but having dozens of plugins running on your WordPress installation is just not going to be good for performance, and can make troubleshooting bugs a real pain. Consider removing plugins that are not totally essential, and hardcoding simple functions into your theme.

7. Choose a Better Web Host

Last, but certainly not least is choosing the right web hosting provider. It can be tempting to go with one of the cheap web hosts for a couple of dollars a month, but the truth is they stack hundreds of clients onto a server and you never know when issues will pop up. Certainly, after time your website loading speed will be effected, but we have also seen numerous cases where our clients were banned from sending emails by the major ISPs (e.g., AOL), due to the fact that someone on the same server as them was sending spam. With a smaller, more controlled environment of a high-performance web host, issues such as those described are rare. And, of course, the performance is better!

Summary

We hope these tips help you speed up your WordPress website. If you have any questions, or need to hire a pro to assist with your web optimization efforts, please contact us.