Improve WordPress Speed is the common question to every WordPress users. Fast loading pages improve the user experience, increase your page views, and help your SEO WordPress. In this article, we’ll share the most useful WordPress speed optimization tips to boost WordPress performance and speed up your site.
Unlike other lists of “X best WordPress caching plugin” or generic “X tips to speed up WordPress” tutorials, this article is a comprehensive guide to WordPress performance optimization.
We’ve included everything from why speed is important, which slows down your WordPress website for possible steps you can take to improve your WordPress speed right away.
Why speed is important to your WordPress site?
Studies show that, from 2000 to 2017, the average range of human attention fell from 12 seconds to 7 seconds.
What does this mean for you as a site owner?
You have very little time to show users your content and persuade them to stay on your site.
A slow website means that users will potentially leave your site before they even load.
According to a Strange-loop case study that involved Amazon, Google and other larger sites, a 1-second delay in page load time can lead to a 7% loss in conversions, 11% less page-views and one 16% decrease in customer satisfaction.
In addition, Google and other search engines have already begun to penalize slower sites by pushing them into search results, which means less traffic to slow sites.
To summarize, if you want more traffic, subscribers and recipes from your website, then you should make your WordPress website fast!
How to improve WordPress speed
Table of Contents:
- How to check WordPress Speed.
- What slows down your WordPress Website.
- Importance of Good WordPress Hosting.
- Improve WordPress Speed (Easy Steps).
- Keep update your wordpress.
- Use excerpts from the home page and files.
- Split comments into pages.
- Use a content delivery network (CDN).
- Do not upload videos directly to WordPress.
- Use a theme optimized for speed.
- Use a faster slider plugin.
- Use a faster gallery plugin.
- Reduce external HTTP requests.
- Reduce database calls.
- Optimize the WordPress database.
- Post Review Limit.
- Disable Hotlinking and Leaching of Your Content.
Often beginners think that your site is correct just because it does not feel slow on your computer. This is a big mistake.
As you frequently visit your own site, modern browsers such as Chrome store your site in cache and automatically anticipate it as soon as you start typing an address. This causes your site to load almost instantly.
However, a regular user who is visiting your site for the first time may not have the same experience.
In fact, users in different geographic locations will have a completely different experience.
That’s why we recommend you test the speed of your site using a tool like Pingdom.
It is a free online tool that allows you to test the speed of your site in different locations.
After running the speed test of your website, you may be wondering what is a good website speed that I should aim for?
A good page load time is less than 2 seconds.
However, the faster you achieve it, the better off it will be. A few milliseconds of improvements here and there can add up to half or even a second integer of your load time.
Your speed test report will likely have several recommendations for improvement. However, most of this is technical jargon, which is difficult for beginners to understand.
However, understanding what slows down your site is key to improving performance and making smarter decisions in the long run.
The main causes of a slow WordPress site are:
- Web Hosting – When your web hosting server is not set up properly, it can detract from the speed of your website. I recommend 3CLOUDS HOSTING is pretty awesome with WordPress.
- WordPress Configuration – If your WordPress site is not serving cached pages, it will overload your server, causing your site to be slow or to fail completely.
- Page size – Mostly images that are not optimized for the web.
- Bad Plugins – If you are using a poorly encoded plugin, then you can significantly decrease your site.
- External Scripts – External scripts such as ads, font loaders, etc. can also have a huge impact on your site’s performance.
Now that you know what slows down your WordPress website, let’s see how to speed up your WordPress website.
Your WordPress hosting service plays an important role in website performance. A good shared hosting provider, such as 3CLOUDS, BlueHost or Siteground takes the extra steps to optimize your website for performance.
However, in shared hosting you share server resources with many other clients. This means that if your neighbor site receives a lot of traffic, this can impact the overall performance of the server, which in turn will slow down your site.
On the other hand, using a managed WordPress hosting service gives you the most optimized server settings to run WordPress. WordPress managed hosting companies also offer automatic backups, automatic WordPress updates, and more advanced security settings to protect your site.
We recommend WPEngine as our managed WordPress hosting provider. They are also the most popular in the industry.
We know that making changes to your site’s configuration can be a terrible thought for beginners, especially if you’re not a techie-geek.
But do not worry, you’re not alone. We’ve helped thousands of WordPress users improve their WordPress performance.
Let us show you how you can speed up your WordPress website with just a few clicks (no coding required).
If you can point and click, you can do it!
WordPress pages are “dynamic”. This means that they are created whenever someone visits a post or page on your site. To build your pages, WordPress must run a process to find the information you need, put it together, and then display it to your user.
This process involves many steps, and can actually slow down your site when you have several people visiting your site in one go.
That’s why we recommend that each WordPress site use a cache plugin. The cache can make your WordPress site anywhere from 2x to 5x faster.
Here’s how it works: instead of going through the entire page generation process every time, your cache plugin makes a copy of the page after the first load and then serves that cached version for each subsequent user.
As you can see in the graphics above, when a user visits your WordPress site which is created using PHP, your server retrieves information from a MySQL database and its PHP files and then it is all gathered into an HTML content which is served serviced to the user. It’s a long process, but you can skip a lot when using caching instead.
There are many cache plugins available for WordPress, but we recommend using the WP Super Cache plugin. Check out our step-by-step guide on installing and configuring WP Super Cache on your WordPress site. It’s not difficult to set up, and your visitors will notice the difference.
Note: If you are using a managed WordPress hosting provider then you do not need a cache plugin because they take care of it for you.
Images bring life to your content and help stimulate engagement. The researchers found that using color images makes people 80% more likely to read their content.
But if your images are not optimized, they may be hurting more than helping. In fact, non-optimized images are one of the most common speed issues we see on start-up websites.
Before sending a photo directly from your phone or camera, we recommend that you use photo editing software to optimize your images for the web.
In their original formats, these photos can have huge file sizes. But based on the image file format and the compression you choose in your editing software, you can decrease the image size by up to 5x.
In WPBeginner, we use only two image formats: JPEG and PNG.
Now you may be wondering: what’s the difference?
Well, the format image PNG is unpacked. When you compress an image, you lose some information, so an uncompressed image will be of higher quality in more detail. The downside is that it is a larger file size, so it takes longer to load.
JPEG , on the other hand, is a compressed file format that slightly reduces image quality but is significantly smaller in size.
So how do we decide which image format to choose?
- If our photo or image has many different colors, we use JPEG.
- If it’s a simpler image or we need a transparent image, then we use PNG.
Most of our images are JPEG.
Below is a comparison chart of file sizes and different compression tool that we could have used for the StrangeLoop image used above.
As you can see on the chart, the image format you use can make a HUGE difference in the performance of your site.
For details on exactly how to optimize your images using Photoshop and other popular editing tools without sacrificing quality, see our step-by-step guide on how to save optimized images to the web.
After installing a cache plugin and optimizing your images, you’ll notice that your site will start loading much faster.
But if you want to keep your site as fast as possible, you will need to use the best practices listed below.
These tips are not very technical, so you do not need to know any code to implement them. But using them will prevent common problems that will detract from your site.
As a well-maintained open source project, WordPress is updated frequently. Each update will not only offer new features, but will also fix security issues and errors. Your WordPress theme and plugins may also have regular updates.
As a website owner, it is your responsibility to keep your site, theme, and WordPress plugins up to date on the latest versions. Failure to do so can make your site slow and unreliable, and make it vulnerable to security threats.
For more details on the importance of updates, see our article on why you should always use the latest version of WordPress.
By default, WordPress displays the full content of each article on your homepage and files. This means that your home page, categories, tags, and other archive pages will all be loaded more slowly.
Another disadvantage of displaying full articles on these pages is that users do not feel the need to visit the current article. This can reduce your page views and the time your users spend on your site.
To speed up loading times for file pages, you can configure your site to display snippets instead of full content.
You can navigate to Settings »Read and select” For each article in a feed, show: Summary “instead of” Full Text “.
For more details on the pros and cons of displaying abstracts, see our article on full publication and abstract (excerpt) on your WordPress archive pages.
Receiving many comments on blog posts? Congratulations! This is a great indicator of an engaged audience.
But the downside is that loading all these comments can affect the speed of your website.
WordPress comes with an integrated solution for this. Just go to Settings »Discussion and check the box next to the” Break comments on pages “option.
For more detailed instructions, see our guide on paging comments in WordPress.
Remember how we mentioned above that users in different geographic locations may have different loading times on your site?
This is because the location of your web hosting servers can affect the speed of your website. For example, let’s say that your web hosting company has its servers in the United States. A visitor who is also in the United States will generally see loading times faster than a visitor in India.
Using a CDN, or Content Delivery Network, can help speed loading time for all visitors.
When you use a CDN, every time a user visits your site, they are serviced by those static files from any server that is closest to them. Your own hosting server will also be faster, since the CDN is doing a lot of work.
You can see how this works in this infograph.
We use MaxCDN in all our projects, including here in WPBeginner. Works well with WordPress sites and complements your existing WordPress cache plugins for even faster loading times. See our guide on how to install and configure the WordPress MaxCDN CDD solution to get started.
You can upload videos directly to your WordPress website, and automatically display them in an HTML5 player …
But you should never do it!
Hosting videos will cost you bandwidth. You can charge excess fees for your web hosting company, or they may even shut down your site, even if your plan includes “unlimited” broadband.
Hosting videos also greatly increase your backup sizes and make it difficult to restore WordPress from backup.
Instead, you should use a video hosting service like YouTube, Vimeo, DailyMotion, etc., and let them take care of the hard work. They have the bandwidth for this!
WordPress has an embedded video embedded feature so you can copy and paste the URL of your video directly into your post and it will be automatically embedded.
Learn more about how it works in our guide to embedting videos in WordPress.
When selecting a WordPress theme for your website, it is important to pay special attention to speed up the optimization. Some beautiful, striking-looking themes are poorly encoded and can slow down your site.
It’s usually best to go with a simpler theme and use quality plugins to get the features you need, plus choose a bloated theme with complex layouts, flashy animations, and other unnecessary features.
WordPress’s premium theme stores, such as the StudioPress, Themify, and Array themes, offer well-encoded themes optimized for speed. You can also check out our article on selecting the perfect WordPress theme for advice on what to look for.
Before activating your new theme, see our guide on how to properly change your WordPress theme for a smooth transition.
Sliders are another common web design element that can make your site sluggish.
Even if your images are optimized as described above, a poorly encoded slider plugin will mean that all your work is wasted.
We compared the best WordPress slider plugins for performance and features, and Soliloquy was the fastest by far.
See how it compares to other popular slider plugins.
|Plug-in Slider||Page load time||requests for||Page size|
|Soliloquy||1.34 seconds||26||945 KB|
|Nivo Slider||2.12 seconds||29||1 MB|
|Meteor||2,32 seconds||27||1.2 MB|
|Revolution Slider||2.25 seconds||29||1 MB|
|LayerSlider||2.12 seconds||30||975 KB|
If you have a photo site or portfolio, then you probably want to use an image gallery plugin to view your photos.
It’s really important that you use a WordPress gallery plugin optimized for speed.
We recommend using Envira Gallery, which is the best WordPress gallery plugin on the market. It allows you to create beautiful galleries of images that are fast to upload.
We tested its speed compared to some other popular galleries plugins and found that Envira Galley is almost twice as fast:
|Gallery Plugin||Page load time||requests for||Page size|
|Gallery Envira||1.08 seconds||24||1 MB|
|Foo Gallery||1.89 seconds||23||357.1KB|
|Next generation||1.88 seconds||33||518KB|
By using the best WordPress optimization practices and the basic speed tips listed above, you should see a great improvement in the loading times of your site.
But every fraction of a second counts. If you want to get the speed as fast as possible, you will need to make some more changes.
The following tips are a bit more technical, some requiring you to modify the files on your site or have a basic understanding of PHP. You’ll want to make sure you back up your site first, at least in case.
Many WordPress plugins and themes load all kinds of files from other sites. These files may include scripts, style sheets, and external resource images such as Google, Facebook, Analysis Services, and so on.
It’s okay to use some of these. Many of these files are optimized to load as fast as possible, so it’s faster than hosting them on your own website.
But if your plugins are making too many of these requests, then your website may be significantly diminished.
Note: This step is a bit more technical and will require basic knowledge of PHP and WordPress template files.
Unfortunately, there are many poorly encoded WordPress themes out there. They ignore standard WordPress practices and end up making direct database calls or many unnecessary requests to the database. This can actually slow down your server by giving a lot of work to do.
Even well coded themes may have code that makes database calls just to get the basic information from your blog.
In this example, every time you see
<?php, this is the beginning of a new database call:
You can not blame the developers of themes for this. They simply have no other way to find out in what language your website is.
But if you are customizing your website using a child theme, then you can replace those database calls with your specific information to reduce all those database calls.
Review your parent topic for instances like this that can be easily overridden by static information.
After using WordPress for a while, your database will have lots of information that you probably do not need anymore. To improve performance, you can optimize your database to get rid of all this unnecessary information.
This can be easily managed with the WP-Sweep plugin. It allows you to clean your WordPress database by deleting things like posts, revisions, unused tags, etc., as well as optimizing the structure of your database with just one click.
See our guide on optimizing and cleaning your WordPress database to improve performance.
Post reviews take up space in your WordPress database. Some users believe that revisions can also affect some database queries executed by plugins. If the plugin does not specifically exclude posting reviews, you may slow down your site by unnecessarily searching for them.
You can easily limit the number of reviews that WordPress maintains for each article. Just add this line of code to your wp-config.php file.
This code will limit WordPress to save your last 4 revisions of each publication or page and automatically discard the old revisions.
If you are creating quality content on your WordPress site, the sad truth is that it will probably be stolen sooner or later.
One way this happens is when other sites serve their images directly from their URLs on your site rather than uploading them to their own servers. In fact, they are stealing your web hosting bandwidth and you get no traffic to show.
Just add this code to your .htaccess file to block the hotlinking of images from your WordPress site.
Note: Do not forget to change ewebtips.com with your own domain.
You may also want to check out our article showing 4 ways to prevent image theft in WordPress.
Some content scraping sites automatically create posts by stealing your content from your RSS feed. You can check out our guide on preventing drafts of content in WordPress for ways to deal with the theft of automated content.
That’s it! We hope this article will help you learn some useful tricks to speed up WordPress and boost performance.
Go ahead and try some of these techniques. Be sure to test the speed of your site before and after and let us know your results in the comments.