Why should you speed up WordPress?
1.Search engines (like Google) rank websites with fast-loading times higher than the slow-loading ones. So, if you want to improve your position in the SERPs, improving speed should be one of your priorities.
2.Studies have shown that site-loading speed of more than 2 seconds usually results in about 47 percent of visitors bouncing off the website. So, to keep about half of your visitors interested, you should speed up your WordPress.
3.Online buyers are the most impatient lot; they expect the page to load within a second. So, if you are running an e-commerce store on WordPress then you better get ready to make major improvements so your business can be more profitable.
Test the loading time of your website :
The homepage of a website is usually used as a benchmark to test the load time. In order to check the speed of a website, the following three tools are used extensively across the web:
1.Hosting of your WordPress website
Shared hosting tends to deliver a poorer performance because you are sharing the same server space with countless other websites, and there is no telling how much resources others are using. Plus, you don’t know exactly how well the servers are optimized.
you can buy dedicated cloud servers from SiteGround, DigitalOcean, Amazon Web Services, and even Google Compute Engine at a nominal price. However, setting those servers up can be a daunting task as you are required to set servers up from scratch.
There are web hosting providers like Cloudways who make the task of setting up optimized cloud servers as easy as click and launch.
The people who visit your website belong to various locations in the world, and needless to say, the site-loading speed will differ if the visitors are located far away from where your site is hosted.
There are many CDN (Content Delivery Networks) that help in keeping the site-loading speed to a minimum for visitors from various countries.
A CDN keeps a copy of your website in various datacenters located in different places.
The primary function of a CDN is to serve the webpage to a visitor from the nearest possible location.
Cloudflare and MaxCDN are among the most popular CDN services.
3.Use lightweight WordPress theme
WordPress themes with a lot of dynamic elements, sliders, widgets, social icons and many more shiny elements are immensely appealing to the eye.
But remember this: if they have too many elements and higher page sizes, then they will definitely cause your web server to take a thumping.
The best option here is to use lightweight themes, like WordPress’ default themes.The new Twenty Fifteen theme is always a good way to start off a blog.
For a feature-rich website, you can also opt for a theme that uses a good framework like Bootstrap or Foundation. For instance, all themes at ThemeIsle are built on top of Bootstrap, which provides a great way to speed up WordPress.
4.Reduce image sizes
There are plugins available for just about everything you can think of, including image optimization. The ones worth mentioning are:
Using any of the above mentioned plugins on your WordPress site will drastically reduce image sizes, thus improving the speed of your website.
5.Minify JS and CSS files
If you run your website through Google PageSpeed Insights tool, you will probably be notified about minimizing the size of your CSS and JS files. What this means is that by reducing the number of CSS and JS calls and the size of those files, you can improve the site-loading speed.
Also, if you know your way around WordPress themes, you can study the guides provided by Google and do some manual fixing. If not, then there are plugins that will help you achieve this goal; the most popular being the Autoptimize that can help in optimizing CSS, JS and even HTML of your WordPress website.
6.Use advanced caching mechanisms with a caching plugin
WordPress caching plugins (e.g. W3 Total Cache) have been there for a long time, making the complex tasks of adding caching rules to your website elements easier. Combining such plug-ins with advanced caching mechanisms like Varnish could help you better the loading-speed of your website and ultimately speed up WordPress considerably.
7.Enable GZIP compression
Compressing files on your local computer can save a lot of disk space. Similarly, for the web, we can use GZIP compression. This maneuver will dramatically reduce the bandwidth usage and the time it takes to gain access to your website. GZIP compresses various files so that whenever a visitor tries to access your website; their browser will first have to unzip the website. This process brings down the bandwidth usage to a considerable extent.
You can use either a plugin like the GZip Ninja Speed Optimization
8.Cleanup WordPress database
Deleting unwanted data from your database will keep its size to a minimum and also helps in reducing the size of your backups.
It is also necessary to delete spam comments, fake users, old drafts of your content and maybe even unwanted plugins as well as themes.
All of this will reduce the size of your databases and web files, and thus speed up WordPress – your WordPress.
It is better to get rid of the plugins that you don’t use, and also look for alternate methods to use third-party services for automating or scheduling tasks (like sharing of your latest posts to social media).
IFTTT or Zapier are two web services that help in automating such tasks and reduce the burden on your website and server resources.
10.usage of external scripts
The usage of external scripts on your web pages adds a big chunk of data to your total loading time.
Thus, it is best to use a low number of scripts, including only the essentials such as tracking tools (like Google Analytics) or commenting systems (like Disqus).
11.Disable pingbacks and trackbacks
Pingbacks and trackbacks are two core WordPress components that alert you whenever your blog or page receives a link.
It might sound useful, but you also have things such as Google Webmaster Tools and other services to check the links of your website.
Keeping pingbacks and trackbacks on can also put an undesirable amount of strain on your server resources.
This is so because whenever anyone tries to link up to your site, it generates requests from WordPress back and forth. This functionality is also widely abused when targeting a website with DDoS attacks.
12.Optimize your homepage to load quickly
This isn’t one thing but really a few easy things that you can do to ensure that your homepage loads quickly, which probably is the most important part of your site because people will be landing there the most often.
Things that you can do include:
Show excerpts instead of full posts
Reduce the number of posts on the page (I like showing between 5-7)
Remove unnecessary sharing widgets from the home page (include them only in posts)
Remove inactive plugins and widgets that you don’t need
Keep in minimal! Readers are here for content, not 8,000 widgets on the homepage
Overall, a clean and focused homepage design will help your page not only look good, but load quicker as well.
13.Optimize your WordPress database
You can simply use the WP-Optimize plugin, which I run on all of my sites.
This plugin lets you do just one simple task: optimize the your database (spam, post revisions, drafts, tables, etc.) to reduce their overhead.
I would also recommend the WP-DB Manager plugin, which can schedule dates for database optimization.
14.Add LazyLoad to your images
LazyLoad is the process of having only only the images above the fold load (i.e. only the images visible in the visitor’s browser window), then, when reader scrolls down, the other images begin to load, just before they come into view.
This will not only speed you page loads, it can also save bandwidth by loading less data for users who don’t scroll all the way down on your pages.
To do this automatically, install the jQuery Image Lazy Load plugin.