If you want to manage and effectively run your WordPress site, you have to do it right. You might exhaustively try to get visitors to your site, and at the sight of a slow site, they are out. There are billions of other web pages out there, no one is patient or committed to a page when he or she can get the same result with other sites.
Therefore, whether you are a beginner or an experienced WordPress owner, you have to consistently ensure that your site’s speed is fast and not in any way slow.
With sufficient knowledge and experience in WordPress websites, comprehensive and detailed content has been created for your learning and understanding. Contents ranging from the importance of speeding up your site, to the different types of sites we have, and numerous ways we can speed up WordPress sites.
We advise that you read through this content carefully and understand the in-depth need to speed up your site performance. This guide is detailed and has been simplified for your understanding.
Also, a table of content has been created for your convenience.
Table of Contents
The need to speed up your WordPress site
It is of utmost importance for you as a beginner or a long-term owner, to ensure that your site speed is highly optimized. Apart from checking on the site’s content, all of which would come to a notch if your visitors do not have access to your site quickly.
It’s innate as humans to skip or move out of a site because it is slow to respond or does not load its web page faster.
So there are three basic reasons why it’s important to speed up your site. This has been put in a listed form to aid your understanding.
- A better site’s speed helps keep your visitors. One thing is to attract them, and the other is to make them stay on your site for at least an average time range. According to a study perpetuated by Unbounce, it revealed that users would prefer a site with faster speed than having videos or animation on the site.
- Having a speedy site is a plus because it also optimizes your conversion and bounce rate alongside. The faster the speed, the more impressive visitors who are in turn happy to use your website.
- A site with a better speed performance is now a ranking factor on Google. So, if you are looking at optimizing your page and getting a better search rank, a slow site would do you no good.
The different forms of WordPress sites
The truth is there are different forms in which a WordPress site can take on, and the basic ways of optimizing the speed performance are also quite distinct.
WordPress is an avenue for numerous individuals to own a website online. It’s quite easy to create a website on WordPress because it requires little to no coding. And websites created on WordPress can be used for blogging, business, e-commerce, non-profit websites, personal websites, and a host of others.
A site on WordPress can be;
- Slow to data changes. Therefore, these sites have little to average visitors daily and the data of such sites is not liable to a major change. Examples of sites like this are personal blogs, photography sites, etc.
- Prone to major data changes constantly. This involves some major sites that receive visitors heavily every day and these visitors can spend up to hours on that site e.g an online class.
Although the level of work you put in and experience determines the form of your site, following the preceding discussions. And this also defines the level of work you have to put in optimizing your site’s speed performance. For a site low to data changes, it can be assumed that the site would not require that much rigor compared to one that occupies so many visitors at the same time and is liable to major data changes on the site.
So first, figure out where your site lies, that is (i) or (ii). This would make it easier for you. And if you’re unsure of where your site lies, make every option on how to speed up your WordPress site plausible.
Also, these two forms determine your hosting plans which we are going to revisit and discuss later in this guide.
Various practices that can affect your site’s speed?
A Lot of us are negligent and ignorant of the various practices or things we do or run on our site that make it vulnerable to slowness in speed.
In this guide, we would revisit these old practices, some of which you are well accustomed to doing on your site but had no idea that it slows down your site’s performance.
Non- optimized or Large-sized image.
Uploading a large-sized image or one that is non-optimized can greatly deteriorate the speed of your site. First, there’s a difference between GIF/PNG/ and JPEG. when uploading, use JPEG more often because the other takes up a lot of bandwidth. The same applies to high-resolution images.
Normally, your web page would load faster with a better image type and minimal image resolution. This ensures the size and quality of the image and subsequently increases the site’s load time.
Sometimes, your web host also affects your site’s speed. If the host is properly operated, it can affect the speed of your site.
Too many HTTPS requests
Using a bad plugin can also affect your site’s performance, so before using any plugin on your site, evaluate it, ensure it’s from a trusted site or store, and you could also make some research about it on the net before installing it.
Caching greatly helps in optimizing a site’s performance. So if your site is not configured to cache, then you’re putting more burden on your site which can, in turn, affect the site’s speed. Caching stores data in its “memory” and when a request which has been stored in the cache memory comes up again, it makes it easier. Avoiding the caching technique may lead to an overload of the server.
A way to check your WordPress site’s speed.
Checking your site’s speed performance constantly is highly advisable. And it might not be accurate checking it from a browser you have used before to check your site. This is because the site already saved the page and other things to aid your experience. But this might not apply the same way for a new visitor just using your site.
So, we recommend the use of IsItWP for your site speed test. It’s reliable, free, and accurate.
According to Google recommended page load time, it should be under two seconds. Therefore, ensure your site speed is under two seconds for better performance and a great user experience.
Several ways in which your site’s speed can be optimized
With numerous requests and processes, you might notice your site’s speed going slow. However, you can optimize or watch your site with the use of some plugins. Above all, there are strategic ways that you can put into practice to help speed up your WordPress site.
In this guide, we are discussing and harnessing the different ways you can put into practice to greatly improve the speed of your site. However, you should understand that as long as your site is running, whether old or new, you need to regularly check on your site’s speed and optimize it when necessary.
The ways stated in this guide are practical ones, some don’t even require coding or technical settings, you should be able to apply it on your site subsequently.
The Caching Technique
One thing you can do is enable the use of the caching technique and greatly optimize it with the use of a plugin. You can utilize the use of WP Super Cache for this.
The use of the caching technique can greatly up the speed level of your site, more than you might imagine. This is because it reduces the level of burden in reloading past or same page results for different individuals, especially when the site occupies multiple users giving responses to the site every second but at different points.
The Caching technique further optimizes the site and gives it a speedy performance. It does this in an act of collating the data accessed on the site, and when the same data is requested by a different user or at a different time, it just brings out the same stored result. This reduces the load time that would have been used to bring forth the result and just processes the stored result.
As an alternative, you can as well use Bluehost or SiteGround for your site, and it also provides topmost security and other advantageous benefits.
Enhance images before uploading on the website
The images you upload on your site have an adverse result on your site’s performance. This is to the extent that the type, size, and security of the picture have an important role to play in furthering the speed of your site.
Images have been said to attract individuals, especially new visitors to a new site. However, an un-optimized image can do more harm than good to your site’s speed performance.
We recommend users limit the type of image uploaded on one’s site to PNG and JPEG. PNG should be used when necessary. The difference between the two is that the former is uncompressed with improved image quality compared to JPEG’s. But JPEG should be used quite often for your site, that is for, colored images because it has the compressing feature. And PNG can rather be used for simpler and more transparent images. However, keep this up and ensure that the images uploaded are not above 1MB.
Also, the size of the picture you upload on your site matters a lot. Large sized-images do not work well for your site. This is because they take a longer time to load and therefore deteriorate the page load time, and thereafter slows the speed of the site.
And before uploading, ensure the image is secured before uploading it on your site. You can employ the use of some waterfall tests to check the image before uploading and you can as well use some photoshop to further enhance the image.
Choose the right host plan for your site
As a beginner or long-term user, you have to understand the basic implementation of your WordPress hosting and this should enable you to choose the one with high performance and can suit the form of your site.
A WordPress host simply helps users to store their website data; this data may include videos, images, and other content. The host stores this data in its server and then redistributes the information when needed to the site’s visitors. So it’s for this reason, it would be advantageous to pick the right host for your site and not one with low performance or a bad server.
For WordPress web hosting, there’s a minimum requirement for any web host chosen. The web host of your WordPress site is very essential and goes to the foundation of your site. If a wrong host is chosen, it can significantly make a mockery of your site’s significance because the data shown to the visitors come from this host. You have to effectively manage your hosting plan, choose the one that suits your site and budget alongside.
At WordPress.org, three web hosts were recommended as the top choice of numerous site owners. These web hosts are Bluehost, DreamHost, and SiteGround. These types of hosts are utilized by big and large industries or companies. And they’re the most popular and widely sought-after compared to all other host plans on the web. They are very efficient and a better option for sites that experience major data changes constantly. However, this host tends to over-crowd their server which could lead to slowness in performance; this is as a result of the varying numbers of other sites making use of that server.
Other alternatives to this hosting plan are using the Managed WordPress hosting or the DIY VPS WordPress hosting.
4. Employ the use of CDN
In other words, CDN helps fasten the loading time for users on a website regardless of the location of that person.
The truth is the location of your visitor also affects the site’s loading time. For instance, if your web hosting company is based in the United Kingdom, users around that area would find it easy to load pages because of the location of the hosting company and the limited number of servers around the world.
This can however be disadvantageous to another person in Nepal. Therefore, you can employ the use of CDN; it consists of servers from around the whole world.
Therefore, CDN helps fasten users’ page load time regardless of their location by serving them these static files from a server close to them. This is also a great improvement and it additionally lessens the workload of the hosting company.
5. Make your Homepage unclustered
Another key tip to help you attain a faster WordPress site is ensuring your homepage is clean, smooth, upstanding, and free from redundancies.
It’s a fact that your homepage should be attractive and engaging enough to make the user proceed further in exploring your site. However, this is no reason for your homepage to be clustered with all sorts of things that can slow down the site’s performance.
Instead, you can show minimal details that would grab your visitor’s attention and make them go for more, and you can also employ the use of excerpts for the contents on your homepage.
6. The latest version of PHP
PHP is a programming language that is majorly used for web development. And WordPress is written in the PHP programming language.
PHP consists of the theme of your site, plugins, and others. For you to explore the great and improved benefit of PHP to your WordPress, it is suitable to employ the use of the newest version of PHP.
Currently, the newest version is that of 7.4. It offers immense benefit to the user and you must constantly update your PHP for its generally improved versions and to prevent lagging. The latest PHP 7 version offers great features and it has been proven to offer 3x more than its predecessor.
If your PHP is below 7.0, request an update from your host company. You can check the version of the PHP of your site by installing and activating it from Version Info.
7. Regularly update your WordPress Site when needed
Apart from running your site on the latest PHP version, you need to ensure that your site is updated and backdated correctly.
As a site owner, it’s your burden to carry and you need to ensure this to avoid lagging, and it even runs this update on security and bugging issues, as well as, the latest version of themes in your site and the plugin currently used on your site.
This is all to ensure a smooth site’s performance.
8. Choose a host that uses Nginx or Apache
Among the requirements on choosing a WordPress, web host includes those that employ the use of Nginx or Apache. These requirements should be met but also utilized. Unperceivably, these web servers are employed by WordPress hosts to power the site in question.
However, Ngnix or Apache are common and great options for users. They are widely used across the web, some popular companies that utilize them are Apple, Google, Twitter, IBM, and so on.
9. Curtail the HTTP requests you get from external sources
There are times when your WordPress themes or plugins load resources from external sources such as images, style sheets, and the rest, and some store them in your website while others are utilized to load quickly.
This might prove to be great and helpful sometimes, but when your site handles soo much of this external HTTP, it can significantly deteriorate the speed of your site.
Therefore, do away with some of these requests and you can also disable it.
10. Avoid uploading files directly to your WordPress site
Another important thing to note is that uploading files such as audio and videos from the site directly to your WordPress is wrong and would cost you a lot of bandwidth. And you should also consider the fee from your hosting company.
Apart from that, these files are in large sizes and this can be disadvantageous to your site performance as well.
Therefore, instead of uploading it directly to your site, you can as well copy and paste the file’s URL to your site. WordPress would automatically embed the video or audio file which is more preferable to uploading it to your site.
11. Optimize your Site’s theme
In the market today, there are a host of brilliant and attractive themes waiting on you. However before deciding on the theme to pick, ensure that you also consider that the content, widget, tools, etc can cause the site hosting server to respond slowly.
There you need to search for a suitable theme for your site, optimize, and regularly update it for newer versions. And if you’re experiencing problems with the theme of your site, do away with it, and get a better-suited one.