How to make WordPress website faster – the ultimate tutorial [34 tips]

Is your WordPress website running too slow? Here’s how to speed up WordPress without programming knowledge. Fast loading will increase the satisfaction of your visitors and help SEO.

How to make WordPress website faster

Slow page loading is a big drawback for your website. Google and other search engines disadvantage slow websites in their search process. Therefore, SEO optimization itself is not enough to increase website traffic. You also need to optimize its speed.

In addition to the search engines themselves, slow loading of the website is also a downside in a different perspective. The attention of internet visitors falls down after seven seconds. If the website does not load within this timeframe, many of them leave. So, if you want to make them stay on the site and to be happy to come back to you, you need to optimize its speed.

Last but not least, one more reason: some search engines have already started to penalize slow pages by sliding them to lower search positions.

Measure speed of website

To find out how fast your site is, it’s not enough to just measure the time it loads on your computer. The web you visit often loads faster on your PC. It is because of temporary memory of the browser in which it stores data while browsing. When you visit the website again, the data is retrieved from this memory, and the page is displayed faster. It also depends on the geographic location of the visitor.

Therefore, I recommend using special tools like Pingdom or Google Pagespeed to measure speed. If you measure a load time of less than 2 seconds, it’s “quite” alright. If not, I recommend increasing the speed. For more detailed information, use GTmetrix.

Nástoj na meranie rýchlosti pingdom
Speed measurement tool Pingdom

Identify the causes of slowdown

The website is slowed down due to several things. The most often include:

  • improperly configured web hosting server,
  • poorly encoded plugins or too many installed and unused plugins,
  • size of website – in this case it is mainly about images that aren’t optimized for websites,
  • external scripts such as fonts, ads, and like.

Use WordPress cache plugin

According to the official WordPress optimization guide,hosting and cache plugin are the two most important factors affecting speed.

Caching of WordPress can speed up your website up to 2 – 5 times. It works on the principle of saving a copy of the website to the server’s memory as soon as it is first loaded. This copy then serves each other visitor to the website. This reduces the load of the server and you get better website performance.

WordPress itself does not contain cache, so you will need another plugin. The best of them are WP rocket, WP Super Cache and W3 Total Cache.

I noticed that in many Facebook polls, people consider WP rocket as the best one:

Facebook- hlasovanie o najlepšom WordPress cache plugine
Facebook- voting on the best WordPress cache plugin
I have tested all 3 cache plugins mentioned. . I achieve best results with WP rocket. The differences between these plugins are in fractions of a second, but each millisecond helps to get higher in search results (Google SERP-e).

In addition, I liked the ease of setup and the features that go further than other plugins – for example, it can optimize the database, which WP Super Cache and W3 Total Cache failed to do at the time of testing.

That’s why I decided to invest and buy it. Since then, I only use this plugin to optimize my website. If you have a website as a hobby, use one of the free named caching plugins. Above all, make sure you use some! 😉 It’s probably the most influential thing to speed up the web.

WP Rocket vs. iné kešovacie pluginy
WP Rocket vs. other caching plugins

Use quality hosting

It is well known that hosting performance has a major impact on website speed. Therefore, choose the right hosting. I believe the best web hosting for WordPress are: Bluehost or SiteGround or WP Engine. A possible solution is also the transition to your own virtual server.

Use the correct image formats

PNG is uncompressed (that is, larger file size) and is therefore best suited for simple images where there are not many different colours. JPEG is a compressed format (smaller file size), slightly reducing the quality of the image, but it is smaller and is used for pictures with lots of colours.

Reduce the size of your images

Plugin Compress JPEG & PNG images
Plugin Compress JPEG & PNG images

Images are important for website traffic. Research has shown that 80% of people read rather text that is not just black and white. Colours also promote perception. However, incorrectly optimized jpg and png files take up too much space. In addition, large files need more time to download.

To improve the performance of your website, you need to optimize the size of your images. You don’t have to worry about changes in display quality. You can do this directly while editing an image – some graphics programs include a feature save for web.

For this purpose, you can also install a specialized plugin. I use plugin called Compress JPEG & PNG images from TinyPNG. I have reached the highest optimization of images in percentage with it.

Plugin ewww image optimizer
Plugin ewww image optimizer

I also have good experience with EWWW Image Optimizer (in the free version here) or WP Smush.it (in the free version here).

These plugins adjust the quality and size of images while uploading them to WordPress without reflecting their quality. In addition, they can also optimize the images you already have on the website.

Set up progressive image loading

Lazyload - nastavenie
Lazyload – setting

You can also increase the speed of your WordPress website by setting up a load of images (so-called lazy load). When opening a page, only those that are visible are loaded. Others are loading gradually as the visitor moves the page down. This will speed up the page view.

This functionality can be provided by multiple plugins. For me, this is provided by the WP Rocket plugin which I mentioned earlier.

Shift to php 7

PHP 7 handles more than twice as many requests per second compared to older versions:

WordPress - php7
Source: blog.digitalocean.com

This means that php 7 is 2 to 3 times faster than php 5 on average. Thus, I definitely recommend activating it on hosting if you still don’t have it.

If you can’t see which version of php your website is running on, you can easily view it through the Display PHP Version plugin:

WordPress - ako zistiť verziu PHP
WordPress – how to find out the PHP version

However, you need to be careful and test properly if your website supports it – for example, using the PHP Compatibility Checker plugin. Maybe you have some outdated plugins and they will pop up some error messages. In that case, I would consider getting rid of such plugins.

Websupport - nastaviť php7
Websupport – setting php 7.2

Remove unused plugins

You have installed multiple plugins to create and edit a website. However, unused (deactivated) plugins can also slow down your website.

Remove only those plugins you don’t use. The removal procedure is simple: Find Plugins in the Administration menu. Select the one you want to remove and turn it off. Then remove it.

Use HTTP/2

Porovnanie rýchlosti HTTP/1 vs HTTP/2
Speed comparison: HTTP/1 vs HTTP/2

Most modern browsers already support HTTP / 2. This protocol is significantly faster than the original HTTP / 1.1. In this tool, test whether your hosting supports HTTP/2.

keycdn: HTTP/2 test
keycdn: HTTP/2 test

Set php cache on hosting

Set php cache on your hosting – opcache for php 5.4+ a php 7. xcache for php 5.3 and lower versions.

Websupport - nastavenie php cache
Websupport – php cache settings

Update your plugins

In addition to removing unused plugins, you need to regularly update the ones you have left on the page. It will improve security, provide better options and will also affect the speed of WordPress.

Regularly update WordPress

It is also necessary to regularly update the core of WordPress itself.

Update the theme

Themes creators regularly update individual themes. It needs to be updated regularly for better functionality and optimization of your website. This will also increase its security. In addition, updates often include new features and the removal of minor bugs that have arisen in the theme.

Database optimization

WP Rocket - optimalizácia databázy
WP Rocket – database optimization

WordPress also stores unnecessary data. To optimize the website’s speed, it is sometimes necessary to clear its database. I use WP Rocket for this purpose It clears deleted comments, updates, automatic article concepts, SPAM in comments, and more. Suitable plugins for this purpose are also WP Optimize and WP Sweep.

Use AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages)

Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) is a Google project that makes mobile pages load faster. You can also easily recognize them on your mobile by a lightning mark in Google’s search results:

Ako rozoznať AMP od Google na mobile
How to recognize Google AMP on your mobile

You can already have AMP technology included in the theme or you can run it through the official plugin: AMP for WordPress.

Disable Emoji

Use the default emoji of the visitor’s browser instead of loading the emoji from WordPress.org to reduce the number of external requests to the server. This is also what WP Rocket ensures for me:

Zakázať emoji
Disable Emoji

Optimization of theme

When selecting a WordPress theme, don’t look just at its appearance, price, and features. Use a simpler theme and increase its functionality with appropriate plugins.

You can also buy some of the premium themes that are optimized for speed. If you decide to change the theme, be sure to study carefully how to switch to a new theme without losing your data and settings.

Minification (compression) of CSS and JS files

Minifikácia súborov
Minification of files

Minify HTML, CSS, JS. Minification will increase the speed of WordPress pages. You can use the free Autoptimize plugin, or you can do it with WP Rocket too

Set up deferred JavaScript loading

Optimizing the speed of WordPress website also affects the loading of JavaScript. This is a common problem that slows the page view. If you place several external file libraries at the top of the page, the browser will start downloading and processing them. The rest of the page will load only after. You can also use WP rocket to set up deferred JavaScript loading:

Odložené načítanie JavaScript
Load JavaScript deferred

Don’t save videos directly to WordPress

Full videos can also be stored on the WP website. However, I do not recommend this in order to optimize speed. They take up too much space. Instead of it, use a link to YouTube, Vimeo or VideoPress. Just copy the URL into your post to paste the video into it.

Use excerpts

You do not need to display entire posts on the main page and archives. Excerpt saves time and space. In addition, the website visitor will overlook multiple themes that might be of interest to him. He won’t read only one post. This setting depends on the selected theme, which means that the selected theme may not support it.

Zhrnutie článku
Excerpt of article

Split comments into several pages

You can also increase the speed of WordPress website by splitting comments. Older comments may not be visible as soon as the article is loaded. You can save them separately. To do this, go to Settings »Comments and tick the Split comments to pages option.

Rozdelenie komentárov
Splitting of comments

Use CDN

CDN- Content Delivery Network
CDN- Content Delivery Network

CDN (Content Delivery Network) is a technology for spreading content across multiple servers, which are located in different places around the world.The location of the server also affects the speed of the WordPress website depending on the geographic distance of your hosting provider and visitor site. Server layout helps visitors to get faster to its content.

The following CDNs I consider the best: Cloudflare, KeyCDN, StackPath (MaxCDN) and Sucuri CDN. One of the most popular CDN that is free in the basic version is Cloudflare. If you haven’t heard about it yet, check it.

In my opinion, it is worthwhile to think about the CDN only with big websites with traffic from different parts of the world.

Use a quick slider

Use the appropriate slider plugin to speed up the WordPress website. Sliders improve website design, but often slow it down even if you have optimized images. This may be due to poor encoding of the plugin. The fastest WordPress slider plugin is Soliloquyi. It belongs to premium plugins. The well-known Revolution Slider didn’t do very well in speed tests.

Porovnanie rýchlosti WordPress sliderov
Comparison of speed of WordPress sliders. Source: soliloquywp.com

In my opinion, in terms of speed, it is the best to avoid sliders completely, if possible.

Use a faster plugin for galleries

envira-galery1

If you have a lot of images, photos and galleries on your website, a faster gallery plugin can also help you. Use one that is optimized for speed. I recommend the premium plugin Envira Gallery. You can create a photo and video gallery with it. In the case of fewer images, the basic gallery of theme is sufficient.

Split long posts into multiple pages

If you have posts on the page that focus more on individual topics and take up a lot of space, you are reducing the speed of load time of the website. To avoid unnecessary loading delays, split them into several parts. WordPress also offers a solution for such posting. The setting of split is possible with a tag

<!––nextpage––>

Place it in the text editor where you want to split the article. This will help increase the speed of the WordPress website.

Reduce loading of content from other websites

Many WordPress themes load content from other websites. These are images from external sources like Google, Facebook and so on. Lots of them load quickly, so it’s easier to load them from a third party than to place them directly on your site.

However, if your plugins use too much of this content, it may slow down the website. And that’s a problem. It is necessary to reduce the loading of external http requests by merging them into a single file or disabling individual scripts.

WP Rocket - zakázať zdieľanie
WP Rocket – disable sharing

Restrict saving of post revisions

You can also speed up the WordPress website by limiting the saving of post revisions that also take up space. This can be prevented by adding a simple code to the wp-config.php file:

define( 'WP_POST_REVISIONS', 4 );

This code allows you to save the last four edits. Older edits will be automatically deleted. I’m used to completely disable revisions – this can be done by inserting 0 instead of 4.

Set HTTP cache directly on the server

An effective solution for accelerating the WordPress website is to set up HTTP cache directly on the hosting server.

Turn off unused default functions

It is possible to disable some features to increase the speed of WordPress website. Not everyone needs, for example, Emoji or pingbacks. For instance, the WP Disable plugin will help. You can also limit commenting and XML-RPC support, for example, through the Disable XML-RPC plugin.

Disable linking and stealing of content (Hotlinking)

Each quality website is sooner or later threatened with content theft. This may also be the case that other sites show your images directly from their URL instead of uploading them to their own servers. This process slows down your website. You can prevent this by adding the following code to the .htaccess file

#disable hotlinking
RewriteEngine on
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^$
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^http(s)?://(www\.)?jurosko.com [NC]
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^http(s)?://(www\.)?google.com [NC]
RewriteRule \.(jpg|jpeg|png|gif)$ – [NC,F,L]

How to speed up WordPress website – Summary

In my opinion, the most important criteria are quality hosting, good cache plugin, image optimization and selection of an appropriate theme.

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