What you should know about optimizing your WordPress website for speed

WordPress is an extremely good platform for blogging well coded and light. However, to improve website functionality, a lot of plugins are used. Sometimes, these plugins are poorly coded and are not updated to match up with WordPress updates and so the have compatibility issues. Messing up with WordPress installations by installing tons of low-quality plugins can be a huge problem.
We have an article on how to spot and remove slow WordPress plugins, you may want to take time to learn how to find slow plugins from your WordPress website.

Now, let's re-focus our attention on the main issue. You need to understand that speeding your WordPress website is not just limited to having good plugin or running on a good web host, there are tweaks to performance plugins and the WordPress installation itself as well other practices that will enhance the performance of your WordPress website in terms of speed.

There are a few techniques you can always leverage on to optimize and speed up WordPress sites. We will have to look at a few of these techniques you can use to improve the performance of your WordPress website.

1: Consider A Good Web Host

Optimizing our WordPress website will be more useful to you only after you have checked and have been sure that the slow speed is not a problem with your web host. We have had the opportunity of optimizing websites for other people not necessarily hosted on our platform. In some cases, we found that some web hosts will load thousands of websites on a single shared server and the server becomes extremely slow

Before you choose a web host, it is always a good idea to check up popular reviews on Google and web hosting forums.

2: Choose a Fast Theme/Framework

Some WordPress themes are actually not so impressive when it comes to speed. Working with a WordPress theme that is not so well coded can be a problem. You need check up what other users of any theme or framework have to say about it before you decide to use or not to use. If you choose to use a theme that is packed with lots of additional features that you don't need, it'll negatively impact your site performance.

Also read:

How to Install and Setup Your Premium WordPress Theme

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How to Optimize and Speed Up Your WordPress Website

How to Secure a WordPress Website

What is a Fast Themet

Generally speaking, if a theme loads in less that 2 seconds, then it can be taken as good speed. Below 3 seconds is not so good and anything above 5seconds should be considered problematic. Be mindful of theme coding - too much PHP, JavaScript, Iframe isn't good for your site's speed.

WordPress themes by default are incredibly well-coded, light-weight, very fast and easily customizable. If you can handle a little bit of code or hire a developer, choose one of those to build something great on top of them.

3: Install A Caching Plugin

One of the most effective ways, after having to run on a good web host, that will certainly improve the performance of your WordPress website in terms of load times is to install a caching plugin. As soon as you install a plugin like W3 Total Cache or WP Super Cache, you'll be able to tell that your site loads faster.

Having a plugin to handle your website cache helps speed up your website tremendously. The cache files are lie static pages served to users and visitors to your website. Instead of loading your entire website along with the functionalities loaded on the site every time a visitors comes by, the server will serve a cached copy speedily and that speeds up the load time. Caching greatly reduces MySQL database access, number of PHP requests, server access for static resources, and even HTTP requests (in case of combining multiple files into one).

4: Try a CDN to Speed Up WordPress

With a CDN. You actually offload the static resources of your site, like images, scripts, css files, can speed up your site. The benefit is that those resources will load faster for visitors, if you use a CDN, your primary server will have less load to handle and thus will deliver significantly better performance while serving the rest of your site.

A CDN is a content delivery network. There are quite a few Content Delivery Networks out there but MaxCDN is quite easy to setup with WordPress. It is also easy to set it up within 5 minutes using a caching plugin like W3 Total Cache.

Also read:

How to create a simple portfolio website with WordPress

How to create and manage a page in WordPress

How to safely disable the WordPress automatic update feature

How to update your WordPress installation

5: Enable Gzip Compression

You need to enable this feature to take advantage of its benefits. Enabling GZIP will serve compressed versions of your site to your visitors, they are less in size and will generally load a lot faster.

Gzip Compression

The best option will be to enable Gzip compression straight from cPanel (if your host offers that) if you're on a shared server. You can enable Gzip compression using a plugin like W3 Total Cache.

There are also a few tweaks that allow you to enable it from your .htaccess file. You can simply add this line of code to the beginning of your .htaccess file to enable server-level Gzip compression for a few known file types:

AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE text/html text/plain text/xml text/css text/javascript application/javascript application/x-javascript

6: Install Only Well-coded Plugins

There are tons of WordPress plugins available out there. Some of them are actually not so well coded and some are not compatible with current version of WordPress because they have not been updated for some time. We recommend that only plugins that are optimized for the latest version of WordPress which don't slow your site down should be installed.

You should perform some research before installing a plugin. Poorly coded plugins do not only slow down your website, they mess up with the functionalities of other plugins and your WordPress installation.

Also read:

The Many Uses to Which You Can Put Your WordPress Website

7 Security Tips for a WordPress Website

WordPress Search Engine Optimization Tutorial

7: Always Perform Routine Maintenance on Your Plugins

You need to check up the status of your plugins from tome to time. The fact is that when new versions are released, they often address some bugs and compatibility issues. Just the same way you maintain your WordPress website, also give some time to maintain your plugins.

Plugin maintenance is of very serious importance because if you don't keep your plugins and WordPress itself updated, chances are that your site will get hacked.

Another good practice is to ensure that you disable or delete the plugins that you don't use.This has been recommended for security reasons. Having loads of unused plugins especially the ones that are un-updated is only to increase the security vulnerabilities for your website.

8: Keep Your Database Optimized

Keep your database clean. You cab do this on a WordPress website directly for MySQL database directly from PHPMyAdmin, or by using a plugin like WP-Optimize or WP-DBManager.

These plugins are capable of deleting all your pending spam comments, trashed posts, auto-saved drafts, post revisions to name a few. They can also perform general MySQL database optimization queries without requiring that you access PHPMyAdmin.

9: Optimize Uploaded Images

Images represent one of the heavier elements of your site. There are a few ways you can optimize your uploaded images.

The first thing you can do is to specify the maximum image dimensions for thumbnail, medium, and large sized images. That means, if you upload an image 1024px wide, and your content area is only 604px wide, normally the image will be scaled down using CSS. When you specify the maximum width of your large images as 604px, it'll then display the pre-resized, 604px wide image, which will be significantly smaller in size.

he second thing you can do is to reduce the sizes of your uploaded images without resizing them, or messing with their quality.

10: Replace PHP with HTML Wherever Possible in Your Code

This is for the great guys who understand coding. If you are not sure of your capacity to play with codes, do not try this option.
11: Delete Old Post Revisions

You really do not need lots of revisions. When you find them no longer useful, it isn't a bad practice to simply delete them.

Fortunate, in WordPress, there is a Revision Control plugin which allows you to remove old post revisions from your WordPress database, making it considerably smaller, and your site becomes faster.

12: Reduce Spam - Speed up WordPress

Spam comments can take up some significant space in your database. You should setup the pre-installed Akismet plugin properly to catch those comments and prevent them from going live on your site, and additionally to discourage spammers from posting them in your site in the first place.

13: Turn-off Trackbacks and Pingbacks

Trackbacks and Pingbacks aren't very good for your site speed. What happens is that whenever someone links to you, a trackback gets created, utilizing server and database resources.

So you can simply disable trackbacks and pingbacks from WordPress Discussion Settings.
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