Having a slow website can be incredibly frustrating. You lose potential customers, and your search engine ranking suffers.
If you’re using WordPress, there are several things you can do to speed up your site. Here are 17 hacks to get your WordPress site running faster.
Why does your site speed matters?
There are a few key reasons why site speed matters:
a) Site speed is a ranking factor for search engines
In 2010, Google announced that site speed was a ranking factor for desktop searches. In 2018, they also confirmed that site speed is a ranking factor for mobile searches.
b) Site speed affects conversion rates
A study by Portent found that a 1-second delay in page load time can result in a 4.42% decrease in conversions.
c) Site speed affects user engagement
A study by Kissmetrics found that 40% of users will abandon a website if it takes more than 3 seconds to load.
d) Site speed affects your bottom line
As we’ve seen, studies have shown that a one-second delay in page response can result in a 7% reduction in conversions and that 40% of people will abandon a website if it takes more than three seconds to load.
In other words, every second counts regarding keeping visitors on your site and converting them into customers or leads.
So, how can you solve this once and for all?
1. Select a good hosting provider.
Several factors affect website speed, but the biggest one is the quality of your web host.
A good web host will have fast servers that can handle traffic without slowing down. They will also have good customer support in case you experience any problems.
That said, look for a hosting partner that uses either cloud-based hosting or runs SSD hardware.
Cloud-based hosting can provide flexibility if you need to scale up quickly. SSD web server is much faster than regular hard drives, so your site will load much faster.
2. Use a lightweight theme
When it comes to WordPress, one of the best ways to speed up your site is to use a lightweight theme.
These themes are designed to be fast and efficient, and they can make a big difference in your site’s overall performance.
There are a few things to remember when choosing a lightweight theme, but if you take the time to find a good one, it will be well worth the effort.
When choosing a theme, it is crucial to find one that is well-coded and doesn’t have a lot of unnecessary features.
A good way to determine this is to read reviews of the theme before you install it.
In addition, you want to ensure that the theme is compatible with the latest version of WordPress.
Finally, ensure the theme is responsive, so it will look good on all devices.
3. Optimize your images
Images are an essential part of any website, but they can also be a major source of slow loading times. There are a few things you can do to make sure your images are optimized for the web.
First, always use the smallest file size possible without sacrificing quality. This will help your pages load faster and keep your visitors happy.
Second, choose the right file format for your images. JPEGs are best for photos, while PNGs or GIFs are better for graphics or images with fewer colors.
Finally, make sure to compress your images before uploading them to your site. Several free image compression tools are available online, like TinyPNG or ImageOptim.
Luckily, there are tools you can use to automate the process.
For example, if you are using a content management system (CMS) like WordPress or Drupal, there will be plugins that can optimize your images for you automatically as soon as you upload them.
4. Minimize HTTP requests.
HTTP requests are the number of files your web browser requests from a web server to display a single web page. The more files there are, the longer it takes for the page to load.
Minimizing HTTP requests is one of the simplest and most effective ways to speed up your WordPress website. You can drastically improve your site’s loading time by reducing the number of files that need to be loaded.
There are a few easy ways to minimize HTTP requests on your WordPress site. One is to use a content delivery network (CDN).
See the next point for better clarity.
You can also choose a WordPress theme with fewer images and videos, as these often require additional HTTP requests.
Read also: 10+ Awesome Free WordPress Themes You Should Check Out.
5. Use a Content Delivery Network (CDN).
We’ve already touched on this.
This way, when a user visits your website, they can download these files from the closest server to them, improving your website’s loading time.
This comes in handy, especially if you have users worldwide.
It is important to note that a CDN is not a magic bullet and will not improve the speed of your entire website.
Using a CDN will not make much of a difference if you have a slow WordPress host or an inefficient WordPress theme.
However, if you have a fast WordPress host and an optimized WordPress theme, using a CDN can help take your website’s performance to the next level.
6. Use caching
Chances are you’ve heard of caching. Caching is a way to speed up your website by storing certain files and data so they can be accessed more quickly. This can help reduce server load times and improve your site’s overall performance.
There are a few different ways to cache your WordPress blog, but we recommend using a plugin like W3 Total Cache or WP Super Cache. Both of these plugins are available for free from the WordPress plugin repository.
Once you have installed and activated one of these plugins, you will need to configure it to work with your WordPress site.
The process is different for each plugin, so we recommend consulting the documentation for each plugin. After you have configured caching, you should see a significant improvement in the speed of your site.
7. Minify and compress files.
No matter how well-optimized your WordPress site is, there’s always room for improvement regarding speed.
One way to eke out a little more performance is to minify and compress your files.
When you minify a file, you remove all unnecessary characters, such as whitespace, new lines, and comments. This can reduce the size of the file by up to 70%.
And when you compress a file, you use an algorithm to reduce the size of the file further. This can save you even more space.
Both minifying and compressing files can be done manually or with a plugin. If you choose to do it manually, you’ll need to edit your code and then re-upload the files to your server.
Whichever route you take, this is a perfect way to bump up the loading speed of your WP blog.
8. Reduce the number of plugins you use
If you want to speed up your WordPress site, one of the best things you can do is reduce the number of plugins you use. Too many plugins can slow down your site, so it’s important only to use the ones that are absolutely essential.
Fortunately, there are a few easy ways to reduce the number of plugins you use without sacrificing functionality.
First, take a look at whether any of the plugins you’re using have similar features. If so, you can probably delete one or more of them.
Second, see if any plugin functions could be accomplished with a few lines of code added to your theme’s functions.php file. This is often much faster than using a plugin, and it also reduces your dependence on third-party software.
Finally, don’t forget to delete any inactive or unused plugins. Chances are you’ll never use them, and unless you have a very good reason to keep them around, it’s best to get rid of them.
In short, every plugin adds extra code that needs to be loaded, which can make your site slower. So if you’re not using a plugin, get rid of it. You’ll see a difference in your site’s speed.
9. Schedule database optimization regularly.
If you don’t know already, a database is a collection of data that computers can access.
Database optimization is the process of making a database more efficient.
And that is why regularly optimizing your WordPress database can help keep your site fast and responsive.
Here are some tips on optimizing your WordPress database:
- Schedule regular database backups so you can restore your site if something goes wrong.
- Use a tool like WP-DB Manager to clean up your database and remove any unnecessary data.
- Make sure you compress your database files to take up less space on your server.
Be sure to follow these tips to keep your WordPress site running smoothly and quickly!
10. Utilize a lazy load plugin
Lazy loading is another great way to speed up your WordPress website. Here, you are deferring the loading of images until they are needed and save precious seconds off your page load time in the process. This is especially important for mobile users who may be on a slow connection.
Not only does lazy loading improve your page load time, it can also reduce your bandwidth usage.
This is because images are only loaded when they are visible on the screen. This means that if a user scrolls down and never sees an image, it will never be loaded from the server.
You can achieve this by using a WordPress plugin like BJ Lazy Load.
This plugin works by replacing all your post images, gravatar images, and thumbnails with a placeholder.
The image is only loaded when it is visible in the viewport (the user can see it). This means that if users never scroll down to see certain images on your page, they will never be loaded from the server.
BJ Lazy Load also works for content in iFrames and video embeds like YouTube or Vimeo videos.
11. Take advantage of browser caching
Browser caching is a term used to describe when a browser stores certain files on your computer so it doesn’t have to keep fetching them every time you load a new page.
This speeds up the loading of pages because the browser can just grab the files from your hard drive instead of downloading them all over again.
If your browser has to keep fetching all of these resources every time someone visits a new page on your blog, it can slow things down considerably.
But if those resources are cached, the browser can just load them from the cache, and things will run much faster.
There are several different ways to set up caching for your WordPress blog. One is to install a caching plugin, which will handle everything for you.
Another way is to edit your .htaccess file and add some code that will enable the Apache mod_expires module on your server (assuming it’s running Apache).
12. Upgrade to the latest version of WordPress
One of the best ways to speed up your WordPress site is to upgrade to the latest version. Not only will this improve your site’s performance, but it will also give you access to new features and security updates.
To upgrade WordPress, simply login to your dashboard and click on the “Updates” link. From there, you can select the “Update Now” button to install the latest version.
If you’re not comfortable updating WordPress yourself, you can always contact a professional WordPress developer or agency to help you out.
13. Don’t use too many fonts
A font is a set of characters that share a common design. Regarding the web, there are three main types of fonts: serif, sans-serif, and monospaced.
Serif fonts have little tails on the letters, like Times New Roman. Sans-serif fonts are the ones without tails, like Arial. Monospaced fonts are all the same width, like Courier.
When it comes to using fonts on your website, less is more. Using too many different fonts can make your site look cluttered and hard to read. Stick to two or three fonts at most, and make sure they complement each other.
14. Avoid using outdated PHP scripts
PHP scripts are small programs that run on your website to perform specific tasks.
There are thousands of PHP scripts, but only a handful are widely used and supported.
If you are using dated scripts, chances are they are not compatible with the latest version of WordPress. This can cause errors and slow down your site. To avoid this, always use the latest version of PHP.
WordPress Site Speed FAQs
Why is WordPress site speed critical?
Site speed is important for several reasons. First, it helps improve the user experience. A faster site means users can find what they’re looking for more quickly and easily. Secondly, it can help improve your search engine ranking. Google and other search engines consider site speed when determining where to rank your site in search results. And finally, a faster site can help you save on hosting costs. A faster site uses less bandwidth and resources, which can help keep your hosting costs down.
Do plugins slow down WordPress?
There are a lot of rumors out there about whether or not plugins slow down WordPress. So, do they?
Well, the short answer is: it depends.
Now, for the long answer. It really depends on which plugins you’re using and how well they’ve been coded. Poorly coded plugins can absolutely slow down your WordPress site. But plugin developers constantly work to improve their code and make their products more efficient.
In general, we can say that plugins can slow down WordPress. But if you use them wisely and sparingly, they shouldn’t be a problem. So go ahead and add those plugins – just don’t go overboard!
How many WordPress plugins are too many?
Too many WordPress plugins can lead to several problems, including decreased site performance, increased security risks, and conflicts between plugins. So how many are too many?
There’s no definitive answer, but a good rule of thumb is only installing the plugins you need. If you’re unsure whether you need a plugin, ask yourself if there’s another way to achieve the same goal without installing a plugin.
Remember that every plugin you install adds code to your site, making it slower and more vulnerable to attack. So it’s important to be selective about the plugins you use.
If you’re unsure whether a plugin is necessary, try disabling it and see if you notice any difference in your site’s performance. If not, then it’s probably safe to delete the plugin.
Does Google penalize slow sites?
Slow sites are a pain for users. We all know how frustrating it is to click on a link and the site takes forever to load. And Google knows this too. In fact, they take page speed very seriously when it comes to ranking sites in search results.
So, does Google penalize slow sites? The answer is yes. If your site is slow, it will likely rank lower in search results. This is because Google wants to provide its users with the best possible experience, including fast loading times.
You can do a few things to speed up your site, such as optimizing images and using caching. But if your site is still slow, you may want to consider switching to a faster hosting provider. Otherwise, you could be losing out on valuable traffic from Google searches.
How do I optimize my WordPress speed?
Like most people, you want your WordPress site to be as fast as possible. After all, no one likes a slow website. You can do a few things to speed up your WordPress site.
Here are a few tips to help you optimize your WordPress speed:
1. Use a good hosting provider: A good hosting provider can make a big difference in the speed of your WordPress site. Be sure to do your research and choose a reputable provider.
2. Use a caching plugin: Caching plugins can help speed up your WordPress site by caching static files and eliminating the need to generate dynamic pages each time someone visits your site.
3. Optimize your images: Images can often be the biggest culprit for slow loading times. Be sure to optimize your images before uploading them to your WordPress site.
How can I speed up my WordPress site without a plugin?
WordPress is a great platform for building websites but it can be slow. You can do a few simple things to speed up your WordPress site without using a plugin.
First, make sure you are using a good quality hosting provider. A good host will have servers optimized for WordPress and can handle a lot of traffic. Second, use a caching plugin to cache your pages and posts. Caching will help your pages load faster for visitors.
Third, optimize your images before you upload them to your website. Images that are properly sized and compressed will load faster than large, unoptimized images.
Fourth, use a content delivery network (CDN) to deliver your content to visitors worldwide. A CDN can help improve loading times for visitors far from your server.