How to Speed Up your WordPress website

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How to speed up your wordpress website

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#1 Your hosting sucks

Once we really talk about how to speed up your WordPress Website, I’ve seen a lot of people starting their blog with Bluehost just because they’ve heard other famous bloggers talking about it. That’s a big NO NO. I’m a huge fan of SiteGround, they have the perfect customer support and their server speed is amazing.

Most people tend to choose a hosting which is 4$ cheaper in a yearly package, that’s nothing. I mean you can pay 4$ extra a year if you want the perfect website or blog.

If you’re starting a blog you should do your research on every webhosting platform. Choosing a good webhosting service is crucial for your blog’s success.

#2 Use a CDN (Content Delivery Network)

Hosting your files on a content delivery network is one of the perfect ways to speed up your site.

CDNs work by hosting your media files across a large network of servers. So let’s just say you get a visitor from Ireland, your visitor will be downloading files from the server that’s closest to them.

On this site I’m using Cloudflare, it’s amazing and it’s free. I asked SiteGround’s support team to set it up for me, SiteGround is amazing.

#3 Use a caching plugin

If you have built a WordPress website, you definitely need a caching plugin. You can use WP Total Cache or WP Super Cache, but I use Autoptimize and SiteGround’s super cacher.

Personally, I’ve noticed that if I use WP super cache, my links take a lot of time to get indexed in Google Webmaster Tools, but I highly doubt that there’s a correlation but that’s just what I do.

All of the above mentioned caching plugins are free to download, however, if you’re not a SiteGround user then you can’t use their SuperCacher.

#4 Use a fast loading theme

If you’re on a budget, there are plenty of themes out there that are completely free and a have a good page speed.

When I first started my blogging career, I picked up a custom free theme from a YouTuber and it was HORRIBLE. My page load time was almost 27 seconds, it was not getting any updates and on top of that it just looked bad.

As a website developer and a digital marketer, I’ve seen beautiful themes with terrible load times. If you want to build a professional website with a free theme, you can use SYDNEY. It’s completely free, updated regularly and has a decent page load time. You can also check out my tutorial on how to build a WordPress website by clicking here.

On this blog I’m using Newspaper 8.5. It’s a paid beautiful theme and with some good metrics.

#5 Compress your images with WP Smush it or EWWW Image Optimizer

If you’ve built a WordPress website, install WP Smush.it or EWWW image optimizer to compress your images. The great thing about these plugins are that they can compress your images without losing any picture quality.

If you want to reduce your images size further, I would suggest visit compressjpeg.com. Upload your image and compress it, download the image and then upload it to your WordPress Database. The beauty about this website is that it can compress a 1 MB jpeg image to 200-300 KBS and that to without compromising the visual quality.

These compressed images can then be further reduced by WP Smush.it and voila, you’ll have a perfect image with a small size.

#6 Clean up the extras

One of the major drawbacks of using WordPress is that your database can get very chaotic. This can happen because of post revisions, saved drafts etc.

You can use WP optimize to clear up your database. It deletes the things that you don’t need and declutters your WordPress database.

WP Optimize doesn’t delete themes, so if you have any extra themes in your WordPress database, you have to delete them manually. Removing unused themes is also a very effective way to speed up your website.

Furthermore, uninstall the plugins that you are not using. Unnecessary plugins generate requests which increases the loading time.

#7 Don’t get carried away

Declutter your pages.

If you’ve got pages that have a lot of social media plugins, blog posts plugins installed, you’re going to increase the number of requests. Which in turn is going to slow down your website.

Don’t overdo your website, add content that you think is necessary for your visitors.

#8 Compress your website with gzip

Gzip works by compressing your website into a zip file, which is faster for the user’s browser to load. A simple yet effective way to speed up page load times.

 

#9 Fix all broken links

If you have a website, I’m sure you have put in a lot of hard work into it. But if you’re links are not working they’re going to ruin your website performance.

Broken links are harmful in 3 ways:

  1. They make for a bad user experience – Let’s just say you visit a website and it has a “404” error on it, you may get frustrated and never return to that website
  2. It affects your SEO – Broken links affect your search engine rankings
  3. It slows down your website

You can find broken links by the following websites

  • Google Webmaster Tools
  • Ahrefs
  • Google Analytics

#10 Minify your CSS and JS files

Minifying your CSS and Javascript files can help you speed up your WordPress website.

The term ‘Minify’ is a method which makes your website size smaller. This is achieved by removing white spaces, line, and unnecessary characters from the source code.

If you’re running a WordPress website, installing Autoptimze is a great way to speed up your website. We’re using the same plugin for this website.

Among other plugins, WP minify is also a great option.

#11 Enable Keep-alive

If you have pages with a lot of images, Keep-Alive directive will immensely improve your user experience. What this does is that it keeps a single connection that will be used to transfer multiple files.

You can ask your webhosting service provider to do this for you or you can paste the code in your .htcaccess file

<ifModule mod_headers.c>

Header set Connection keep-alive

</ifModule>

 

Note: If you’re new to WordPress, it’s always better to ask your hosting provider to do this for you.

#12 Specify Image Dimensions

You need to specify the images that you use.

I’ve seen many blog posts which lack this feature. Before a visitor’s browser can display your image it has to figure out how to display your content. Without knowing the dimensions of your media files, the user’s browser is going to take longer to display the images.

There are two main ways to overcome this problem

  1. You can add a feature image but that’s not going to give you control over the image dimensions
  2. You can add the image file to your WordPress media and then modify the image dimensions by editing it. Or you can add the image to your blog post and edit it from over there.

#13 Disable Trackbacks and Pings in WordPress

Trackbacks and pings were introduced as a way to notify people about links.

So let’s just say, you write an article and link to a post on your friend’s blog. Your blog will then automatically send a ping to their blog.

Pings and Trackbacks are used by spammers to send fake trackbacks and pings, so there’s no point of you to have that option.

Here’s how you can turn it off:

  1. Go to your WordPress Dashboard> Settings> Discussion> Uncheck the box that says “Allow link notifications from other blogs on new articles.
  2. Now go to Posts> All Posts> Select All> Select Edit> Apply> Pings: Do not allow (you will see this on the right side)

 

#14 Leverage Browser Caching

Leveraging the browser cache basically means that you can specify the amount of time web browsers keep CSS, javascript, images and other files.

You can use a plugin for this called WP Rocket.

Another way to enable your browser caching is to put the following code in your .htcaccess file or you can ask your hosting provider.

#15 Disable hotlinking of images

A hot link is basically other websites that are linked to your images and that steals bandwidth which in return slows down your website. You can disable hot linking by adding the following code to your .htcaccess file

RewriteEngine on

RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^$

RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^http(s)?://(www\.)?yoursite.com [NC]

RewriteRule \.(jpg|jpeg|png|gif)$ – [NC,F,L]

 

Be sure to add your site instead of “yoursite.com”

#16 Use CSS Sprites

I specifically would not recommend you to use Sprites. It makes your website look Ugly and we don’t want that.

Sprite basically is one big image that contains all of your images which is why I won’t recommend it.

You can use a plugin called SpriteMe for that.

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