Last updated - February 24, 2020
Website speed is a crucial factor: a visitor is likely to close your page if it takes more than 2 seconds to load. Let’s go through all the steps you can take to speed up your WordPress website in more detail to make sure your content gets the attention it deserves.
The first step for speeding up your website is diagnostics: You need to know the details of your current website performance to have something to compare to after you take the next steps. You can use GTmetrix to analyze your site speed, grade it, and get handy recommendations on how to improve it. Who knows, maybe your website is doing fine just as it is.
This is the most important factor for optimizing website speed. Even if you do everything in your power to accelerate your site, your hosting server’s response time can majorly decrease its load speed. Hosting provider choice also affects SEO: Google’s PageSpeed test will mark your website as one using a slow server which will lower your search engine ratings.
So, if you are dissatisfied with your website’s current speed and find it quite a task to manage all the technical components of hosting, 10Web hosting may just be the perfect hosting you were looking for. First off, it is super easy to migrate your website to our hosting: the process only takes a click. Secondly, our hosting is powered by Google Cloud, which makes it extremely fast and secure. In addition, we use FastCGI caching, Nginx, LXD containers, and newest PHP versions to help you achieve ultimate website speed.
A portion of your visitors return again and again. Caching is about saving your website in a visitor’s local hard drive upon first visit, so next time he or she opens your page it’ll load much faster. As for any changes made after saving the data, don’t worry, every caching system knows how to deal with those changes: your visitors will see the latest version of your site. There are plenty of caching plugins for WP. You can try WP Super Cache or W3 Total Cache.
Using CDN, Content Delivery Network, caches your website into a global network of servers. So, when a user tries to open your website and sends a request, he or she accesses the webpage content from the “edge server,” the server geographically closest to said request, instead of your main “physical” server. Naturally, this significantly speeds up the website. If your hosting provider doesn’t already use CDN, you can use a plugin to integrate it.
High quality images tend to be quite heavy, which unnecessarily increases your website’s load speed. Luckily, you can optimize your images, making them significantly lighter with no loss in quality. There are quite a few well-known image optimization plugins – for example, WP Smush or EWWW Image Optimizer – but our tests show that 10Web optimization service achieves maximal image compression (up to 90%) and can speed up your website 2-3 times.
Your WP database includes everything related to your website, which often contains unnecessary data causing “database bloating.” For example, when you first download WordPress, 12 tables storing various data are created. Same happens every time you install a new plugin or theme. This is why optimizing your database makes a difference in terms of speed.
There are useful plugins designed specifically for this purpose, for example WP-DB Manager or WP Optimize. You can also go through your database manually, deleting extraneous data, such as Revisions, Trash, and Autosaves.
Home Page Optimization
Since your homepage shapes a visitor’s first impression, its speed optimization is of utmost importance. Some things you can do to make your website faster include:
- Showcasing fewer articles/items on the homepage.
- Displaying excerpts of your publications, instead of their full versions.
- Uninstalling the plugins and tools you don’t use.
- Having fewer widgets on your homepage.
Videos tend to be pretty heavy, so if you upload them directly they’ll increase your website’s load time and backup time. That’s why you should upload your videos to other platforms, such as YouTube, Vimeo, DailyMotion, etc. and just use the link on your website to optimize website speed.
Choosing the right theme
Certain themes take longer to load due to, say, complicated structure or too many CSS expressions in the source code. That’s why you should try out a few themes on a staging environment and make a choice based on their respective performance.
We went over the main things you can do to speed up your website. If you have any additional recommendations or want to share which tools you’ve used to accelerate your site, tell us in the comments below!