How to Speed Up WordPress Performance (Ultimate 2022 Guide)

Natalia G
How to Speed Up WordPress Performance

How to speed up WordPress is a popular subject these days. Fortunately, there are a variety of methods you may use to do the task. So, our goal here is to compile a list of every technique we’ve discovered for making your WordPress site run faster.

Fast-loading pages enhance the user experience, boost pageviews, and improve WordPress SEO. We’ll go through the most important WordPress speed optimization techniques in this post to help you improve WordPress performance and speed up your website.

We attempted to cover everything from why speed is essential to what causes your WordPress site to slow down, as well as practical actions you can do right now to enhance your WordPress speed.

Why is WordPress Site Speed So Important?

According to recent studies, the average human attention span has decreased from 12 seconds to 7 seconds.

What does this imply for you as the owner of a website?

You just have a few minutes to show visitors your content and persuade them to remain on your site.

Users may abandon your website before it even begins to load if it is too slow.

According to case studies applied by Amazon, Google, and other bigger sites, a one-second delay in page load time may result in a 7% drop in conversions, 11% drop in page visits, and a 16% drop in customer satisfaction.

Why is WordPress Site Speed So Important?

Furthermore, Google and other search engines have begun punishing slower websites by ranking them lower in search results, resulting in decreased traffic for such sites.

To summarize, if you want your WordPress website to generate more traffic, subscribers, and money, you must make it FAST!

How to Test the Speed of Your WordPress Website

Beginners often believe that their website is OK simply because it does not seem to be slow on their computer. That’s a huge blunder.

Modern browsers like Chrome keep your website in the cache and automatically prefetch it as soon as you start entering a URL since you visit it often. Your website will load practically quickly as a result of this.

A typical person viewing your website for the first time, on the other hand, may not have the same experience.

In reality, visitors in various parts of the world will have quite diverse experiences.

This is why we suggest utilizing a tool like GTmetrix or PageSpeed Insights by Google to check the speed of your website.

They’re a free online tools that let you evaluate the speed of your website.

How to Test the Speed of Your WordPress Website

You may be asking, “What is a decent website speed that I should strive for?” once you’ve completed your website speed test.

Under 2 seconds is a decent page load time.

The quicker you can make it, though, the better. A few milliseconds saved here and there may build up to half or even a full second saved on your load time.

What Causes Your WordPress Site to Slow Down?

Several suggestions for improvement will almost certainly be included in your speed test result. However, the majority of it is technical jargon that is difficult to comprehend for novices.

Understanding what causes your website to slow down is crucial to boosting performance and making better long-term decisions.

The following are the main reasons of a slow WordPress website:

  • WordPress Configuration: If your WordPress site is not delivering cached content, your server will get overburdened, leading your website to become slow or even crash.
  • Web hosting: If your web hosting server isn’t set correctly, it may slow down your website.
  • Page Size: Images that haven’t been optimized for the web.
  • External scripts: External scripts such as advertising, font loaders, and so on may have a significant effect on the speed of your website.
  • Bad Plugins: Using a plugin that is badly designed may cause your website to load slowly.

Let’s have a look at how to speed up your WordPress website now that you know what’s slowing it down.

The Importance of Having a Good WordPress Host

Your WordPress hosting provider is critical to the success of your website. A reputable shared hosting company, such as Bluehost or Hostinger, will go above and beyond to optimize your website for speed.

On the other hand, with shared hosting, you share the server resources with a large number of other clients. This implies that if your adjacent site receives a lot of traffic, it may have an effect on the server’s overall performance, slowing down your website.

Using a managed WordPress hosting provider, on the other hand, will provide you with the most optimal server settings for running WordPress. To safeguard your website, managed WordPress hosting providers can include automated backups, WordPress upgrades, and more sophisticated security settings.

As our recommended managed WordPress hosting provider, we suggest Nexcess. They’re also the most well-known in the business.

In Easy Steps, You Can Speed Up WordPress

We understand that changing the settings of your website may be frightening for novices, particularly if you’re not a techie.

But don’t worry, you’re not the only one who feels this way. Thousands of WordPress users have benefited from our assistance in improving their site’s performance.

With only a few clicks, we’ll show you how to speed up your WordPress site (no coding required).

You can accomplish this if you can point and click!

Install a caching plugin for WordPress

Pages on WordPress are “dynamic.” This means they’re created in real time whenever someone views a post or page on your site.

WordPress must execute a procedure to locate the necessary information, put it all together, and then show it to your user in order to create your pages.

This procedure has a lot of stages, and it may cause your website to load slowly if you have a lot of people viewing it at the same time.

That’s why we suggest using a cache plugin on every WordPress site. Caching may speed up WordPress site by 2 to 5 times.

This is how it goes.

Your caching plugin creates a duplicate of the page after the initial load, and then provides that cached version to every subsequent user, rather than going through the whole page creation process every time.

Install a caching plugin for WordPress

When a user visits your WordPress site, your server gets information from a MySQL database and your PHP scripts, as shown in the diagrams above. It then combines everything into HTML text for the viewer to see.

It’s a lengthy procedure, but you can cut out a lot of it by using caching instead.

There are many excellent WordPress caching plugins available, however we suggest WP Rocket (paid) or WP Super Cache (free).

Take a look at our step-by-step instructions for installing and configuring WP Super Cache on your WordPress site. It’s easy to put up, and your visitors will notice the difference.

Many WordPress hosting providers, such as Bluehost provide cache services.

Bluehost Caching

If you’re using Bluehost, enable caching in the My Sites » Performance area.

Bluehost Caching

You don’t need a cache plugin if you’re utilizing a managed WordPress hosting service since it’s built-in and enabled by default.

For optimal speed, you can combine caching plugins with a web application firewall like CloudFlare.

WP Rocket - WordPress Caching Plugin

Optimizing WordPress Images For Speed

Optimizing WordPress Images For Speed

Images assist to bring your material to life and increase interaction. According to studies, utilizing colorful graphics increases the likelihood of consumers reading your material by 80%.

However, if your pictures aren’t optimized, they may do more harm than good. In fact, one of the most frequent performance problems we encounter on beginning websites is non-optimized pictures.

We suggest that you use picture editing software to optimize your photos for the web before uploading them straight from your phone, camera or laptop.

These images may have large file sizes in their native forms. However, depending on the picture file type and compression settings in your editing program, you may reduce the size of your image by up to 5 times.

We mostly use two image types at WPGAGA: JPEG and PNG.

What’s the difference, you may be wondering?

The PNG image format is uncompressed. When you compress a picture, some information is lost, therefore an uncompressed image will have more detail and be of better quality. The disadvantage is that since it is a bigger file, it takes longer to load.

JPEG, on the other hand, is a compressed file format that lowers picture quality somewhat while reducing file size considerably.

So, how do we select the right picture formats?

  • JPEG is used when our picture or image contains a lot of distinct colors.
  • When we require a simpler image, we utilize PNG.

JPEGs make up the bulk of our pictures.

Image speed table

As seen in the graph, the picture format you choose may have a significant impact on website speed.

Best Practices for WordPress Performance Optimisation

You’ll notice your site loading much quicker after adding a caching plugin and optimizing your pictures.

However, if you really want your website to be as quick as possible, you’ll need to follow the best practices outlined below.

You don’t need to know any coding to apply these suggestions since they aren’t very technical. However, utilizing them will avoid frequent issues that may cause your website to slow down.

Ensure that your WordPress site is up to date

Keep Your WordPress Site Updated

WordPress is regularly updated as a well-maintained open source project. Each update will include not just new functionality, but also fixes for security and bug problems. Your WordPress theme and plugins may also need to be updated on a regular basis.

It is your duty as the owner of a website to maintain your WordPress site, theme, and plugins up to date. If you don’t, your site may become slow and unreliable, as well as susceptible to security attacks.

You should always use the most recent WordPress version.

Processes in the background should be optimized

WordPress background processes are scheduled activities that run in the background of your site. Some examples of background activities that run on a WordPress site are as follows:

  • Tasks performed by the WordPress Backup plugin.
  • WordPress cron jobs to publish articles on a regular basis.
  • Checking for updates using WordPress cron tasks.
  • Crawlers from search engines and other websites are attempting to retrieve information.

Cron tasks for scheduled postings and updates, for example, have a negligible effect on website speed.

Other background activities, such as backup plugins and excessive search engine crawling, may, nevertheless, cause a website to slow down.

When it comes to backup plugins, make sure that your WordPress backup plugin is only activated when your website is not busy. You should also modify the backup frequency and data that has to be backed up.

For example, if you’re making a daily backup but only publishing new material twice a week, you’ll need to modify your backup schedule.

We suggest utilizing a SaaS solution if you want more regular backups, such as real-time backups, so your server isn’t overworked.

When it comes to crawling, keep a watch on your Google Search Console crawl data. Crawls that result in mistakes on a regular basis may cause your website to slow down or become unavailable.

Use excerpts on the homepage and in the archives

Use excerpts on the homepage and in the archives

On your homepage and archives, WordPress shows the entire content of each article by default. Your homepage, categories, tags, and other archive pages will all load slower as a result of this.

Another drawback of displaying complete articles on these sites is that visitors are less likely to go through to the article itself. This may decrease the number of pageviews and the amount of time visitors spend on your site.

You may configure your site to show snippets instead of the complete material to reduce the time it takes for archive pages to load.

Instead of “Full Text,” go to Settings » Reading and choose “For each post in a feed, include: Excerpt.”

For each post in a feed, include

Divide your comments into pages

Are you getting a lot of comments on your blog posts? Congratulations! That’s a wonderful sign of a engaged audience.

However, loading all of those comments may slow down your website.

For this, WordPress has a built-in solution. Simply go to Settings » Discussion and choose “Break comments into pages”.

Split Comments into Pages

Make use of a Content Delivery Network (CDN)

Remember how we said earlier that visitors in various parts of the world may have varying loading speeds on your site?

This is due to the fact that the location of your web hosting servers may affect the performance of your website.

Let’s suppose your web hosting company’s servers are located in the United States. Those from the United States will often have quicker loading times than visitors from Germany.

Using a Content Delivery Network (CDN) may help your visitors load your website faster.

A content delivery network (CDN) is a global network of servers. The “static” files that make up your website will be stored on each server.

Unlike your WordPress pages, which are “dynamic” as described above, these static files contain non-changing assets like pictures, CSS, and JavaScript.

When you utilize a CDN, users are given static files from the server that is nearest to them each time they visit your website. Because the CDN is handling a lot of the work, your own web hosting server will be quicker as well.

 Content Delivery Network (CDN)

We use recommend Cloudflare.

It’s compatible with WordPress sites and complements your current caching plugins for even quicker loading speeds.

Avoid uploading audio/video files to WordPress directly

Avoid uploading audio/video files to WordPress directly

You may add music and video files straight to your WordPress site, and it will play them in an HTML5 player for you…

That is, however, something you should never do!

You’ll have to pay for bandwidth if you want to host audio and video. Even if your plan offers “unlimited” bandwidth, your web hosting provider may charge you overage fees or even shut down your site entirely.

Hosting big media assets also increases the size of your backups, making it more difficult to recover WordPress from backup.

Instead, utilize an audio and video hosting provider like as YouTube, Vimeo, DailyMotion, and others to do the heavy work. They have the necessary bandwidth!

Because WordPress includes a built-in video embed function, you can just copy and paste the URL of your video into your article, and it will instantly embed.

More information on how it works may be found in WordPress embedding guide.

Use a speed-optimized theme

Use a speed-optimized theme

It’s critical to pay close attention to performance optimization when choosing a theme for your website. Some themes that seem to be attractive and impressive are really badly developed and may cause your site to load slowly.

It’s generally preferable to go with a simpler theme rather than one that’s bloated with complicated layouts, dazzling animations, and other superfluous features. You may always use high-quality WordPress plugins to add such functionalities.

Premium WordPress theme such as Divi, Astra, GeneratePress, and OceanWp sell well-coded and speed-optimized themes. For more information on what to look for, see our post on choosing the best WordPress themes.

Don’t use bad / slow plugins

WordPress Faster Plugins

Whether your site needs it or not, poorly designed WordPress plugins frequently load too much slow. This slows down your site and increases the time it takes for pages to load.

We often share our professional choice of the best WordPress plugins to assist you in choosing the best plugins. We place attention on usability, user experience, and, most importantly, performance.

You may do your own tests in addition to our suggestions. To evaluate the effect of a plugin on performance, conduct speed tests before and after it is installed.

WordPress Performance Tuning (Advanced)

You should notice a significant improvement in your site’s loading speeds if you follow the WordPress optimization best practices and fundamental performance recommendations mentioned above.

However, every fraction of a second matters. You’ll need to make a few more adjustments if you want to achieve the fastest speed possible.

The next suggestions are a bit more technical, with some needing you to make changes to your website’s files or a basic knowledge of PHP. You should create a backup of your site beforehand, just in case.

Dividing long posts into pages is a good idea

Split Long Posts into Pages

Longer, more in-depth blog articles are popular with readers. Longer postings are also more likely to rank higher in search results.

However, if you’re posting long-form content with a lot of pictures, this may slow down your site.

Consider breaking up your lengthier content onto several pages instead.

To do so, WordPress has built-in capability. Simply include the <!––nextpage––> tag where you want the content to be divided onto the next page. If you wish to divide the article again to the next page, repeat the process…

Reduce the number of external HTTP requests

Reduce External HTTP Requests

Many WordPress plugins and themes download/load files from third-party websites. Scripts, stylesheets, and pictures from other sources such as Google, Facebook, analytics services, and so on.

It’s quite OK to utilize a couple of them. Many of these files have been designed to load as soon as possible, so it’s quicker than hosting them yourself.

However, if your plugins make a lot of these requests, your website may experience considerable slowdown.

By deactivating scripts and styles or combining them into one file, you may decrease the number of external HTTP requests.

Reduce the number of database calls

Reduce Database Calls

Note: This stage is a bit more technical and will require some basic PHP and WordPress template file understanding.

Unfortunately, there are a number of WordPress themes out there that are badly coded. They disregard WordPress best practices and end up making direct database queries or making too many needless database requests. This may cause your server to slow down significantly by overloading it with tasks.

Even well-coded themes may include code that performs database requests simply to obtain the basics of your blog.

Every time you see <?php in this example below, it indicates the start of a new database call:

<html <?php language_attributes() ?>>
    <meta charset="<?php bloginfo('charset') ?>">
    <meta name="viewport" content="width=device-width, initial-scale=1.0">
    <meta http-equiv="X-UA-Compatible" content="IE=edge">

You can’t really blame theme designers for this. They simply have no other means of determining the language in which your website is written <?php language_attributes() ?>

However, if you’re using a child theme to customize your site, you may replace these database queries with your own data to cut down on database calls.

<html lang="en-US"> 
    <meta charset="UTF-8">
    <meta name="viewport" content="width=device-width, initial-scale=1.0"> 
    <meta http-equiv="X-UA-Compatible" content="IE=edge">

Examine your parent theme for similar instances that may be simply replaced with static data.

WordPress Database Optimization

After a time of using WordPress, your database will likely have a lot of information that you no longer need. You may optimize your database for better speed by removing all of the unneeded data.

The WP-Sweep plugin makes this simple to handle. It enables you to clean up your WordPress database by removing discarded articles, revisions, and unneeded tags, among other things. It will also optimize the structure of your database with a single click.

Limit Post Revisions

Limit Post Revisions

Revisions to your posts take up space in your WordPress database. Some users think that database queries performed by plugins may be affected by changes. If the plugin doesn’t explicitly exclude post revisions, it may cause your site to load slowly by scanning through them.

The amount of revisions WordPress retains for each post may be simply limited. Just paste this code into your wp-config.php file.

define( 'WP_POST_REVISIONS', 5 );

With this code, WordPress will only preserve the latest 5 versions of each post or page, and previous revisions will be immediately discarded.

Hotlinking and leaching of your content should be disabled

Disable Hotlinking and Leaching of Your Content

If you’re writing high-quality content for your WordPress blog, it’ll almost certainly be stolen sooner or later.

Other websites serving your pictures straight from their URLs, rather than uploading them to their own servers, is one way this occurs. They’re effectively taking your web hosting bandwidth and leaving you with no traffic to show for it.

To prevent hotlinking of pictures from your WordPress site, just add this code to your .htaccess file.

#disable hotlinking of images with forbidden or custom image option
RewriteEngine on
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^$
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^http(s)?://(www\.)? [NC]
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^http(s)?://(www\.)? [NC]
RewriteRule \.(jpg|jpeg|png|gif)$ – [NC,F,L]

Don’t forget to change with your own domain.

Use Lazy Loading

Use Lazy Loading

Lazy loading may help your site if you have a lot of pictures, numerous video embeds, and photo galleries in your blog articles.

Lazy loading downloads just the pictures and videos that will be displayed on the user’s screen, rather than downloading all of them at once. All other pictures and video embeds are replaced with a placeholder image.

Your website loads pictures as the user scrolls down, which are now visible in the browser’s viewing area. Images, movies, and even WordPress comments and gravatars may be loaded slowly.

The Lazy Load by WP Rocket plugin may be used to load pictures, iframes, and videos slowly.

Fix HTTPS/SSL Errors

Fix HTTPS/SSL Errors

If you’re transitioning your site to HTTPS/SSL, you’re likely to get mixed content errors.

Installing a plugin like Really Simple SSL is the simplest method to solve this. The issue is that these plugins first capture all URLs and then convert them to HTTPS before delivering them to users’ browsers.

This has a little but visible effect on performance. This may be reduced by manually replacing all URLs (from http to https).

Use the most recent PHP version

WordPress is mostly written in PHP, which is a scripting language. It’s a server-side language, meaning it’s installed and executed on your hosting server.

On their servers, all reputable WordPress hosting providers utilize the most reliable PHP version. It’s conceivable, though, that your hosting provider is using an older PHP version.

PHP 7 is two times quicker than the previous versions. That’s a significant performance increase for your website, and you should take advantage of it.

By installing and activating the Display PHP Version plugin, you can check which PHP version your site is running.

The plugin will display your PHP version  in the “At a Glance” admin dashboard widget after activation.

Use the most recent PHP version

If your website is running on a PHP version older than 7, have your hosting provider upgrade it for you. If they are unable to do so, you will need to look for a new WordPress hosting provider.

That concludes our discussion. We hope that this post has taught you how to enhance the speed and performance of your WordPress site.

Don’t be afraid to experiment with these methods. Remember to test the speed of your website before and after you adopt these recommended practices. You’ll be amazed at how much these tweaks improve WordPress performance.

WP Rocket - WordPress Caching Plugin
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