WordPress is one of the robust Content Management System and blogging platforms in the web industry. Many people are using it to build a fully-responsive and scalable websites. But, one weakness of WordPress websites is that it runs quite slowly as compared to the sites that are developed on HTML.
If you are a website owner and struggling due to a sluggish website, then you should take some steps to boost the speed of your site.
In this post, I will try to cover the 10 handy ways that can help you increase the speed of your WordPress site.
Why is your WordPress site slow?
If you are a website owner, then it is imperative for you to know the essential factors that are making your site run slowly on different browsers and devices. There are different reasons that can slow down the speed of a site. It could be due to the inefficient code, or a bad server etc. However, it is pretty difficult for you to encounter the main cause, but still you can improve its performance by identifying the possible factors that are slowing down the speed of a site.
So, let’s share all the components that can affect the speed of your site:
1. Basic Technology
The basic technology and language you use to run your site will decide how quick the code is processed on the server. This is less of an issue if you use HTML only, but most websites use server side programming.
Nevertheless, you can use ASP.net, PHP or HHVM to execute PHP code. There are not many options that can help you increase speed in the basic language. But, it will be better for you to use ASP.net as it has the potential to be faster than PHP.
2. Content Management System
Generally, a CMS system will be slower than a perfectly made static HTML site. It is also true that total page caching can reduce speed difference, and caches sometimes need to be removed. And, logged in users usually don’t get cached versions and administering content always absorbs more resources.
Content management systems are slower than static sites because they need to connect to a server and the server have to process a request and produce HTML code and send that back to your browser. During this processing, there may be many database queries that need to be run which also slow down the site speed.
Here, extensions mean a code, used on top of your content management system. In WordPress, extensions refer to themes and plugins, while, for Joomla and Drupal, they may be known as templates and extensions.
Most of the time, plugins and themes are not created by the same person who made the content management system itself. It means that if the developer doesn’t have sufficient practical experience then he can make a lot of errors. When you are coding you can find various ways that can help you make sub-optimal code without encountering any error.
We all know WordPress is an open source CMS, which unluckily makes it extremely easy to generate bad codes. Nothing can stop you from contributing a poorly coded theme or plugin.
4. Hosting and Servers
These two are the most crucial components that determine your website speed, particularly during high traffic times.
Your hosting plan (here is a list of 5 Best WORDPRESS hosting providers for your website) is essentially a bunch of services that is tied to the server. It would contain things such as server management, automatic backups and more. Perhaps, an essential factor of hosting plan is whether you are on a single plan, or on a shared plan.
On the other side, your server is a physical computer that contains similar properties just like your computer at home or office. It has memory, hard drive space, CPUs and other elements that determine how it performs.
How to Boost the Speed of your Website?
Today, we will explore the methods that can help you increase the speed of a WordPress site. So, we have decided to elaborate the methods for non-developers and methods for developers. These tips for developers will help you in boosting the site speed.
So, let’s begin with Non-Developer methods:
1. Update your WordPress
Updating a CMS doesn’t provide a huge speed increase from one version to the other, but they can efficiently fix the security issue.
Security holes can lead to a malicious code that can break down your site, which can make things slowly.
In fact, CMS updates aim to optimize the system, enabling better code to be written for it. And, a less-crowded database will solve the queries quickly and efficiently, which in turn increase the speed of a website.
2. Update your Essential Technologies
If you hire an expensive host, the more accurately they update your PHP. However, many low-cost servers will update your PHP if you ask, but won’t update it automatically.
When you log in to your host and search for “PHP Configuration”, you will see a select box that enables you to switch to different versions.
Currently, the latest version of PHP is 5.6.11. So, it would be better for you to run something within 5.6.
Before you change, there are some risks to updating PHP. Actually, the code for your WordPress site and your files won’t accidently disappears, but if you are running a very old code, you may hit to some unexpected issues. If you are doubtful, then you can ask your host if you can downgrade if anything goes wrong.
3. Pull out Unnecessary and Useless Plugins
Plugins not only upsurge your requests, but could cause all kinds of other issues, such as memory and even security issues. However, you can use P3 (Plugin Performance Profiler) plugin that will help you encounter the most troubling issues.
In fact, you can also deactivate anything that you hardly use. By disabling the unnecessary plugins you can eventually enhance the performance of the site. Thus, it is recommended to remove all the useless plugins to make sure they have fully zero performance impact.
4. Optimize the Images of your Site
It is always better to use fewer images on the website as it can quickly loads the web page, which in turn improves the site’s performance. Plus, compacting images could make them smaller in size by 40% to 80% without any difference.
Well, you can use WP Smush Pro, the best tool that can help you optimize the site’s images instantly. You can also use Imageoptim for OS X to mass-optimize your images, or you can use the popular RIOT on windows.
5. Enhance your Database
Most of the times, a database of a website acquires some deadweight, which is somehow unavoidable. In general, there are two main parts to this equation are:
(a) Unused Data
Unused data may come from numerous places. If you have some custom solutions for deleting users, then methods used don’t delete the relevant user metadata. It could leave hundreds of rows in the database that are not connected to anyone.
You might have used some custom fields in the database, which are no longer required. These custom fields may have been added to large number of posts, so, it is necessary for you to keep your database clean.
(b) Database level overhead
For database level overhead, you can utilize a tool developed into MySQL that takes care of it automatically. It is like a disk defragmentation for hard devices.
Developer’s Method to improve the Speed of the Site
6. Understand your Tools
It is extremely important for a web developer to know everything about their developing tools and latest technologies if they want to perform a development process more professionally. There is no way you are going to know everything about something as big as WordPress, the most powerful CMS platform. So, it is necessary for you to pick up on signs when you do a research work.
Many people think it is wasteful to use get_post_meta() 20 because it looks like we are making 20 database requests.
Most of the people use WPDB class to directly catch all post Meta and use array functions to switch and get the need post Meta. The first time you use get_post_meta(), it actually grabs all post meta by itself and caches the result.
Thus, before making any final decision, ensure to consult the WordPress Codex and read thoroughly on the related materials.
7. Minimize Requests
Another dynamic tool that you have at your disposal is Sprites. They are concatenated images. Rather than loading all your social icons separately, you can merge them into a single image and use it as the background.
While using Sprite, you can also use an online tool Stitches as it enables you to upload images and adjusts them for you optimally by generating the styles automatically.
8. Prioritize your Content
You can prioritize other content, such as putting scripts in the footer. If your sidebar includes related information and unnecessary content, then you can load it after the main content.
If you load necessary content as quickly as possible, then you can improve the website’s performance and ranks higher from the SEO point of view.
9. Reduce your Files
You know that concatenation and minification go hand-in-hand. After making your final files, you should make them as small as possible. This is because your browser doesn’t need your comments, line breaks, spaces, indentations – it is happy with a bunch of unreadable codes.
You can use Gulp for this, but there are other powerful tools like Grunt and web-based tools for particular tasks, such as image optimization, linting, etc.
10. Educate your Clients
There is no doubt that clients and common WordPress site users make their own website slow in many cases. Developing end-user documentation will help the website remain speedy, increasing client’s satisfaction, and also minimize your workload.
Try to focus on those factors that can cause issues like not installing 24 analytics tools all at once, proper plugin usage, and more.
In this blog post, we have shared the 10 useful ways that can help you enhance the speed of a site.
Of course, the performance of a site matters a lot because it gives an excellent user- experience and also boosts the overall productivity of the site. But on the other side, we need to consider the other factors as well. Being a website owner, it is necessary for you to make the visually appealing and user-friendly website and try to provide all the essential information to your visitors in an engaging way.
Author Bio: Tracey Jones works for HireWPGeeks Ltd. as a WordPress Developer. She is an expert on converting HTML to responsive WordPress theme with proven track records. She is also a blogger and loves to share her knowledge through tutorials. Follow her company on social media networks like Facebook and Google+.