Are you tired of your WordPress site dragging its feet? Don’t let slow loading times drive away potential visitors and harm your search engine rankings. Follow these eight tips to to continue improving the performance of your WordPress website.
Optimise your images
Optimising images can help with website speed by reducing the file size of the images without compromising on their quality. This means that the images will load faster for users because they take up less bandwidth.
There are several ways to optimise images for web use:
- Compression: This involves reducing the file size of an image without affecting its quality. This can be done using tools such as Photoshop, or online tools like TinyPNG.
- Resizing: This involves reducing the dimensions of the image. Large images take longer to load, so reducing their size can help improve website speed.
- Format: The format of an image also plays a role in its file size. JPEG, PNG and GIF are commonly used formats on the web. JPEG is a good format for photographs while PNG and GIF are best for graphics and logos.
- Lazy loading: This means loading images as the user scrolls down the page, rather than loading all images at once. This can help improve website speed by only loading images that are visible on the screen.
By using these techniques, you can reduce the file size of images, which helps the images load faster and ultimately improves the website speed.
Install a caching plugin
Caching plugins in WordPress can improve website speed by storing a copy of frequently accessed pages and posts in a cache so that they can be quickly retrieved and served to users without the need to access the database and regenerate the page each time. This can significantly reduce the server load and page load time, so your visitors won’t have to twiddle their thumbs for ages before your website finally loads.
Examples of popular caching plugins for WordPress include:
- W3 Total Cache: This plugin offers a wide range of caching options including page caching, browser caching, and minification of CSS and JS files.
- WP Super Cache: This plugin generates static HTML files from your dynamic WordPress blog. It’s easy to install and configure.
- WP Rocket: This plugin offers a user-friendly interface and a range of caching options including page caching, browser caching, and lazy loading of images.
- LiteSpeed Cache: This plugin is designed specifically for use with LiteSpeed web servers and offers a range of caching options including page caching, browser caching, and minification of CSS and JS files.
- Breeze: A free caching plugin that promises to be lightweight, easy to use and highly customisable. We use this caching plugin the most as it integrates perfectly without Cloudways servers
These caching plugins can greatly improve the speed of your WordPress website by reducing the server load, caching pages, and minifying files. But always test your website after installing a caching plugin, because it might break some functionalities or design.
Cut down the number of plugins on the website
Using fewer WordPress plugins can help with page speed in a few ways:
- Reduced server load: Each plugin that is activated on a WordPress website uses up some of the server’s resources. The more plugins that are active, the more resources are being used. This can slow down the website, especially if the server is not powerful enough to handle the load. By using fewer plugins, the server will have fewer resources to manage, which can help improve page speed.
- Fewer requests: Each plugin that is active on a website can generate requests to the server. The more requests that are being made, the longer it will take for the page to load. By using fewer plugins, there will be fewer requests being made, which can help improve page speed.
- Fewer conflicts: Some plugins may not be compatible with each other, causing conflicts that can slow down the website. By using fewer plugins, there is a lower chance of conflicts occurring, which can help improve page speed.
It’s worth noting that the quality of the plugin also plays a role in the overall speed, so even if you are using fewer plugins, if they are poorly coded or not well maintained, it can still affect the speed of your website.
Enable Gzip compression
Gzip compression is a method of compressing files before they are sent over the internet, which can help to reduce the amount of data that needs to be transferred. When a browser requests a webpage, the server will check if the browser supports Gzip compression. If it does, the server will compress the files and send them to the browser, which will then decompress them and display the webpage.
Enabling Gzip compression on a WordPress website can help to improve website speed by reducing the amount of data that needs to be transferred between the server and the browser. This can result in faster page load times, as the compressed files will take up less bandwidth, and therefore, can be transferred faster.
There are several ways to enable Gzip compression on a WordPress website, including:
- Using a plugin: There are several caching and performance optimization plugins available for WordPress that include Gzip compression as a feature. These include W3 Total Cache, WP Super Cache, and WP Rocket.
- Editing the .htaccess file: This method involves adding a few lines of code to the .htaccess file, which is located in the root directory of the website.
- Configuring the server: If you have access to your server, you can configure it to enable Gzip compression. This is the best method if you have a VPS or a dedicated server.
Enabling Gzip compression is a simple and effective way to improve website speed, it’s a quick and easy way to reduce the amount of data that needs to be transferred and thus, improve the user experience.
Use Content Delivery Network (CDN)
A Content Delivery Network (CDN) is a network of servers that are distributed across multiple locations and are used to deliver content to users based on their geographic location. The primary purpose of a CDN is to improve the speed and availability of a website by reducing the physical distance between the server and the user. When a user requests a web page, a CDN will redirect the request to the server that is closest to the user. This reduces the amount of time it takes for the page to load because the data has to travel a shorter distance. Additionally, CDNs can cache static content such as images and videos, so that the same content doesn’t need to be downloaded multiple times.
Examples of popular CDN providers include Akamai, Cloudflare, and Amazon CloudFront. Many large websites, such as Netflix, Twitter, and Facebook, use CDNs to improve their performance and availability.
Keep your database clean and efficient
Here are a few ways to keep your WordPress database clean and efficient:
- Regularly remove spam comments, trackbacks, and pingbacks to reduce the number of unnecessary database entries.
- Optimise your database tables by running the “Optimize” command on them in your database management tool (e.g. phpMyAdmin).
- Remove any unnecessary database tables and data created by deactivated or deleted plugins.
- Schedule regular backups of your database and keep only the most recent ones, so you can easily restore your site if something goes wrong.
- Use a caching plugin to speed up your website by caching frequently accessed data.
- Remove any post revisions and auto drafts, which can accumulate over time and slow down your website.
- Use a database optimisation plugin that can clean up your database and optimise its performance.
- Use a content delivery network to reduce the load on your server by serving static files like images and videos from a network of servers close to your users.
It is important to note that before doing any of this, it is always good to take a backup of your database so that you can restore it in case something goes wrong.
Choose a lightweight theme
WordPress themes can affect website speed in several ways. Some themes may be poorly coded, which can slow down page loading times. Additionally, some themes may have a lot of features and functionality that are not needed for a particular website, which can also slow down the site. Other themes may include large images or other media that can slow down the site as well. It is important to choose a theme that is well-coded, lightweight and optimised for speed to ensure that your website loads quickly.
By following these steps, you’ll not only keep your visitors happy with a faster-loading site, but you’ll also rank higher in search engine results, leading to more traffic and potential customers. If you need help implementing these recommendations or have any other questions, don’t hesitate to contact Digital Storm for assistance. Happy optimising!