Website speed is a critical factor in online success. Google is counting it as a ranking factor since long and increasingly impatience web users tend to leave slow sites immediately.
WordPress is occupying a big territory on the Internet landscape, as more than half of PHP code-based sites are running with WordPress framework.
Initially, WordPress framework was simple and lightweight so fast in loading. Today it has tons of features and mostly come with extensions or integration of third-party services.
Unfortunately, our needs are increasing steadily and keeping the most straightforward, and basic WordPress architecture is a nightmare to address those all. It poses a big question that how to deal with site speed enhancement challenges, and this post is about it to reveal some secret ways to achieve it all.
Let us check 12 ways to do so.
- 1 Optimization
- 2 Caching
- 3 Database Optimization
- 4 Hosting
- 5 Plugins
- 6 External Loading
As we have discussed earlier that optimization is a sure way to improve WordPress site performance in terms of site loading speed and interaction speed. However, optimization is essential at image level and code level.
#1: Image Optimization in WordPress
Technically, texts consume fewer memories compared to images. Therefore, image loading proves costly affairs for web servers and hasten site loading speed considerably.
There are multiple ways to face image loading issues. For instance,
- You can optimize images prior to uploading to your web server using photo editing software
- You can use image compression engine/software to compress each image uploaded
- You can create image sprites to reduce frequent server requests for image loading
- You can use third party image storage services such as Flickr to upload your images and embed their links in your web pages wherever necessary
#2: Code Optimization
Excessive code without straightforward logic can load on the server by increasing computing processes. Therefore, it is good to follow good coding practices and create clear, compact, and comprehensive code documents.
#3: Minimizing HTTP Requests
- You can combine CSS files in fewer files
- Enabling server compression properties to leverage compression benefits
These all can cut HTTP requests and reduce the burden on web servers to speed up web page loading.
Out of all web pages of your website, some pages are receiving frequent requests for loading, due to popularity and other factors. Instead of processing web page loading process from the scratch, if we use the saved code of those pages and deliver its HTML copies directly to the clients, we can save significant time and processing power of web server and improve page load speed further.
Therefore, a caching mechanism is highly beneficial for most of the websites running on the web at the present.
#4: Use WP-Cache Plugins
Apart from reducing code generating process by page caching plugins, you can use database caching and object caching plugins or methods to enhance site speed at a new level with best user experiences on mobile devices too.
#5: Leverage Caching Capabilities of Browsers
Browsers have caching capabilities, and modern HTML 5 has its enormous cache mechanism. You can take advantage of such capacities in your favor. Technically, Google prescribes one week of minimum cache time and can extend up to one year especially for frequently changing assets.
Hence, reuse of cached files can reduce the loading time of those content or web pages and increase your overall page load speed significantly.
Database interactions are processing power consuming activity, and frequent database interactions can reduce site load speed.
#6: Optimize Your WP Database
Spams, post revisions, tables, drafts, and other database relevant activities increase the load on server and initiate frequent database interaction without adding any value to your WP site much.
Therefore, it is mandatory to minimize database interactions and optimize database, particularly in the case of database driven WordPress sites. WP-Optimize is a plugin that can help you in this regard while WP DB Manager can help you to schedule your database optimization operations.
Hosting services and hosting plans are important factors that determine site speed and site performance as a whole. Therefore, selection of right hosting service provider and hosting plans make much sense.
#7: Selection of Right Hosting
Today competitions and the advent of technologies have improved hosting performance at new levels. Therefore, shared hosting with a number of sites hosted also can perform well and small to medium scales of WordPress sites working satisfactorily with it.
However, ecommerce, data-driven sites, and big web portals need either VPS plans or dedicated servers to improve site load speed and overall site security against unexpected traffic spikes and process loads.
Today we have cloud hosting with the same options like the public, VPS, and private, but offer highly affordable and reliable hosting services so think of new hosting Age in Cloud hosting and explore its services if your site is fit in those criteria to bear charges at the financial level.
Plugins are extending the features and functionality of a WordPress website without touching the core code of source. Therefore, they are right to update the core version of WordPress frequently without affecting the overall site and its performance.
#8: Limit Plugins
Unfortunately, each plugin is responsible for running some background processes whether it is active or not. It can consume some server resources too. The most important are that plugins of older versions and in deactivated status are a potential source of security threats for the WordPress websites of any scale.
Therefore, only keep the most essential and activated plugins on your WordPress site and use plugin management facilities on the backend of WP sites to remove unwanted burdens of the plugin and improve website speed.
#9: Update Everything Regularly
Older versions of core WordPress, plugins, and integrated APIs are a potential source of bad performance and security issues. Therefore, always keep those updated with the release of each version.
Each new version of WordPress comes with several securities and performance related patches and fixes. The same goes true with plugins and extensions so keep updated and a compatible version for the best performance and loading speed of your WordPress website.
We have several ways to load content from external sources, and we have seen examples in the case of images. External loading of content technically reduces the burden of original hosting server where your WordPress site is hosted. In return, your WordPress site load faster and call external links or content load fast from the powerful servers of external service providers.
#10: Use CDN Services
Today we have cloud services in different forms, which are working with several servers bearing loads in distributed ways. Among them, CDN or content delivery network is popular concept and services to remove huge content loading burden from your WordPress site server, if properly configured.
Since content is available more than one servers in CDN and distributed to the users from the server in the vicinity of the user who made a request, content loading speed is fast and with high-performance in each aspect.
When external sites are directly linked to the content on your WordPress site such as images, texts updates, notifications, news, and so on and those external sites updates those content on your site whenever changes are taking place on the external sites, it is referring as hotlinks and which are occurring in multiple forms.
For instance, backlinks from any site connected with their logo images. Social media updates you have subscribed. News channels updates you have subscribed. These all are keeping busy your web server to update their content regularly.
Pingback and trackback features also send a notification to your WordPress site from external blogs and article sites. In return, your site is updating snippets displayed in your content or posts and generate new workload for your original site.
Sometimes their loads become unbearable for your WordPress site server and become a cause to cut your site loading speed. Therefore, you must disable those external hotlinks and content leeching services through placing appropriate code in your WordPress site root (.hataccess) file.
#12: Manage 404 Errors
404 HTTP errors appear whenever your WordPress site has some missing files or pages. Technically, your website server and browser at client side are checking for 404 errors and consuming bandwidth as well as processing power at both ends.
Therefore, it is the best advice for you to keep 404 errors at bay and improve your site speed.
Increasing WordPress site speed demands a thorough knowledge of the ways WordPress functions and cumulative approaches to optimize the site. By removing obstacles coming into the ways, we can enhance WordPress site loading speed considerably.
It is true that WordPress site owners cannot manage all operations mentioned above technically, and need solid supports of seasoned WordPress developers who are mitigating such issues right from the beginning of WordPress website development.