Five Ways You Can Make Your WordPress Site Faster Today

By James Tredwell on August 19, 2019

Slow WordPress sites are everywhere, and it’s not WordPress’s fault. WordPress is speedy. It can serve pages at lightning speed. Some of the biggest WordPress sites on the web deliver thousands of page views a minute without asking visitors to wait.

And yet, many WordPress sites leave us twiddling our thumbs as they download megabytes of data to display content that would fit on one page of a small notebook. WordPress isn’t to blame.

Usain Bolt didn’t set world sprinting records while wearing heavy work boots, and your WordPress site won’t perform if it’s carrying too much weight.

If your WordPress site is woefully slow, start with the low-hanging fruit. These optimizations are almost guaranteed to give your WordPress site a boost.

Crush Your Images

Images are frequently the most significant contributor to page weight. But they’re often a lot heavier than they need to be, especially for visitors using mobile devices. Grabbing a pretty image from Unsplash and uploading it straight to your WordPress site is convenient, but it’s a bad idea if you care about performance.

Most include a lot of metadata and are much bigger than they need to be. Install an image optimization plugin like Smush Image Compression and Optimization to strip the metadata and process images to a more efficient format.

Hook Up A CDN

A content distribution network (CDN) uploads a site’s static assets to a network of servers around the world. Visitors are served from the nearest CDN node, taking the strain off your WordPress server and ensuring images and scripts are delivered from a nearby location.

Caching plugins like W3 Total Cache include CDN functionality, and there are several global CDNs to choose from, including Cloudflare and Fastly.

Remove Pointless JavaScript

JavaScript takes time to download and run. If it’s not doing an important job, get rid of it. Take a look at the plugins that are injecting JavaScript into your WordPress pages. Do you need all those widgets and tracking scripts? Social media widgets are often the worst culprit here. Remove them, and your pages will load much more quickly.

Turn On Caching

WordPress generates web pages on the fly, which is useful for serving dynamic content, but pointless if the content rarely changes. A caching system stores content after it is generated and serves it from disk or memory, rather than regenerating it for every visitor.

It’s much faster — orders of magnitude in some cases — than generating the page for every visitor. I mentioned W3 Total Cache earlier, but you might also want to take a look at WP Rocket and WP Super Cache.

Get A Better WordPress Host

The most important relationship affecting performance is that between a WordPress site and the company that hosts it. If your site is on an old server crammed with thousands of other sites, running on ancient versions of PHP and MySQL, it will never be fast.

Nothing you can do will make up for bad hosting except moving to a better host. Migration isn’t as challenging as you might think, so if your optimization efforts aren’t fruitful, consider looking for a new home for your WordPress site.

This article is contributed by Graeme is a writer and content marketer at Nexcess, a global provider of hosting services, who has a knack for making tech-heavy topics interesting and engaging to all readers. 

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