I am a WordPress user. My website is hosted on BlueHost. I contacted them and they are saying that I should optimise my WordPress website with the cache plugins and other optimising tools. How do you guys optimise your WordPress sites? Please share your methods.
Well, optimizing your WordPress website is quite tricky. Sometimes a simple plugin removal can fix the issue, but sometimes can even demand changing your hosting provider. So, If you want to increase the speed of your WordPress website, here are the things you should follow.
1. Choose a good Web Hosting
Web hosting is the residing place of your WordPress installation and your files. All users are getting served by the web server. So, choosing a fast, reliable hosting service is always important. Even if you haven’t optimized your website for speed, a good hosting can still make your website super-fast. So be sure to choose a fast and reliable hosting server based on your website traffic. Some recommended hosting providers are,
- WP Engine
- Digital Ocean
2. Use a lightweight and speedy Theme
For those who don’t know, WordPress themes are the things which makes your website looks beautiful. More than that, you can’t run a WordPress website without installing a theme. Usage of the highly customizable heavy themes can create problems in your site speed. Apart from that, poorly codes themes can conflict with the latest version of the WordPress and other plugins. So, while choosing a WordPress theme, be sure to select popular options like,
- Genesis - One of the best frameworks, lightweight
- Newspaper - Feature rich, fast magazine theme
- X Theme - For company and official websites (a little heavy but fast)
3. Minimize the use of Plugins
There are thousands of WordPress plugins out there. You can install all of them, but each one will make your website slow atleast a few milliseconds. So, minimize the use of plugins on your website. For example, instead of using a contact form plugin, a subscriber plugin, an image optimization plugin, a security plugin, a stats plugin, (and many more), just use the Jetpack by Automattic which comes with all these features and tens more.
4. Use a Caching plugin
Caching allows to serve your website’s content fast to the users. So, what a caching plugin does it simply creating static copies of your web pages and store them on the web server. When a user requests that page, the cached copy will be provided. It will make your website several times faster. Some of the most recommended caching plugins are,
- WP Rocker (Premium but the best in the industry)
- W3 Total Cache (Free and comes with almost all caching features)
- WP Super Cache (Free, developed by the same WordPress developers, Easy to configure)
5. Use a CDN
CDN or the Content Delivery Network distributes your websites content throughout the CDN servers placed all over the globe. It helps to deliver the content to the users from the nearest location. For example, if the server is placed in the US and a user requests it from India, the data have to travel all the way from US to India. But what a CDN service does is, simply making the exact copies of the web pages and placing them in all the CDN servers placed all over the world. So, when a user makes a request, the data will be served from the nearest CDN server which makes the propagation several times faster.
There are many more uses of the CDN like multiple transfer channels which allows parallel data transfer. Research on the internet to know more about them. Some popular CDN services include,
6. Optimize Images
If your website is image rich, make sure that you optimized them. You can reduce the size of some images upto 90% without losing its quality (it depends on the image.) So, make sure that you optimize them before serving the users. You can either optimize them before uploading using some online websites like,
or use some WordPress plugins like,
- EWWW Image Optimizer (uses more resources on your server. Only use if you have a good hosting)
- WP Smush
- Kraken Image Optimizer
If you don’t want to use an additional plugin or don’t want to spend time on optimizing it, simply install the Jetpack plugin and turn on the Photon module. It will automatically optimize your images and serve from the WordPress servers.
7. Optimize Database
Over time, databases can be a mess and many leftovers by uninstalled plugins and themes can slow down your site. Optimizing the database can fix such problems and help to improve WordPress speed. You can either do this from your hosting account’s cPanel or use some plugins like,
- Advanced Database Cleaner
Note: We strongly recommend taking a backup of your database before optimizing it.
8. Lazy load images and videos
Lazy loading allows you to display the images only when the user scrolls down (the images which are not in the view port.) So lazy loading will save a significant amount of time took for loading your page.
If you are using a caching plugin like WP Rocket, it will have the option to lazy load your images. If not, you will have to use some plugins like,
- Lazy Load
- a3 Lazy Load
9. Block hotlinking
I thin you already know that anyone can simply load a image or resource from another site by just using the URL. But when a lot of website use the content on the same website, that website will have to serve the content utilizing its own bandwidth. When the server is not capable of providing such large amount of data, it will significantly slow down your website.
In most of the cases, you don’t have to worry about this until your website gets so popular. But at any point you find out others are hotlinking to your content at a large scale, take the measures to block it.
Hope this helps. You have to keep one more thing in your mind. WordPress is highly dynamic and it can’t perform like a static website. But you can try to make it better. Good luck with your WordPress speed optimization.
Oh my goodness. You have written a long article to answer my question. I really really appreciate your effort. I will surely implement all of these on my site and will tell the results here. Thanks for your kind reply.