How to speed up WordPress site [updated]

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speed up WordPress site

Have you checked your site speed ? I think it needs improvement. That’s why you’re here. Right? Before starting the article I would like you to know, What is website speed ?

Website speed or PageSpeed is the time taken by the browser to open up your web page. It is also referred as a speed in which the browser receives the first or single byte of your site. No matter how you measure it, a faster page speed is better. It has been found that faster pages both rank and convert better.

Previously, Satyansh has shared with you that How your website’s speed affects SEO ranking signals. Friday, April 09, 2010 was the day when Google announced that they are including a new signal in their search ranking algorithms which was nothing but the site speed.

Hence it has became very important to increase your page loading speed if you want good rankings on SERP (Search engine results page). And it is very important for WordPress bloggers. As blogs doesn’t contain a high quality animation or JavaScript. Bloggers can explain their topics using text and images. But some bloggers are not following this, and this is the reason they’re still back in SERP.

Factors influencing the website speed

  • HTML, Javascript and CSS files : This is one the important files of you website, which optimizes your site’s appearance. But sometimes using too many plugins with a bunch of scripts and styles slow down your website. Due to these files, your site load increases with an increase in the page size.
  • Server error : This is a very common case that sometimes your web server doesn’t respond. In this case, you may can’t do anything rather than switch your web server. For that, you should choose a proper web hosting services like Bluehost. You may also like to read about best web hosting companies for WordPress.
  • Browser caching : Cache is a collection of elements of your web page stored in a hidden or inaccessible place. It is served to the browser before your website completely loads. This creates a number-wise loading of your site elements and hence it preserves much more time than usual. Leveraging your browser cache helps to increase your website speed and also serves an optimized content to your users.
  • Server location: Sometimes page speed also affected by the location of your web server. If your web server is too far and is not in the proper maintenance, it will surely affect your website speed. The solution to this is a CDN (content delivery network). Because it helps to serve the cached version of your site to the places where your server is not located. Hence it is helpful when your server is not working. Beside this CDN speeds up your website.
  • Media files : For a fast loading your site, the images of your posts should be optimized. Image optimization is a process of reducing the image size without losing its visual quality. Also, image optimization is the important factor of SEO. In order to make it happen, you should install plugins like Ewww image optimizer and WP Smush. These plugins automatically optimize the images of your site and make them easier for the search engines.

Looking up these factors a question will hit your mind that how to bypass these things and how to speed up WordPress site.

How to speed up WordPress site ?

There are some websites which are not properly cached and takes too much time to load. Nobody likes a slow website. WordPress is the best CMS for Bloggers. And choosing a perfect WordPress theme is the main step of a Blogger.

The themes which are styled too much, say it generates 152 requests, is not good for the average speed of website. So how to choose those WordPress themes which does not generates much request and loads fast even on 2g data speed ?

The themes which are styled too much, say it generates 152 requests, is not good for the average speed of a website. So how to choose those WordPress themes which do not generate more request and loads fast even on average internet speed ?

I have the answer : Fastest WordPress themes of 2016.

If you want to win, you have to be fast.

When I started searching the theme for my website, I found many. Satyansh told me that “Today” is the perfect theme for 3nions. When I saw “Today” it was merely simple and minimal. We worked together to reduce the theme size and scripts. It took 1 week to properly customize it and make it ready for use.

I’m using w3 total cache plugin as a cache engine for 3nions. This plugin helped me lot in minimizing my HTML, Javascript and CSS files. While customizing, I removed all the transition elements from my style.css file and this increased my website speed by 30%. Below is the screenshot of my latest Pingdom test results.

speed up WordPress site

How to speed up WordPress site [updated]

I always use optimized images for post and pages and hence my page size is 518 kb. Sometimes it may vary due to the big image files but the average page size is around 500 kb.

You should consider to remove the useless javascript manually from your theme’s root (not for non-coders). If you aren’t a coding geek hire one and make your theme free from useless scripts. This helped us to reduce our page size by 20%.

There are many other methods too you may consider to speed up WordPress website.

Enable gzip compression

You should compress your files as this speeds up your site. This is one of the basic rules of Google PageSpeed Insights. Gzip is basically a type of compression which is used by web server to compress heavy website elements.
Gzip uses the HTTP compression method to reduce your website weight.
HTTP compression generally means a 60-80% reduction in the size of your pages (broadband usage) as well as an increase in download speeds of 3x to 4x. You can use WP HTTP Compression plugin to serve compressed pages to your visitors.
If you don’t want to install this plugin add this code to your .htaccess file. While adding this code, make sure that you’re using an Apache servers. (not NGINX or other. For NGINX read this)

This code will automatically enable the compression and will serve a reduced page size to the supported browsers. GZIP compression improves your site response by 90%. This means that enabling this you just powered up your main SEO factor.

Also, read my detailed post about How to enable GZIP compression on WordPress

Using w3 total cache plugin

speed up WordPress site

How to speed up WordPress site [updated]

As an experienced user, I will recommend you to use w3 total cache plugin as it is more effective and broad. If you are a newbie blogger then W3 Total Cache is merely made for you. It is fast. It converts better. It has an extended CDN support. This plugin is specially designed to optimize the user experience and improve page speed. Though it is not much popular but still has 1 million plus active installs according to the plugin homepage.

Furthermore, W3 total cache is the reason why my website loads under two seconds. This is the best WordPress plugin to optimize your site and increase website speed.

In addition to this, It helps to serve the minimized version of a web page to your visitors in less time. You can use any supported CDN with W3 total cache plugin.

Websites using this plugin is totally satisfied with its features because it is free. There are two to three more features that are available in the pro version of W3 Total Cache plugin. If you want, you can easily purchase a one year license at 99$ for the pro version of this plugin.

What are the Benefits of installing this plugin ?

  • There are multiple CDN networks available with “other” option.
  • Minify HTML, CSS, and Javascript.
  • Good optimization options
  • Increases website speed by decreasing your page size
  • Delivers static and generated scripts to your readers
  • Saves above 80% Bandwidth by compressing HTML, CSS, JAVASCRIPT files.

Optimizing Images

We have already shared with you ; the importance of image optimization in SEO. Image optimization is one of the main factors of SEO. If you have a good quality image, it is possible that you will gain views on you image too via google image search.

The fewer bytes the browser has to download, the less competition will be there for the user’s bandwidth and the browser will download and render content on the screen faster and hence it will increase website speed.

Use EWWW image optimizer

This is a great WordPress plugin to optimize the images of your site. Using EWWW, you can crush the extra size of JPEG and PNG files which takes more time to load. It can optimize the images that you have already uploaded, convert your images automatically to the file format that will produce the smallest image size, and you can also apply lossy compression to get more amount of savings for PNG and JPEG images. Hence it speed up WordPress site.

Use WP Smush

This is another great plugin made by WPMU DEV team. This plugin comes with a premium feature of bulk optimization. WP Smush uses WPMU DEV’s servers to minimize each and every image of your site timelessly.

Leverage Browser Caching

Cache can be also called as a static version of your most visited (popular) page which can be further served to the readers without retrieving data from your web server or database. Hence the requests to your server or database gradually decrease. It also prevents the overloading of your web server.

This helps in number-wise loading of your site elements and hence it preserves much more time than usual. Caching saves your bandwidth by 50%.

If you have a caching enabled on your website, it will help load your website faster. The nature of the Expires header keeps the information about loading the page from source or cache stored in the browser. Suppose if you have set the expire time “5 hours”, then after the 5 hours, the browser will load the content from the source (database) again to obtain the fresh cache. Also, this increase website speed by 30%.

Proper caching of web pages also contributes in a good position on SERP (Search engine results page).

speed up WordPress site

How to speed up WordPress site [updated]

This helps in the proper caching of your web pages and hence serves your content to the visitors in rocket speed.

I have already given you the list of Best FREE WordPress cache plugins.

Remove Query string from static resources

This is another speed affecting factor on the WordPress sites. There are some type of symbols and marks in the CSS or JS scripts of WordPress themes which take more time to fetch actual strings.

Well it can be fixed easily by adding this code to your function.php file of your WordPress theme.

You can also install this plugin on your WordPress site, It will do this for you without writing or editing the source code.

Plugin link >> Remove query string from static resources.

Eliminate Render-blocking JavaScript

This issue mainly arises in the low-width devices such as mobiles, iPad, etc.

In simple words, the Javascript that blocks your website to render on the browser is known as render-blocking Javascript.

Before the website completely loads the browser has to create a DOM tree to first load all the HTML elements. During this process, if the browser finds any script in the above-the-fold (head) content, it has to stop loading HTML and load the script first. And hence it breaks DOM construction.

For bypassing this issue you may need a plugin named Above The Fold Optimization. This plugin is primarily made to remove render-blocking Javascript and pass this issue on Google PageSpeed insights.

Go to the plugin settings under Plugins > Installed plugins. You will come across the page which will show the number of CSS optimization options. For first, you have to check the boxes and enable ‘advanced CSS editor‘ and ‘optimize CSS delivery‘.

Secondly, you have to enable ‘Localize Javascript’ on the same settings page of the plugin. In the Localize Javascript BETA tab above the options, you can enable the Javascript files in your theme to pass Leverage-browser-caching rule in Google PageSpeed which will definitely speed up WordPress site.

I will recommend you to read detailed version of this topic here >> How to eliminate render blocking JavaScript in above-the-fold content.

Using a CDN (Content delivery network)

What is CDN ? : A content delivery network or content distribution network (CDN) is a globally distributed network of proxy servers deployed in multiple data centers. Thus it speed up WordPress site.

I recommend my visitors to use Cloudflare CDN which is free and also contributes to the security of your WordPress website. Cloudflare CDN helps to serve the cache version of most visited or popular content of your website to the multiple Cloudflare local servers for fast loading of web pages.

Cloudflare CDN is also very helpful when your server is not working properly or if it has gone down for maintenance. It also speed up WordPress site by automatically minifying the CSS, Javascript, and HTML files.

How to speed up your WordPress site [updated]

speed up WordPress site

Some of the features of CloudFlare CDN includes-

  • Free DNS setup.
  • Auto minify scripts (CSS, HTML, JS).
  • Rocket Loader.
  • Effective cache engine.
  • Multiple Security levels (Brute force & DDoS protection).
  • Threat control.
  • Traffic and Analytics.

You may also like to read this detailed tutorial on How to setup free CloudFlare CDN on WordPress blogs.

If you liked this article don’t forget to share it on Facebook and Twitter. If you’ve any query related to this post then please make the use of the comment box. We will try to solve it as soon as possible. Remind me of my missing points and make this post more helpful for others. Happy Blogging.

Last updated: August 27, 2016

Authored by :

Hi ! I'm Prakhar Shrivastav, currently a final year BSc student and a co-founder of 3nions. I love spending quality times on Web development, Graphic designing, and SEO.

15 comments

now my blog severely affecting by server errors. Planning to move VPS hosting.

Choosing a better hosting for your website is a primary factor of pagespeed. Bluehost is best for VPS. Go for it!

Optimize marketing

Thanks for sharing the post.. I’ve been thinking on how to improve the load time of my website. I’m using Google webmaster to track the load time. Is there any other resource to do that?

Tools from google are usually best. But if you want to try different then pingdom and smallseotools is best. You should read the list of 3 best tools to test website speed.

Punya Vashist

The thing is , my servers are located far , very far from Pingdom’s , and it always shows my page size to be 1mb.

Thanks a lot for this post , I’m getting better results already. GZIP compression is the best , by the way.

I Hope that your website will load in rocket speed soon @Punya. Gzipping is the best way to reduce your website size.

web designing company

Thank you so much for sharing good post

Great post.. Will try the tips and make my site fast! 😀

Good Utham, Faster website always converts better.

Naveen Kumar

Hi Prakhar,

Very helpful article,

Lots of things to do now.Thanks for the info.I needed to speed up my site.

Go for it, Naveen. Happy to hear that.

Taking off all the ADS on your blog really really helps! I took all of mine off except 1 – and my blog now loads 45 seconds faster!

It will, definitely. Because ads are the external content and you cannot minify or compress its script. BTW thanks for your contribution.

Pavitra Kumar

HEY, PRAKHAR

Thanks for the article.

1 Q- Just want to confirm between EWWW Image Optimizer and wpsmush which is better.

2 Q- Ironically my site is loading quite fast, but the only plugin that is delaying load times is MailMunch. Do you have any tips to optimize the load times for MailMunch?

Thanks for so much an awesome article. I just implemented these steps on my blog. And now its speed has increased well. Thanks a lot for the help

Hey Pavitra,
It was good to hear that this post helped you.
Well you should use WPsmush because I have used them both and found that Ewww is not that cool. WPsmush optimize tge images right way and thus it shows the ultimate results.
Yes it is possible to speed up Mailmunch plugin. If you’re using W3 total cache then it is possible because it has “minify internal css & js” option which will definitely help out.
Do enable GZIP compression on your website, it is a very effective method and serve the contents of your Page much faster to your visitors.
Thankyou so much for your kind words. Keep visiting because I’m going to crack some tricks to improve website speed and performance 🙂

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