Do you want to speed up WordPress site and achieve a better Google Pagespeed Insights score? In this article, I’m going to share the most useful WordPress speed optimization tips to boost WordPress performance and speed up your site.
As you know, WordPress is a great platform and most of webmaster using WordPress platform. But one weakness that it suffers from a small delay in the loading time of a website can make visitors spontaneity your website and move your competitor.
Would you like to have this kind of user experience only because of the slow loading time?
The answer will be definitely ‘No’.
Even, top search engines including Google and other search engines consider the website loading time as a ranking factor for displaying search engines results.
Slow-loading websites often have a higher bounce rate and lower average time on the page again a red signal for SEO.
If SEO is driving a major percentage of traffic to your website, then you must focus on website speed optimization.
Note: Slow-loading websites affect conversion rate adversely whereas improvement in website speed can boost user experience and help to get more positive feedback as well as more conversion rate.
That’s why you should focus that loading time very important and make your website amazingly speedy for the users.
Now let’s move to the topic how to speed up WordPress site
Important Actionable Tips to Speed up WordPress Site
In this article, I’ve shared some useful tips to make your website surprisingly faster and smooth. Also, I’ve shared a few important points related to speed up WordPress site.
Why Speed is Important for Your WordPress Site?
According to studies I found that the average human attention span has dropped from 12 seconds to 7 seconds.
What does this mean for you as a website owner?
You’ve very little time to show users your content and convince them to stay on your website.
A slow-loading website means users will potentially leave your website before it even loads.
Studies show that Amazon, Google, and other larger sites, a 1 second delay in page load time can lead to 8% loss in conversions, 12% fewer page views, and 17% decrease in customer satisfaction.
On top of that, Google and other search engines have already started penalizing slower websites by pushing them down in the search results which means lower traffic for slow websites.
To sum it all up, if you want more traffic, and revenue from your website, then you must make your WordPress website FAST.
What are the causes for a slow WordPress website?
The primary causes for a slow WordPress website are:
Web Hosting: – If your web hosting server is not properly configured it can slow down your website speed.
WordPress Configuration: – when your WordPress site is not serving cached pages, then it will overload your server thus causing your website to be slow or cash entirely.
Image Size: – Large Image size file can cause your website to be slow.
Using Bad Plugins or Unnecessary Plugins: – If you’re using unnecessary or poorly coded plugin on your WordPress sites, then it can significantly slow down your website.
External Scripts: – It includes ads, font loaders, etc can also have a huge impact on your website performance.
Now that you know what are the causes for slow down WordPress website, let’s take a look at how to speed up your WordPress website.
How to check website page speed?
There are various tools available to check website page speed. But in this tutorial, I’m going to show two to three-page speed SEO tools to check your website speed.
Also, I’ll discuss what are the different between these all page speed SEO tools.
Introduction to page speed tools:
In this section we’re going to see an introduction to the page speed tools that we’re going to use in this article.
We are going to test two websites to optimize the various page speed techniques that you’re going to learn in this section.
The first website is hindi.spyfy.in and it is based on the latest default theme from WordPress.
It’s very sleek.
Or you can call it minimal.
So, it’s a lightweight website but this is how Google recommends you to keep your website now a days.
The second website is spyfy.in which is a pretty modern website and it is based on the premium WordPress theme which is easy to use.
Now let’s move to the first tool that we’re going to use in this section.
It’s called PageSpeed Insights tool and it’s from Google itself.
In this tool, you’ll get a set of suggestions or recommendations that you need to implement in your site to get the best page speed possible for recommendations and suggestions.
Note: The algorithm that’s used in this tool is up to date and you can rely upon the suggestions or recommendations that are given by this tool. But you don’t need to chase a hundred out of hundred (100/100) page speed score from this tool.
If you get a green sign for mobile and desktop then that’s enough. The important thing that matters is the load time not the page speed score.
Now let’s come to the second tool which is Web Page Test tool.
This tool won’t give you a score but it gives you grades for five different things such as security score, First Byte Time, Keep-alive Enabled, Compress Transfer, Compress Images, Cache static content, and Effective use of CDN.
This tool gives you some of the crucial information such as first-byte time, start render time, speed index time, and much more.
There are multiple load times displayed as you can see in the below figure.
Note: Just ignore all other load times that are displayed in this tool. You just need to carry about load time under the document complete.
Now let’s move on to first byte time of this tool.
Why first byte time is so important for our website.
Because the first byte time is nothing but a time taken for the first byte to reach from your server to the user’s browser.
Effectively nothing is happening in this first-byte time. So, if you can reduce it as much as possible then your total load time will improve accordingly to this web page test has given me a grade 0.403s.
So, first byte time Google recommends you to keep the first byte time or the response time under 200ms.
Now let’s move to the third tool which is Pingdom Website Speed Test Tool.
This is paid website speed checker tool but you can sign up for 14 days free trail.
Pingdom tool gives you a lot of information such as Performance grade, Load Time, Page size, and much more.
Note: I suggest you not to see any of them. You just need to care about this load time and you can take this page size for reference. If you will reduce the page size then your load time will improve.
Let me give you some benchmark timing which you can set as a target for a web page.
If you’re using web page test tool then you can set maximum 3 sec load time.
Coming to the Pingdom tool, if you can get a load time under 1.5 secs that’s brilliant but you can’t stretch the load time to a maximum of 2 sec against the Pingdom tool.
Pro tip: For recommendations and suggestions use PageSpeed Insights and Web Page Test tool. While to check load time you can use Pingdom tool.
How to Be Fail Safe?
What is fail?
There is minimum probability that while optimizing your website or while installing the bunch of WordPress plugins that I’m going to demonstrate in this section. You may break your site in such case.
You must be able to restore your website to the previous working state.
That’s why I advise you to take the database backup of your website.
To create the database backup of your WordPress website, go to the WordPress dashboard >> Plugins >> Add New >> and search for database backup.
Among the list of plugins that are displayed you choose UpdraftPlus WordPress Backup Plugin
Click on install once installed click activate. After activating this plugin to create a WordPress database.
Go to settings >> UpdraftPlus Backups >> Backup Now
After click on backup now it will give you a list of options. You need to mark only ‘Include your database in the backup’ option and click on Backup Now to start the backup process.
Once the process is completed. You can download the backup file by clicking on database button and click download to your computer to keep a backup in your computer rather than in your server.
Now you have backup file of your WordPress website. During the time of optimizing your website if your website will not work or crash then you can restore your website as a previous working state.
You can use this restore button.
How To Speed Up WordPress Site
These are not ordered by importance or any criteria, I’ve just collected everything I’ve learned around how to speed up WordPress page loads time and listed them all here.
I’m going to give you some tips and WordPress plugins which will help you to speed up your WordPress website.
I guarantee that using even a few will help speed up your site.
1. Choose a Good Hosting Providers
In this section, we’re going to see some of the hosting providers that I recommend you to use to speed up your WordPress site.
Let’s start with the ones that I suggest to avoid along with the reasons.
The first on the list is siteground.com
Because I’ve seen many webmasters who hosting their website to Siteground, and they don’t get even half of the page speed or other webmaster can get for the same configuration in a different hosting provider.
Why this happens with Siteground or some other hosting providers like ipage.com
This is because they are for specialized hosting for WordPress where they optimize their software for some specific page speed optimization plugins.
The problem with the specialized WordPress hosting is that they would have already optimized their server in some specific manner and they generally don’t allow you to customize it by yourself.
So, if any hosting provider if you see this
- Customized WordPress Hosting Plan
- Specialized for WordPress
- Optimized for WordPress
Then just avoid that hosting.
These are not a bad hosting provider you can use it, but if you want to get the best speed for your website then you need to choose a good hosting provider.
Now coming to the hosting providers that I recommend.
For shared web hosting if you want to choose a hosting package that is less than $10 a month then choose a stable host.
If you want to go to VPS server then don’t go for just a normal VPS.
Instead go for cloud VPS from VPS.NET.
They also offer SSD VPS Servers but I don’t recommend it as cloud VPS offers better uptime and performance than SSD VPS for almost the same price in case of manage hosting.
So, prefer Cloud VPS Servers and you can get it for under $50/month for manage Cloud VPS and easy maintenance.
Now you need to CPanel for which a minimum of 1 G.B RAM is needed. Each node and Cloud VPS gives you 0.5GB RAM. So, you need to choose a minimum of 2 nodes.
Along with CPanel choose CentOS that will take you to just under $50/month.
Note: If you want a more powerful server then select more nodes to increase the power of the server. If you’re not sure how many nodes you need, 2 nodes are recommended as a good place to start.
So, the conclusion is that if you want to speed up WordPress site then choose Stable host for shared hosting which offers the maximum customization through which you can attain the maximum page speed.
2. Use a content delivery network (CDN)
No matter what you do, or what type of content you write, chances are that you’ll find.
CDN behind every character of text, every image pixel and every movie frame that gets delivered to your PC and mobile browser.
CDN is the answer to one of the mostly faced issue called Latency.
Latency is the nothing but the delay that occurs from the moment you request to load a web-page to the moment it actually starts to load on your screen.
When you use a CDN, your static content is cached and stored on multiple CDN servers across the world.
Now when a user visits your site which is hosted on your main server, the CDN technology redirects them to the closest CDN server nearby their location.
Since the delay duration is impacted mostly by the physical distance between the user and the website hosting server. CDN reduce the distance by redirecting them to the closest CDN server.
In addition to reducing the delay time a modern CDN can take care of several other things such as
- It can improve website page load speed.
- Handle sudden high traffic loads
- Block spammers and other bad bots.
- Reduce your server bandwidth consumption.
- Protect your website from DDOS attacks, and much more.
So, I recommended you to use premium CDN on your website to speed up WordPress site.
There are many premium CDNs services out there, the best ones among them are
- Key CDN
- Google CDN
- Amazon AWS
- Rackspace etc.
But there are a few free CDNs are also available with limited features.
3. Compress Images (automatically)
In this section, we’re going to see the best WordPress image compression plugins to compress the images that you’ve on your server. All the plugins that we’re going to see are premium with full features as well as free with limited features.
I personally use the premium version of ShortPixel Image Optimizer plugin on my WordPress sites, as I’ve found that they have the most reasonable prices and very simple to use. This image compression plugin reduces the file size of an image as much as possible, while not reducing quality.
However, if you’re like me, doing this to every image would be beyond a pain, and incredibly time consuming.
From my experience, there is an amazing, free plugin called Compress JPEG & PNG Images, EWWW Image Optimizer, and WP-Smush which will do this process to all of your images automatically, as you’re uploading them.
4. Optimize Your Homepage to Load Quickly
This is most important part of your site because people will be landing there the most often. It’s really a few easy things that you can do to ensure that your homepage loads quickly.
Things that you can do include:
- Show excerpts instead of full posts
- Reduce the number of posts on the homepage (I like showing between 3-6)
- Remove unnecessary sharing widgets from the homepage of your website (Include them only in posts)
- Remove inactive plugins and widgets that you don’t need
- Keep in minimal, Readers are here for content, not for widgets on the homepage.
- Last but not least, try to use a simple and responsive WordPress theme.
Overall, a clean and simple homepage design will help your page not only look good, but load quicker as well.
5. Reduce Server Response Time or First-Byte Time
I’m going to reduce server response time or first-byte time by using a plugin called Speed Booster Pack.
To install this speed booster pack, go to your WordPress dashboard >> Plugins >> Add New and search for Speed Booster Pack and then click on Install.
Note: we’re installing this speed booster pack plugin to strip down our WordPress some unnecessary features that we are not going to use which could improve your service response time or first-byte time.
After installing this speed booster pack plugin, you don’t need to go for pro optimization service. You need to go with free one.
Just follow me and enable options that I’m going to enable here.
Apart from this option I suggest not to enable any of the options in speed booster pack.
These are all the safe optimizations and most of these options won’t cause any issues in your website.
We’re done with this speed booster pack settings.
6. Use an effective caching plugin
Obviously, WordPress plugins are quite useful, but some of the best fall under the caching category, as they drastically improve page loads time, and best of all, all of them on WordPress.org are free and easy to use.
My favorite caching plugin is W3 Total Cache plugin, I wouldn’t recommend or use any other caching plugin, it has all of the features you need and is extremely easy to install and use.
If you want to speed up WordPress site then you must use this caching plugin. Simply install and activate this plugin, and what your page load faster as elements are cached.
For your help, if you don’t know how to install and configure the W3 Total Cache plugin then you can click here and read this article.
7. Optimize the Static Resources of the Website
To optimize the static resources of the website we’re going to use a plugin called Autoptimize. To install this plugin, go to the WordPress dashboard >> Plugin >> Add New >> and search for Autoptimize (Look for the spelling – Autoptimize).
Now you need to install this plugin and after installed click on activate.
To optimize and configure this plugin, go to the settings and click on Autoptimize. After click on that just enable all the important options as shown in the below picture.
Under CSS Options, enable these options Optimize CSS Code, Aggregate CSS-files, also aggregate inline CSS and inline all.
Under Misc options you need to enable all the four options.
After enable all the options under JS, CSS & HTML click on Save changes and empty cache.
Now to the extra tab and enable ‘combine and load fonts asynchronously with webfont.js’ and click on save changes.
Now click on Autoptimize option and then delete cache.
Async means that your browser and network will decide when to download the file, which can be faster that the time it needs to render the HTML page, or slower.
Under settings tab you need to enable all the options as shown in the below figure.
After enable all the options click on save settings and then check your website speed on Google PageSpeed insights.
9. Add LazyLoad to Your Images
LazyLoad is the process of having only the images above the fold load (i.e. only the images will be visible to the users when the visitor’s browse your page or scroll your page), and when reader scrolls down the page the other images begin to load just before they come into view.
This will not only speed up your page loads, it can also save bandwidth by loading less data for users who don’t scroll all the way down on your pages.
To do this automatically, let’s install a3 lazy load plugin and configure it.
Go to the plugins >> Add New >> and search for a3 Lazy Load then click on Install Now and activate this plugin.
Note: If you’re using Jetpack plugin for lazy load image then don’t install this plugin or any other lazy load plugins. Just install only one plugin for lazy load image.
After install a3 lazy load, go to the settings to configure a3 lazy load plugins.
Under Plugin Framework Global Settings and Lazy Load Activation, enable these options.
You need to ‘Turn on’ all these six options under lazy load images (Lazy load is nothing but loading the images only when a visitor’s scroll the page to sees the image.
If you’re using iframes and videos on your site then you can enable all these options.
Now enable all these options as shown in the below figure and click on save changes.
Again check your website speed.
10. Optimize Your WordPress Database
You can simply use the WP-Optimize plugin, which I run on all of my sites.
This WP plugin lets you do just one simple task like optimize your database (spam, post revisions, drafts, table, etc.) to reduce their overhead.
I would also recommend to you use this WP-DB-Manager plugin, which can schedule dates for database optimization.
What to worry and what not?
As I said in the beginning of this article that you don’t need to chase 100/100 Google PageSpeed Insights score.
Getting a Green tick or a ‘Good’ score from Google’s Pagespeed insights is nor than enough.
What really matters in the page loading time of sites?
Try to maintain a maximum of 3.5s page load time in webpagetest.org
Never go beyond that.
But the benchmark timing is 1.5s to 2s in Pingdom tools and 3s repeat view load time in webpagetest.org
Even after following our Pagespeed technique, if you can’t get a good score in Google’s Pagespeed insights or if you can’t get a benchmark page load time, then try to following things.
- Reduce external Js & CSS files – If Pagespeed insights recommend a lot of Js and CSS files from external domains under minification or leverage browser caching then avoid using such plugins or widgets, if not necessary.
- Avoid Pop-ups widgets or plugins to display pop-ups. It not only affects your page speed; it also affects your SEO.
- Avoid unoptimized ones – Try to avoid unoptimized drag & drop builders.
- Try to deviate less from the ideal scenario as far as possible.
The ideal scenario is using PageSpeed optimized minimalist and responsive themes, not using external assets as much as possible.
Finally, I’ve discussed everything about speed up WordPress site and gave your best ways to boost up your WordPress website.
Now it’s your turn, you’ve to follow all the steps to speed up WordPress site and I’m sure you will get about 95% score out of 100% in Google Pagespeed Insights. If you’ll faced any problem then you can ask your problem in the comment section. I’ll definitely answer your question.
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