Have you ever thought about page speed affecting your Site Ranking on Google, and how to speed up your WordPress site?
Google confirms site speed affects your site ranking. That means Google doesn’t reward fast loading sites but does penalize slow loading websites.
The point of impact is the Bounce Rate for slow loading sites. If users from Google do not stay for at least Three seconds on a site, Google records higher Bounce Rate for the site which ultimately affects site ranking on the Google.
With that in mind, we learned about two things. Google penalizes slow speed sites, and second speed, if you manage to deal with WordPress Core features that affect site speed, you can speed up your WordPress.
We are going to learn top 12 ways to speed up your WordPress site. These methods will help you learn practical knowledge, speed up your site, and improve your Google Ranking.
How to check your site speed
Before you proceed to improve your page speed, you should check its speed first, and know about factors that affect your site performance.
- Redirect chains that slow down your site speed by keeping the Browser busy in repetitive redirects.
- Suggests Browser Caching for resources that contribute to speed up your WordPress site.
- Minimize Suggestion for Requested URLs, in case your site requests way too long URLs from the server.
- Image Dimension Setting Suggestion that helps you go for setting up image dimensions to improve your page speed.
- Compression of Code and HTML files helps you load files faster, helping you increase your site speed and performance.
- Code Suggestion such as Putting CSS in the Head section of the code that helps you write clean code to improve your site speed.
After you test your site, you can explore and fix your site key factors that affect your site page speed.
Site speed is a ranking factor
Google has officially mentioned site speed as a Ranking Factor. As mentioned above, according to Brian Dean of Backlinko, Google doesn’t reward fast loading sites but penalizes slow speed sites.
Considering the above facts, site owners are subjected to take their site speed in the account and improve things that affect their site speed.
How to speed up your WordPress site
1. Choose a good web hosting
A fast Web Host can significantly boost your site performance. In this regard, the best option is going for the WordPress Managed Hosting such as WP Engine and One.com; however, you need to take the following aspects into account.
- Decide on a hosting type: There are several types of hosting, each having different attributes depending on user needs. The first is Shared Hosting that hosts multiple sites on a single server. The Virtual Private Server (VPS) provides unique resource allocation for each user, along with minimum sites hosted on the server. The third is Dedicated Hosting that helps you access full server resources, comparatively expensive but resourceful, along with one site hosted on the server.
- Hardware and software: Make sure the target server has the latest technology installed on it. For example, SSD Hard Drives and Latest version of Operating System such as Windows or Linux.
- PHP: Latest version of PHP helps your site run properly. To check the current version of PHP installed on the server, you can ask from the customer support or create a file containing specific PHP code, upload to server, and execute to see the PHP version.
- Hosting plan and server location: At the time of purchasing a Hosting Plan, you can see a list of available options. There are several factors you need to consider, such as Web Space, Bandwidth, and Monthly Visits.
2. Use cache plugins
Cache Plugins help you speed up your WordPress site by creating Static HTML files for the PHP scripts. Instead of processing heavier PHP scripts on requests, the server serves already created Static HTML pages for the user.
- Install the plugin: Head to WordPress Plugins Directory at the official site, or click on the Add Plugin on the left panel in the WordPress Dashboard. After you search W3 Total Cache, click on the Install button.
- Activate the plugin: You can activate the plugin right after installation. You can also head to Plugins in the Dashboard, select and activate the plugin.
- Using the W3 Total Cache: You have got a bunch of Caching options. By clicking on Performance Tab in the Dashboard, you can play around Caching options in the W3 Total Cache Dashboard.
3. Optimize images
Uploading images in a different size can slow down your WordPress website. Before you upload images, you need to use a tool that optimizes your images without affecting their quality.
One of such plugins is the Smush Image Compressor and Optimizer, an award winning plugin for image optimization that helps you resize, compress and optimize WordPress images. Let’s proceed with Smush installation for the said purpose.
- Install the plugin: As we know, the WordPress Dashboard helps you install the Smush Plugin. Head to Add Plugin option, and search the Smush in the WordPress Plugins Directory.
- Using the Smush Plugin: After activating the plugin, the Smush Welcome page appears. You can now recheck images, upload new ones and change additional image settings. By default, the Smush checks newly uploaded images.
- Upgrade to Premium: The Smush basic Free version provides essential features. However, upgrading to Premium package helps you achieve Bulk Image Optimization, Scale your images on Upload, and operate images up to 32 MB in size.
4. Optimize home page for speed
A Home Page with random content can slow down your WordPress site speed. The Home Page contents such as Images, Text, Videos, and Forms contribute to site speed. To get started, and optimize your Home Page for the speed, consider the following key points.
- Reduce the number of Posts on Homepage: To play well, you can change the number of Posts on Reading page settings in the WordPress Dashboard.
- Remove or deactivate unnecessary plugins: Unnecessary Plugins refer to those not contributing to your site. Take plugins in the account, and remove or deactivate plugins by clicking on the Plugins in the WordPress Dashboard.
- Show excerpts instead of Full post text: If you blog more often, you need to change excerpts settings. You can control showing full text or excerpts for your blog posts. To change these settings, you can head to the Reading page in the WordPress Dashboard.
- Remove unnecessary widgets: Widgets are small content areas on the WordPress pages. Usually, you can see widgets on the left or right side of the WordPress site. The more you keep fewer Widgets on the Home Page, the more you can increase your site speed.
5. Optimize database
With the passage of time, the WordPress Database keeps saving data from the plugins, posts, and settings. The Database may use reserve disk space to operate additional things, however; you need to optimize your site Database on a regular basis.
- Remove Post revisions: As you type and save post drafts, WordPress creates post revision history on a regular basis. Post Revisions slow down your site and need to be removed for increasing your WordPress Post Editor Speed and performance. Install Better Delete Revisions, activate and follow the on-screen instructions to delete post revisions and speed up your WordPress Post Editor.
- Delete spam comments: Spam comments occupy your Database and affect your site speed as well. You can delete spam comments manually, or use a plugin such as Akismet to deal with spam comments properly.
- Use database optimization plugins: Fortunately, you can use plugins that automate Database optimization. Several tools help you achieve Database optimization, such as WP-Optimize, WP DB Manage, and Plugins Garbage Collector.
6. Keep WordPress core files, themes and plugins updated
On a regular basis, a WordPress site needs updating Three main factors; the WordPress Core Files, Themes, and Plugins.
- Update WordPress core files: On the WordPress Updates page in the Dashboard, you can see your WordPress Core Update version. Here you can click on the Check Again button to check and update the WordPress Software.
- Update themes: Although you can download the latest version of your Theme from its official website, and upload to WordPress; you can also head to Themes page in the WordPress Dashboard, and update Themes.
- Update plugins: Like Themes, you can update Plugins on the Plugins page. You can also use the Updates page, where you can find Themes, WordPress Core Software, and Plugins update options at the same place.
7. Use a Content Delivery Network (CDN)
A CDN consists of Distributed Networks of Servers that deliver content by Geo-locations. The purpose of a CDN is speed and performance.
The CDN works with Distributed Data Centers which help web owners keep their data at multiple locations. These Data Centers help you increase reliability, control the network load, and prevent your assets from DDoS attacks. Some of the top CDNs are StackPath, CDN77, Akamai, and Cloud Flare.
While you can read and choose a CDN service, the following facts help you explore the CDN benefits.
- Security: As CDNs help you spread your data at multiple locations, cyber threats fall short of affecting your data on multiple data centers.
- Global reach: CDNs provide local access points by regions. Local Access Points cover Global Reach under different circumstances, helping you keep your assets on the go.
- Data analysis: CDN services provide file usage analysis. You can see your Data performance and Bandwidth estimation, and take necessary actions on time.
8. Disable WordPress features you don’t need
WordPress comes with lots of features. While you can make use of the WordPress features, an average user doesn’t need them all, and disabling such features can significantly boost a WordPress site speed and performance.
Fortunately, some plugins help you find out unnecessary features. These plugins cut down technical tasks of disabling features manually.
- Install the plugin: You need to install the WP Disable plugin. It helps you reduce HTTP requests, Disable Emojis, and other Embeds. Head to Plugins Directory in the WordPress Dashboard, click on Add New Plugin and search for the Reduce HTTP Requests. Install the first plugin that appears.
- Using the plugin: After you install and activate the Plugin, click on the Optimisation.io on the left panel in the Dashboard. You will see the Welcome screen containing different tabs of options. Select Tabs and Enable/Disable relevant options under different Tabs.
9. Use a WordPress theme optimized for speed
Not every WordPress theme provides optimization features for increasing site speed. In this regard, you can select themes with minimal website design and features.
You can also perform manual settings of the Themes. You can change or disable features that don’t contribute to site performance, such as sliders and additional widget areas. Also, consider the following facts.
- Select themes from leading paid platforms: You can select themes from the WordPress Themes Directory, but a selection of a theme from paid platforms such as Studio Press, Themify, and Array Themes helps you build your site with professionally, well-coded WordPress themes.
- Select themes with minimal designs: In this regard, the more you choose a theme with a simple design, the more you can increase your site speed. Fortunately, you can use the Filter option to narrow down your theme search by features and download the one that suits your needs.
10. Decrease server requests
A WordPress site runs with different Scripts and Plugins. Most files work by sending out server requests on a daily basis.
There are lots of Scripts and Plugins that send requests on a mass basis, and slow down your WordPress site. If you remove or disable such agents, you can drastically improve your site speed.
- Use tools to find out speed factors: You can use specific tools that help you find out HTTP Requests. One of such tools is HTTP Request Checker that provides in-depth details about your site’s HTTP Requests. Once you have a list of requests, you can proceed with dealing such requests with plugins or fixing them manually.
- Delete plugins that you don’t need: As we discussed above, most plugins work by sending out HTTP requests. If you don’t need a plugin, or usually keep one disabled, you can remove such plugins for decreasing HTTP Requests, and speed up your wordpress site. Similarly, Disable Gravatars in WordPress Dashboard, and Remove Comments if you don’t use them for your Blog Posts.
11. Disable pingbacks and trackbacks
WordPress sites use Pingbacks and Trackbacks tspeedo stay updated about new posts. For example, when you post a blog post that contains a link to another blog, WordPress will automatically notify the blog about your mention. In the same manner, your site can receive pingbacks for new mentions from other sites.
Unfortunately, spammers use this feature for their lousy intention which may slow down your site. WordPress also allows disabling Pingbacks for the new posts. However, your old posts still participate in Pingbacks and Trackbacks.
- Disable pingbacks for the new articles in discussion settings: By selecting Discussion under Settings in the Dashboard, you can turn off the box next to Allow link notifications from other blogs (pingbacks and trackbacks) on new articles. This will stop the said option for the new articles.
- Disable pingbacks for the old posts: You learned to disable Pingbacks and Trackbacks for the new posts. Your old posts still participate in the Pingbacks and Trackbacks requests communication. Head to All Posts page. Click on the Screen Options on the top right corner; put 500 in the Number of items per page section and Apply. This will show you all posts. Select All Posts, choose Edit option from the Bulk Actions short menu; and select Do not allow option for the Pings label.
12. Install speed boosting plugins
Installation of Speed Boosting Plugins plays a vital role to speed up your wordpress. The Plugins that decrease your site load time consist of Cache Tools, Page Boosting Plugins, and Image Optimizing Plugins.
To get started, you need to install plugins for the Page speed, Image optimization, and Cache feature.
- Install perfmatters plugin: Perfmatters plugin helps you disable WordPress features that affect your page speed. You can proceed to install Perfmatters to speed up your wordpressspeed.
- WP fastest cache: Like W3 Total Cache, you can use the WP Fastest Cache plugin. Cache Plugins help you create Static HTML files for the Scripts and help you increase speed by serving Static Files to users. Install WP Fastest Cache, and follow the on-screen instructions to improve your WordPress site speed.
Boosting WordPress speed requires changing technical aspects of the system, as well as maintenance on a timely basis. In the article, we learned the working ways to speed up your WordPress site.
You can also avail cloud services such as Content Delivery Networks. If you manage a WordPress site with high Traffic, Bandwidth, and Data; going for a CDN boosts your site performance.
Plugins play an important role in speed. Not only you need to look for ones that affect your site speed, but you can also try out plugins that help you speed up your wordpress site.
In the same manner, focusing on choosing a minimal WordPress theme plays well. Also, don’t forget to optimize your Home Page for the speed.
Moreover, you can tune in the WordPress features, and disable additional settings in the Dashboard, such as Comments, Gravatars, and Post Revisions.
How are you struggling with the WordPress site speed? Here you can find more articles on WordPress speed and performance. Also, did you notice something missing in the article? Let’s join the conversation in the comments.