Even though I have done my best to make this tutorial as beginner-friendly as I could, it still requires your mindfulness to make the most out of it. These days, not all WordPress website is the same. You might be using WordPress as a:
Learning management system
Or it could be any other way.
However, the majority of the methodology explained below is applied to all WordPress websites and some of them are used to a specific type of website. For example, at the later stage, I have shared in-depth of WordPress transient options, and this is more applicable to a membership site or any WordPress using WooCommerce or EDD.
Also, I did my best to suggest a free plugin for all the WordPress performance booster options below. However, it would be wise to use one plugin that does all of it.
I have found WP-Rocket to be best at this, and that’s what I use here at ShoutMeLoud. Just grab the WP-Rocket plugin, and it will speed up WordPress with just a few clicks.
WP Rocket will solve only half the puzzle, there is much more need to be done to attain that blazing fast WordPress website that is loved by our readers and customers.
Let’s go ahead and do this..
Before getting started:
The first thing you should be doing is to measure the speed of your WordPress website.
Run Speed test:
Here are some of the WordPress speed testing tools you can use:
Speed up WordPress: How To Reduce Loading time of WordPress
1. Use Latest PHP – 7.0+
This single change alone could boost your WordPress speed by almost 1.5x. A lot of WordPress website is still using PHP 5.6 which is a depreciated version of PHP. The latest one is PHP 7.4 which offers a significant performance boost.
The PHP part is handled by your web-hosting company and either you can manually check your existing version of PHP on which your WordPress site is running on, or you could simply ask the customer support:
Which PHP version your WordPress website is running on?
If it is less than 7.0 (Which is 5.6), you can ask them to upgrade to the latest PHP version.
If you are using Bluehost hosting, you can follow this tutorial to update Bluehost PHP version.
2. Pick quality Web-hosting Optimized for WordPress:
This single change alone can speed up your WordPress website to a great extent.
How do I know?
Because this is what I experienced when I moved ShoutMeLoud from basic hosting to a managed hosting called Kinsta.
Many of us make a mistake by picking up a local web-hosting provider to host our WordPress site. Usually, such hosting is recommended by our designer/developer or someone known in our circle.
Are they the best?
Well, your speed test could reveal the same.
Do remember, you should pick only that hosting company that is well optimized for running WordPress blogs.
SiteGround is undoubtedly the top in the shared hosting category which is idle for most of us.
If you are running a business Website on WordPress or have a professional blog, I would suggest getting hosting from Kinsta.
Kinsta offers many advanced features that will straight away reduce the loading time of a WordPress site. Some of these features are:
Kinsta MU (In-built cache)
Kinsta uses Google cloud infrastructure to host your WordPress website and this gives you the ability to choose from the plethora of data center options.
If you are using WooCommerce platform, then only use these hosting:
3. Don’t use too many WordPress plugins
One of the most significant powers of WordPress is plugins, and some of you are so obsessed with it, that you are using more than 30-40 plugins on your blog. Well, not all plugin is bad, and I have covered a great write-up on how many WordPress plugins you should use.
Try to minimize the number of plugins on your blog and regularly clean up your database. Advanced database optimizer plugin can help you do that in no time.
Ensure that you are using at least one cache plugin on your blog, and I’m suggesting WP-Rocket plugin. One thumb rule, get rid of outdated plugins.
4. Optimize your images for fast loading
Your goal with images on WordPress should be:
Efficient data compression
Images are the backbone of the visual web and if you are using too many images in your article or on your product pages, chances are your page may be loading slow.
The average website transfers 800-900kb of images per URL.
It’s good to make your posts illustrative by integrating relevant images, but too much of anything ain’t good.
What would you do if you have a photo intensive blog?
Image optimization for speed is what you need. There are a few things you can do right away to improve the performance of a photo intensive WordPress website:
Use a CDN: Preferably StackPath (Formerly MAXCDN)
Use the right image format:
Using the right image format significantly reduces the size of the image. At times, just changing the file format from .png to .jpg has given us 80% reduction in size.
If you have a graphics person in your team, ask them to compress the image using photoshop. In our experience, it has been the best way to lower the image size without losing quality.
Another technology you can use it is image compression and image lazy loading, which is useful when you have too many images on a blog post.
Use this plugin called ShortPixel to optimize your WordPress images. It offers 100 free image optimization every month and also let you do followings:
Offer Webp image format (This is going to be really helpful)
Convert existing .png images to .jpg
Various level of compression
One-click compression of old images
Automatic compression of new images
6. Pick the server location closest to your idle audience:
The majority of web-hosting companies let you choose the data center where your website is hosted. If you know your target audience country, you should pick the data center closest to your idle customers.
If you are going for Kinsta, you can use GCPing tool to see the latency from your location to various data centers offered by the Kinsta server.
Here is the list of fastest WordPress hosting that you can pick from.
7. Use CDN Network for faster delivery:
In most of the cases, you will be hosting your Website on a particular Geo-location.
For example, If you have purchased hosting from Bluehost, Your website is most likely to be located in the United States. Now, when a user from an Asian country or even Australia will browse your site, it would take significant time to load your site.
Reason being, the distance between the user & your server.
What’s the solution?
Well, you can use a CDN network.
A CDN helps to solve this problem, and your Website will load quickly in every part of the world.
Note: Cloudflare offers free CDN service which is idle for all kind of blogs.
Here at ShoutMeLoud, other contributors have covered about CDN in details, and you can follow below-mentioned links to become a CDN Expert:
What is CDN (Content delivery network) and what are the benefits?
Best CDN for WordPress
8. Avoid too many advertisements and scripts
Don’t display too many ads on your blog. Many PPC ads are full of unnecessary HTML content and can affect your site’s loading time by a great margin.
If advertisements are a must, you should use Google AdSense or Media.net as it is well optimized and gives the best CPC.
Scroll down to the bottom and load the results based on DNS load time
You will see a result like a screenshot below:
You could easily see which all 3rd party script is loading on this website and how much DNS lookup time it’s consuming. It’s a good idea to run the test 3-4 times after an interval of 60 minutes. The idea here is to find which host is taking maximum DNS lookup time.
Now, here are a few ways that you can use to minimize DNS lookups.
1. Remove or replace the script:
If the script is taking high DNS lookup time, then get rid of it or replace it with something more appropriate.
2. Use a fast DNS provider
If your domain is purchased from services like NameCheap, GoDaddy or any other, there DNS resolver is not as quick as what is offered by Cloudflare, Amazon route 53 or even Google domains.
You can consider moving your domain to Cloudflare or Google domains. I’m personally a fan of Cloudflare for hosting domains as they offer value for money.
If you don’t want to move the domain, you can still keep your domain on the existing registrar and configure Cloudflare to use it’s premium-like free DNS service.
3. Start using CDN
I have talked about using CDN earlier and again I’m adding it here. My idea here is to help you understand in what situations CDN is going to be of maximum help.
If you have found DNS lookup to be a culprit for slow loading WordPress website, you should be using CDN right away.
Using CDN will reduce the number of DNS lookups significantly and you will instantly see a speed boost. IMHO, using CDN is not an option anymore if you really want to speed up WordPress.
4. Implement DNS Prefetching in WordPress
Another technique that improves WordPress speed performance is using DNS prefetching technique. Here is how Google Chromium Dev project explains DNS pre-fetching:
DNS prefetching is an attempt to resolve domain names before a user tries to follow a link. This is done using the computer’s normal DNS resolution mechanism; no connection to Google is used. Once a domain name has been resolved, if the user does navigate to that domain, there will be no effective delay due to DNS resolution time.
The most obvious example where DNS prefetching can help is when a user is looking at a page with many links to various domains, such as a search results page. When we encounter hyperlinks in pages, we extract the domain name from each one and resolving each domain to an IP address.
All this work is done in parallel with the user’s reading of the page, using minimal CPU and network resources. When a user clicks on any of these pre-resolved names, they will on average save about 200 milliseconds in their navigation (assuming the user hadn’t already visited the domain recently). More importantly than the average savings, users won’t tend to experience the “worst-case” delays for DNS resolution, which are regularly over 1 second.
At the time of writing this, all major browsers support DNS pre-fetching
In WordPress, you can enable DNS prefetching by using plugins or custom code.
The easiest way is to use the WP-Rocket plugin. It’s a premium cache plugin that cost about $47 year and this is what I use here on ShoutMeLoud. This plugin offers the feature to Prefetch DNS Requests which gives a significant performance boost.
By removing expired transient options you can gain a significant performance boost. Especially, if you are running a WordPress membership website, or using something like WooCommerce, EDD or even a social sharing plugin, this WordPress speed up tip is for you. Before everything else, let’s understand what is transient.
What are WordPress transients:
Transients API helps developers to store data in the database with expiration. Typically, expired transient in your database are removed automatically, but it’s not the case at all the time. Sometimes, they just stay there and bloat your database, costing you performance delay and a significant reduction in the load time.
The solution is simple: Remove expired transient options
This option is available in all database optimizer plugins or even in WP-Rocket. However, if you are looking for stand-alone plugin to remove expired transient options, use this Transients manager plugin by Pippin Williamson.
After installing the plugin, go to tools> Transients to manage and delete WordPress transient options.
WP-Rocket plugin users can find this option under Database > Transients Cleanup
SML WordPress Performance speed up Conclusion: Think from the user perspective
It’s alright to be obsessed with the speed but instead of relying only on the numbers shown by tools like GTMetrix or Pingdom, focus on more user-friendly metrics.
Even if things like TTFB and first meaningful paint is high but your page is loading in less than 2 seconds, well, you can see the effect of this in your Google analytics or any other stats program that you use.
Keeping your visitors in mind while optimizing will also help you to not let go of important scripts and functionalities that you have built over time. Along with speed, do keep conversion in your mind and that would help a lot in the longer run.
I am a Multimedia artist, I am born and based on Dewas (M.P), I am working as a freelancer with various brands and different country.
My expertise are Graphics designing, motion graphics, 2d/3d animation, advertising videos, cartoons designing, all types of packaging and branding designing, digital marketing, SEO, design website and app Developments etc...