Creating a WordPress site is relatively easy. With the proper guidelines, most people will be able to set up a WordPress site within an hour or so. But what about the performance of the website? This is where most people fall short of their skills. Creating a performance-optimized WordPress site is not that easy.
If you want to improve the performance and speed up your WordPress site, you have come to the right place. In today’s post, I will share the best ways to speed up your WordPress site.
Choose a Reliable Host
Some people make the mistake of choosing a cheap host that offers a lot of features at a bargain price. But these hosts come with a large disadvantage – slow loading speed and poor performance for your website.
If you have chosen one of these hosts, your first step should be to go for a managed or dedicated WordPress hosting provider like WP Engine or Pagely. These hosts are specialized for WordPress and offer the optimum environment to ensure the best speed for your site.
Use a Speed-optimized Theme
You will be surprised to know that the theme you are using also has an impact on the speed of your website. For instance, the default themes (Twenty Seventeen, Twenty Sixteen, etc.) are a lot faster than most premium themes. This is because these themes are lightweight, don’t come with lots of advanced features, and don’t include bloatware.
However, that doesn’t mean you should avoid the premium themes. You just need to make sure that you are choosing a theme that is optimized to deliver the best loading speed for your site.
Use a Caching Plugin
Depending on your requirements, you can choose the caching options you want to use. The plugin works with all the regular web hosts along with full support for SSL, AMP, and CDN services.
Use a CDN Service
All the leading websites use a Content Delivery Network (CDN) service. These services will identify the static files on your site (like the images, videos, documents, CSS, JS files, etc.) and save these on servers located all over the world. Afterwards, when a visitor comes to your site, she will receive the files from her nearest server, thereby improving the loading speed.
As the technology works for all devices, your visitors will enjoy the speed boost on their computer, mobile, tablet, and other devices. Popular CDN services include MaxCDN, CloudFlare, Incapsula, Amazon CloudFront, etc.
Optimize the Images
Most people don’t even think about optimizing the images they use on their WordPress site. They just upload the image and insert it into the post. If you are doing that, it can be a major reason behind the poor performance of your site. The optimization process starts even before you upload the image to your site.
The first step is to resize the image to your desired size by using a photo editing software. For the website, you should use an image compression plugin like EWWW Image Optimizer, which will reduce the file size without losing the overall quality.
Disable Hotlinking and Leeching
If you are regularly publishing high-quality posts and original images, it is highly likely that your content will be stolen sooner or later. In most cases, other websites will steal your bandwidth by displaying images from your server (they can do it by linking directly to your image file).
Preventing this will allow your server to deliver better performance for your site. You can use this free Htaccess Tool to generate the necessary code for preventing unauthorized hotlinking and leeching off your content.
Add Lazy Loading to the Images and Videos
Lazy Loading is an advanced technology to improve your website’s loading speed. In the standard way, the browser will load all the images and videos of the page at once. If there are several HQ images or videos, it can take a while to load the page. In contrast, lazy loading technology loads the images and videos that are only visible to the user.
As the browser doesn’t have to load all the multimedia files at once, lazy loading can deliver a better loading speed for your website. Lazy Load, Imagify Image Optimizer, BJ Lazy Load, etc. are some of the most popular lazy loading plugins for WordPress.
Disable Pingbacks and trackbacks
Pingbacks and trackbacks are core WordPress features to let you know whenever someone links to one of your posts. While it sounds useful on the outset, it actually creates some additional strain on your server by generating new requests. These features are also used for targeted DDoS attacks.
Since you can track the incoming links by using Google Webmaster Tools and several other tools, you should actively consider disabling pingbacks and trackbacks on your WordPress site. You can do that by going to Settings > Discussion and unchecking the “Allow link notifications from other blogs (pingbacks and trackbacks)” box.
Limit the Number of Post Revisions
The default WordPress settings allow the platform to save an unlimited number of revisions for all posts and pages. You might be surprised to know how many revisions your website has saved till date. These revisions take up space on the database and also affect the database queries. Limiting the number of revisions can be another effective way to enhance the website performance. Revision Control is a free plugin that enables you to do this without writing any code.
Enable Gzip Compression
Compressing files on your computer helps you to save space. Similarly, you can use Gzip o compress your website data, thereby reducing the bandwidth usage and improving the loading speed. This technology will compress different types of assets before sending these to the browser. Unlike most other performance optimization techniques, enabling Gzip is a bit tricky. Check out this in-depth tutorial to know more about using Gzip on your WordPress site.
Loading speed plays a critical role in the overall website performance. Now that you know the best ways to improve the speed of your WordPress site, why don’t you get busy applying these techniques to your website?
Let me know which technique you are going to try first. And if I have missed any of your favorite speed optimization techniques, let me know that too.