Speeding Up Your WordPress Site
Why Site Speed is Important
If you want to create a successful site, it’s important to factor in site speed. Site speed is one of those site ingredients that goes unnoticed when it works well, but is painfully obvious when it doesn’t.
Visitors will bounce off a site that has slow page loading times. Likewise, websites with poor site speed may see a negative impact on their SEO.
But don’t worry – even if your site is slow now, we have a few tips to help you speed up your WordPress site.
Not using WordPress? Check out our other blog post: How to Speed Up Your Website.
Assess Your Site Speed
The first step to increasing your site’s speed is to assess your site’s current state. For this purpose, Google created an excellent tool called PageSpeed Insights. PageSpeed Insights is easy to use and gives you a quick assessment about your website’s speed performance.
To assess your site, all you need to do is go to the PageSpeed Insight page and enter your website’s URL. It will run some tests on your site, see how fast it is, then give your site a grade on performance from 0 to 100. It also usually includes recommendations on how you can improve your site.
Test your site here: Page Speed Insights
Speeding Up WordPress
Now that you’ve assessed your WordPress site, you know how fast (or slow) your site is. Not satisfied with your current performance? We have a few tips to help!
Turn Off (and Remove) Extra Plugins
Does your WordPress site currently have plugins installed that it’s not using? One way to speed up a WordPress site is to remove all the unused plugins that are taking up space. This counts for plugins you’ve deactivated, but never uninstalled.
Many of us install plugins to test them on our website. However, it’s easy to forget to uninstall the plugins after we deactivate them. However, those plugins are still taking up space and resources on our WordPress site. So it’s best to fully remove them.
Removing unused plugins not only can increase your site speed, it’s good for security, too!
Optimizing WordPress Images
Do you use images on your site? If so, have you taken the time to optimize them?
Unoptimized images are often a cause for site slowness. Image files can be large and will noticeably slow down sites that aren’t equipped to handle them. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use images, though. Images are a necessary part of building a website.
So what are you to do? Here’s two ways to help cut down on the strain images can cause a website.
Fix Your Image Dimensions
When you upload an image to WordPress, do you think about the file dimensions before-hand?
Image dimensions may not seem like a problem since many themes will resize images to fit the dimensions needed. However, that means that the site is doing extra work resizing images each time a visitor lands on your site. Multiply that by each image, and you have a decent chunk of your server resources dedicated to loading images.
To avoid the extra resource usage associated with resizing images, there’s a simple solution: Resize your images to the exact dimensions your site is using, so your WordPress installation doesn’t need to. By using images with the right dimensions, you’re freeing up your server resources to keep your site running smoothly.
You can change your image dimensions in most image editors or directly in the WordPress media editor.
Compress Your Images
Image compression is a great way to reduce your image file size. Image files are often large, especially if you’re using high quality images. Compression works by reducing that file size.
Smaller image file size means that there’s less data your website has to load. In other words, your webpage will load more quickly because it has to do less work.
It’s important to note that there are two types of compression: lossy and lossless. Lossy compression will degrade the image a bit in order to drastically cut down on the file size. On the other hand, lossless compression retains the original image quality, while still cutting down on the file size. It’s important to think about which compression method you want to use, since one option will reduce your image quality.
There are many image compression tools out there, many of which are free! One such tool is tinypng.com. Just upload an image and download its compressed version.
Choose Themes Wisely
When choosing a WordPress theme, speed is an important factor to consider. A badly designed or old WordPress theme may be slow regardless of all the trimming and tweaks you make.
There are things that can slow an optimized theme down, like large image files, but fixing those issues will return your website to full speed. However, if your theme isn’t designed for speed, it’s become outdated (and thus slow), or it’s poorly designed, slowness may be a permanent fixture that can only be fixed by swapping to a different theme.
Choosing a well-designed, swift theme from the beginning can save you time and effort later. Your theme is the base of your website. You wouldn’t choose unstable materials to build a house on, so why would you choose a slow site for your theme?
Site caching is a way to reduce your page load times. The server stores a copy of your website so that it doesn’t have to reload the resources every single time a visitor lands on the page. This can cut down on load times drastically, especially if you’re using lots of plugins or a complex theme.
Once caching is set up on WordPress, it just works, so you don’t normally have to do anything extra after the initial set up. On Pair Networks installations we take care of that initial installation for you, so you don’t need to worry about it. On PairSIM WordPress installations, we’ve pre-installed WP Super Cache that handles the caching for you, while our Managed WordPress hosting packages come pre-installed with Varnish Cache, a caching HTTP reverse proxy that can make your site up to 1000 times faster.
Clean Your WordPress Database
If your WordPress site has been around for a while, it’s probably built up some junk in its database. This is especially true if you often create, delete, and move posts and pages around. Databases store important things, of course, but they also keep things like post revisions and unapproved. So for every time you tweak a post or page, your database stores a copy. If you receive hundreds of spam comments, the database keeps that, too.
Nothing is wrong with this. However, over time, a database can get slower because there’s so much unused, useless data stored. Eventually, it can begin to affect your site.
Luckily, you can get all the gunk out of your WordPress database by optimizing it! Optimizing your database just removes some of the unnecessary data that your database is storing. Optimizing your database every once in a while is a great way to rejuvenate your site speed. It’s like spring cleaning – but easier!
The developers of the popular UpDraftPlus plugin have a great plugin to optimize your database. And, as a bonus, it can help optimize your images, too.
Check it out here: WP Optimize
Need Help? Contact Our Support!
Need help implementing any of these tips? Contact our Pair Support team! We’re available 24/7 every day of the year to help you get the most of your website. Our Certified WordPress Support can help answer any of your WordPress-specific hosting questions.