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Optimising your WordPress Website

By January 27, 2018April 12th, 2020No Comments

WordPress is a great CMS (Content management system) but one issue that constantly plagues WordPress users is slow loading times. The following article is based on a few things, I have picked up that help with speeding up WordPress. This article runs through optimising WordPress website, with a few simple changes. Before I get started, you can check your page speed using GTMetrix, Yslow or Google Page Insights. So below is a list of changes and plugins that can help speed up WordPress. There is no set way that will speed your site up, it is basically trial and error.

Choose A Good Web Host

This is the main problem with WordPress optimisation and I would check this before doing any other optimisation. Hosting company is not always the problem and it can also be caused by using an underpowered hosting plan for a good host.

Do not be a cheapskate and go for the cheapest option. Choose a hosting plan that can handle traffic spikes efficiently.

Use a Fast WordPress Theme/Framework

If the theme you are using is badly coded, it could cause your website to slow down by a few seconds. It is also recommended to use a theme that has been optimised for all devices. Search engine favour, responsive designs as they ensure that pages have the same URL.

Most theme developers optimize their theme demo website using caching and content delivery networks. Which I will discuss at the end of this article.

Plugin Selection

The biggest cause of a slow WordPress Website is the use of poor quality plugins or just using too many plugins. It is advised that your research the plugin before you install it and remove all unused plugins from your site.
Often the plugin will turn out to be poorly developed, using inappropriate hooks. It will not only slow down your site but in certain cases might also mess up with the functionalities of other plugins and WordPress itself. One plugin I highly recommend you use is P3 Profiler. Developed by GoDaddy, the plugin will show you exactly how much load time your plugins are adding.

Optimise your Database

You can optimise your database directly from PHPAdmin or by using plugins like WP-Optimize or WP-DBManager.

These plugins are capable of deleting all your pending spam comments, trashed posts, auto-saved drafts, post revisions to name a few. They can also perform general MySQL database optimization queries without you having to access PHPMyAdmin.

Optimise your images for the web

A good plugin to optimise images that have already been uploaded is WP Smush.it. It utilises the Smush.it API to optimise JPEG images, strip metadata from JPEGs and convert GIF images to PNG. You should, however, be aware that the plugin uses up a lot of resources when it is converting images, therefore your website may be slow whilst it is running.

If you do not want to sacrifice image quality, check out Lazy Load. The plugin ensures that images are only loaded when the area becomes visible to the user. This will greatly reduce page loading times.

Enable Gzip Compression

Gzip compression allows a website page to be transferred to a browser at up to 70% of its original size. The browser will then decompress the page and display it to the user. Gzip can be enabled via the WordPress options page. You can find this page at www.yourwebsite.com/wp-admin/options.php. To enable Gzip, simply change the value of the Gzip field from 0 to 1.

Minify and Combine CSS, Javascript

This can cut download time for your site as the user’s computer will send fewer requests to the server to load the website. The more requests there are to your server, the longer it will take for your pages to load.

The PHP5 application Minify combines multiple CSS and Javascript files into a single file. This greatly reduces the number of HTTP requests. The application also removes unnecessary whitespace and comments.

There are a number of WordPress plugins available that will minify your CSS and Javascript files. I recommend using either WP Minify or Better WordPress Minify.

Enable Browser Caching

The second most effective way (the first being choosing a good web host) to improve your site’s load times is to install a caching plugin. As soon as you install a plugin like W3 Total Cache or WP Super Cache, you’ll be able to tell that your site loads faster.

In simple words, when a caching plugin is active on your site, it serves users cached copies of your pages. It greatly reduces MySQL database access, number of PHP requests, server access for static resources, and even HTTP requests.

Enable Browser Caching

The second most effective way (the first being choosing a good web host) to improve your site’s load times is to install a caching plugin. As soon as you install a plugin like W3 Total Cache or WP Super Cache, you’ll be able to tell that your site loads faster.

In simple words, when a caching plugin is active on your site, it serves users cached copies of your pages. It greatly reduces MySQL database access, number of PHP requests, server access for static resources, and even HTTP requests.

Enable Browser Caching

The second most effective way (the first being choosing a good web host) to improve your site’s load times is to install a caching plugin. As soon as you install a plugin like W3 Total Cache or WP Super Cache, you’ll be able to tell that your site loads faster.

In simple words, when a caching plugin is active on your site, it serves users cached copies of your pages. It greatly reduces MySQL database access, number of PHP requests, server access for static resources, and even HTTP requests.

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