Boosting WordPress Speed and Performance

That’s not something that is exclusive to these types of websites, but it can be a little more perplexing when the site is simple and doesn’t have a lot of dynamic elements that would be asking for a lot of bandwidth of any other sort of technical explanation for its being slow. We won’t get into the workings of that, but what we will do with this blog entry is share what you can do to boost WordPress speed and performance without having to exert yourself too much.

All these years later and WordPress continues to be easiest way for any not so web savvy individual to put together a basic website. For many of us it was the means for our introduction to web publishing of any sort, and the value that comes with the simplicity and practicality of it has never diminished. Next year will be WordPress’ 20th birthday, and way back in 2003 it was much more bareboned in the way it didn’t have all the many plugins that there are today. For a website that is more informational and content-based with text, WordPress continues to be the way to go.

Any type of expansion of functionality with software of this type tends to be organic given its age, but fortunately with WordPress there continues to a sufficient number of enthusiasts who don’t mind putting a little bit of effort into that. This is something that those of us at 4GoodHosting will take an interest in, and that’s because there’s still many of the websites that we host for customers that are WordPress-hosted sites. That’s an indication of how it continues to be a popular option, but one thing that uses may find is that the speed and performance of the site starts to lag over time.

Why Speed Matters

Apparently from 2000 to 2016 the average human attention span has gone down from 12 to 7 seconds. The relevance of this to anyone who’s behind a website is that you have very little time to show users your content and convince them to stay on your website. Nowadays so many of them will leave a website even before it loads if it is slow. A study not long ago showed a 1 second delay in page load time can lead to 7% loss in conversions, 11% fewer page views, and 16% decline in customer satisfaction.

Plus Google and other search engines have already begun penalizing slower websites by diminishing their relevance in search results, and means less traffic for slow websites and including WordPress-hosted websites.

So that leads to the question – how do you check WordPress website speed? Keep this in mind first when evaluating speed based on your own experience. You likely visit your own website often, and modern browsers like Chrome store your website in the cache and automatically retrieve it as soon as you start typing an address. This makes your website load almost instantly.

But for other users who are new to it or have only visited infrequently, it’s a different story. They don’t have the cached experience with it and it may well load much slower for them. Geographical location may be a factor in it too.

Aim for Under 2

A good page load time is under 2 seconds, but the faster you can make it, the better. This leads to needing to know what slows down a WordPress website.  Here are the primary causes:

  • Web hosting – improper server configuration can hurt website speed
  • WordPress Configuration – a site that is not serving cached pages will overload the server
  • Page Size – images that aren’t optimized for web are detrimental
  • Bad Plugins – poorly coded plugins can slow down a website
  • External scripts – ads, font loaders, and others can negatively impact website performance

Speed It Up

The first thing we’ll say is that good WordPress hosting is key here, and that in some instances shared hosting doesn’t cut it for a WordPress site. A managed WordPress hosting service may be a much better choice as it gives you the most optimized server configurations to run WordPress. We have this for you here at 4GoodHosting, and if there’s anything more you’d like to know then we encourage you to contact us.

Let’s get right to what you can do to increase the speed and performance of your WordPress site:

  1. Install a WordPress Caching Plugin

Caching can make your WordPress site anywhere from 2 to 5 times more speedy for visitors

  • Optimize Images for Speed

There are studies that have shown that using colored visuals makes people 80% more likely to read your content. It’s a good idea to use photo editing software to optimize your images for the web before uploading them onto your website.

  • Keep Your WordPress Site Updated

WordPress is updated frequently because it’s a well-maintained open source project. Each update will not only offer new features but it will also fix security issues and bugs. Your WordPress theme and plugins may have regular updates, too.

  • Optimize Background Processes

Background processes in WordPress are scheduled tasks. They run in the background of your WordPress site. Examples of ones you can optimize are WordPress Backup plugin tasks, WordPress cron jobs to publish scheduled posts, WordPress cron jobs to check for updates, and Tasks like cron jobs for scheduled posts and updates have minimal impact on website performance.

Adjusting crawl rate is important too

  • Use Excerpts on Homepage and Archives

Your homepage, categories, tags, and other archive pages will all load slower because WordPress displays the full content of each article on your homepage and archives. Speed up your loading times for archive pages by setting your site to display excerpts instead of the full content.

  • Split Comments into Pages

Paginating comments is a good idea because loading a lot of comments can impact your site’s speed. You can fix that in your WordPress backend by simply going to Settings » Discussion and check the box next to the ‘Break comments into pages’ option.

  • Use a Content Delivery Network (CDN)

Using a content delivery network can help to speed up loading times for all of your visitors, and that’s done by having static files converted to dynamic files that are presented to visitors when they enter the website.

A CND will also increase the speed capacity of the web hosting server will itself by doing a lot of the work. Pair this with WordPress themes optimized for speed and you’re likely to see immediate improvements.

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