It’s really not surprising why WordPress powers over 30% of all websites in the world. It’s the most popular content management system (CMS) with a global community of developers who work on making the platform the best it can possibly be.
There are those who say that WordPress loads much slower than a static HTML website. It may be true to a certain extent, but there are plenty of tools you can use to fast-track your website’s speed with WordPress – tools like image compression plugins, caching plugins, and more.
In this guide, we’ll be focusing on the best practices to optimize your WordPress website’s speed.
1. Keep Your WordPress Site Updated
If you don’t update your site, you’ll risk getting your site infected by malware and spam which can slow your site down.
To protect your site, you can install the WordFence security plugin. It will send you updates every time your WordPress and plugins have an update as well as protect your site from malicious entities.
2.Use A Fast, Lightweight Theme
WordPress themes are basically a bunch of files that are coded by theme developers. This basically means that the quality of themes depends on the developer’s capabilities.
Some themes will be heavy and bloated, while some would be fast and lightweight. I’m sure you wouldn’t want to get stuck with a badly-coded theme now.
It’s important to remember that not all premium themes are fast and lightweight, and not all free themes are badly coded. So, to make sure you get the right theme, you can shop around, that is, try out different themes until you get the right balance of aesthetics and speed.
Our personal recommendation is to go with a theme from StudioPress.
3.Keep Plugins To A Minimum
Plugins are one of the reasons why WordPress is so popular. Plugins basically extend the basic capabilities of WordPress and make it extraordinary (or simple, if you wish).
There are thousands upon thousands of plugins for WordPress – you’re literally spoiled for choices. There are plugins for anything you can think of! If the feature you have in mind doesn’t have a plugin version yet, then you can hire a developer to create it for you.
The only downside to having all these choices is that many people don’t realize they’re inadvertently slowing their sites down because they’ve installed far too many plugins.
To make sure your site runs fast, use only the most essential plugins. If one plugin can do the job of 5 or 10 plugins, then go for that super-plugin and delete the others. Note that deleting plugins is not the same as deactivating it – for a faster site, delete the old plugins you no longer need.
4.Optimize Your WordPress Database
If yoursite has been around for a while, andyou’ve got tons of content on there, then your database probably needs some spring cleaning done. Since you’re using WordPress, then it means you don’t need to touch a single line of code to clean your database.
You can install a plugin like WPOptimize and it will remove revisions, auto drafts, deleted / unapproved / spammed comments, and so much more from your database. Remember to make a backup of your site just in case anything goes wrong.
5.Don’t Upload Videos To WordPress
Instead of using up hundreds of megabytes or maybe even gigabytes for your videos, you can instead upload it to third-party sites like Vimeo.
Videos have huge file sizes and a 1 or 2-minute video can easily consume large amounts of your web server’s storage. If you’ve got a metered bandwidth, then you could get in trouble with your host, and you could incur significant bandwidth fees in the process!
When you use a third-party video site, your video is not stored on your web server. So, when someone visits your site, it’s going to retrieve the said file from Vimeo or wherever you uploaded your video. This essentially lightens the load on your server which ultimately leads to faster load times for your website.
6. Break Comments Into Pages
It sure is nice to have a popular website where people freely share their thoughts and ideas. It’s great for your brand and your site’s SEO. However, the downside is that when you’ve got far too many comments on your site, it will ultimately cause it to slow down.
The solution is to basically limit the number of comments that appear on your page. For instance, if you’ve got 100 comments on a page right now (and more to come!), then you can opt to show only 50 comments per page. This lessens the load on your server since it doesn’t have to load up all the comments at once.
To break your comments into pages, log into your WordPress site, go to Settings> Discussion. In the ‘OtherCommentsSection,’tick the box which says ‘Break comments into pages with___.’
Note the default is 50 comments per page – feel free to adjust to a number you’re comfortable with.
7. Reduce The Number Of Post Revisions
Post revisions are helpful if you want to restore your content to an earlier version. With just a click of a button, you can undo all your recent changes and have your old content show up instead.
The only downside is that your post revisions take up space in your WordPress database. So, what you need to do is to limit the number of revisions your WordPress site keeps for each post.
Use an FTP client like FileZilla to download and edit your wp-config.php file (you can open in a text editor like Notepad). Then add this line in the file:
define( ‘WP_POST_REVISIONS', 5);
I used 5 in the example code which means that WordPress will only save 5 revisions per post and overwrite older versions automatically. Feel free to change the number as you see fit.
WordPress sites can be just as fast as static HTML sites. By installing a few highly essential plugins and making a few tweaks behind the scenes, your site will load much faster.
This will lead to a much better user experience and ultimately, an increase in conversions for your business.
Be sure to check out our other posts on using caching plugins to speed up your WordPress blog if you're looking for more ideas.