A couple of months back, we performed a trial to analyze the capacity of WordPress; we wanted to understand how much can we speed up a WordPress site. The end objective was to analyze how different systems on WordPress operate and what is the capacity of the program itself. Is there room for more efficiency? Improvement in a WordPress website’s speed is mostly dependent on the modification of a number of things. We, therefore, started by installing some real handy WordPress plug-ins and also worked to fix some of the basic underlying issues. It is probably hard to imagine, but by performing these simple fixes the loading speed on one of our websites went from an average of 1.61 sec up to an average of 583 milliseconds. Now that was an improvement of 70% plus without having to do a lot of work or putting in tons of hours. Why do we think the above improvement is a major achievement? It is because if we refer to the study of Akamai conducted in 2009, 47% of the visitors expected their web page to respond under the average of two seconds total while 57% of all web visitors will quit or change the web page if it takes up to 3 seconds or more on average to load. What it shows, is the importance of a website’s loading speed and its browsing in relation to the website's traffic. Now everyone wants extra traffic to their website for so many and apparent reasons, but they fail to notice that if the website is taking longer to load and respond then this means they are losing out on lots of potential visitors. Another shocking fact about the importance of a web page’s speed came in 2006 when Amazon sensationally claimed that a mere increment of a 100-millisecond in their page’s speed resulted in a 1 % contribution in their overall revenue. Finally, one more fact that will emphasize the importance of a website’s loading speed is that Google also ranks search results based on the speed of websites.
The next few sections of this post will mainly talk about as many as 12 different easy fixes that can improve your web page’s efficiency and impress your consumers. Here are the highlights:
- Identifying the plugins and themes that are taking time to load up.
- Compressing or grouping web pages or images automatically to save and speed up processing speed.
- How to keep your database for website clean.
- Setting up the right catching settings.
Strengthening The Foundations Of Your Site
When you think your house will be damaged, you usually work on strengthening the foundations and not improving its polishing. Similar to having a fast-paced website, aesthetics come secondary. The first task is to avoid hosting on a slow server, remove wasted themes and start working on the foundations.
A Great Host
One of the major reasons for a poorly performing site is the sluggishness of a server it is hosted on; it usually happens when you are using extremely cheap servers in an attempt of cutting costs. We cannot stress enough how important good hosting is as it considerably reduces the DNS time, which means the amount of time it can take for the website to establish a connection with the server. A great server will do it in around 7 milliseconds while a poorly responding server can take up to 250 milliseconds.
Themes on WordPress are not created equal; some may have great coding which will impressively reduce their loading time while others might be too heavy. It also depends on the nature and version of the themes. It is important to refer to a case in trying to emphasize the importance of a good theme. Some time back Julian Fernandes from Synthesis tried to switch themes from the WordPress default to Genesis framework and that reduced the loading time of the site from 630 milliseconds to whopping 172 milliseconds, which is more than 50% improvement. What it tells us is that one should check the loading speed of themes before taking the decision to implement them. A very effective tool to help you solve the problem is Pingdom.
Content Delivery Network
A CDN can help reduce the bandwidth usage to quite a considerable percentage (around 55%), which makes a huge impact on the overall speed of the page. A CDN has the capacity to work on some huge servers located across the world based on geographic location. Since a load of your files is shared by a variety of different servers and not one, it creates a very balanced use of processes, enabling you to have a faster loading website.
12 Quick And Easy Fixes For A Slow WordPress
After you have finally identified the fact as to how can you make your foundations of a website strong, and there are supposedly no underlying issues in this regard, next we will move on to quick fixes to speed up WordPress:
1. Identify The Plugins That Are Slowing The Website Down
It is quite important to figure out which plugins are the ones that are actually slowing your site down, P3 can prove to be the most effective tool to diagnose plugins as it easily tells what plug-in takes how much time on each page. So highlight the plug-in that is performing poorly and replace it with effective ones.
Sometimes social plugins are ones that commonly take up a lot of time, replacing them with social buttons integrated within your theme could be a very good idea in order to remove this plug-in and save a lot of loading time. Once you are experienced enough to understand what plugins work best for your website when it comes to loading time then you will easily be able to take calculated decisions and improve your efficiency even more.
We all know how compressing files on the computer can help reduce the overall size of your files while grouping the number of files in one extractable folder, well Gzip operates in a similar way for web pages. Gzip once installed can easily compress your web page files like Zip files, getting your process faster and more efficient.
3. Compressed Images
Pictures or images are one of the elements in the website that takes most of the time to load, hence increasing the overall loading time of the page. Wp Smush.it is a plug-in that can help you automatically compress the uploaded image through the media library. This works great on a website that has a lot of picture-based content, running through all images in this plug-in can greatly reduce the size of all images by compressing them.
4. Leverage Browsing Cache
The cache is very problematic, if managed incorrectly can cause more damage than leaving it alone the way it is. Headers that have expired inform the browser if there is a need to obtain the file from a server or run from the cache, this can only work when a user has a particular page saved in their cache, which is why we see a different loading speed on a website that we log in to frequently, this is done via reducing the need to repeatedly download files by connecting to the server twice and secondly cancels unnecessary HTTP requests. However, if the user has caches cleaned or off, then there is no impact on the site’s speed, so this fix is more towards the user end.
To perform this through a plug-in, we recommend working with a WP Super Cache. However, following the recommended installation is very essential to make sure it is secure and safe. Alternatively, you can use the following command to expire headers:
5. Importance Of Database Cleaning
We do recommend WordPress autosaves, but the problem with that is, your database could be filled with numerous different resources, requests, processes revisions, trackbacks, and unapproved comments as well as deleted items in no time.
So if you are looking for a workaround for this then installing a plugin called WP-Optimize, is a good idea, it routinely clears thrash from the database keeping it efficient by saving necessary files only? One thing that you probably should be doing is making regular backups of your database.
7. Disable All The Trackbacks And Pingbacks
Ping and tracking back is when WordPress lets other blog posts know about your post, if you are connected to them, however, it meets interesting efficiency criteria if you disable them because it can save up the page speed.
8. Specify All Character Sets And Dimensions
Whenever a user logs onto your website, the browser has to be determined about the size and dimensions of the images as well as characters, if you leave them undefined from the programming end, then the browser will wait to automatically work on these elements, forcing it to prolong the user request resulting in increased loading time. So it is always a good idea to have such elements defined correctly.
10. Using CSS Sprites
CSS sprites are one large file that has the elements of individual files of all the images, using sprite can help you define coordinates that you wish to be displayed while hiding all others, this means that the browser will only read what you wish to show on the front end, hence avoiding unnecessary loading of elements. Browsers through CSS sprite also download the image as one large file consisting of lots of images in comparison to lots of small images; again this creates a big improvement in your efficiency.
11. Enabling The Keep-Alive Function
Enabling the Keep-Alive feature makes sure that a client’s machine does not continually ask for permissions to download files on the computer, it can quickly download all the necessary files in one instance, hence saving a lot of loading time.
12. Using Static HTML Rather Than PHP Whenever Possible
PHP is one of the most advanced tools to make your website more efficient by reducing multiple processing of information, but the problem that usually occurs with the said technology is that it ends up utilizing plenty of resources and processes, which eventually puts a negative impact on your web page by increasing its overall loading and response time. In such cases, it is always preferred and recommended to use static HTML programming, because it helps keep the downtime low and a good average loading time for your website.
In the near future computers will be even faster, the internet will double or triple its speed and bandwidth, whereas mobile usage will increase, which means that users will get used to more speed and nothing else. So having speedy websites is not the need of an hour, but the only way to have a successful complete website project in near future. The importance of speedy websites even through a successful program like WordPress platform is very essential and imperative to the growth of this software itself.