10 Most Useful Tips to Boost WordPress Performance

It’s a no-brainer; sites that perform well are more likely to experience the improved customer engagement and better conversion.

Considering the fact how web users are increasingly becoming impatient, in addition to mobile devices becoming the main sources for accessing the Internet, the performance of your website matters more than ever!

Loading time is the main reason behind poor website performance. More importantly, with growing numbers of Smartphone and tablet users, never before has the speed and performance on mobile devices been so important. In this post, we’ll discuss ten of the best and useful tips to improve performance of a WordPress site.

1. Run a Speed Test on Your Website

Before you get to know about the tricks to optimize your WordPress website performance, it’s a good idea to test the performance of your site first. Doing so, will help you identify the areas in your site that needs improvement. Below is a list of some most popular tools to consider for measuring performance of your site:

For example, below screenshot of Google PageSpeed Insights suggests areas that need improvement in the mobile and desktop versions of a web page:

Run a Speed Test on Your Website

2. Analyze Your WordPress Page Issues

Once you’ve acquired data concerning your WordPress website speed and performance issues, next you must try isolating problems based on the level of their severity. For this purpose, you can enable or disable a plugin or can choose to activate any other WordPress theme and so on. Another viable alternative is to make use of tools such as P3 (Plugin Performance Profiler), Theme-Check, Debug Bar, etc.

For example, the Plugin Performance Profiler is an excellent tool that provides a breakdown of the time all of your website plugin takes to load:

Analyze Your WordPress Page Issues

3. Invest Wisely in Picking a Reliable Hosting Provider

Choosing the right hosting provider develop a solid base to make your site run faster and performs well on all the devices. But remember that not all the hosting plans offer commendable services, especially when you opt for a cheaper hosting service. So, if you’re concerned about better performance of your site, it’s imperative that you pick the right hosting provider. Ideally, you must search for a reliable and reputed hosting service provider, offering a hosting plan that suits your budget.

What’s more? You must carefully pick a suitable hosting plan that can fit to your specific WordPress website needs. Some of the distinguished hosting plans available online are:

  • Shared hosting plan
  • Dedicated hosting plans
  • Virtual private server (VPS)
  • Managed WP hosting plans

All of the above hosting plans come with their set of pros and cons. In case you’ve been seeking to use an affordable hosting plan for your new WordPress site with limited traffic, then you should consider choosing shared hosting plan offered by companies like HostGator or BlueHost. But, in case you’re running a heavy traffic website then choosing dedicated or VPS hosting plans will likely prove a better option for you.

If you’re ready to shell out hefty amount of money, then undoubtedly managed WP hosting plans can give you piece of mind in ensuring faster website load time and improved performance.

Below is a chart offering comparison between the types of hosting plans:

Invest Wisely in Picking a Reliable Hosting Provider

4. Keep Your Website Clean

As beginners we have a tendency to stuff our site with too many components that can impact the performance of the site. And so, your WordPress site needs a little housekeeping to continue to perform in the right manner. To do so, it is recommended that you must schedule certain tasks to keep your site well-maintained such as:

  • Use a Minimalistic Theme: Making your website layout cluttered can make it difficult for visitors to easily access your website content. Also, it might take more time in accessing a page or post. Bear in mind, you’ve just a few seconds to convince a user to stay on your site. Thus, slow page loading time can turn away visitors instantly. Therefore, it is essential that your WordPress theme must be minimalistic and should only contain necessary elements that capture’s viewers’ attention and keep them engaged to the site. You can find some great minimalistic WordPress themes from sources like WordPress Theme Directory, ThemeForest, and many more.
  • Eliminate Spam Comments: Make sure to remove all the spam comments as they can quickly exhaust your server resources. This can be achieved with the help of the Akismet plugin that helps disable comments on a WordPress install based on your needs. Apart from Akismet, a few other plugins you can consider to get rid of spam comments are:
    1. Spam Comments Cleaner
    2. Stop Spam Comments
    3. WP-SpamShield Anti-Spam
  • Remove Unwanted Data: When creating a new website we tend to add extra data that usually remains unused in the long run. The data could be links (internal or external), piece of text, etc. Having such unwanted things can degrade your website performance. So, ascertain to confiscate anything that no longer adds value to your users.
5. Optimize Your Database

Other than keeping your website clean, it’s also a good practice to optimize your website data periodically. As our website grows with time, the database becomes overcrowded with unused records, entries and duplicated data. Increase in database size eventually puts a lot of load on the server resulting in increase in page loading time. You can keep your database clean using the WP-Sweep plugin.

Optimize Your Database

The plugin helps in cleaning up any unused and redundant data in your site. WP-Sweep, essentially, analyzes the database of a WordPress site and provides a report (referred to as the sweep report) with suggestions regarding the clutter (like user meta, comments, posts, etc.) that you can clean from the database.

6. Enable gZIP compression on Web Server

When a user requests for any data in your site a call is made to your server for rendering the requested data. The data could be anything ranging from images, style sheet, or JavaScript files. Needless to say, the bigger the size of the data will be, the more time it will take to load it into your browser.

Thankfully, enabling gZIP compression on your web server helps in decreasing the data size. If gZIP is enabled on the server then the compressed version of the requested webpage or file gets loaded on the browser. And further, browser decompresses the received data before interpreting it. This ultimately helps in reducing the size of transferred information, which drastically lowers the page loading time.

You can easily enable the gZIP compression for the CSS, JavaScript files and images by adding the below lines of code to your .htaccess file:

## ENABLE GZIP COMPRESSION ##
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE text/plain
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE text/html
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE text/xml
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE text/css
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/xml
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/xhtml+xml
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/rss+xml
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/javascript
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/x-javascript
## ENABLE GZIP COMPRESSION ##
7. Improve Delivery Performance Using a CDN

Content delivery networks (CDN) are an absolute requirement for your site if you want to ensure a faster response time and content download time to remotely located users. A CDN is basically a network of geographically distributed servers. That means that whenever users request some data from your site, they’ll be provided access to the website content from the server in close proximity to their location.

Improve Delivery Performance Using a CDN

So, using a CDN essentially helps improve the delivery performance of your WordPress site. However, with several content delivery networks online, choosing the right one can be a tough job. Some of the worthy CDN options worth exploring are: MaxCDN, CacheFly, and CloudFare to name a few.

8. Optimize Your Website Images

Images without a doubt are one of the most crucial components of a website. Any site devoid of images is just like a lifeless entity. Of course, content plays a significant part in attracting visitors; however adding images boost website traffic to a much greater extent. But not having them optimized makes a page to load slowly.

Also, make sure to avoid using large size images in your site and instead use the ones with the proper size. Besides, make certain that the pictures are not large enough from the size that you want to display them in. There are two different ways that can help you in optimizing the images of your site in the most efficient manner possible.

You can either use WordPress plugins to perform automatic image optimization. For example, using the WP Smush.it plugin compresses the image using a lossy algorithm. Or else, combining the images of your WP site using CSS Sprites into a single image also boost performance. Implementing the CSS technique exhibits one single image containing all other small images. That way a lot of your time is saved from having to load dozens of images.

9. Minifying the JavaScript and CSS Files

Just like images, it is also makes sense to minify your CSS and JS files. Doing so, help in removing uncalled for data from the files – be it comments, empty lines, etc. Getting rid of the unnecessary data in due course increases the performance of your site.

While various tools can be found on the web that helps minify WordPress website files, however, it is recommended that you must consider using the W3 Total Cache plugin for the task. That’s because, it comes built-in with the option to minify your theme’s CSS and JavaScript files automatically.

10. Leveraging Browser Caching

And at last, you can reduce the loading time of the page by making your site visitors’ browser to cache web pages, images, or files (like CSS, JavaScript, etc.). This can be achieved by leveraging browser caching. Well, whenever the user browser loads any particular webpage it is required to download all the files for displaying the page in a proper manner. Sending request to your server for loading all such files can take longer time to load, especially when you’ve a slow network connection.

Thankfully, browser caching helps in storing the copies of your webpage static files locally in their system. And so, browser does not require downloading the requested files over and over again. This is because the browser will retrieve data stored in the cache instead of requesting the server for it.

Leveraging Browser Caching

For instance, the logo image of a website hardly changes and caching the image will quickly upload it without making any request to the server. In essence, browsing caching helps minimize the burden on your server. To enable the browser caching technique, you just need to add the following lines of code at the top of your theme’s .htaccess file:

## EXPIRES CACHING ##
<IfModule mod_expires.c>
ExpiresActive On
ExpiresByType image/jpg "access 1 year"
ExpiresByType image/jpeg "access 1 year"
ExpiresByType image/gif "access 1 year"
ExpiresByType image/png "access 1 year"
ExpiresByType text/css "access 1 month"
ExpiresByType application/pdf "access 1 month"
ExpiresByType application/x-javascript "access 1 month"
ExpiresByType application/javascript "access 1 month"
ExpiresByType application/x-shockwave-flash "access 1 month"
ExpiresByType image/x-icon "access 1 year"
ExpiresDefault "access 2 days"
</IfModule>
## EXPIRES CACHING ##

Conclusion

So, there you have it – top 10 tips to perk up your WordPress website performance. Most of the tips usually discuss ways to speed up your site, since it is the most dominant factor responsible for optimizing performance of a WP site.

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One Comment

  1. Great tips! Thank you for sharing!

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