The 10 Tips to speed up your WordPress sites
Understanding how fast your website loads is the next step towards improving site performance. Tracking site speed is advisable should you install a plugin or make some other change to your site and want to see how it affects site load times. To analyze load speed, try using a tool like the WP Engine Speed Tool for WordPress-specific site speed tips on how to make your site run better. After you insert your site’s URL, you’ll be emailed a custom analysis regarding how fast your site loads and specific recommendations to speed it up.
2. Unused Plugins and Themes
Aside from the fact that you should always keep your plugins and themes up to date, deleting unused ones is the next step to a speedy site. Not only do unused plugins and themes present security vulnerabilities, but they can also detract from WordPress site performance.
- To delete the unused plugin, you’ll first need to deactivate it. Then you can go to your inactive plugins list and delete the ones you no longer want.
- To remove unwanted themes, simply go to Appearance > Themes to delete the ones no longer in use.
3. Media Library
Over time you might start to accumulate images that are no longer used. To free up space, you should consider removing unused media.
To remove unused media manually, You can use a plugin like Media Cleaner to dispose of unused media or you can do so manually. To manually remove unused media, simply go to Add Media -> Media Library –> Unattached and then delete those files no longer in use.
If left unchecked, your WordPress database will start to accumulate clutter over time. This unnecessary bloat can slow down your site. However, with regular cleanups, you can reduce your database size for faster loading.
For instance, post revisions can take up a huge chunk of unneeded space. If you have a post which is 100KB of data and there are five revisions of that post, the total space wasted is about 500KB.
Cleaning up your database can be done manually through phpMyAdmin, although it can be tricky and damaging if you don’t know what you’re doing. If you aren’t a technical whiz, installing a plugin to accomplish this task is the safer way to go.
WP-Sweep and Advanced Database Cleaner are both safe bets to broom through your database and get rid of things like old revisions, spam comments, MySQL queries, and more.
Over time, CSS, HTML, and other source code files can build up and cause your site to run like molasses. To give your site a speed injection, you should consider minifying its code.
7. Optimize Images
Images are imperative to keeping a site visitor engaged. While your site may contain a ton of beautiful imagery, it’s a good idea to optimize these images to achieve fast page load times. There are multiple ways you can optimize your images, including compressing images, adding alt text and titles, and creating an image sitemap.
8. Lazy-Load Long Pages
For one-page sites and sites which have a long home page, Lazy Loading can be a real time saver. Lazy Loading essentially prevents the elements lower down on your page from being loaded until the visitor scrolls down to see them. By not loading all of the content of your long page at once, this allows your site to begin rendering faster. A common plugin used for this would be BJ Lazy Load.
9. Limit Comments Per Page
While it’s awesome to get so much attention on your blog posts, a ton of comments can also slow page load time down. Breaking the comment section into pages is a good idea to shave off the time it takes for them to load.
To limit the number of comments that appear per page, simply go to Settings -> Discussion and check the “Break comments into pages” box. You can then select the number of comments per page (default is set to 50).
10. Reduce Redirects
Redirects have some uses, but unnecessary redirects, such as 301 redirects and redirect chains, can really slow things down. It’s best to reduce the number of additional information requests that your server undertakes.
11. Reduce Post Revisions
Post revisions save every content edit you make infinitely, which can make your site run slower. To speed up your site, you can choose to limit the number of revisions per post.
To do so, open the wp-config.php file and add this line of code to limit the number of post revisions:
The number, in this case, denotes four, which means there will be four revisions created per post. You can change this number or even switch revisions off by setting the value to 0 or false.
12. Disable Pingbacks and Trackbacks
While you might have never heard of pingbacks or trackbacks before, they are considered by some to be a legacy feature. Although it’s still a good idea to make sure they are turned off as they can cause slowness when it comes to page speed.
To disable pingbacks and trackbacks, simply go to Settings -> Discussion and make sure “Allow link notifications from other blogs…” is unchecked.
13. Run the Latest Version of PHP
Running the latest version of PHP can have a major effect on the speed of your site. To determine if your site is ready to switch to the latest PHP environment, try using WP Engine’s PHP Compatibility Checker plugin.
14. Choose a Fast, Lightweight Theme
Not all WordPress themes are created equal—some are written better than others. A beautiful UI design is meaningless if your site fails to load fast.
Rather than opting for a feature-rich theme (which involve a lot of code that has to be loaded every time someone visits your site), take a minimal approach by using a theme that contains the bare bones of what is necessary to function well.
15. Use a CDN
No matter a user’s location, your content should be delivered blazing fast. Sometimes this isn’t always feasible, though…that is if your site isn’t on an infrastructure that contains data centers in other parts of the world. The distance can mean a lag in content delivery, which is where a content delivery network (CDN) becomes handy.
A CDN leads to faster page load times because when configured, your website will use an optimized server that’s closest to your site visitor. The data center will store static content and files, and then deliver them to users based on their location. This can help reduce external HTTP requests because the static content is already ready to go instead of requesting tons of HTTP at once.
Choosing a CDN depends on the popularity and needs of your site. Some WordPress CDN solutions include MaxCDN, Cloudflare, or CacheFly.
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