Blog Design

How to speed up your WordPress blog (22 smart ways)

While many bloggers focus on content and backlinks to grow their blog, how fast that blog loads is just as important. Having said that page speed impacts everything right from SEO, organic rankings to overall user experience and website traffic and thus sales conversion. Your readers deserve comfort while accessing your blog content and if … Continued

While many bloggers focus on content and backlinks to grow their blog, how fast that blog loads is just as important. Having said that page speed impacts everything right from SEO, organic rankings to overall user experience and website traffic and thus sales conversion.

Your readers deserve comfort while accessing your blog content and if they don’t get, they have the right to leave.

Kissmetrics revealed that the average loading time required when first accessing a website is only about 3 seconds. Akamai reports, even a 100 ms delay could hurt conversion rate by 7%.

So it is evident that having a site with better speed has more opportunities to meet its digital business goals for sure.

In this article, I will specifically review 21 ways to speed up loading your WordPress blog. Apart from being easy (you can do the optimization yourself at home), some of the tips here have universal principles.

 

1. Pick a reliable host

Choosing the right type of web hosting is an important factor when it comes to page speed. It is not the area where you should think of saving money. Depending on your website needs and user traffic, you can opt to shared hosting or VPS (virtual private server) plan that fits.

David Woutersen of Outofthe925 adds, “As your traffic go high, basic shared server hosting will reduce your site speed as server resources are spread among a variety of different websites and this can actually hamper your growth. In order to maintain fast WordPress blog you have a number of hosting options like VPS, Managed WordPress, or customized, dependent on your technical ability and the amount you’re willing to spend says.”

So you must know what are your current needs and plans for your website so you can choose your host wisely. A perfect hosting usually offers SSD storage, in-built cache mechanism and allocate maximum server resources for your website to perform better.

Here are a few names that we recommend:

2. Use a CDN (Content Delivery Network)

If the server location affects access speed in general, a CDN will make your website quickly accessible from any location. CDN networks exist all over the world and store static files for your website. Wherever your server is located, website visitors will get information from the nearest CDN so that your web pages can be accessed more quickly.

For example, your server location is in the United States, and your website visitors are in India. Visitors will get their information from the CDN that is nearest to India, but not directly from your server in the United States. You can see a complete explanation and how to use a CDN in the following article.

3. Choose a light and fast theme

When deciding a theme for your blog, don’t just decide by its appearance and price. It is tough to conclude fastest WordPress theme as you have to consider and test on various factors. It would be awesome when you hear that experts have already did the work for you and concluded some of the fastest and stunning themes. Here are a few names:

These themes are optimized for better speed and creation modules with library full of demos and customizable elements. Plus, they will be integrated with popular page builders like Elementor.

4. Enable caching

The essential thing, and the first thing you should do is use a caching plugin on your WordPress website. Do it with the help of several plugins like WP Super Cache, W3 Total Cache, and WP Super.

Basically, the caching plugin will work by creating a static HTML file so that when it is reaccessed, it can be accessed more quickly because there is no need to load dynamic scripts that are burdening server performance. Besides, some caching plugins have additional functions such as minify HTML files, CSS, and even browser caching.

5. Compress large sized images

Large images on your website can drastically increase loading times, the solution is optimization. The critical point is to minimize the image’s size but yet make sure it appears in a fair resolution.

You can use the WP-Smush plugin for image optimization throughout the website, and the resolution you get is still the better. After that, to minimize the image size, do a check using GTMetrix, it may provide additional tips to optimize still.

Nikola Roza of Nikola Roza adds,

“Use my tip below and you can boost site speed by 100% in 5m or less.

So, my tip is to implement a combo of image optimization and lazy loading.

For image optimization, use ShortPixel, a premium WP plugin that will optimize your images to be as low in size as they can get, while preserving high picture quality. And don’t worry, ShortPixel is really cheap. For $10 you get 1000 image optimization credits, meaning you can optimize 1000 images.

For lazy loading, use Lazy Load. This plugin works out of the box and you don’t need to set it up.
 It works by delaying image loading until they come up on the user’s screen.

How much does this help?

Well, this page on my site has a ton of images and was loading in 4.5s on  average. After I’ve implemented my two tips, it now loads in 2.4s on average. That is almost 100% improvement in speed.”

6. Update your WordPress

WordPress is an open-source platform that is always growing and constantly improving. You must always update the latest version of WordPress. Updates were made to improvise features and eliminate bugs of the previous version. Likewise, WordPress that doesn’t update is slower in terms of speed and is vulnerable to threats such as malware, viruses, and even hacker threats.

7. Keep your site’s PHP version updated

Eniola Samuel of Blogging Scheme explains, “You may are already aware that WordPress.org is developed in PHP language. Since it is a server-side language, you must know what it takes to run the programs smoothly. More optimized PHP means better speed. So choose a reliable hosting company like Bluehost that will help your blog run on latest PHP version all the time. “

8. Minimize plugins

Plugins help improve the performance and design of your website. However, make sure you only use plugins that you need depending on the purpose of your website. Too many plugins that are with heavy code and files and not tested with your WordPress can damage your website speed.

The more plugins you use, the more resources you will need. This, of course, will affect your website performance. Therefore, use plugins optimally.

If you are currently using a way many plugins and are confused about which plugins to uninstall, then use “Performance Profiler” Plugin. It will do the trick!!

9. Perform database optimization

Various activities on your WordPress website will add to the work, and the database will increase heavily. I recommend using WP-Optimize plugin that allow you to clean and optimize your databases.

10. Embed, not upload

If you add a video to your website, this will only burden your website performance by consuming your hosting bandwidth, even if you use unlimited hosting. SO don’t upload a video directly to your WordPress but embed the link of it in your WordPress editor.

This optimization is quite effective at maintaining your website’s speed, especially if you display a lot of video content.

11. Enable Gzip compression

When you use Gzip compression, your WordPress website loads faster. Gzip compression functions to reduce the size of website files for CSS, HTML, javascript, JSON, XML, and fonts. In addition to speeding up website loading, your server resources and hosting bandwidth will be more efficient.

Using this method, your website visitors will certainly feel happier because you don’t have to wait long to access the website.

How to enable Gzip compression?

You can do it manually via cPanel. Login to your cPanel hosting, then copy the following code and paste it into your .htacess.

<IfModule mod_filter.c>
 <IfModule mod_deflate.c>
     AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE "application/atom+xml" 
                                   "application/javascript" 
                                   "application/json" 
                                   "application/ld+json" 
                                   "application/manifest+json" 
                                   "application/rdf+xml" 
                                   "application/rss+xml" 
                                   "application/schema+json" 
                                   "application/vnd.geo+json" 
                                   "application/vnd.ms-fontobject" 
                                   "application/x-font-ttf" 
                                   "application/x-javascript" 
                                   "application/x-web-app-manifest+json" 
                                   "application/xhtml+xml" 
                                   "application/xml" 
                                   "font/eot" 
                                   "font/opentype" 
                                   "image/bmp" 
                                   "image/svg+xml" 
                                   "image/vnd.microsoft.icon" 
                                   "image/x-icon" 
                                   "text/cache-manifest" 
                                   "text/css" 
                                   "text/html" 
                                   "text/javascript" 
                                   "text/plain" 
                                   "text/vcard" 
                                   "text/vnd.rim.location.xloc" 
                                   "text/vtt" 
                                   "text/x-component" 
                                   "text/x-cross-domain-policy" 
                                   "text/xml"
 </IfModule>
</IfModule>

12. Disable hotlinks on your website

When several websites use your image, and this image is accessed by users, indirectly, these websites will ‘steal’ your server bandwidth. To avoid this, you can easily disable hotlinking.

Although disabling hotlinks do not directly affect the website’s loading speed, this is one of the speed optimizations that you can do yourself. In short, you just need to make sure your hotlinking is off.

Upload the following files to your .htaccess. Change the domain name according to your domain name.

RewriteEngine on
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^$
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^http(s)?://(www.)?YOURDOMAIN.COM [NC]
RewriteRule .(jpg|jpeg|png|gif)$ – [NC,F,L]

13. Limit the number of content pieces per page

Show your flagship content on your main pages. However, you shouldn’t just put all the content there. Website load time will be significantly reduced by limiting the number of post views on each page. A total of 5 to 7 posts will undoubtedly make it easier than 10-15 posts on each page. Pay close attention to this, and your website can load faster.

14. Disable trackback and pingbacks

Trackbacks and pingbacks can make your WordPress website indexed by search engines faster. However, this feature is often used by spammers to get automatic backlinks. Spam that is sent will gradually become trash in your WordPress database. This, of course, can lead to slower loading websites. To disable it, use a plugin called ‘Disable XML-RPC Pingback.’

Alternatively, you can also do this manually via your 

  • WordPress Dashboard > Settings > Discussion > Uncheck the allow link notifications.

15. Limit revisions of each post

By default, WordPress stores a copy of each revision that you make. A pile of post revisions will result in an accumulation of garbage in your database.

Limiting post revisions does not necessarily increase website speed but maintain database at optimal performance level. Limit revisions in each post by adding the following code in wp-config.

define( 'WP_POST_REVISIONS', 5 );

It means WordPress deletes older versions once it reaches 5 stored revisions.

16. Put CSS on header and JS on footer

Javascript is a client-side programming. The file will run from the client’s web browser side, not your web server’s side. Therefore, put the footer JS files at the footer so that the webserver can load the page first to completion and then, from the client-side, execute the js file. By placing an appropriate load script, your website can be accessed more quickly.

17. Unpack the database query

Requesting a WordPress database to the server greatly affects the speed of the website. You should reduce the use of database tables with high queries. If you don’t know which database tables are burdening the server, please use the ‘Query Monitor plugin’. This plugin will help you to check the database. You can easily view information about database queries that burden server performance and slow queries using this plugin.

18. Minimize redirects

You certainly want the information on the website to be completely received by visitors. However, sometimes there is information that must be directed to another website using a different URL. This is not wrong, and it’s just that a redirect can cause excessive HTTP load requests, which can slow down your website’s load.

In essence, you need to simplify the flow of your website redirects. You can reduce links to other pages outside of your website.

For example, let’s say that you have two pages: Page 1 and Page 2, and you want to navigate to Page 3. In this case, you should point to Page 1 directly to Page 3 without having to go to Page 2 first.

19. Enable HTTP keep-alive

HTTP Keep-Alive is a method to speed up website loading by keeping your website typed so that the server’s file requests don’t repeat. You can activate it easily via .htaccess. Copy the following code to get started.

<IfModule mod_headers.c>
 Header set Connection keep-alive
 </IfModule>

20. Remove query strings from static sources

Eliminating static queries like style sheets and Javascript will affect your website’s speed as cache clearing is not possible.

Clearing cache is not possible on links that contain punctuation “?” character. Please use query strings only on dynamic sources.

You don’t need to be confused. The “Remove Query String From Static Resource” plugin will help you.

21. Ditch traditional ads if you can

Vishwajeet Kumar of Bloggingpond says, “Let’s go put more ads on my blog and make big money – most newbies think this way. While ads depending on your niche CPC can make you money, they can also cause your site to get slow down with excessive codes, many resource-calls, uncompressed images and script.

So learn ad revenue potential of your niche to decide if it is worthy running ads. If yes, make sure you follow best practices to optimize speed.”

22. Intercept wp-login page for hackers

Sayem Ibn Kashem of Facileway explains, bloggers usually have “www.domainname.com/wp-admin” formatted link to login to their WordPress dashboard. SO the cyber hackers and their bots would keep trying various credential combinations to hack your site which means your admin URL gets hit a lots of time a day. This results your site to be consuming more bandwidth and increase the load on your website depending on the attacks severity.

So there is a plugin called WPS Hide Login which creates a secret login page for admin and ensures high speed site surfing for your visitors by reducing the bandwidth usage.”

Conclusion

I hope that the article helped you how to optimize your blog loading speed. After optimization, don’t forget to re-check your page speed, you will be surprised to see the results.

Previous

How to Measure and Improve User Experience on Your Blog

Back to Blog Design
Next

Discover The Key Ways To Make Your Blog Look Professional