10 Easy Ways To Speed Up Your WordPress Site

Category: Intermediate

WordPress is arguably the most popular content management system available online. It is highly customizable and more importantly open source, which makes its development efficient. The number of organizations using WordPress is very large. In this situation, with the large array of features available, you can get carried away and forget about the speed of your site with respect to other features.

In today’s world, the speed of a website is very important and that can even affect its visibility in search engines. When someone opens your site, you only have a few seconds to impress and convince him to hang around. If your site is slow, you could lose users faster than you gather them! Here are 10 easy ways to make your WordPress site faster.

1. Use a good hosting server:

First and foremost, the importance of a good hosting server can not be ignored. If your server is incapable of handling a good traffic, there would be no use of people visiting your site because a high number of users would lead to a worse performance. If you expect a very high number of users, it is advisable to use separate servers for hosting the WordPress code, your MySQL database and caching purposes.

To start off, you might want to go with shared hosting, but when your site becomes popular, high traffic can cause huge downtimes, leading to bad experiences.

2. Use an optimal theme:

Now that you have a good server, you need to optimize WordPress so that it loads fast enough to keep the user interested. To start off, it is advisable to use a minimalistic theme, and avoid unnecessary clutter. Using a fancy theme just for the sake of it can not only make it difficult for users to find a particular thing, but also affect the page load times adversely. Also, making your homepage minimal is highly advisable as that is bound to be the landing page for many users and choosing a theme that does that is important.

3. Cache content using a plugin:

When the same kind of requests are sent to the server, a component called the cache stores the response and renders it in further requests without processing huge amount of data. There are many plugins in WordPress which perform the task of caching. We already have a detailed post explaining the use of W3 Total Cache, arguably the best caching plugin for WordPress.

4. Minify static files:

W3 Total Cache, as mentioned above, handles this aspect of reducing the static files by compressing them, which in turn makes them load fast in your browser, reducing the site load time. Static files include JavaScript, CSS and XML feeds of your site.

5. Disable unnecessary plugins:

WordPress, being such a popular blogging platform and content management system, has a huge number of people working on it. Consequently, there are a lot of plugins out there performing a huge number of tasks. It is easy to get overwhelmed and install many plugins doing a variety of tasks. The downside is that with an increasing number of active plugins, the processing time increasing and at times can reduce your site’s performance. Remember to disable or remove plugins which are not absolutely necessary!

6. Remove spam comments:

Assuming you have enabled commenting and trackbacks on your site, you would inevitably get spam comments. You should regularly clear spam comments to make sure your database is not cluttered because of this.

7.  Limit Post Revisions

For active bloggers, the post revisions can pile up over time and bring down your database performance, in turn affecting the website load times. It is advisable to remove post revisions  which are considerably old or at least limit them to 2 or 3 using a plugin.

Fortunately, removing thousands of spam comments and post revisions are not so difficult, thanks to some quick MySQL hacks that we have already published.

8. Add an Expires header:

An expires header is used to reduce load times for regular users. It specifies a time frame that needs to pass before the browser reloads files that don’t usually change (like JavaScript, images or CSS files). You can do so by editing your .htaccess file and adding the following lines.

ExpiresActive On

ExpiresByType text/css A2592000

ExpiresByType text/javascript A2592000

ExpiresByType image/gif A2592000

ExpiresByType image/png A2592000

ExpiresByType image/jpg A2592000

ExpiresByType image/jpeg A2592000

9. Minimize number of HTTP requests:

With the advent of CSS3, many changes have taken place that were significantly changed the way web designing is done. Gradients, shadows and rounded corners, which were achieved in the past using images, are now possible using CSS! The important thing to note here is that this process brings down the number of requests a browser has to send in order to render a page. Rather than loading multiple images, it loads a single CSS file which it processes to generate the same visual elements.

10. Put stylesheets at the top and JavaScript at the bottom:

Stylesheets have a relatively smaller size as compared to the JavaScript files. We put stylesheets at the top because of the simple fact that a page would look ugly if rendered before the stylesheets are loaded. We put the JavaScript files at the bottom because they take a longer time to load, but while they are loading, the basic content of the page has already been displayed to the user. Putting JavaScript files at the top might make the user think that the page is unresponsive.

A very handy tool while testing your site’s load time is Pingdom. It gives you a detailed report on how fast your site is and the time each request takes.

Cutting down the site load time is good for all websites, not just WordPress ones. This gives users an incentive to stay on your site, thereby reducing bounce rates and also increasing your site’s visibility in search results. Here’s hoping this post helped you optimize your WordPress site!

Author Bio

Shaumik Daityari

Shaumik is an optimist, but one who carries an umbrella. An undergrad at IIT Roorkee, he loves writing, when he's not busy creating some awesome stuff. Find him on and Twitter.

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