People have always been obsessed with speed, whether we’re talking about cars, aeroplanes, Usain Bolt or the internet speed. It’s no surprise that it is one of the major SEO factors when it comes to rating your website and for a good reason. Search engines put a lot of effort in understanding and serving you best results and they presume you like speedy things, too.
You’ve got to admit that there are few things more annoying than a slow-loading website. If you’re trying to speed up your WordPress, because of the whole user experience thing or just because you want to boost your SEO rankings, here’s a brief list of things you can do.
1. Limit the Number of Plugins You Use
Plugins are a great way of extending WordPress functionality and if you ask me the only one. Sadly, many plugin developers don’t follow WordPress best practices and neglect the load their plugins put on servers when activated.
- Use plugins you actually need
- Regularly update plugins
- Deactivate and delete the ones you don’t use
2. Caching Stuff
Caching serves pages faster by saving static copies of files and limiting server-side processing. There’s a bunch of free WordPress plugins that’ll do this for you. Just do a search for WordPress Cache Plugin or take a look at these posts and select one :
- WPTuts+ | WordPress Caching Plugins
- WPMU | The Best Caching Plugins for WordPress – Recommended By Our Readers
We don’t use any caching plugins here on ThematoSoup, since they’ve recently become a hacker’s tool for breaching WordPress security.
You can do several things with your .htaccess file to increase WordPress speed, that’ll mimic stuff cache plugins do.
3. Optimize Content (images, java-script, CSS)
Large, uncompressed and non-optimized images slow down many WordPress websites. There are a couple of ways you can deal with this issue:
- Optimize image before you upload it, so its resolution fits your layout. You can use this free online service called PicResize or Picture Slash.
- Install a plugin called SmushIt. It compresses and strips all meta data and unused colors from your images.
The other thing you can check out is content delivery networks. CDNs will host the static content of your blog (images, videos, java-script, CSS) and load it much faster. I suggest these two CDNs:
If you decide to try content delivery networks, you can read a review about these two free CDNs.
4. Choose a Well-coded, Simple Theme
Sometimes, the speed problem lies with the WordPress theme. Perhaps you’ve chosen a theme that has a lot of images and graphics. Perhaps it has a lot of bulky code and uses inefficient functions. If this is the case, you will need to simplify your theme or choose another.
If you’ve just begun building your WordPress website, see if you can start with the default WordPress theme and add features and styles as you need them, using plugins and CSS, or you can use Cazuela, free responsive WordPress theme, developed by us.
5. Minimize Advertising
6. Move To a New Host
If you’ve tried all of the above and still experience a slow-loading website or a lot of down-time, then it’s time you move your whole website to a different place. Different hosts take different time to process PHP files and MySQL queries.
Cheap shared hosting may do the job for you, but if you’re a professional who has a lot of traffic you may be better off with Media Temple or WestHost (25%-off & 60-day money back guarantee). If you’ve already tried them and weren’t satisfied, you should go for WP Engine. These guys offer top notch service and are specialized in WordPress hosting.
ThematoSoup is currently being powered by Namecheap and I must say we’re pretty satisfied with their service and their customer support is just amazing.
You can check the speed of your websites by installing Page Speed extension to you Chrome or Firefox or using and online service like Pingdom.
Speed of your WordPress is highly appreciated by both search engines and people as you’re making your website more usable and more crawlable. You can also increase speed using .htaccess and using CDNs or content delivery networks.
If you know of any other tip for increasing WordPress speed, please let me know in the comment section below and be sure to subscribe to our mailing list for more of the WordPress tips.
14 comments How to Speed Up Your WordPress Website
Hey Dragan! Just wanted to thank you for the very helpful article and also for mentioning (mt) Media Temple. :) Keep up the great work!
(mt) Media Temple
No problem Drew.
Thanks for stopping by.
Sometimes cache plugins create problems, so I prefer to optimize via .htaccess
I agree with you Amdhas, especially on websites that don’t have that much content or don’t have a lot of traffic.
Could you share your knowledge of doing it via .htaccess?
Hi, Dragan. I’m using this .htaccess for multisite, because I like making a multisite, always.
I hope that the example file will be helpful.
I’ll definitely take it for a spin.
Oh yess. Good idea, thank you very much.
sorry i guess long post won’t work? I need help with rewriting my .htaccess file for my multisite install… shopmybamaprints.com – please help? site is in development now but could use the advise now so i get off on right foot!
I’m using wp-super cache and ran site thru google speed test and have a list of files that need expirations – problem is i’ve tried and following instructions and feel i’m either not adding it right place of leaving off something? i use hostgator as well – thx in advance!
Your website is not accessible. There’s nothing I or you can do until it goes live. Once it’s live you can start using Google page speed or optimize it further through .htaccess file.
Until then you can use some of the things written in this post.
Thanks for great tips!
I use W3 total cache, but for some reason I still get notifications from Google dev that I need to set expirations (even though I have via the plugin). Maybe I have the wrong settings(?), but it doesn’t look like it :/
So, I changed my htaccess by adding “ExpiresActive On” and “ExpiresByType” .. since then, no dev notifications.
The biggest problem I have with my website’s load time is related to cpm ads. Its’ easy to say use link ads or host images, but we monetize our site with cpm ads (Glam Media / Burst Media / Adsense) in a chain. While this is very slow, it generates significant revenue. While switching to link ads and displaying images sounds great in theory and would speed up my website, if the revenue goes from $1k per month to $20, it’s not a helpful tip. Are there any other options to speed up how these ads display?
I have absolutely no idea, since I’ve never setup any ads. If you find out how to do this, please stop by again and share it with us.
Is GoDaddy particularly bad? I have a new blog there and while i have no real traffic is till see 1024 / 1024 KB/s i/o and 1,024 / 1,024 for memory usage. I use catching and have tried to minimize plugins.
I’m not sure about GoDaddy, but you should always contact their support if something doesn’t feel right.