WordPress is an amazing tool for website designers. There are so many frameworks and templates out there that allow you to easily build and fully customize a WordPress site whether you’re an advanced developer or just someone who loves to design. However, the downside is that advanced, complicated WordPress themes can slow down a website significantly, especially if you use a lot of plugins or images. Slow websites can result in a loss of site visitors and penalties from Google. So, to fix that, here are some of the best tips for improving WordPress speed:
- Your Host – If you’re trying to save costs, this is not the place to do it. Invest money in a good host with fast servers and a good amount of memory. This will keep your site from crashing if a lot of people visit at once. Our favorite isInmotion Hosting – great speeds and absolutely unrivaled customer support.
- Your Theme – If possible, try to use a theme with a very clean HTML and CSS framework. I would definitely suggest not using free themes; they often have bugs that can hurt and slow down your website. One great option is theGenesis Framework; their coding is absolutely impeccable.
- Caching – Definitely make use of a good caching plugin. Caching creates static files of your posts and pages that reduce the processing load time for site visitors. I would recommend WP Super Cache or W3 Total Cache. Just make sure to fully read the instructions that come with each function and stick with the automatic caching unless you know what you’re doing.
- Compress Your Images – One of the biggest issues with load time are too many images or images that are too large. However, if you run an ECommerce site or a portfolio, you may need a lot of high-quality, large images. The best solution to this is a plugin like Smush.It. This great plugin reduces the size of your images. Also, decrease your image size manually to just as large as you need it to be. For example, if your portfolio page displays an image at 600 x 400 px., then make it exactly that size.
- Decrease Your Plugins. Only use the plugins that you absolutely need. Unnecessarily plugins take up a lot of space and can slow down your website dramatically. You can also use the P3 Plugin Performance Profiler to see which of your plugins slow down your site the most.
- Control Revisions. Wordpress saves each revision of every page and post that you make. This is great if you make a mistake or change your mind about something and want to go back. However, when you’ve made 25 revisions to a page, that can seriously slow down your website. The Revision Control pluginallows you to decide how many revisions you want WordPress to save. I usually choose between 3-5. That’s enough leeway if you make a mistake without taking up too much space.
- Disable trackbacks and pingbacks. If you don’t use this functionality, then I would recommend disabling it. It can be a drain on page speed. WordPressoffers some more information about these functions if you’re unsure. To disable, go to Settings –> Discussion.
- Install GZIP. There are many ways to do this, but I would recommend the GZip Ninja Speed Compression Plugin. GZip condenses and zips your content until it is needed and then unzips it and displays it faster.
- Keep your site as clean as you can. If you’re not using an image, delete it. If a post is outdated, delete it. Get rid of the sample pages and posts that came with the WordPress installation. You get the point – if it’s not needed, then it shouldn’t be on the site.
As always, make sure to backup your website before making any major changes in case something goes wrong. And you can check the speed of your website usingGoogle Page Speed. It’ll also make great suggestions to improve your speed! Best of luck!