How to make WordPress Faster
In today’s internet driven world, owning the fastest website can earn you points as far as reducing bounce rate and increasing conversions is concerned. Internet users want the information they seek within the shortest time possible. A page load time of one second is considered too long. Although WordPress sites are considered to have some of the fastest load times, the reality is that most take well over one second to load. This however doesn’t mean that your WordPress site is doomed to losing potential visitors due to slow load times. Here are some tips on how to make WordPress faster.
Get the best hosting within your budget
When selecting a hosting plan, your main concerns might be cost and uptime. Most of the hosting providers guarantee something like 99% uptime guarantee. While this might give you peace of mind regarding your site’s availability, it doesn’t address the issue of speed. You need to go further and select a hosting plan that ensures that your site’s loading isn’t affected by other websites hosted on the same server. This is especially the case if your website attracts huge amounts of traffic and you want to make WordPress faster to cater for it.
Try to avoid shared hosting plans since your website will be sharing the same resources with other sites on the same server. A good alternative is to buy VPS hosting or dedicated hosting. For the former, your website will be hosted on a virtual server which can speed up page load speeds. Dedicated hosting on the other hand means there will be a dedicated server for your website’s hosting. Your site doesn’t have to share any of the server’s resources with other websites. Another way hosting can help make WordPress faster is hosting the site on SSD drives as opposed to SATA.
Limit the number of plugins installed on your site
Plugins are great for extending your WordPress website’s functionality. However, every plugin installed adds to your website’s size which in turn slows down load times. If you truly want to make WordPress faster limit the number of plugins you use on your site to only those that are really necessary. A good way to identify which plugins to get rid of is looking at those which provide the least value for your site’s visitors. For example, you might have a calender for scheduling appointments but, your visitors rarely use it. That’s a plugin to get rid of. Another good way to avoid installing many plugins and make WordPress faster is using an optimized theme for your website.
Use an optimized theme
If you’re serious about building a professional WordPress site, getting a premium theme is a must. The reason is simple; premium themes provide the best functionality. The problem with free themes is that you will most likely need to install a couple (at least) of plugins to get the functionality you need. In addition, most of the free WordPress plugins aren’t regularly updated meaning there’s little you can do as far as future optimizations are concerned. Some of the important updates that come with premium themes are designed to make WordPress faster and SEO friendly while minimizing the amount of code involved. Not to mention the security updates you get with a paid theme to make your site more secure.
When selecting a premium WordPress theme, think about the code that runs it. A theme might be the most attractive but if it contains bad code, it will negatively affect your site’s performance. Always go for themes that have been tested and proven to have the best load times.
Use caching and minimize static files
WordPress sites load dynamically. This means that for a single page to load, it draws different components such as media and content from different sources simultaneously. Although this can be great since your visitors don’t have to wait for all individual components to load completely so that they can view the page, it can actually slow down load time. Using caching is a great way to reduce page load time. It involves drawing all the components from their various locations and creating a pre-generated page which is temporarily saved on the server. Therefore, once a request for the page is made, it will be served faster since it has already been created using the different components saved in different locations.
In addition to caching, try to avoid using static files on your website. Since WordPress loads pages dynamically, using static files can increase load times due to the load they place on server memory.
Use a CDN to distribute server load
Another way to make WordPress faster is the use of a content delivery network. The concept behind CDNs is that a requested page will load faster if it’s stored in a server that’s closest to the requester. But what if you have an international WordPress website which is hosted in a server thousands of miles away from a site visitor? Using a CDN allows the visitor access the website’s pages faster as if he or she were actually requesting the pages from a server that’s nearby. Here’s how it works.
Once the request is made, the requested pages along with their components are taken, distributed and cached in servers within the CDN and close to the site visitor. This way, any page requests made from different parts of the globe are easily served up by servers within the CDN and close to the page requester. This speeds up load time.
In addition to this, using a CDN also helps to reduce the load on a server if your WordPress website grows and attracts huge traffic. Traffic spikes are known to crash servers especially if your site is on a shared hosting plan.
Monitor your statistics
Making all these efforts to make WordPress faster and not knowing if they are effective is as good as doing nothing at all. It’s always good practice to keep monitoring your website’s performance in order to know whether specific tweaks have worked to make your WordPress faster or not. Pingdom is a good online resource you can use to monitor your site load time performance. This tool can be used to test both page load speed and test DNS servers and domains.