Improve WordPress Site Speed

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Often we find that WordPress' out-of-the-box site speed is not the fastest it could be. In this guide we'll show you how you can improve load times and make your WordPress site faster!

Web Content Caching

Fetching something over the network is both slow and expensive: large responses require many roundtrips between the client and server, which delays when they are available and can be processed by the browser, and also incurs data costs for the visitor. As a result, the ability to cache and reuse previously fetched resources is a critical aspect of optimizing for performance.

There are several methods we can take advantage of to cache these resources via WordPress plugins. We recommend downloading and activating one of the following cache plugins onto your site:

  1. W3 Total Cache - This plugin is very highly-rated and offers more advanced customization than other caching plugins out there. It also provides the option for a paid upgrade to receive support and additional features. We recommend this caching plugin.
  2. WP Super Cache - While offering most of the same functionality as W3 Total Cache, this plugin has a more simple interface for less advanced users.
  3. WP Fastest Cache - A newcomer to the WordPress caching game, this extremely simple plugin is for users who need caching and do not want to configure anything.

Once installed and activated, images and static web pages will immediately begin caching. A speed boost should be noticed right away.

Image Optimization

If enabling caching does not speed your site up as much as you would like, or if your site is especially image-heavy, installing an image optimization plugin is recommended. These plugins take your already-uploaded (and in some cases those you upload in the future) images and compress them so they are served to the visitor much more quickly.

Below are some WordPress plugins that do what we're looking for, as well as a small summary on each:

  1. EWWW Image Optimizer (Premium Cloud Version) - Unlike its name suggests (it actually stands for Exactly WWW), EWWW does an incredible job of compressing images and offers a wide array of configuration options. This plugin is subscription-based and offers 5000 image compression operations for $10.00. More information can be found here.
  2. ShortPixel Image Optimizer - This works in a similar way to EWWW but does not have as many features. It is a nice substitute if you would like a free image optimizing plugin.

Generally, image optimization plugins require manual optimization of pictures that have already been uploaded. As such, these will not work automatically and will require you to visit the appropriate 'settings' page within your WordPress admin dashboard.

Getting the Right Theme

One thing that often gets overlooked when it comes to site speed is your WordPress Theme itself. While themes are usually chosen for how they look, we suggest that special care is taken when choosing the right theme developer. Choosing a developer who has provided more themes for a long period of time is preferred. Keep this in mind while shopping for a theme, also looking for how often the developer releases updates for their themes. An outdated or badly-coded theme can dramatically slow down your WordPress website.

WordPress Version

If all of the above has been completed, your site should be running as smoothly as possible. A final thing to consider is keeping your WordPress version as up to date as possible. This means always updating WordPress right when you see that one is available via your dashboard. As of WordPress version 3.7, you can set up automatic WordPress background updates via your wp-config.php file. Click here for WordPress' information regarding this new feature.

If you are still encountering slow load times after trying everything mentioned here, please submit a ticket and our support technicians will get to it right away.