Easy ways to speed up your WordPress - Heart Internet Blog - Focusing on all aspects of the web

What happens when your website takes forever to load?

According to surveys done by Akamai and Gomez.com, nearly half of all web users expect a site to load in two seconds or less – and are more likely to abandon a site that doesn’t load within three seconds. And with just a few seconds of waiting, you can lose plenty of potential sales.

How do I know if my site is slow?

There are plenty of tools available to check your loading speed. Some of our favourites are:

Once you’re aware of how slow your site is, there are easy ways to speed it up.

Remove unnecessary plug-ins

You could be using plug-ins that you don’t really need. While many of them might not have an effect on your site speed, others could be adding hundreds of milliseconds to your loading time.

Go through your plug-ins on a regular basis (we recommend every six months) and ask yourself:

  • Are you still using the plug-in?
  • Is it doing what you need it to do?
  • Is it calling any deprecated functions?
  • Are there new plug-ins that work better and take up less space?

P3 is a plug-in that reviews your plug-ins and creates a profile of their performance, as well as measuring the impact they have on your site’s load time. Activate it when you want to check your plug-ins, then replace them as needed.

Compress your images

Images can take up a lot of bandwidth, especially when you use large images. But your images can be easily optimised to cut down on speed.

Along with making sure you’re not putting the full-size version of the image up (for example, uploading a 2000-pixel wide image when you only need a 100-pixel wide version), you can also run plug-ins that will compress your images for you.

WP Smush goes through your existing images as well as any images you upload in the future, and compresses them while still keeping the quality up.

Enable caching

While some browsers will automatically save a cache of your site when people visit your site, you can ensure that it happens, cutting down on loading time when people return. W3 Total Cache lets you cache your site, reducing the number of HTTP requests and speeding up the loading time for returning customers – customers who might have decided that now is the time for a purchase.

Clean up the database

Have you gone through the unapproved comments recently? What about trackbacks and pingbacks? Or have you started and stopped so many posts that your Drafts folder is a virtual library compared to your live posts?

All of these have an effect on loading time. And you can either go through each one, making sure that they’re exactly what you want to remove, or you can use a plug-in like WP-Optimize to quickly and easily cull them, freeing up database space.

 

With these four tips, you can have a lean, mean, WordPress machine. What tips do you have for making your WordPress site faster?

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  • Mark Ormiston

    12/07/2016

    Combine and minify CSS / JS and use CSS sprites also helps a long way!

     
  • 19/07/2016

    Good points, would also add gzip compression of deliverables and scrutinisation of the theme used on the site; too many ‘pretty’ themes are loading oodles of JavaScript and other resources, often not needed if the webmaster is not making full use of the theme’s features.

     

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