WordPress powers millions of websites on the net, it’s the most popular blogging platform around, so if you own a website, then you have almost certainly heard of WordPress. As you know, there are lots of add-ons such as plugins and themes which people can install on their blogs.
As you start installing additional plugins, heavy themes, and even WordPress itself, you use more and more resources on your server, this causes your page loading times to increase.
If you don’t already know, the longer your website takes to load, the more likely your visitors are to leave your website; so, it’s important to make sure your website loads as quickly as possible, the ideal time for a page to load is less than a second, but, that can be difficult to achieve.
Here are a few of the easiest ways to make sure your WordPress website is running as quickly as possible:
This is an easy one, make sure you’re using a web hosting company like JavaPipe. They have PHP hosting in the cloud, specifically designed for running PHP scripts and content management systems like WordPress, ensuring they run faster than on traditional shared hosting plans. If you’ve already got your website setup with another hosting company, don’t worry, most hosting companies will help you move your files over to them and get you setup, so you don’t have to do anything!
Having the right web hosting company with properly configured servers can make a big difference to your websites loading time, and it’s a very easy change, so this is my first recommendation.
You can use a plugin like “Minify” which will move all of your CSS and JS data into two files, and compress the code so that there are no unnecessary line breaks or spaces in the text. This makes the files smaller, and because the browser is now only loading 2 files (1 for CSS and 1 for JS) rather than the multiple files you had before, it loads them faster.
Use a CDN
Content delivery networks can help increase your page loading time, by delivering content to your visitors from a server located closer to each visitor. This means the data has less distance to travel, so it arrives faster. CDNs also take some of the strain off your server, loading images and media from another location, which again, helps to speed up the rate at which your server can load the page for your visitors.
There’s lots of CDNs out there, some web hosting companies even offer CDN plans to their customers. If your hosting company offers this service, then I find it’s best to go through them, especially if you haven’t worked with CDNs before, as they will handle the whole setup for you.
Optimize your Images
Images and media are probably the largest elements that make up your webpages. You can usually optimize your images to reduce their size significantly, without decreasing the quality.
There are plugins, such as WP SmushIt! Which will automatically compress and optimize any images you upload in WordPress, it runs in the background every time you upload a new image, and can reduce the file size by up to 40%!
Use a Caching Plugin
W3 Total Cache is a plugin which I always install on any WordPress site that I build, it’s great, powerful, and it’s free! There are lots of advanced options, but even for a novice with little experience, it’s very easy to use. Simply install the plugin, activate it, and watch your website load faster!
If you do just these 5 things (which shouldn’t take you more than 30 minutes), you will likely speed up your website by an impressive amount. Give it a try, go over to tools.pingdom.com, check the speed of your website, then perform these changes and test it again, post your results in the comments below!