How to maximize the loading speed of your WordPress site

Have you recently created a website for yourself or someone else? So you should definitely know that ideally it should load in 2 seconds.

Do you have a blog? Certainly your readers don’t want to wait a disproportionate amount of seconds for the article to load. You certainly wouldn’t want to either.

According to statistics people were willing to wait up to 8 seconds for the page to load in 1999. Today, a quarter of visitors leave the site if it doesn’t load within 4 seconds. Just a 2-second load can increase cart departures by up to 87%. As many as 74% of people leave on mobile phones if the page does not load within 5 seconds.

So no matter what the purpose of the site, page load speed is key in any case. A slow site means fewer visits, fewer conversions, fewer purchases, and less satisfaction.

How do you test page speed?

There are some great tools to measure your loading speed. I recommend GTmetrix or Webpagetest. And third, it’s best to unload your loading manually. Just pick up the stopwatch on your mobile and measure the time.

Page Speed Insights is also a useful tool from Google. While it won’t show you the page load speed, it will reveal some of the shortcomings discussed in this article.

I recommend the Testmysite tool for loading speed on mobile phones .

How long should the page load for you?

The ideal time is 2 seconds or less. At least these are the expectations of internet users and the recommendation from Google. Of course, it will not always be possible to achieve such a time. 3 seconds is also good. Either way, you should get as close as possible to those 2 seconds and reduce the loading time as soon as you can. No one will complain that your site loads too fast.

4 factors affecting the speed of a WordPress page

  • Internet connection speed – you will not affect the visitor
  • Internet browser – you will not affect the visitor
  • Web hosting
  • WordPress šablóna and settings

Let’s take a closer look at them.

Internet connection speed

Of course, the slower the internet, the slower the web page will load.

Given that the Internet is no longer connected via telephone as it used to be, and both ISPs and mobile operators provide high-speed connections today, you don’t have to take this factor into account.

Either way, it’s not within your power to affect the speed of the internet connection of the people who come to your site.

Internet browser

Another factor is the internet browser itself. In the past, the differences were quite significant, but today these differences are smaller. The fastest browsers are clearly Google Chrome and Firefox .

Unfortunately, you have no way to influence which browser people use or whether they use an older outdated and potentially slower version because the older browser may not be able to load some parts of the site or code.

Web hosting and its impact on page load speed

When you want to find a web page through a browser, you are basically giving a command to a remote computer (the server where the web page is located) to access and view the files for that page. Of course, the more powerful the server, the faster the page will load.

Server performance is affected by:

  • Dedicated resources – each server has a certain performance (RAM – memory; CPU – processors). In the case of shared hosting, the performance of the server is “shared” by several websites. In the case of a Virtual Server (VPS), you can now configure the server resources according to your needs.
  • Fast hardware – data is read from newer SSDs much faster than from classic HDDs.
  • Link – You need access to databases and other resources to load a WordPress page. Ideally, these resources should be on a single server for faster connection and communication between them. If they are distributed across multiple servers, loading may be slower if it is not set up well.

What to look out for when hosting

Of course, almost every hosting provider will tell you that its solution is super fast because it has SSDs, or its shared hosting is optimized (whatever that means).

But a server designed for shared hosting, with optimal operation and under ideal conditions, can handle several hundred common websites. If there are already 1000 or more of them, the server may use “neighboring” sites and thus slow you down.

Another example: for one strong player who is proud of fast hosting not only for WordPress sites, I have two WordPress sites. One has a server response speed of 0.53 seconds according to Pagespeed Insights, which could be faster, but you can say it’s okay. But the other site had a server response of 2 seconds. Just to explain, server response does not mean loading the whole page, only the time since the server started sending page files. It wasn’t until I made a few changes to the settings that I was able to reduce the total load time to 1.6 seconds.

What does it mean? Do they have poor quality hosting? Definitely not. I’m happy, but it taught me not to believe in fast hosting claims. Simply, until you test it, you won’t make any adjustments to your WordPress settings that we’ll talk about in a moment, the web won’t run faster. The hosting company will not make those changes for you, even those modifications are not always a 100 percent guarantee of a fast website on a given hosting.

The same site with the same settings can run faster somewhere, a little slower somewhere. Therefore, until you run the site live, you are not really sure.

Editor’s tip: we recommend using WY or WebSupport hosting.

How to speed up WordPress loading

Regular updates

I do not mean only the updates of WordPress as such, but also the technological background of hosting. Most should be done by your hosting provider, but you can often set up some things yourself in your hosting’s administration interface. One of them should be an update to PHP 7 , if you haven’t already.

If you don’t know, PHP is a scripting language for creating dynamic and interactive websites. And yes, WordPress is also built on it.

And why should you at least upgrade your PHP to version 7? Because you may notice a significant acceleration of your site. You will find several speed comparisons with the older version here , here and here .

However, make sure that your šablóna are fully compatible with the new version of PHP, otherwise you may have a problem displaying some elements on the site, or the entire site.

Choose WordPress šablón optimized for speed

Choosing a WordPress šablóny is one of the 3 steps in creating a WordPress site .

But in general, the more code there is on a page, the longer the page will load. The same is true for incorrectly coded šablóna ch.

You also have a lot of options for choosing šablón on the official WordPress website. Because they are free, they do not need to be regularly updated or properly coded. This solution is best if you are just getting started with websites or blogging. However, to be more certain, it is better to invest in a paid šablóny .

Personally, I have experience with Divi (I managed to reduce the loading speed to the mentioned 1.6 seconds from the original 4 seconds) and OptimizePress , which are well programmed, regularly updated and quite fast.

You can certainly find others this way, but make sure that the programmers also thought about speed – not only on desktops but also on mobile devices.

Remove unnecessary tracking codes

As you’ve read in the paragraph above, the more code you have on your page, the slower it will load. Various marketing tracking codes such as Facebook pixel, web behavior tracking tools such as Hotjar, Smartlook and so on can also cause a problem in this regard.

If you do not use them, remove them completely or try to implement them into the site through Google Tag Manager, through which you can manage various codes without having to embed them on the web. This will replace multiple codes for one.

Use WordPress plugins wisely

WordPress plugins are a useful thing. If you want some functionality that you are missing on the site, easily you will find the necessary plugin , whether free or paid.

But the more you have on your site, the slower it can load. In addition, if poorly programmed, the web page may slow down even more. So the basic rule is the fewer plugins, the better .

Clean up your database

Your site’s database may gradually become full of unnecessary data. Therefore, it is useful to clean the database from time to time, for example, from page revisions that you do not need. For example, a plugin will help you clean up WP-Optimize or WP-Sweep. You can also set the maximum number of revisions manually via wp-config.php .

Remove elements that take a long time to load

Popular elements on the site include sliders. They are nice, but completely useless for most sites, they make conversions worse , people don’t like them, and if they do, in most cases only on the first slide.

Worst of all – they slow down your page. Many silders load in up to 2 seconds.

Slider loading speed on the page

Source: https://soliloquywp.com/wordpress-slider-slow-to-load-heres-why-and-how-to-fix-it/

When you consider that, ideally, your entire page should load in 2 seconds and you only load a slider during that time, that’s a pretty lousy performance. Therefore, the best thing to do is to replace the slider with a faster element that fulfills the same purpose. Or if you insist on it, find one that loads faster.

Reduce the number of requests to the server

By searching the domain of the page in the browser or by clicking on the link to the page, send the request to the server where the page is located. But this requirement is not really one. There are several – from files, to various scripts.

As you can already guess, the more requests, the slower the loading. So what can you do to reduce their number?

  • Show only the first few sentences when clicking on articles
  • Divide the article into several pages ( how-to instructions )
  • Reduce the number of articles displayed on the page, such as 5
  • Disable plugins you don’t need
  • Reduce the number of images / videos on the page
  • Use the so-called lazy loading, which means that elements such as images or videos are loaded only when the user scrolls on the page to the element, using this or this plugin.

Optimize (compress) images

Images take up a lot more space than regular text code. Therefore, it is important to have images that take up as little data as possible while maintaining their quality.

You can reduce their size before uploading to WordPress via Tinypng.com. An even faster solution is the plugin WP Smush or EWWW Image Optimization , which can automatically shrink images when they are uploaded to WordPress.

Embed videos

WordPress can easily play the videos you upload to it, but it’s much better to upload the video to YouTube, for example, and embed it on your site via the embed function. Why? Because Video files tend to be larger and loading them from the server would also slow down the page loading.

Take advantage of caching

A cache is a fast cache that is used to temporarily store files or data so that future requests for that data are realized more quickly.

To make complications simple, you just need to use caching plugins like WP Rocket , WP Super Cache or W3 Total Cache (I recommend).

With W3 Total Cache and compression of 3 images, I managed to reduce the loading speed from the original 4 seconds to 1.6 seconds on one of my websites.

Page load speed after editing

Disable hotlinking

There are two basic ways to display rich media content, such as images or videos, on your site. You can either upload them directly to your WordPress or link to them via a url to send a download request from another server.

So if you upload an image directly to your WordPress hosting, your html code will look something like this:

<img src = “nazovobrazka.jpg”>

If you were viewing an image from another site, the html code would look like this:

<img src = “https: //domena.koncovka/nazovcudziehoobrazka.jpg”>

If you view media files from other sites in this way, this is not a problem unless they are copyrighted. However, if other sites displayed your files this way, it could be a problem because other sites would send you requests to your server. In other words, they would burden him and therefore slow him down.

This is important to keep in mind for larger portals / websites that work with a lot of images or videos. You can disable hotlinking by adding the following code to your .htaccess file:

RewriteEngine on

RewriteCond%{HTTP_REFERER} ! ^ $

RewriteCond%{HTTP_REFERER} ! ^ http (s): // (www \.) vasadomena.koncovka /.*$ [NC]

RewriteRule \. (Gif | jpg | jpeg | bmp | zip | rar | mp3 | flv | swf | xml | php | png | css | pdf) $ – [F]

Just enter your domain on the penultimate line, and on the last line you can also choose the type of files for which you want to disable hotlinking.

Code minification, Gzip compression

If you look at the source code of a WordPress site (by pressing ctrl + uv in Chrome), you’ll see a large bunch of html, css, or javascript codes.

Minify / Gzip compression means that what you see may be smaller and therefore take up less space. In other words, it reflects your page faster to load.

It works on a simple principle. Imagine that the code on the page is AA BBB CCC DDDDD. In simple terms, it could also be 2A 3B 3C 5D. The original fourteen characters can thus be minified to eight.

This way, you can take the code of your site and reduce it by tens of percent on a similar principle.

How to do it? This can be done using the above-mentioned plugins WP Rocket , WP Super Cache, W3 Total Cache, then the plugin Autooptimize or at best, code minification and Gzip compression is included with your WordPress šablóny .

When choosing a programmer, make sure he knows best practices

If you would like to have WordPress šablón programmed according to your specific requirements, make sure that the above-mentioned recommendations are not familiar to the programmer and are well-versed in them. Having a nice website with the wrong code would be no win for you.

It should also be able to minimize all PHP requests and database accesses.

In practice, unnecessary PHP requirements would look like this:

<title><php bloginfo (‘name’); ?> <? php bloginfo (‘description’);></ title>

<link rel = “shorcut icon” type = “image / x-ico” href = “& lt? php bloginfo (‘template_url’); ?>/favicon.jpg “/>

<link rel = “stylesheet” type = “text / css” media = “screen” href = “<php bloginfo (‘stylesheet_url’); ?>“/>

<link rel = “stylesheet” type = “text / css” media = “print” href = “<php bloginfo (‘template_url’); ?>/print.css “/>

<link rel = “alternate” type = “application / rss + xml” title = “RSS .92” href = “<php bloginfo (‘rss_url’); ?>“/>

Instead, they should be converted to regular text html entries, which might look something like this:

<title> The name of your WordPress site< / title>

<link rel = “shorcut icon” type = “image / x-ico” href = “http://nazovvasejdomeny.sk/wp-content/themes/sablona/favicon.jpg” />

<link rel = “stylesheet” type = “text / css” media = “screen” href = “http://nazovvasejdomeny.sk/wp-content/themes/sablona/style.css” />

<link rel = “stylesheet” type = “text / css” media = “print” href = “http://nazovvasejdomeny.sk/wp-content/themes/sablona/print.css” />

<link rel = “alternate” type = “application / rss + xml” title = “RSS .92” href = “nazovvasejdomeny.sk/feed/rss/” />

A word at the end

If you’ve read this far, congratulations, because there was so much. But now you are much better prepared to speed up page loading than most people who have a WordPress site.

Of course, you do not have to use all the procedures that have been mentioned here. Start with what you can. Be sure not to overlook image optimization, as you can most often save a lot of space there.

Alternatively, if you know of other ways to speed up page loading, share them in the comments.

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