Way back about 11 years ago, Amazon told us that for every 100 milliseconds they speed up their website, they see a 1% increase in revenue. As we all know, Google has said that page speed is a consideration in how they rank search results. So knowing how to reduce page load time for WordPress because essential.
#1 Use a Content Delivery Network (CDN)
One of the best ways to speed up your site is hosting your media files on a content delivery network. Often this can save up to 60% bandwidth and cut the number of requests your website makes in half.
How does a CDN work?
CDN’s host your files across a large network of servers all around the World. So, if someone from Russia visits your site, they are going to download the files from the server that is closest to them. Since the bandwidth is spread across so many different servers, it will reduce the load on any single server and also protects your sites from DDoS attacks and traffic spikes.
There are plenty to choose from such as, MaxCDN, Cloudwatch and Cloudflare. Out of any of the ones we have tested, Cloudflare is by far my favorite. It is even FREE to get started with it. The free version really helps smaller websites get their foot in the door!
#2 Use WP Engine
I have tested a few different web hosts that offer WordPress managed hosting. Many are…good. But WP Engine just destroys them in response time. I have seen response time from 600ms – 1300ms on the others, but with WP Engine the response time was UNDER 300ms. Don’t get me wrong, just starting out you might now have a ton of money to put into hosting your website each month, but this really is worth it. They start at $29/month but these guys seriously justify the price you pay. If you sign up with WP Engine before October 31st, use this link and coupon code below to get 4 FREE months! So if you are still using a mediocre or low quality web hosting company, stop reading and get started by clicking the link below.
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Ends: Tuesday, October 31, 2017 so HURRY!
If you are worried about changing hosts, it is really simple and WP Engine walks you right through it and most of it is automatic to bring your current WordPress site onto the WP Engine platform.
#3 Compress Your Images
So you’re using WordPress hosted with WP Engine and you are totally on the right track! Now you will want to install the WP Smush.it plugin to automatically compress your images. With this plugin you will reduce the size of your images without losing any visual quality. It’s awesome because it works in the background every time you upload a new image. You can also scan all your current images and compress them.
#4 Clean Up Your Database
Using WordPress, your database can get very messy pretty quickly due to saved drafts, post revisions, deactivated plugins etc. WP Optimize is a pretty awesome plugin that routinely deletes all the unwanted junk you don’t need.
I ran this on two of my larger websites and reduced the size significantly which helped speed up the time it takes for the browser to collect and return files from the database.
#5 Keep WordPress Up-To-Date
You should always keep your website updated, so that means running the latest version of WordPress as well as downloading and installing updates for your themes and plugins.
I mention this more on the basis that if you keep up with the updates needed, this will address potential vulnerabilities and keep malicious software out. And that is what could really slow you down!
#6 Turn Off Trackbacks and Pingbacks
Trackbacks and pingbacks are used to alert other blogs when you are linking to them or someone else is linking to your content.
Sure, it might be a nice thing to have, it really isn’t necessary. I don’t know anyone who displays these on their site anymore.
To save some resources during page load, you can turn tracking off for your entire site under Settings > Discussion in the WordPress backend.
# 7 Remove Unused Plugins
Before choosing a plugin to run on your website do a little research. Your choice in plugins will be a reason behind a lot of WordPress Problems. Plugins are written by different developers with different skill sets. Just as a general guide, keep your site under 20 plugins, less is best. Other than that, remove any plugins you don’t need. If you have inactive ones, remove them.
#8 Embeds & External Requests
External requests often slow down your site. They add to the total number of requests, are not cached, and the external servers are often slow to respond.
Always use images hosted on your own domain.
If you are using multiple analytics services, use Segment.io to combine them into a single request.
If you are displaying share counts on posts, remove the buttons that your audience doesn’t use. You can also use a plugin like Social Warfare or Monarch to cache the social share counts.
For other embeds and external requests, use only what you need.
#10 Remove Query Strings from Static Resources
If you don’t know what query strings are, they are parameters added with a question mark to the end of a file URL, such as style.css?ver=1.1. These are typically not cached by browsers, but resources without query strings might be cached. Removing all query strings can cause some of your changes to not be reflected on the site for a while. For example if you have a page builder plugin, some design changes may be cahced, resulting in rendering problems. You may want to exclude certain query strings from being cut.
To remove query strings, you can add this code to your them’s functions.php. you can exclude certain strings from being cut. In the $exceptions array, change the values to the ones relevant to your websites.
Mobile Internet usage, that’s why. It’s expected to take over desktop usage in just 12 months so it’s never been more important to fix your site speed. Internet users are less tolerant of slow websites more and more and the shift towards Internet enabled mobile devices means that if you’re not fast, you’re not going to be seen.
Implementing even some of the above techniques can shave a really nice chunk of time of your load time. You don’t need to do every little thing, concentrate on what is possible and within your means and knowledge.