WordPress Speed Optimization to make your website faster and reduce bounce rate and stop Google penalizing you for being slow

WordPress Speed Optimization: How and Why

WordPress Speed Optimization: How and Why

Picture of Elizabeth
Expert digital strategist
Picture of Elizabeth
Expert digital strategist

In this blog post, we will be discussing about the WordPress speed optimization process regarding simple and effective ways to speed up your WordPress website. From optimizing images to using caching plugins, we will provide you with speed improvement suggestions and practical tips to improve your website’s loading time and enhance user experience. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced WordPress user, these tips will help you optimize your website’s performance and keep your visitors engaged.

Importance of website speed optimization

Website speed optimization is an essential part of running a successful website. It can have a huge impact on user experience, search engine rankings, and overall website performance. In this article, we will explore the importance of website speed optimization and how it can help you achieve your goals.

Some of the techniques described in this article are quite technical and demand an understanding of the WordPress system, your hosting environment, your database structure and more. If you need help optimizing your WordPress performance, feel free to contact us for a free audit.

Your site speed is also a ranking factor as stated by Google, which means that faster websites have a chance to rank higher than slower websites. Google created the Google pagespeed insights as a tool to measure your website speed and improve it in order to pass their tests.

Why you need a fast website

Website speed is an important factor to consider when optimizing your website for user experience, search engine rankings, and website conversion rate. A slow loading website can lead to a poor user experience, as visitors may become frustrated and leave the website before they have a chance to explore it. Additionally, search engines may rank websites with slower loading speeds lower than those with faster loading speeds, meaning that your website may not show up at the top of search engine results. Finally, websites with loading speeds of 1-2 seconds see conversion rates nearly three times higher than those that load in 5 seconds or more. This means that if your website is slow to load, you may be missing out on potential customers who may not even find you in the first place.

To ensure your site is performing optimally, you should take steps to reduce page loading time. A WordPress website speed optimization can include server tweaks, compressing images, HTML minification, CSS minification, JS minification and async loading JavaScript, Gzip compression and leveraging browser caching and more. Additionally, you should consider using a content delivery network (CDN) to ensure your content is delivered quickly to users all over the world. By taking these steps, you can ensure your site is fast enough to rank well in mobile searches.

How to test and measure website speed

Testing and measuring website speed is an essential part of website optimization and maintenance. This article will provide an overview of the different methods and tools available to make wordpress faster, to test and measure website speed, as well as the benefits of doing so. By the end of this article, you will have a better understanding of how to test and measure website speed and perform your own WordPress performance optimization in detail.

Run speed tests

To get a better understanding of how your site is performing, it’s important to measure page speed across different devices, browsers, and operating systems. This will give you a more accurate picture of how your site is loading for different audiences. Additionally, you should also be testing page speed for any pages that are particularly important for your business, such as product pages or checkout pages. By doing this, you can ensure that your site is optimized for the best possible performance.

Some of the popular websites to perform a site speed audit are the following:

In order to have more accurate results, you will need to test your website on all of these websites as they show results about various aspects of your website, on which you will eventually need to work.

The ultimate guide of WordPress Speed Optimization: Speed optimization techniques to speed up your WordPress website for maximum performance

Use premium DNS

Behind the scenes, the computer language version of the website is actually a numerical IP address, such as 123.456.789.111. Premium DNS services act as a bridge between the two, allowing the numerical IP address to be associated with the domain name, so that when you type in google.com, the computer knows to take you to the numerical IP address. This is why premium DNS services are so important for website owners, as they provide a very fast, reliable and secure connection between the domain name and the numerical IP address.

Optimize your WordPress database

WordPress database optimization is an important step to take when attempting to improve website speed performance. It involves the process of analyzing and restructuring the database to make it more efficient. This can help to reduce the size of the database, delete redundant data, and optimize the database tables. Additionally, it can help to schedule regular optimization tasks to ensure that the database remains optimized.

Upgrade to the InnoDB MySQL storage engine

MyISAM database tables are the default storage engine for MySQL databases. They are typically used for read-heavy applications, as they offer faster read performance than InnoDB. However, MyISAM tables are not as reliable as InnoDB tables, as they are not transactional and can be prone to data corruption. If you have been using MyISAM tables for a while and have not experienced any issues, then it’s probably time to move them to InnoDB.

InnoDB tables offer more reliable data storage, as well as better performance for write-heavy applications. Also, InnoDB tables are more compatible with newer versions of MySQL, so it’s important to make sure your tables are up to date.

Organize your cron jobs

The system cron, compared to the WP-Cron, is a more reliable solution as it is not dependent on a web request to trigger it. It is a service that runs in the background and can be configured to run at regular intervals. This ensures that the cron job is always running and is not affected by the number of PHP workers available.

Additionally, it is more secure as it does not rely on a web request to trigger it, reducing the risk of malicious requests. It is advised to disable WP Cron and create a real cron job to run at specific time intervals.

Adjust the WordPress heartbeat

Adjusting the WordPress heartbeat API calls is an important step in optimizing the performance of a WordPress website. It helps to reduce the amount of server resources used, as well as improve the overall user experience. To restrict WordPress heartbeat, you’ll need to add a few lines of code to your site’s functions.php file. This code will tell WordPress how often to check for changes and updates.

You can also disable the heartbeat completely. This is not recommended however, as it can cause issues with certain features such as post locking, revision tracking, and auto-saving.

Changing WordPress and PHP memory limits in wp-config.php

WordPress and PHP memory limits can be changed in a file called wp-config.php. This helps your website run more smoothly as some applications demand more memory than the default setting. To increase the memory limit, you’ll need to add the following line of code to wp-config.php: define(‘WP_MEMORY_LIMIT’, ‘512M’); This will increase the memory limit to 512MB. This is a basic minimum standard for most websites using page builders. You will need to adjust this limit according to your website’s needs. 

It is also important to note that increasing the memory limit too high can cause problems with your website. If you experience any issues, it may be necessary to reduce the memory limit to a lower setting.

Finally, if you are running a large website with a lot of plugins and users, it may be necessary to increase the memory limit even further. Doing so will require you to make additional changes to the wp-config.php file.

Host your website on a faster web hosting server

Web hosting is an essential factor in site speed, as it determines the resources available to your website and how quickly they can be accessed. When selecting a hosting provider, it is important to consider factors such as the type of server, the amount of dedicated resources you will have access to, the stability, the scalable resources available in sessions of traffic spikes, the security, and the level of technical support offered. Also, it is important to ensure that the web host has a good reputation for reliability and uptime.

By taking these factors into account, you can ensure that your website is hosted on a fast and reliable hosting provider, which will help to improve the speed of your website.

Use the latest PHP version

Updating your version of PHP is important for the security and performance of your website. PHP 8 is the latest major version and offers improved security, faster loading times, and better memory management. It also supports newer features such as anonymous classes, which can help you write cleaner code. If you’re not sure how to update your version of PHP, your hosting site’s documentation or support team can provide more information.

Use a query monitor plugin

Query Monitor (free WP plugin) provides an in-depth analysis of the page loading process, including the time taken for each hook to fire, the number of database queries executed, and the memory usage of each query. It also allows you to identify slow performing plugins and themes, and provides a detailed breakdown of the WordPress environment, including server information, PHP version, and active plugins. With Query Monitor, you can quickly identify and troubleshoot any issues that may be slowing down your website and replace bloated plugins and remove performance bottlenecks.

Use a lightweight and fast WordPress theme

Your WordPress theme is the backbone of your website. To make matters worse, many WordPress themes are bloated with features that you don’t need, making them even heavier and more resource-intensive. Additionally, some themes are not optimized for mobile devices, which can further slow down your website. Therefore, it’s important to choose a lightweight theme that is optimized for speed and performance, and to avoid themes that are overly complex and feature-heavy. 

When selecting a WordPress theme, it is important to consider the features that are included. Look for themes that have only the features that you need, as this will help to keep the theme lightweight and fast. On top of that, make sure that the theme is optimized for mobile devices, as this will ensure that your website is loading quickly and efficiently on all devices. By choosing a lightweight and fast WordPress theme, you can ensure that your website is running smoothly and efficiently.

Only install high-quality plugins

Make sure the plugins you do keep around are high-quality and up-to-date. Look for plugins that are coded efficiently and don’t use more server resources than necessary. Also, they should be light on code and not take up too much storage space on your server. This way, you can ensure that your plugins are compatible with the latest WordPress core updates.

It’s also important to check the reviews of any plugins you’re considering. Look for plugins that have been well-received by users, and have a good rating.

Don’t host large videos on your server

Using a third-party video hosting service can save you time and energy when it comes to managing your video library. Not only will you not have to worry about storage, but you can also easily embed the video into your page with the provided embed code. This makes it faster and easier for visitors to access the video, and they won’t even notice the difference. Furthermore, it can improve the user experience since you don’t have to worry about managing the videos yourself.

Optimize images

Optimizing images can be an effective way to improve the performance of your website and make it more user-friendly. It can help reduce the loading time of your pages, reduce bandwidth usage, improve the quality of your visuals, and make your content more accessible to a wider audience.

You should crop your images to the exact size you will use them in the page and then compress them before uploading them. You should also convert your jpg and png images to .webp as it’s a newer format which are smaller in size. WebP images also offer support for transparency, which can be helpful for certain types of images. WebP images are supported by all modern browsers, including Chrome, Firefox, Edge, and Safari. It’s advisable to keep the original format images in the library as backup in case a user’s device doesn’t offer support for .webp images.

Implement lazyload

Lazy loading images and embeds is a great way to improve the performance of a website. When implemented correctly, it can significantly reduce the page load time for users, resulting in a better user experience. This is especially important for mobile users, as they often have slower connection speeds than desktop users. Furthermore, lazy loading images can reduce the amount of bandwidth used and costs associated with hosting the website. Finally, it can also help with SEO, as search engines can index the content faster.

Delete unused files from the media library

To manually remove unused media files, simply go to Add Media -> Media Library -> Unattached and then delete those files no longer in use. You can also use the Bulk Select option to quickly delete multiple files at once. Be sure to double-check that the files you are deleting are no longer in use, as deleting them will remove them from your WordPress media library permanently. 

On the other hand, you can also delete unused images in bulk by using a plugin which will go through your media files library and locate the unattached images. Using a plugin to delete unused images in bulk is a great way to save time and effort. It can help to ensure that all images are properly removed from the media library, as it can be difficult to keep track of all the images that have been uploaded. 

Reduce post revisions

Disabling post revisions can be especially helpful for websites with a large number of posts, as the amount of space taken up by post revisions can add up quickly. Additionally, if you are running a website with multiple authors, disabling post revisions can help streamline the editing process and reduce the amount of time spent on post revisions. Ultimately, disabling post revisions can help you keep your website running smoothly and efficiently.

By setting the value to 0 or false, you can completely disable post revisions. This is useful if you don’t need to keep track of changes made to posts and don’t want to store multiple versions of the same post. It can also help reduce the size of your database, as post revisions can take up a significant amount of space. 

Use a caching mechanism

Caching is an effective way to improve the performance of a website, as it reduces the load on the server by storing a copy of the page and serving it to the user more quickly. It is important to ensure that the caching is configured correctly, as incorrect settings can lead to problems mostly on dynamic sites. Caching plugins are widely used and offer a range of features to help improve performance. They are easy to install and configure, making them a great choice for most users. Additionally, they provide detailed reports to help monitor and analyze caching performance. 

However, it is important to remember that they can be resource-intensive. To ensure optimal performance, it is recommended to use a caching plugin that is specifically designed for the platform being used. You should regularly check the caching performance reports to ensure that the caching is working as expected. By doing so, users can ensure that their website is running as efficiently as possible.

Minimize HTTP requests

One way to reduce the number of HTTP requests is to combine multiple files into one. This can be done by using a plugin to minify and combine multiple CSS and JavaScript files into a single file. Caching is another technique that can be used to reduce the number of requests. By caching static files, such as images, CSS, and JavaScript, the browser won’t need to make a request every time a user visits the website.

Finally, you can reduce the size of files that are requested. This can be done by compressing files or removing unnecessary characters from code. This will reduce the size of the files that need to be requested. 

Reduce CSS and JavaScript file sizes with asset trimming

Asset trimming is an effective way to reduce the size of CSS and JavaScript files, making them easier to manage and faster to load.  It is important to remember that asset trimming should be done carefully, as it can have unintended consequences. In particular, it is important to ensure that all code is tested thoroughly after trimming to ensure that all functionality still works as expected.

Additionally, asset trimming should be done in a way that is consistent with the coding style of the project, so that the code remains readable and maintainable. Finally, it is important to ensure that asset trimming is done regularly, as codebases tend to accumulate unnecessary code over time as you add more plugins or change the structure of the website.

Font delivery optimization

Font delivery optimization is a process of ensuring that fonts are delivered to a website quickly and efficiently. It is an important part of web performance optimization, as it can significantly reduce page load times and improve user experience. By self hosting and optimizing font delivery, websites can ensure that their content is delivered quickly and reliably, reducing the HTTP requests to third-parties, such as Google fonts.

Use Prefetch and Preconnect 

Prefetching and preconnecting are two powerful tools that can help improve the performance of a website. They are methods of optimizing the loading of resources, such as scripts and images, to reduce the time it takes for a page to load. If the website can preload critical assets, then it will serve the pages much faster since it will load and show these first and not have to create the whole page on first view.

For those browsers that don’t support preconnect, you can still easily implement it using a plugin. There are many plugins available for WordPress that allow you to add preconnect code and prefetch dns from the page to the header of your website. This can be done with minimal effort and no coding knowledge required. For example, prefetching the Google fonts, if you are using them, ensures that your webpage will not have layout shifts when it loads the content.

Turn off pingbacks and trackbacks

Pingbacks and trackbacks are especially useful for content creators who want to keep track of who is linking to their content. It also helps to ensure that content creators are given credit for their work, as they can be notified when someone links to their site. This is a great way to build relationships with other websites and increase your own website’s visibility. However, these connections slow down your website so if you don’t need this functionality, you can disable it.

Clean up transients

Using the function in WordPress 4.9 is a great way to ensure that expired transients are removed from your wp_options table. This is a much more efficient way to keep your site clean and running smoothly, as it eliminates the need to manually delete expired transients. Additionally, the function is designed to run automatically, so you don’t have to worry about remembering to do it yourself. 

This function is especially helpful for websites with a high volume of traffic, as it can help reduce the strain on the server by removing unnecessary data. Also, it can help improve the overall performance of your website by reducing the amount of time it takes for pages to load. 

Use Redis; a persistent object cache for WordPress

Redis can be used to store objects such as database query results, API calls, and other objects that are resource expensive to generate. This allows for the objects to be reused without having to query the database multiple times, resulting in a decrease in response time and an increase in scalability.

Server level caching with Redis (or memcache) can be especially beneficial for websites with dynamic content, such as WooCommerce, membership sites, forums, discussion boards, and blogs with active comment systems, as they may not be able to take full advantage of page caching.

Avoid redirects

Whenever possible, try to use direct links rather than redirects. Redirects can slow down page loading times and create a confusing user experience. If you do need to use redirects, be sure to keep them to a minimum and avoid creating multiple redirects that send visitors to other redirects. This can create a “redirect chain” that can be difficult to manage and can lead to broken links and other issues. It’s best to plan your site architecture early on to minimize the need for redirects.

Limit external scripts

Having too many external scripts on your website can lead to decreased performance and slower loading times. Writing efficient code is essential for creating a successful website. One of the most important aspects of this is limiting the number of external scripts that are loaded.

However, it’s important to be mindful of the number of external scripts you’re loading. Too many can slow down your website and create a poor user experience. Try to limit the number of external scripts you use and only include the ones you absolutely need. On top of that, look for ways to optimize the scripts you’re already using to ensure they’re loading as quickly as possible.

Add cache-control and expires headers

Adding cache-control and expires headers to your website is an important step in optimizing your website’s performance. It helps to reduce the amount of data that needs to be downloaded from the server, the second time someone visits your website, resulting in faster page loading times.

It’s important to remember that you cannot add HTTP cache headers on resources hosted on a third-party server. This means that if you’re getting a warning about needing to leverage browser caching on a third-party request, there is nothing you can do to fix it. Common examples of this include the Google Analytics script and marketing pixels from sites like Facebook and Twitter. To address this issue with the Google Analytics script, you can host it locally.

Disable hotlinking

Disable hotlinking is a useful technique that helps protect your website’s content from being used without your permission. It prevents other websites from directly linking to your images, videos, and other files, which can help reduce bandwidth costs and protect your content from being misused. By implementing this technique, you can ensure that your website’s content is used only with your consent.

Schedule tasks for low-traffic periods

Try to plan your background tasks before or after peak times, when the server is handling the most visitors. For example, if you know that your website typically experiences the most traffic on Monday mornings, try to schedule your background tasks for a different time, such as late Sunday night or early Tuesday morning.

You can do this by monitoring your traffic analytics to ensure that you’re scheduling tasks at the most optimal times. When the website is under heavy traffic and the server is struggling to keep up, you don’t want it to put extra load on it by running the daily backup or updating the plugins.

Use a content delivery network (CDN)

CDNs, or Content Delivery Networks, are an important tool for businesses and organizations looking to optimize their website performance. They provide a way to deliver content quickly and reliably to users around the world.  CDNs are especially important for websites that have a large amount of content, or those that receive a lot of traffic. They work by caching static content in data centers around the world and then delivering it to users from the closest data center. This helps to reduce latency and improve page load times. 

CDNs also offer other benefits, such as enhanced security and protection from malicious traffic. By using a CDN, businesses can reduce the risk of their website being targeted by malicious actors. Furthermore, CDNs can help to reduce the strain on a website’s server, which can improve overall performance.

Overall, CDNs are a great asset for businesses that are looking to improve their website performance and security. By utilizing a CDN, businesses can ensure that their website is fast, secure, and reliable.

Regularly checking your website speed

With the right strategies, you can make sure your website is running at its peak performance. There are many tools available to help you make the necessary changes to improve your website speed. Checking the website’s speed should be performed in every maintenance session as it’s a very important aspect of your website’s performance and ability to convert visitors to clients.

From optimizing images and compressing files to caching and minifying code, you can make sure your website is running as efficiently as possible. Additionally, you can use tools to monitor your website’s performance and make sure it is up to date with the latest standards. By taking the time to make sure your website is running smoothly, you can ensure that your customers have the best experience possible.

How to choose a WordPress Speed Optimization Agency in Cyprus?

Choosing the right WordPress Speed Optimization Agency in Cyprus can be a daunting task. With so many options available, it can be difficult to know which site speed services or agency is best suited to your needs. In this article, we provided you with the information you need to make an informed decision and select the perfect agency for your WordPress speed optimization needs.

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