How to Speed up a WordPress Website
In this article we will show how to speed up a WordPress website quickly, easily and for free. That’s right, everything covered here will not cost you a penny and can help increase your WordPress websites loading speed, which in turn can help improve your organic search results.
If you are suffering from a slower WordPress site then there could be a number of reasons for this, including but not limited to:
- Page Size – If your pages contain lots of media such as images or videos, this can cause problems.
- Poorly Coded Plugins – Not every plugin is coded using WordPress best practice and these can slow down or even crash your whole website.
- External Scripts – Any scripts such as ads or media which your web page has to bring from an external source will cause speed issues on your website.
As you can see, you have to be careful when creating your WordPress website in order to balance the functionality you need with the speed your visitors expect. Luckily, there are some very simple things you can do to not only check your WordPress websites speed and configuration but also to massively improve things.
Learning about speed and configuration problems
Before you can try to fix any issues, you must first know what these are. Although the steps we will go through shortly are recommended for each and every install of WordPress, it is also a good idea to see where you are starting from and you will then be able to see the improvements in real time.
In order to learn more about the current state of your WordPress websites speed and configuration we recommend GTMetrix. GTMetrix is a free tool which not only provides you with information about your websites speed, but also provides you with a huge amount of information on which areas of your website configuration need to be worked on.
Simply visit GTMetrix and enter your website URL and click Test your site. You will then be presented with a score based on the configuration of your website.
Free ways to speed up a WordPress website
- Install a good caching plugin
Because WordPress pages are dynamic, they are built within the browser each time someone visits one of your pages. This process takes time due to the steps involved and can slow down a website.
This is why you should always use a good WordPress cache plugin. Caching your WordPress site can help increase page loading speeds by up to 5x.
We recommend LiteSpeed Cache – WordPress Plugin. We have tested quite a few of the free caching plugins available and this is by far the most powerful and also has a very extensive knowledgebase to help you set everything up perfectly.
- Enable GZIP Compression
Compression reduces the file size of your website content before it leaves the server which, in turn can help reduce page loading time and web page size. GZIP is the most popular compression method and can be enabled in 2 easy ways for WordPress websites.
Firstly, you can use a plugin such as Enable GZIP Compression or you can do this from the web server itself if you are using the cPanel control panel.
Simply login to your cPanel dashboard, scroll down to the Software section and click on the Optimize Website option. You will see 3 options under Compress Content. Choose the 2nd option “Compress All Content” and click on the Update Settings button.
Both of these options can help speed up a WordPress website with just a few clicks.
- Image Optimisation and Lazy Load
Images can be very important for a website, especially if you are running an ecommerce site then product images are one of the most important aspects of your whole website.
However, with all the positives there are with images, if they are not optimised, they could be slowing down your website and causing more problems than they may solve.
For image optimisation best practice we recommend you only use jpg or png images file types on your website. These are the most commonly used and are also better for optimisation and file size. Where possible we would recommend you use jpg as these are much smaller than png.
In order to help with your images we recommend using the Smush WordPress plugin which allows you to quickly optimise and compress your images to reduce file size and also set up lazy load which can also have a huge speed benefit for web pages using lots of images such as product listings or galleries.
- Use a Content Delivery Network
Another great way to speed up a WordPress website is to use a Content Delivery Network or CDN. A CDN can ensure a faster experience to your website visitors as they help to distribute resources such as bandwidth across multiple servers and not just the server your website is actually built on.
The free account from Cloudflare definitely gets our recommendation as the one to use and there is so much more you can do with their paid versions to help speed up your WordPress website even more.
There you have it, 4 simple and free ways to make a real difference to the loading speed and optimisation of your WordPress site.