Speed up WordPress
There is some secrets you need to know to speed up wordpress, and I’ll share what I did with IVYthemes in this article.
IVYthemes had a decent page load time, in most countries, but it wasn’t as snappy as I would like, and in some countries it was pretty slow, with a page load time of over 8 seconds for our homepage. This is actually pretty horrible, and there are studies done that states that anything above 3 seconds is unacceptable for most visitors, they give up and go away from your site. We of course want our visitors to stay as long as possible and have a great experience on our site, so getting the page load time down was a high priority for us. We managed to get below a 1 second load time on our homepage by doing the following tweaks:
So, how to speed up WordPress?
There are some options but first you should make sure your DNS is reliable. If your registrar don’t have stellar reputation for their DNS, then a service like Cloudflare would be a great option, they have a free account, which covers both great DNS, security and some speed optimizations as well, but we’ll get back to those later.
Improving your WordPress efficiency by even 10 percent won’t matter if your DNS is not reliable.
Next is a good web host. There’s lots of poor choices out there, with badly managed, oversold shared hosting accounts. I already had this covered by hosting the site at Liquidweb, which I have good experience with from before, after trying a lot of hosting companies over the years. Check them out by clicking here.
Then you need a clean, no bloat theme. Thrive themes is my personal choice for this site, but Genesis is a widely used theme framework which is also a great option.
The next area you should focus on, is unused and unneeded plugins. Keep only the plugins that you really need. And only the ones with with solid, proven code behind them that are actively supported. This prevents uneeded load requests and keeps your plugin list nice and tidy. (Yes, I’m a neat freak)
WordPress is reliable and stable, and it can handle 40 or more plugins if they are all the right ones. But it only takes one badly coded plugin to make your site slow or unstable, get it fixed now!
Image optimizing (automatically)
Yahoo! has a great image optimizer called Smush.it that will reduce the file size of an image drastically, while at the same time keeping the quality.
However, doing this one image at a time would be a pain in the ass, and take too much time. I’m a fan of automatization so using the free plugin WP-SmushIt was perfect for saving a lot of time! It does slow down uploading images a bit, but it’s still well worth it.
WordPress origin caching can be done with several plugins, but the two plugins that is most recommended is WP Super cache and W3 Total Cache. WP Super cache is the easiest to use of those, and speeds up your website immensly, but W3 Total Cache is more advanced and has more possibilities, but keep in mind that many features are limited due to your server configuration and you need to sign up to external CDN’s (Content Delivery Networks), like Amazon S3, Akamai etc.
Which of them you’ll use, depends on how much configuration you want to do, what your server supports etc. I’ve used both on this site and got great results with both, but I’ve landed on W3 Total cache as it was the fastest of the two, but you can’t go wrong with either one in that regard. However, if you prefer the easiest option, you should go with WP Super Cache.
I use and recommend Pingdom Tools to check my site load time. I recommend doing one before you start optimizing wordpress, so you see where your coming from, and of course several times during optimization, so you can get inspired by the ever faster wordpress load times.
I hope you are inspired to speed up wordpress by this article, we all want a faster web experience.