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Is Your WordPress Site As Quick As It Could Be?

Posted 11th September, 2013 by Aliysa

When it comes to page load time, web users are unforgiving. Load speed is one of the very first factors noticed when visiting a website and first impressions are everything. If a page doesn’t load fast enough, someone may exit your site before they’ve even had a chance to peek at the design or even read the first line of copy. Google & co also take site speed into consideration when it comes to your sites search engine ranking.

There's a lot of small tweaks that you can make yourself to help improve your WordPress sites speed. I’ve gathered together the team's top tips to help you make your site that little bit faster:

1. Minimise image file size

Having unnecessarily large image file sizes can slow down your site and decrease usability. There are free online tools available to easily optimise your images, such as Ranking Easy Image Optimizer. Also, WordPress plugins like EWWW Image Optimiser can reduce file sizes without sacrificing quality.

2. Remove unused plugins

Keep the plugins you have installed to a minimum; plugins can really have a sluggish impact on the speed of a website. Uninstall any plugins that are deactivated and those which are seldom used. Furthermore, remember to actively update plugins when prompted to do so.

3. Update PHP version

Newer versions of PHP are quicker and this is particularly true when comparing versions 5.2 and 5.3. For Cloud users, PHP 5.3 is the default version selected, but if you’ve been hosting with us for a long time, you may still be using 5.2. We also now support PHP 5.4, which is known to have moderate speed improvements. On the Cloud control panel you can upgrade via the PHP version page under Advanced Management Tools.

4. Caching

There are various caching plugins available to WordPress users that can make a significant difference to website speed and performance. Caching plugins will generate static files of your posts and pages and then serve them to users, reducing the processing load on the hosting server and load times for users. WP Super Cache gives you all kinds of configuration options and can be quite advanced to use. Alternatively, if you require a super-fast site, with superior, server-level caching, upgrading your hosting to a VDS package provides significant performance gains. Obviously with the extra cost involved, this option is not suitable for everyone.

5. Optimise database

If your database is unorganised or clogged, page loads may slow as information takes longer to be located and displayed. Therefore, it’s advised to either optimise your database manually via phpMyAdmin (under MySQL Databases in the Cloud control panel) or to install a plugin that’ll do this for you. WP-DBManager is a good plugin for cleaning up and repairing your database, as is WP Database Optimizer which can be scheduled to run automatically.

6. Theme selection

For many WordPress users the snail pace speed they are experiencing is simply down to the theme installed. If possible, avoid over-the-top, fancy themes with loads of images or bulky lines of code - they may look pretty, but they will significantly slow your site down. It’s best to stick to simple themes created by reputed WordPress developers, who support and update themes accordingly. Add functionality to your site with plugins; a theme should style and display your content only.

7. Remove post revisions

Whenever you edit a post or page, WordPress creates and saves a revision. Whilst this can be handy for seeing the changes that you’ve made, it can really weigh down your database over time, slowing your site. The Better Delete Revision plugin removes redundant revisions. If you’ve never deleted page and post revisions this could make a significant difference.

The great thing about WordPress is that you don’t need super technical ability to optimise and improve your website. Give these suggestions a go and see the results for yourself - there are numerous tools available to test your sites speed, such as Pingdom Website Speed Test and Google’s PageSpeed Insights.

Do you have any other suggestions?

Categories: WordPress

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