How to speed up your WordPress website
We take our time to create a beautiful website and when its all finished, we share it with our social media, friends, and colleagues, and then we submit it to our webmasters tools and hope for the best. The issue a lot of WordPress users have is that their website loads slow and is getting a bad result in GTmetric, Google Development Tools, and Pingdom tools. The site takes forever to load and there are so many issues and suggestions to improve the site by the three main testers mentioned above.
Please also remember that if your website loads slow, Google and the rest of the search engines could rank your site bad because they try to bring the best search results to users and this includes sites that load fast and are not slow. So, it could also hurt your website with the search engines if your site is running very slow. Website performance will also influence your rankings in search engines. In addition to being ranked higher, many website owners report seeing an increase in search engine spider crawling after speeding up their design.
The time it takes your website to load influences how successful it will be. If your website is slow, visitors will turn away and not engage in your website. They might even click the back button before your website loads.
Here are some things I will cover in this article.
- Add code to the .htaccess file to enable gzip compression & leverage browsing.
- Use testing tools to see what needs to be done and to get optimized images to replace with. Lower page weight, use optimized images.
- Proper Responsive Theme – Layout for Mobile results.
- Use a good website hosting provider.
- Use an effective Cache Plugin.
You can add a caching plugin to your WordPress installation, but I find that if you add some code to your .htaccess file and clean up your images, this will increase your score on the testing sites.
Find your .htaccess file in the root of your domain. This file is a hidden file but should show up in FTP clients like FileZilla or CORE. You can edit the .htaccess file with notepad or any form of basic text editor.
In this file we will set our caching parameters to tell the browser what types of files to cache.
## EXPIRES CACHING ##
ExpiresByType image/jpg “access plus 1 year”
ExpiresByType image/jpeg “access plus 1 year”
ExpiresByType image/gif “access plus 1 year”
ExpiresByType image/png “access plus 1 year”
ExpiresByType text/css “access plus 1 month”
ExpiresByType application/pdf “access plus 1 month”
ExpiresByType application/x-shockwave-flash “access plus 1 month”
ExpiresByType image/x-icon “access plus 1 year”
ExpiresDefault “access plus 2 days”
## EXPIRES CACHING ##
There are different methods of setting up gzip compression depending on whether or not you’ve got an IIS or Apache server (or something else entirely).
ENABLE GZIP COMPRESSION
You will need to add the following lines to your .htaccess file:
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/rss+xml
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/vnd.ms-fontobject
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/x-font
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/x-font-opentype
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/x-font-otf
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/x-font-truetype
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/x-font-ttf
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/xhtml+xml
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/xml
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE font/opentype
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE font/otf
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE font/ttf
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE image/svg+xml
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE image/x-icon
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE text/css
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE text/html
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE text/plain
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE text/xml
# Remove browser bugs (only needed for really old browsers)
BrowserMatch ^Mozilla/4 gzip-only-text/html
BrowserMatch ^Mozilla/4\.0 no-gzip
BrowserMatch \bMSIE !no-gzip !gzip-only-text/html
Header append Vary User-Agent
Use GTmetric as a way to obtain optimized versions of your images. Have your web page scanned, then go to the Optimized Image suggestion, click on show optimized image version, download this, and replace it with the one you have on your server. keep the same name and just replace old one and make sure you press click to replace. Do this for all your images that are 250 Mb’s or more. This will dramatically improve your score for all three testing sites and improve your speed and website results. ALSO – Make sure your images on your website have dimensions showing in the img tags.
If you are uploading a lot of images, use the simple paint editor which comes with your computer. Right click any image, open with paint, then set the image size uses the pixel settings. Try to keep the image smaller than 800 PX wide and 800 PX height.
A good plugin to optimize images that have already been uploaded is WP Smush.it. It utilizes the Smush.it API to optimize JPEG images, strip meta data from JPEGs and convert GIF images to PNG. You should however be aware that the plugin uses up a lot of resources when it is converting images, therefore your website may be slow whilst it is running.
If you do not want to sacrifice image quality, check out Lazy Load. The plugin ensures that images are only loaded when the area becomes visible to the user. This will greatly reduce page loading times.
Your mobile version needs to be clean, easy to navigate, and fully responsive for images and text. Consider having a separate version just for mobile so its very responsive and easy to find things and navigate through. You will get a bad score if your mobile version’s images are not optimized, if the navigation is bad, and if the elements are not in mobile version. For an example of a nice layout, visit – https://360webfirm.ca and shrink your window down and watch how the elements shrink. Check out the blog also and do testing on this domain on the testing sites.
Another way to check your website for loading fast in mobile version is using Google. This will give you a look at your website in normal and mobile mode and give you a rating and what needs to be fixed for speed. Click Here – Google Mobile Test.
USE A GOOD WEBSITE HOSTING PROVIDER
This is a must if you wish to have your website load at a decent speed. I would highly suggest using a VPS ( Virtual Private Server ) or a Dedicated server. These might be more money than a shared hosting environment, but they are well worth the money because if your website loads slow, it wont matter because no one will continue to visit your website and your site could be ranked badly with the search engines if it load very slow.
You can rent very cheap hosting accounts for little money and most likely they are shared hosting. Shared hosting is Web hosting in which the Hosting provider serves pages for multiple Web sites, each having its own Internet domain name, from a single Web server. Most of the time, you are on the same IP as several other websites and using the same resources. If one website uses more than the others, they will make your site load slow. Most Web hosting companies provide shared hosting. Although shared hosting is a less expensive way for businesses to create a Web presence, it is usually not sufficient for Web sites with high traffic. These sites need a VPS Web server or a dedicated Web server, either provided by a Web hosting service or maintained in-house.
360 Web Firm offers VPS hosting accounts using C Panel. Please contact us if you are interested.
USE A CACHE PLUGIN
Caching plugins allow you to publish static HTML files instead of dynamic files. This greatly reduces the time a page takes to load as there are no PHP or MySQL commands to execute.
Additional caching features include minification, caching of feeds, Gzipping, Content Delivery Network (CDN) support, and much more.
Caching your pages is one of the most effective ways of improving your page loading times, with many plugins promising an improvement of at least ten times. Popular caching plugins include WP Super Cache, W3 Total Cache and WP Fastest Cache. All three plugins are available free.
***PLEASE NOTE that using these suggestions is at your own discretion/risk and 360 WEB FIRM is not responsible if you mess up your website, files, database, or if there is any issues with your site in General because of these tips. I am using these on my websites without having any issues. However, You should always have a backup of your website and database in case anything happens to your sites. Take your backup BEFORE doing any changes. This is a really good habit to have.