How to Speed up a WordPress Site in 2023

Do you want to speed up a WordPress site? Fast-loading pages improve the user experience, boosts pageviews, and help your WordPress SEO.

However, creating a lightning-fast website is not a one-night task. To increase the speed of your WordPress site, you’ll need dedication, consistency, and a clear plan. That is why we will talk about how to speed up a WordPress site today.

We tried to cover everything you need to know about speed, including why speed is important, how to check site speed, and helpful tips you can do to speed up a WordPress site.

Why Should you Speed up WordPress?

There are various reasons to be concerned, some of which may be serious issues for you:

  • Search engines like Google rank websites with fast loading speeds higher than those with slow loading times. So, if you want to enhance your rank in the SERPs, one of your top goals should be to improve the performance of your WordPress site.
  • According to studies, site loading times of more than 2 seconds result in approximately 47 percent of users leaving the website. So, to keep around half of your visitors interested, you should speed up your WordPress.
  • Online consumers are the most impatient; they expect the website to load in less than a second. So, if you run an e-commerce store on WordPress, you should be ready to make major changes to make your business more profitable.

How to Check Your WordPress Website Speed?

Beginners sometimes think that their website is OK simply because it does not appear slow on their computer. That’s a big blunder.

Modern browsers like Chrome save your website in the cache and automatically prefetch it when you start entering a URL since you visit it frequently. Your website will load virtually immediately as a result of this.

However, an average user visiting your website for the first time may not have the same experience.

Users in different parts of the world will have a completely different experience.

This is why we recommend using a tool like WebPageTest or GTmetrix to check the speed of your website.

After you’ve completed your website speed test, you may be thinking, “What is a good website speed to aim for?”

A good website load time is less than 2 seconds.

However, the quicker you can make it, the better it is. A few milliseconds saved here can build up to half or even a full second held on your load time.

What Causes Your WordPress Website to Slow Down?

Several suggestions for improvement are likely to appear in your speed test result. Most of it, however, is technical jargon that is difficult to comprehend for beginners.

The following are the major causes of a slow WordPress website:

  • Web hosting: If your web hosting server didn’t configure correctly, it might slow down your website.
  • WordPress Configuration: If your WordPress site is not providing cached content, your server will get overburdened, leading your website to become slow or even crash. Check out how to clear WordPress cache.
  • Page Size: Images that didn’t optimize for the web.
  • Bad Plugins: Using a plugin that didn’t write poorly might cause your website to load slowly.
  • External scripts: External scripts such as ads, font loaders, and so on can significantly impact the speed of your website.

Now that you know what is slowing down your WordPress site, Let’s look at the best ways to speed up a WordPress site.

Speed Up a WordPress Site

1. Choose the Best Web Hosting Provider

Your WordPress hosting provider is vital to the success of your website. A good shared hosting company, such as Bluehost or Siteground, will go above and beyond to optimize your website for speed.

On the other hand, shared hosting means sharing server resources with a large number of different clients. This means that if your neighbor’s site receives a lot of traffic, it may have an impact on the server’s overall performance, slowing down your website.

Using a managed WordPress hosting service, on the other hand, gives you the most optimal server settings for running WordPress. To secure your website, managed WordPress hosting providers can include automated backups, WordPress upgrades, and more comprehensive security setups.

2. Install an Effective Caching Plugin

WordPress pages are “dynamic.” This means they’re created in real-time whenever someone hits a post or page on your site.

WordPress must execute a process to gather the needed information, put it all together, and then show it to your user to build your pages.

This process has a lot of stages, and it might cause your website to slow down if you have a vast number of people viewing it simultaneously.

That’s why we advise using a cache plugin on every WordPress site. Caching can speed up your WordPress site by 2x to 5x.

There are several good caching plugins for WordPress available. However, we recommend WP Rocket, a premium WordPress cache plugin.

WP Rocket - WordPress Cache Plugin

It’s great for websites that need help in speeding up their pages and ticking all the boxes to pass Core Web Vitals. It includes outstanding customizability and advanced options that you won’t find in any other caching plugin. For more, see your WP Rocket review.

3. Optimize Images

The most common cause of WordPress site slowness is large images. The greater your website’s image files are, the longer it will take to load.

Optimizing your images is thus a critical step in increasing the performance of your website. Optimizing image files includes resizing and compressing them so that they can be fetched and loaded fast.

There are two steps to good image optimization. To begin, ensure that your image was edited before uploading it to your website.

To do so, you’ll need to figure out where you will use the image and how big it should be. The image may then be cropped and saved in the lowest possible size using a tool like Pixlr. Changing the file format can sometimes help reduce file size — for example, jpg is often smaller than png image.

Second, on your website, install an image optimization plugin – we recommend Smush. This not only further compresses images after they’ve been uploaded, improving page performance, but it also includes several other image optimization capabilities, such as lazy loading.

For more details on image optimization, see our post on how to optimize images for WordPress.

4. Keep Your WordPress Site Updated

WordPress is constantly updated as a well-maintained open-source project. Each update will include not just new functionality but also fixes for security and bug concerns. Your WordPress theme and plugins may also need to be updated regularly.

As the owner of a website, it is your responsibility to maintain your WordPress site, theme, and plugins up to date. If you don’t, your site may become slow and unreliable, as well as vulnerable to security attacks.

5. Use Excerpts on the Homepage and Archives

On your homepage and archives, WordPress shows the entire content of each article by default. Your homepage, categories, tags, and other archive pages will all load slower due to this.

Another drawback of displaying complete articles on these sites is that readers are less likely to go through to the article itself. This can decrease the number of page views and the number of time people spends on your site.

You may customize your site to display excerpts instead of the complete content to reduce the time it takes for archive pages to load.

You can navigate to Settings » Reading and select For each article in a feed, include: Excerpt instead of Full Text.

Display Excerpt Instead of Full Text to Increase Speed of WordPress Site

6. Limit Comments Per Page

While it’s great to have so many people read your blog content, many comments might slow down page load speed. It’s a good idea to split the comment section into pages to reduce its time to load.

Go to Settings » Discussion and click the Break comments into pages option to restrict the number of comments displayed per page. You may then specify the number of comments per page.

Break Comments in Pages

This should reduce memory use and improve page load times for posts and pages with many comments.

7. Use a Content Delivery Network (CDN)

A CDN is a global network of servers. The “static” files that make up your website will be stored on each server.

Unlike your WordPress pages, which are “dynamic,” as mentioned above, these static files include non-changing files like images, CSS, and JavaScript.

When you utilize a CDN, users are delivered static files from the server nearest to them each time they visit your website. Because the CDN is handling a lot of the work, your web hosting server will be quicker.

Let’s assume your web hosting company’s server is located in the United States. A visitor from the United States will notice faster loading times than one from India.

Using a Content Delivery Network (CDN) can help your visitors load your website faster.

8. Don’t Upload Audio/ Video Directly to Your Site

You may add audio and video files straight to your WordPress site, and it will play them in an HTML5 player for you. That is, however, something you should never do!

It significantly increases the time it takes for your site to load. Instead of simply uploading audio and video, including the link and it will function flawlessly.

Since WordPress includes a built-in video embed feature, you can copy and paste the URL of your video into your post, and it will automatically embed.

9. Choose a Speed Optimized Theme

It’s critical to pay close attention to performance optimization when choosing a theme for your website. Some themes that appear to be attractive and impressive are poorly coded and might cause your site to load slowly.

A more specific theme is better than one packed with complicated layouts, flashy animations, and unnecessary features.

Premium WordPress theme vendors such as StudioPress, Themify, and Elegant Themes provide well-coded and speed-optimized themes. You can also check how to choose a WordPress theme for more advice.

10. Reduce External Scripts & HTTP Requests

External scripts are frequently packed into themes and plugins, calling different JavaScript, CSS, fonts, and pictures.

You will encounter specific scripts that you are unfamiliar with if you examine the website’s source code. Reduce as many external HTTP requests as possible and host them separately to speed up your WordPress websites.

11. Optimize your WordPress Database

It would be best if you optimized your WordPress database to improve the performance of your site. Your WordPress database, like your computer’s hard disc, fills up with trash you don’t need. Over time, an unoptimized WordPress database slows down your website. The simple solution is to clean it up from time to time.

To speed up a WordPress site, you may either install a database optimization plugin or manually clear up your database from junk that you don’t need.

12. Reduce Calls to Database

Unfortunately, there are several WordPress themes out there that poorly code. They neglect WordPress best practices and make direct database calls or make too many needless database requests. This might cause your server to slow down significantly by overloading it with tasks.

Even well-coded themes can have code that performs database calls merely to obtain the basics of your blog.

You can’t blame the theme developers responsible for this. They don’t have any other method of determining what language your website is written in.

However, if you’re using a child theme to customize your site, you may substitute these database calls with your data to cut down on database calls.

13. Limit Post Revisions

In your WordPress database, post revisions take up space. Some users think that database queries executed by plugins may be affected by revisions. If the plugin doesn’t expressly exclude post revisions, it may cause your site to load slowly by searching through them.

You may set a limit on how many revisions WordPress keeps for each article. Copy and paste the following code into your wp-config.php file.

define( 'WP_POST_REVISIONS', 2 );

WordPress will only store the last two versions of each post or page with this code, and it will immediately discard previous revisions.

14. Disable Hotlinking

When one website uses the resources of another, this is called Hotlinking. If someone has copied an image from your site, his website will load the image from your site once it is loaded. This indicates that it is using your server’s bandwidth and resources.

It slows down your site, and you can speed it up by removing it.

You may prevent Hotlinking by adding the following code to your .htaccess file and changing it with your domain name.

RewriteEngine on RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^$ RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^http(s)?://(www\.)?yourdomain.com [NC] RewriteRule \.(jpg|jpeg|png|gif)$ - [NC,F,L]

15. Add LazyLoad to Your Images

Lazy loading is an old WordPress performance optimization strategy that involves loading images while the user scrolls down the page. The aim is to avoid loading all of the page’s components at once, as this puts a load on the server and causes slower load times. Instead, images are loaded only when the user reaches the page section where the image is displayed.

You may use any lazy load plugins to achieve this approach.

16. Use Latest PHP Version

WordPress had mainly written in PHP, which is a high-level programming language. It is a server-side language, meaning it’s installed and runs on your hosting server.

The most reliable PHP version is used by all good WordPress hosting companies on their servers. However, your hosting provider is likely using an older PHP version.

PHP 7 is twice as fast as previous versions. That’s a significant performance increase for your website, and you should take advantage of it.

You can see which PHP version your site is using by installing and activating the Version Info plugin.

The plugin will display your PHP version in the footer section of your WordPress admin dashboard after activation.

17. Split up Long Posts

Blog posts that are lengthier and more in-depth are popular with readers. Longer posts are also more likely to rank higher in search results.

However, if you’re publishing long-form content with many images, this might slow down your site.

Try splitting up your larger content onto numerous pages instead.

To do so, WordPress has built-in functionality. Include the !––next page––> tag where you want the article to be divided onto the next page.

18. Disable Pingbacks and Trackbacks

Pingbacks and trackbacks are tools that let you know when another website links to your content. This is a significant issue for sites that receive a lot of pingbacks and trackbacks. Because each link generates a separate request, it puts extra strain on your server’s resources.

Your website’s load time will suffer. As a result, disabling pingbacks and trackbacks are the best approach.

To do so, go to your dashboard’s Settings » Discussion. Uncheck the option that says Allow link alerts from other blogs and save your changes.

Disable Pingbacks and Trackbacks

19. Minify CSS and JS Files

You can improve a WordPress site’s performance by minifying its JavaScript and CSS files. Minification lowers the size of a file by removing unnecessary spaces, line breaks, and comments.

Furthermore, you can combine these files to decrease the number of HyperText Transfer Protocol (HTTP) requests. This removes the requirement for several server requests for each CSS and JavaScript file. As a result of the fewer requests, your site will load faster.

Most caching plugins, such as WP Rocket and WP-Optimize, provide minification options. As a result, all you have to do is enable the minification function in the cache plugin you’re using or planning to use.

20. Remove Unused Plugins

Too many plugins operating at once might slow down your website’s load speeds because each one is like a piece of mini-software. Even if you’re not using a plugin, it might be doing work in the background that you’re not aware of. It might be time to make some changes.

Start by deactivating any plugins you know you won’t use again. After each deactivation, test your site, then uninstall these plugins after you’re sure everything is still working. Then, one by one, remove the plugins to observe which ones affect page performance. Look for alternatives to these plugins that aren’t as expensive.

21. Use Faster Plugins

Poorly coded WordPress plugins often load too much, increasing your page load speed and slowing down your site.

To help you find the best plugins, we have handpicked a list of essential WordPress plugins.

Some of our top choices for the most essential WordPress plugin categories are shown below.

Conclusion

A slow WordPress website will disappoint visitors and affect search engine rankings. A fast website is vital for a positive user experience and search engine optimization.

In this guide, we looked at 21 ways to speed up a WordPress site. We categorized the methods from the most beginner to the most advanced.

That’s it! We hope that this post helps you learn how to speed up your WordPress website. For your next steps, you’ll find these resources helpful:


Frequently Asked Questions

What's a Good Website Load Time?

A good website load time is less than two to three seconds. For mobile users, Google recommends under three seconds. In addition, for eCommerce stores, you should aim for less than two seconds.

Why is My WordPress Site So Slow?

The most common reasons for a WordPress website taking a long time to load are poor web hosting and a lack of data caching. Many plugins, unoptimized image files, and neglecting to use a content delivery network (CDN) to anticipate major traffic spikes can all slow down page load speeds.

How Do I Check the Speed of My WordPress Website?

You may check the speed of your WordPress website using tools such as GTmetrix, Google Page Speed Insights, and Pingdom Tools. These tools will show the performance of your site on both desktop and mobile devices. Remember that the results of each tool may differ due to their algorithms.

How Can I Boost My WordPress Mobile Speed?

Making your WordPress website mobile-friendly is the best strategy to speed it up for mobile users. Use a responsive theme, enable mobile caching, and optimize images for mobile as part of the site optimization process.

What Affects My Website Speed?

The key aspects that impact website speed are page elements (HTML and CSS), hosting, multimedia, and internet connection. Your coding standards will also affect the speed and general performance of your website.