Let’s make your WordPress website faster.
Enjoy more pageviews, clicks, increased conversions, and accelerate the growth of your online business by improving the speed and scalability of your website. We can do a performance audit and optimize WordPress for you, or you can follow our tutorials for a DIY approach.
Better conversion rate
Studies had shown that faster websites have an improved conversion rate. The slower your website is, the less likely your visitor is to buy, contact you, or comment.
Google loves faster websites. A faster site ranks better in the search engines leading to more visitors to your site. Sure, we cannot guarantee better rankings in the search results, however having a faster website will increase your chances for better rankings.
The faster your website loads, the more likely your visitors are to spend a larger amount of time on your website. That’s more pageviews and more money from ads.
A lightweight website will consume less server resources so it will be capable of sustaining higher traffic without the need to upgrade your hosting plan. So, if you have an optimized website you can host it even on a shared hosting plan and save money.
What happens when a visitor hits a page on a WordPress site
How things work.
When accessing the page, the browser checks the IP of the domain in DNS, then sends the request for the page to the server. If the site uses SSL, the client and server negotiate a secure connection before the request is completed.
The server receives the request and runs the website code. The database and file system are queried for all required elements and the HTML page is compiled. When the HTML is created, the server sends it back to the browser.
While still collecting these elements, the browser starts building the html page and displays a first version of the page. It’s called First Contentful Paint (FCP) and it’s an important metric. Because the page hasn’t finished loading, the user can’t interact with it yet.
Several elements on the page must be gathered before the user can start interacting with the page, clicking or scrolling, so the browser prepares the page for interaction.
When all the elements have loaded and all the scripts have completed their configuration tasks, the page is finally ready to use.
Basically, there’s 3 things taking time
Server response time
Server response time is what has the biggest impact on user experience. This is where the server works, running the site’s PHP code. If this first request is slow, all other steps in viewing the web page will be delayed.
Data transfer time
Data transfer time is the time required to transport the elements that make up the page from the server (or servers) to the browser. It depends on the amount of data and the distance it has to travel.
Page rendering time
Rendering time is influenced by the quality and complexity of the code to be interpreted, the number of elements and their size, as well as the speed of the device the browser is running on.
How we can speed it up
Test how your website performs with several tools like PageSpeed Insights, YellowLab Tools & GTMetrix.
2. Find bad plugins
Look for plugins that affect your website performance and replace them with better alternatives.
3. Implement caching
Depending or your hosting environment, choose the best caching solution for your website.
4. Reduce page size & requests
Identify what’s useless (like a contact form CSS file on a page without a contact form) and eliminate the bloat.
5. Optimize images for the web
Optimize images for the web using a premium dedicated plugin (like Smush Pro) without losing quality.
6. Clean up the WordPress database
A performance essential, cleaning up the database can massively improve WordPress speed.
7. Other tweaks
Implement several small tips & tricks to tweak WordPress to perform better.
Let’s make your WordPress website faster
Let our WordPress experts optimize your WordPress website.
Do It Yourself
You can find information below to speed up WordPress by yourself.
The first layer of a rock-solid foundation is web hosting optimized for your application – i.e., WordPress. If you’re on shared hosting it’s almost impossible for the provider to guarantee a consistent level of performance and you should move to a better hosting solution.
Next, the second layer of a rock-solid foundation is the code.
The strength of this foundation is given by the quality of the PHP code in WordPress themes and plugins. Bad code can sabotage your success and you might not even know it. You need to choose a well-coded theme & well-coded plugins.
If you’re looking for free WordPress themes, the WordPress.org theme directory is a good place to get quality themes as the code is being reviewed by the review team.
There is also a great deal of premium WordPress themes, it’s impossible to test every theme out there for performance, we like and use the Genesis Framework. From our experience, especially with shared hosting customers, those who used the Genesis Framework were able to handle higher levels of traffic before reaching their account limits.
What about Themeforest?
Most themes on Themeforest do not focus on performance. They are made for beginners, people who don’t have a clear objective of what they want to do with their websites so they choose WordPress themes based on beauty and ease of use.
Hundreds of features and ease of use means more sales for the developer but it also means more bloat for your website. If you want my personal opinion, I would stay away from easy visual drag’n’drop builder fluff & stuff.
I’m not saying all easy visual builders suck at performance, I’m just saying that if want your website to be successful you need to choose wisely and build it on a solid foundation.
A solid foundation means a well-coded theme made by respected developers, even if that means more work or a higher cost.
Most performance issues are caused by WordPress plugins.
Just like themes, the plugins must have good, clean code. You only need one bad plugin to slow down your site. Each plugin you activate in your WordPress install will add extra MB to memory usage. Some plugins more, some less.
There are tens of thousands of plugins, free or premium, and many of them are not built responsibly. Being so many, it’s impossible for a site owner to know them all.
So, how do you choose the right WordPress plugins?
How do you know what plugin consumes too many resources, what plugins are well-coded, what plugins affect site performance?
In choosing the plugins I follow a few simple rules…
#1 presence on WordPress.org
Very rarely I choose plugins that are not listed in the WordPress plugin directory. I try to stay away from plugins from shady websites.
#2 who makes the plugin
I rarely choose plugins made by people that I haven’t heard of. Here’s a short list of plugin makers:
- Bill Erickson
- Nathan Rice
- Remkus de Vries
- Donncha O Caoimh
- Human Made Limited
- Kevin Weber
- Andrew Norcross
- Justin Tadlock
- Joost de Valk
- Brandon Kraft
- Thomas Griffin
- Syed Balkhi
- Ron Rennick
- Stefano Lissa
There are many good developers, it’s hard to list everyone.
#3 frequent updates
Another thing that I look for is the frequency at which the plugin is updated, I check compatibility with the latest version of WordPress and the developer’s willingness to answer support questions.
#4 plugin reviews
I search Google for reviews of the particular plugins I want to use. It’s a great source of information on how people used the plugin, if they had issues with it, etc. Keep in mind though that some reviews might be just affiliates marketing articles.
#5 test the plugin
Ultimately, I just test the plugin myself.
I install it on a test site, check all functionalities, how many JS and CSS files it loads, how much memory it consumes, how many queries it makes to the database, etc…
There’s also P3 (Plugin Performance Profiler), you can use it to see which plugins are slowing down your site. It is usually very useful in finding if a plugin is bad but sometimes it’s inaccurate and it doesn’t help much. In those cases I use Query Monitor – this is a useful plugin to view debugging and performance information on database queries, hooks, conditionals, HTTP requests, redirects and more. I find this a very useful plugin to identify if anything is dragging your website down.
Speaking of queries, Delicious Brains (makers of Advanced Custom Fields, WP Migrate DB Pro and WP Offload Media) have an interesting article on query optimization.
I have a list of plugins I use on almost every website I own and I recommend them to my clients.
To help you, we’ve published a list of recommended plugins. These are tested by us or are successfully used by our customers. We’ve also listed those that are not recommended, due to performance issues.
Also, WPEngine has a list of disallowed plugins. It’s a good resource to see which plugins might be too resource hungry and remove them from your website.
You can follow our free tutorials below to make your WordPress website faster.
1. Test & identify problems
To improve your website’s loading speed, you must first test thoroughly and identify what is causing the problem. There are several tools to test, follow our tutorial to learn more.
2. Install & setup a cache plugin
If you’re on shared hosting one of the easiest ways to improve WordPress speed and scalability is to implement a cache. There are many caching plugins for the job, follow our tutorial to see what we recommend.
3. Optimize your images for the web
One of the factors that might slow down your website is using big photos unoptimized for the web. Follow our tutorial to learn more about how to optimize your images.
4. Clean up your WordPress database
A slim database is crucial for your WordPress performance. From our experience, cleaning the database is one of the most useful improvements you can do.
Keep in mind, our objective for writing these tutorials is real performance, not just better grades on popular testing tools.
5. Keep Monitoring
Your WordPress website should be monitored, secured and updated.
If you want to spend your time elsewhere, let us take care of your website. We can provide better hosting, we can speed up your website with our optimization service, and our maintenance & monitoring services can give you peace of mind.