9 Easy Ways To Speed Up Your WordPress Site

WordPress is an awesome platform to build your websites.

You’re seeing it in action right now: my site is based entirely on this powerful platform.

One weakness that WordPress suffers from, however, is that it is usually very slow.

Without taking the right precautions, you could end up with a sluggish site that will not only be a hassle for repeat visitors, but will most certainly lose you subscribers and customers due to the impatient nature of web browsers.

You must have already read “Why is Page Speed Time Important For Your Website” and would want to improve your page speed.

website-speed

How To Speed Up WordPress

(As a side note, these are not ordered by importance or any criteria, I’ve just gathered everything I’ve learned about speeding up page loads on WordPress and compiled them here.)

First of all let us discuss the free ways in which you can reduce the page load time for beginners for more advanced website owners, we have paid methods also. (in a later post)

I guarantee that using even a few of these will drastically speed up your site.

Check your site speed on Google page insights.

  1. Start with a solid framework/theme

You might be surprised to hear this, but the Twenty Ten/Twenty Eleven “framework” (aka the default WP themes) are quite speedy frameworks to use. That’s because they keep it the “guts” simple, and light frameworks are always the way to go to have a speedy site.

You can search for “fast WordPress Themes” or “light framework” WordPress themes on the internet to find the best suitable theme or template for you.

  1. Use an effective caching plugin

WordPress plugins are obviously quite useful, but some of the best fall under the caching category, as they drastically improve page loads time, and best of all, all of them on WP.org are free and easy to use.

By far my favorite, bar none, is WP Super cache, it has all of the features you need and is extremely easy to install and use.

Simply install and activate, and what your page load faster as elements are cached.

  1. Optimize images (automatically)

Yahoo! has an image optimizer called Smush.it that will drastically reduce the file size of an image, while not reducing quality.

However, if you are like me, doing this to every image would be beyond a pain, and incredibly time consuming.

Fortunately, there is an amazing, free plugin called WP-SmushIt which will do this process to all of your images automatically, as you are uploading them. Just go ahead and install and activate it.

  1. Optimize your homepage to load quickly

This isn’t one thing but really a few easy things that you can do to ensure that your homepage loads quickly, which probably is the most important part of your site because people will be landing there the most often.

Things that you can do:

  • Show excerpts instead of full posts. (Settings – Reading or through your theme options)
  • Reduce the number of posts on the page. (I like showing between 5-7.)
  • Remove unnecessary sharing widgets from the home page. (include them only in posts.)
  • Remove inactive plugins and widgets that you don’t need.

Keep it minimal! Readers are here for content, not 8,000 widgets on the homepage

Overall, a clean and focused homepage design will help your page not only look good, but load quicker as well.

  1. Optimize your WordPress database

This can be done the very tedious, extremely boring manual fashion, or…

You can simply use the WP-Optimize plugin, which I run on all of my sites.

This plugin lets you do just one simple task: optimize your database to reduce their overhead.

Some of the things that this plugin does

  • Turn off pingbacks and trackbacks.
  • Controls the amount of Revision history stored.
  • Helps clear out spam comments.
  • Cleans up Auto-draft posts
  1. Disable hotlinking and leeching of your content

Hotlinking is a form of bandwidth “theft.” It occurs when other sites direct link to the images on your site from their articles making your server load increasingly high.

This can add up as more and more people “scrape” your posts or your site (and especially images) become more popular, as must do if you create custom images for your site on a regular basis.

Place this code in your root .htaccess file:

disable hotlinking of images with forbidden or custom image option

RewriteEngine on

RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^$

RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^http(s)?://(www\.)?PuneetBangera.com [NC]

RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^http(s)?://(www\.)?google.com [NC]

RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^http(s)?://(www\.)? FeedName [NC]

RewriteRule \.(jpg|jpeg|png|gif)$ – [NC,F,L]

You’ll notice I included FeedName as the link (you’ll need to replace it with your feed’s name, otherwise your images won’t appear correctly there.

  1. Add an expires header to static resources

An Expires header is a way to specify a time far enough in the future so that the clients (browsers) don’t have to re-fetch any static content (such as css file, javascript, images etc).

This way can cut your load time significantly for your regular users.

You need to copy and paste the following code in your root .htaccess file:

ExpiresActive On

ExpiresByType image/gif A2592000

ExpiresByType image/png A2592000

ExpiresByType image/jpg A2592000

ExpiresByType image/jpeg A2592000

The above numbers are set for a month (in seconds), you can change them as you wish.

  1. Adjust Gravatar images

You’ll notice on this site that the default Gravatar image is set to nothing.

This is not an aesthetic choice, I did it because it improves page loads by simply having nothing where there would normally be a goofy looking Gravatar logo or some other nonsense.

Some blogs go as far to disable them throughout the site, and for everyone.

You can do either, just know that it will benefit your site speed.(found in “Discussion”, under the settings tab in the WordPress dashboard.)

  1. Add LazyLoad to your images

LazyLoad is the process of having only only the images above the fold load (i.e. only the images visible in the visitor’s browser window), then, when reader scrolls down, the other images begin to load, just before they come into view.

This will not only speed you page loads, it can also save bandwidth by loading less data for users who don’t scroll all the way down on your pages.

To do this automatically, install the jQuery Image Lazy Load plugin.

 

Do these 9 steps and you will see your page speed around the required 85 points on Google page insights. Do share your feedback and how this helped your page speed.

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