WordPress is an awesome platform for hosting your blog. It has a huge ecosystem, full of dedicated WordPress developers so it’s constantly being updated. And it has millions of users so you can always find help with it whenever you have problems.
It’s also super easy to personalize. There are so many different themes and plugins you can install on your blog, that it makes it super easy to customize your site to your tastes.
That said, it’s easy to go overboard. And if you do, you will find out that your WordPress blog will slow down to a crawl. This is something you want to avoid at all costs, because a slow site will cost you repeat traffic, and maybe even potential subscribers and clients.
That’s why you should always take the time to do an audit and make sure your WordPress site is always loading as fast as possible.
Below, are some of my best tips on how to speed up WordPress. You don’t need to implement all these tips, but at least try a few on your site. Once you do, you will definitely notice a significant speed up in the load times of your site.
1. Choose a Good Web Host
Yeah, shared web hosting might seem like a good idea. If you read different bloggers, you see everyone promoting the same shared hosting companies. But the problem with shared web hosting in general is that is slow. Especially during high traffic times. This is because like the name implies, you are “sharing” your server with countless other web sites. So all the traffic that is hitting their sites is affecting your site as well.
Instead, go with a wordpress hosting solution. Sure you pay a little more, but your sites will run much, much faster. And you will experience much less downtime.
The web host I always recommend to everyone is… WPEngine.
They offer awesome support, their plans are affordable, and my sites are always up with them. Don’t just take my word for it, but take a look at this review of their hosting by Peter Shilling.
2. Choose a Good WordPress Framework/Theme
There are so many WP themes out there that it’s hard to choose. But one of the considerations that you need to make is how fast your theme is. Different themes are developed by different coders, and some know how to make their themes fast and some don’t.
There are a lot of fancy themes that have a ton of functionality. But the problem is that their themes have a lot of bloat in theme which causes them to be slow.
In my experience, the guys at Elegant Themes have done a great job at making their themes load fast. Take a look at some of the top Elegant themes and you can see what I mean.
3. Use a Good Caching Plugin
There are a lot of good caching plugins for wordpress. I know a lot of people are fans of WP Super Cache for example. But my personal caching plugin of choice is W3 Total cache. It’s easy to use, and with just a few tweaks can make your site start loading super fast.
4. Take advantage of a content delivery network (CDN)
What a CDN does is take all of your site’s static files and hosts them on different servers around the world. When a someone visits your site, they will download these static files from the server closest to them. This decreases their page load times and makes them much happier.
My current recommended CDN is MaxCDN. They have affordable plans for bloggers like myself, and they make it very easy to setup and use. It even integrates with W3 Total Cache! If you’re interested in trying them out, take a look at this MaxCDN discount page and use the coupon listed there.
5. Optimize Your Images
Images can take up the majority of the page load times on your blog. Luckily, there is a plugin called WP Smush.It which you can install which will automatically compress your image files sizes as you upload them to your site. It’s quick, easy and there is no excuse not to use it.
6. Optimize your WP Database
After your site has been up awhile, your database will start accumulating a bunch of unnecessary junk. This will eventually start to slow down your site. What I do on my sites is install the plugin WP-Optimize. It will optimize your DB for you, including removing spam, unapproved comments, trash posts, trackbacks and pingbacks. Very cool.