Do you want to speed up your WordPress site? Do you also know that every WordPress website comes with a theme and a set of plugins, and every theme and plugin will have its set of codes loaded on the page or pages to make the functions work? So the more codes loaded onto a page, the slower the website will be. In this post, you will learn WordPress speed optimization tips to boost WordPress performance and speed up your website.
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What Slows Down Your WordPress Website
After starting a new blog. If your web host is slow, your WordPress site will be slow, and the delivery will be impacted. Also, all websites will be hosted on a web host so that all the codes of the website can be delivered to the users in an understandable way. This article is a comprehensive guide for WordPress performance optimization and improving your WordPress speed.
Whenever there is a connection to external sources such as Google Fonts, Google Maps, Display ads, reCAPTCHA, etc. Your website will inevitably be served much slower because, on top of waiting for your web host to load all the page elements, we need to wait for the external sources to parse the information to be displayed on your page. It will affect the WordPress Performance of your site.
Web hosting may not be fast enough for the site if your content is enormous. The theme will mainly add some codes to the page header and footer. The plugins will add some codes to some or all of the pages.
If a code is added to a page to display Google Maps, it has to wait for it to respond to the data before the maps will be displayed, making this page load slower.
Should You Optimize Only Homepage
The question is, should you optimize just the home page, or should you optimize all the pages of your site? This is a very common question, and the answer is you should optimize all your pages for speed, especially those pages that are ranking for specific keywords that matter to your website or business.
The things that could slow down your website page are mainly the theme, the plugins, and the web host.
But that’s not all. I’m sharing with you 9 practical tips to speed up your WordPress website to increase your visitor retention rate, which may lead to a higher ranking on search results.
You surely want to stick with me to the end because I promise you some of the tips you have not heard of them before because they are thought of and experimented on by yours truly. So let’s go.
WordPress websites have found some commonalities regarding the leading causes of site speed which you’ll learn in this post. We will first deal with internal issues such as themes, plugins, and page elements.
And then, you’ll work on external issues such as page Caching, Web Hosting, Content Delivery Networks, or CDN. And nothing is better than walking you through the problems with an example.
Run Performance Test On Your WordPress Site
Firstly, run your website through the Google Pagespeed Insights test to know its current state because we need the basis of optimization to understand what to optimize in your WordPress site.
The best speed optimization tool to test run your WordPress website is Google Pagespeed Insights.
If the mobile score on your web page is poor with low metrics and the desktop score is average.
Since Google focuses much on mobile speed and the desktop metric will naturally improve as you optimize for the mobile speed, you will only focus on the mobile score and metrics.
Core Web Vitals
As you can see, the current version of Pagespeed Insights focuses a lot on the Largest Contentful Paint, the Total Blocking Time, and the Cumulative Layout Shift. All these metrics influence the performance score of any WordPress site, which is the scoring weightage.
If you haven’t heard of the term “Core Web Vitals,” it is part of the Page Experience update I mentioned earlier, which means your website’s speed performance influences its ranking. You have to speed up your WordPress site by fixing these metrics to the recommended scores to increase the performance of your website.
The First Contentful Paint
It takes care of the speed index, the time it takes for all the objects at the top of the page to display on the screen. In other words, the objects above the fold are displayed. For instance, if your page speed is 12.1 seconds which is incredibly slow, and to get a good score, the speed index should be 3.4 seconds or less.
The Largest Contentful Paint
The Largest Content Paint is one of the metrics for Core Web Vitals. It is the time the largest element above the fold takes to load. For a good score, you are aiming for 1.5 seconds or less. So this is very important.
Time To Interactive
It is when the user can do something on the site, like scrolling or clicking a button. A good page must display elements within 1.8s to 3s.
Total Blocking Time
It is the sum of all periods between the First Contentful Paint and the time to interact when a task length exceeds 50ms, which means between the time your page is loading.
That’s the idea of the Total Blocking Time, which influences the performance of the First Input Delay, which is part of the Core Web Vitals. The total blocking time must not exceed 200ms to get a good score on this metric.
It is a Core Web Vital and the best way to explain this. Layout Shift usually happens when there is either an image or video with unknown dimensions on the page, a font that renders larger or smaller than its fallback, which means if you use, for example, Google Fonts. It takes time for your website to connect with Google Fonts before the font style is loaded on your page. So during this period of connection, you have a fallback font to display.
If your fallback font is, for example, 20 pixels, while your Google Font, when it replaces the fallback font, is 40 pixels, it will push all the content below downwards, later affecting the performance of your WordPress site.
There is a third-party ad or widget that dynamically resizes itself. If you have this issue, you should limit the size of the ad placeholder.
Now that we understand the six metrics and their correlation to Core Web Vitals. Let me show you all the tips to speed up your WordPress website.
How To Improve The Speed Of Your WordPress Website
In this section, you will learn the best optimization tips to improve the performance of your WordPress site and remove element that might slow down your WordPress site. Here we go!
Create A Blank Page
You first want to create a blank page and test it to see if any codes injected into your website’s other pages are unnecessary. If there is, you want to either remove it or find a way to optimize it.
Test All active Plugins On Your WordPress Website
Test all your active plugins to see if any of them are slowing down your WordPress site. Use Pingdom or any other speed testing tool first to determine the performance of a blank page when no plugins are installed, and then you want to compare it to performance when plugins are active one at a time. We recommend testing on a different website or in a staging environment.
Remove Bad Plugins On Your WordPress Website
Once you remove all the unnecessary plugins for codes on the page, you’re optimizing. You want to shift the elements above the fold so heavier elements, such as images, videos, maps, ads, or whatever, are not considered the Largest Contentful Paint.
Optimize your images for the web by ensuring that images fit nicely into the display screens of devices. Use plugins and tools to optimize and compress the size of the photos and finally serve it in webp format. Our recommendation is to keep the width of the full-length images within 800 pixels and keep it within 300 to 400 pixels in width for half-length images.
Use Litespeed Hosting On Your WordPress Website
We recommend hosting your site on the Litespeed server because it is generally much faster, and you can reduce the number of installed plugins. So the Rank Math plugin is the most lightweight that provides the most functionalities, and you can reduce the number of active plugins even further. I recommend Rocket Hosting, very affordable based on your request and you will come back to give us positive feedback.
Allocate Elements To The Right Pages On Your WordPress Website
Whenever you discover a page element that is slowing down your WordPress site, such as these elements, ask yourself if the page is ranking for highly competitive keywords. If yes, you should remove the element. If not, try to optimize it.
Use A Lightweight Theme
Installing a lightweight theme is also important because it injects lots of code into your site’s pages. GeneratePress, Astra, Blocksy, Kadence, Neve, and Schema are lightweight themes we recommend.
Installing WordPress Performance Caching Plugin For Your Website
Utilize a WordPress Caching and Speed performance plugin to optimize your entire site. It will make your website load much faster. If you are new to speed optimization and have not heard of the term “caching,” it is simply a different version of your website temporarily stored on your server so that it can be served much faster.
It is just like pre-made food can be served much faster because you won’t need to prepare the food from scratch. The same goes for your website. When someone types in your web address on the browser, the request is sent to the server.
If there is no caching, the server will need to load the elements of your website one at a time before it can be served. Imagine having hundreds or thousands of requests every minute. The server has to load your website hundreds or thousands of times, whereas if the server has a stored version, it can serve the website to visitors immediately.
A caching plugin helps you create that version of your website. There are many caching plugins. In this post, I will use WP Rocket for everyone whose websites are not hosted on a Litespeed server.
WP Rocket Caching Plugin Settings To Speed Your WordPress Website
Once you have installed the WP Rocket plugin, the next question is, what is the best setting? Honestly, there is none because every website functions differently. What works on my site may not work on yours.
The best setting for your site is to test each setting one by one. If you check this setting, you will see this message where it says this could break things. You want to be wary of it. If you activate this setting and save changes, you want to immediately clear the cache and visit your web pages to see if anything breaks.
If nothing breaks like this example, we can keep this setting on. Do the same for all the settings. Whatever setting breaks your site, you want to keep it off.
But know that these settings will speed up your website and could replace most of the common issues you find on Google Pagespeed insights, such as “Eliminate render-blocking resources.” At the end of our configuration,
you’ll be left with the best WP Rocket settings for your website.
So, after all these settings, if you test the site again, the performance on the Pagespeed Insights test should be in tip-top shape.
Use A CDN (Content Delivery Network) To Speed Up Your WordPress Site
The final frontier of speed optimization is to use a Content Delivery Network. Use a CDN so your global audience can easily access your site. If your web host is located in the US, it can quickly display your website to people in the US.
However, when people on the other side of the world, like Japan, India, or Singapore, try to visit your website, it may take a little bit of time to load because the data from your website needs to travel a long distance. With the help of content delivery networks which are located all over the world.
Just like your web server, they will store a cached version of your website so it can be served to audiences worldwide much faster. This will speed up your WordPress site to user in different locations.
That’s the fantastic thing about CDN. If your WordPress website is hosted on the Litespeed server, there is a dedicated CDN service called Quic Cloud. The other popular alternative for other web servers is the Cloudflare CDN.
Integrated CDN with WP Rocket Caching Plugin
Once you have connected your WordPress website to the Cloudflare CDN, on WP Rocket under “Addons,” you can easily integrate your website and WP Rockets to Cloudflare. No slows down of your WordPress site pages after addons are fully configured. Your WordPress site will speed up by 2x.
That’s all the tips we have for you, and I’m pretty sure some of the tips are new to you, and you have not heard of them anywhere else because those are thought of by yours truly based on years of personal experience.
I hope you like them. Remember to smash that thumbs-up button if you find this post helpful. We truly appreciate that. If there are any other speed optimization tips worth mentioning, feel free to leave a comment below.