As we think back upon the infancy of what’s now an integral element of everyday life, it’s painful to imagine what innovations and successes could of been if website ownership and management was as effortless as it is today.
While there are countless elements responsible for bringing the power and possibilities of website ownership to the computer screens of almost everyone, few stimulated this era of online accessibility to the degree as WordPress.
From its humble beginnings as a blogging platform to its position as one of the world’s leading CMS environments for literally any type of website, WordPress has changed the landscape of site ownership forever.
Yet, it’s not all sunshine and roses. Even though establishing a functioning and dynamic site is as easy as a few clicks and a little imagination, managing its infrastructure for optimum speed is a different story.
If you’re suffering with the frustration and negative impact of a very slow WordPress website, don’t worry. While there can be a myriad of reasons why your WordPress site is as fast as the TSA security line at LaGuardia Airport, identifying and fixing this situation is surprisingly quick and easy!
The Essential Tidbits for Fast WordPress Websites
Before diving into specific fixes, there’s a few baseline elements we must cover. First, let’s briefly touch on exactly what could be causing your WordPress site to slowdown. After all, you don’t want to fix your current speed issue only to cause it again in the near future.
Common Causes of a Slow WordPress Website:
- Hosting Provider – Has your site always underperformed? If your web hosting provider isn’t optimized to handle the unique processing requirements of WordPress, or your hosting plan is a shared server, you may be fighting a losing battle. After performing the fixes we’ll discuss momentarily your site still loads slowly, consider upgrading your hosting plan or moving to a more powerful options, such as a cloud-based WordPress host.
- Page Size (File Sizes) – A common issue boils down to simply having large, data-heavy webpages. This is often the result of non-optimized or compressed images, excess use of embedded media or inefficient use of custom web fonts.
- Plugins – Yes, the very thing that helps make WordPress so dynamic is oftentimes the root cause of slow page load times. Plugins directly influence website speed by running inefficient code, incompatible processes or simply using too many safe/lightweight plugins on a single page.
- Configuration Errors – The most common configuration error capable of slowing down your WordPress site is serve non-cached pages. Ultimately, this backend issue is too demanding on your server.
Create a Performance Benchmark via Website Speed Testing (An Absolute Must!)
Establishing a WordPress site speed benchmark is imperative for a variety of reasons. Most importantly, without this periodically updated metric, it’s difficult to observe the small positive or negative changes regarding speed and performance.
If you aren’t sure how to go about this process, check out this web performance benchmarking guide.
Fix #1 – Install Cache Plugin
If your site is performing relatively well in every metric except page load speed, confirm you are utilizing a high-quality WordPress cache plugin. This incredibly quick page speed fix is simple enough even for complete novices.
While WP Rocket is considered one of the most effective WordPress cache plugins available, it’s not the only player in the game. A quick search online will yield a variety of plugins for both speed and caching.
Fix #2 – Optimize ALL Images
Without a doubt, images are the main cause of a slow WordPress website. While this fix requires some knowledge of how media files work within WordPress, this quick guide published by WebHostingProf.com gives quick and easy instructions capable of boosting your overall site speed and performance. There’s also a great guide published on Instructify.com on optimizing WordPress if you’re looking for a variety of opinions on how to best accomplish your WordPress performance tuning.
Fix #3 – Break Apart Comments Into Pages
Does your WordPress website receive a significant amount of comments? First off, congratulations! Commenting often means high user engagement, which is paramount for optimum ranking.
Even though this is the ultimate goal for almost every WordPress site, excessive comments can be a real drag on page load speed. Prevent this situation from destroying your WordPress site speed by going into Settings then clicking Discussion, followed by checking the box next to “Break Comments Into Pages” and filling in the next box with the total number of comments allowed per page.
Fix #4 – Leverage the Power of Embedded Media
Video plays an important role in not only user engagement, but also Google ranking. However, uploading video directly into your WordPress media library can cause serious performance issues.
Instead, upload your video to a third part site, such as DailyMotion, Vimeo or YouTube. This places the bandwidth burden on their servers. Once uploaded, simply copy-and-paste the video URL into your WordPress post or page. Thanks to the power of this amazing platform, WordPress automatically embeds videos for quick enjoyment without sacrificing page load speed.