Are you experiencing speed lags on your WordPress website?
Slow website = Little Traffic
There are a number of factors affecting the speed of a WordPress website. This post highlights some of the top factors known to slow down website speed and how to fix them.
How do you test your site speed?
WordPress Speed Optimization Factors
- Slow Web Hosting
- Outdated PHP Version
- Bloated WordPress Theme
- Heavy unoptimized Images
- Unoptimized Plugins
- Cache Plugin
- External Resources
- Woocommerce Stores
- Anti-Spam Plugin
- Content Delivery Networks
How do you know whether your website is actually slow?
There are many online and free softwares to check for website speed. Some of them being:
WordPress Speed Optimization Factors
1. Slow Web Hosting
Choosing the right web hosting is one of the most important factors in determining the quality and speed of your website. When you Google Web Hosting a few names that would instantly pop up are HostGator, BlueHost and GoDaddy.
Many affiliates of these hosting will swear by their service and speed but in reality, these hosting companies overcrowd their servers with many websites. This results in slower website speeds at your end. A slower website means a greater bounce rate, lower rankings on SERPS, little traffic to your website and a good waste of money and resources.
If you went for the most affordable web hosting without looking into what it really has to offer then chances are you’ve landed your website into trouble.
What to look for in a web hosting?
- CPU Resources
- Bandwidth and Storage
- High-Quality HTTP2 Protocol Support
- Site Backup
- No. of Domains
- Customer Support
Some great web hosting providers are:
2. Old PHP Version
PHP is your serverside scripting language used to run the WordPress framework. If you are into the technical side of the web you would be surprised to know that some of the websites are still running on PHP 5.6. This is because your hosting provider won’t upgrade to newer versions on their own. Doing so can break your website and they don’t take that risk.
If you are still using an older version of PHP upgrade to PHP 7.2 or above and you will see your website speed improve a few seconds.
3. WordPress Theme
When going for a theme we love to go for the aesthetics of the theme. Which is great, your website should look good. But what we forget is there is more to a website than how it looks. The user experience comes from the design and speed of the website. If you make a compromise on the performance, a good looking theme might not serve you your ultimate purpose.
Themes with a lot of bloatware and unnecessary widgets or scripts running on every page will slow your website down. When choosing a theme make sure it is speed optimized, has only the features you actually really need and is not calling a ton of resources on every page.
Read more: 10 Things to look for in a WordPress Theme
4. Heavy Images
Ask your designer/developer whether they optimized the images you have to use on every page. This could be your logo, header, sidebar images or more. In simpler words, if your logo space is 300×300 pixels make sure your image size is not anything above it.
On your website, you do not need print-quality images. Remember to use the web quality standard which is usually 72 PPI(pixels per inch).
Use PNG format when you need a wider range of colors or transparent backgrounds.
Use JPG format to strike a balance between the quality and size of your images.
All your blog images should never exceed the width of your blog. If it is somewhere around 720 pixels then your images should be a max of that width.
Use a Compression Plugin
A few plugins that will compress your images to the right size are:
5. Unoptimized Plugins
Too many unoptimized plugins slow down your website. If you look into your website’s report on the GTMetrix you will find all the plugins that are the major culprits in slowing down your website. Replace all heavy plugins with lighter alternatives.
Before you install any plugin on your website make sure it is speed optimized and doesn’t eat up all your CPU resources. If you happen to have any of those plugins installed, get rid of them.
Oftentimes we install plugins on our website for a task and then they are just there for no good reason. Remember they are taking up space and your website’s resources. Delete such plugins as well.
Use a plugin like Plugin Organizer to use a plugin on certain desired pages. You don’t need all of the plugins loading on all of your pages. Better make that optimization tweak now to save you speed downfall.
6. No Cache Plugin
Caching is important. Caching can improve your website speed, especially if you are an online store. It will be beneficial for your SEO and increase your user satisfaction.
Every time someone tries to access your website a complex set of instructions and calculations are performed. The browser sends requests to access your header, footer, content, images and all other code on your website. Caching makes the browser remember the important bits of your website that are not likely to change over time. This way it doesn’t have to load everything from scratch every time a user tries to access your website.
Some cache plugins you can use are:
7. Unoptimized External Resources
Your website might be using some external resources like embedded Youtube videos, Google fonts, Google Maps, or any third-party library. Test these resources or the plugins you are using for them to be lightweight. In case they are not, go for the lighter alternatives.
8. Woocommerce Stores
Woocommerce stores need to be optimized especially if you want to raise your conversion rates. If you don’t have adequate resources for running a woocommerce store try upgrading to the next level of your hosting. Woocommerce stores need more resources at the backend because of more scripts and pieces of code that need to run in order to provide the right functionality.
Be mindful of your images, their size, and compression settings. Remember to install a good cache plugin so that your website doesn’t load every time someone visits it again.
9. Anti-Spam Plugin
Spam can hurt your website speed, SEO and overall performance of your website. Spam allows additional requests to be sent to your website. This will use your resources and hence slow down your website speed.
To avoid spam you can either install an Anti-Spam Plugin or get rid of it in the discussion setting of your WordPress dashboard.
10. Use a CDN
When hosted on a server your website is usually accessible from a single physical location. If your audience happens to be from different regions from around the world then some of them might face a few seconds delay in opening your website.
This is where CDNs can help. CDN short for content distribution network is a system of servers that help deliver the content of your website to your audience more efficiently and quickly. They work on the basis of your geographical location. As the name suggests it’s a network of servers also called points of presence (POPs) from around the world.
The CDN which delivers you the content of the website is usually the one nearest to you. This is usually called the edge server. A CDN caches websites so that they are available to your audience from the edge point rather than accessing it from the original server.
A free CDN you can look into is Cloudflare. Cloudflare has a ton of features your website can benefit from. This includes security features like prevention of cookie hijacking or downgrade attacks and allowing connections made with the HTTPS protocol only (if you have an SSL on your website).