GoDaddy is known for domain registration, not hosting. iThemes called them out for packing too many people on the same server (which is how they cut costs). They’re also slow to release newer PHP versions, and of course, the CEO kills elephants and was boycotted for supporting SOPA. Even Forbes wrote an article titled “5 Reasons You Should Leave Godaddy.” They also blacklist all cache plugins and force you to use their own built-in caching system, which doesn’t hold a candle to top cache plugins like WP Rocket, WP Fastest Cache, or even W3 Total Cache.
Bottom line – I encourage you to look elsewhere for a new hosting provider. Even outside the controversy, their hosting is infamous for being slow. The WordPress Hosting Facebook Group constantly bashes GoDaddy for it, and their hosting was rated poorly in many Facebook polls.
Regardless, these tips will help speed up your WordPress site. Comment with any questions!
When you’re done, hopefully your GTmetrix report looks like this:
Upgrading to PHP 7+ can make your site 2-3x faster. Most WordPress users run outdated PHP versions since GoDaddy (and other hosts) won’t upgrade you automatically since it can break your site if you’re running incompatible plugins. That’s why whenever GoDaddy releases a new PHP version (which they’re often late to do) you should upgrade as soon as you can.
If you still see errors, revert to an earlier PHP version
3. Minify Files With Autoptimize
If you run your site through GTmetrix/Pingdom you will usually see recommendations for minify, Gzip, others. Install the Autoptimize plugin and simply enable the options in the main menu. If you plan on using StackPath (step 13 which is $10/month which comes with a 30-day free trial, but is a recommendation in WordPress’ optimization guide), enter your CDN URL.
If you’re using Google Fonts, these can also result in GTmetrix errors:
If you see them, go to the Autoptimize “Extra” settings and select “combine and link in head”:
4. Clean Your Database With WP-Optimize
Install the WP-Optimize plugin then click ‘WP-Optimize’ (left in your dashboard). Running it deletes your trash, spam, post revisions, trackbacks, and garbage files. Since these are constantly accumulating, make sure you schedule WP-Optimize to run every 2 weeks or so.
Cloudflare is a free service which improves both your website speed and security. It improves speed by hosting your WordPress site on multiple data centers around the world which acts as a CDN (content delivery network) and reduces the geographic distance it takes for your content to travel. You will need to sign up for a free plan, change your nameservers to Cloudflare’s, then tweak a few settings in your Cloudflare dashboard. Instructions are below.
4. In Cloudflare go to the caching settings and Purge Individual Files → Purge Everything.
This is all you need to do. It can take up to 72 hours for Cloudflare nameservers to propagate.
6. Optimize Images
We’ll use GTmetrix for this. Run your site through GTmetrix and in your report you’ll see images can be optimized 3 ways. GTmetrix only shows unoptimized images for a single page so start by optimizing images that appear on multiple pages (logo, sidebar and footer images), then run your most important pages through GTmetrix and fix individual images on those too.
There are 3 ways to optimize images in GTmetrix:
Serve scaled images – resize large images to be smaller
Specify image dimensions – specify a width/height in the image’s HTML or CSS
Optimize Images – losslessly compress images using Imagify
Serve Scaled Images – GTmetrix tells you which images are too large and the dimensions they need to be resized to. Find the image, crop or resize it, upload it to WordPress, then replace the old image with the new one. Follow your “image containers” and create a cheat sheet (below). You can manually check for large images by right clicking an image → copy image address then go to that URL where you should see if it’s too large. Never use the drag to resize feature in the visual editor since this only resizes the displayed image (not the actual image).
Sample cheat sheet:
Logo: 150(w) x 37(h)
Sliders: 1950(w) x 550(h)
Sidebar Widgets: 319(w)
Blog content body: 600(w)
Featured images: 200(w) x 200(h)
Carousel images: 225(h)
Specify Image Dimensions – refer to your GTmetrix report and expand these items to see which images need this. Locate each one in WordPress, then specify the dimensions (width/height) which GTmetrix will tell you. The visual editor takes cares of this automatically so you usually have to do this with images that are in widgets, page builders, and other places.
Optimize Images – losslessly compress images using Imagify (both are free until you reach the monthly limit). While there are other completely free plugins that offer unlimited compressions, do NOT use these since they have bugs, won’t work, or will break your images.
Either delete these or find a faster plugin that does the same job. For example, the Revolution Slider plugin can cause speed issues while Soliloquy Slider barely adds to your load time. JetPack and social sharing plugins can cause speed issues. Delete WordPress Importer, Hello Dolly, and other plugins you don’t need. If you only use a plugin at certain times (like Broken Link Checker), fix your broken links then delete it. Yoast generates a sitemap for you so you don’t need Google XML Sitemaps. Insert your Google Analytics tracking code directly into your footer instead of using a plugin. Or use a Facebook widget and Twitter widget without using a plugin. Less plugins means faster load times and less potential errors on your website.
Diagnose slow loading plugins using the GTmetrix waterfall tab
Replace slow plugins with lightweight plugins (see next 3 steps)
Turn off all plugin settings you don’t use (just like you disabled unused WordPress settings via WP Disable, individual plugin settings can also add to your load time)
8. Avoid Google Maps
These kill your load times. Try to only use one on the contact page, or take a screenshot of the map (since a photo is quicker to load than an embedded map) and use an “Open In Maps” link.
9. Avoid Advertisements
Just like Google Maps require your site to pull resources from external websites and add a TON of requests to your GTmetrix/Pingdom report, advertisements are pretty much the worst thing you can do to your load times. Forget about using Google AdSense and start using affiliate links (they’re not only more profitable but they will also keep you load times down).
Google adsense, and other advertisements can slow down your site. You have to paste the ad code on several pages/posts/wigget, not throughout your site!
10. Disable Unused Settings With WP Disable
Install the WP Disable plugin which helps you turn off unused settings in WordPress core (which consume CPU) and has other options to speed up your WordPress site. Tips are below.
Disable ALL SETTINGS you don’t use
Scheduling spam deletion is a good idea
Emojis, Google Maps, and Gravatars take a long time to load
Pingbacks and trackbacks aren’t usually worth the extra resources
Set post revisions to 3-5 so you have backups, but you don’t need hundreds
Other options in the “request” tab can further your improve your load times.
11. Host Google Analytics Locally
CAOS is a plugin that fixes “leverage browser caching” you’ll often see in GTmetrix and other speed testing tools. Just install the plugin, enter your Tracking-ID and the plugin does the rest.
You can use Google Analytics to find the load times (and recommendations) for your top viewed pages and slowest loading pages. Login to Google Analytics and on the left, go to Behavior → Site Speed → Speed Suggestions. Click the ‘Page Speed Suggestions’ to see recommendations, though I would say GTmetrix recommendations are usually better.
13. Keep WordPress Software Updated
Update WordPress core, theme, plugins, and framework if you use one (eg. Genesis).
So…. did it work? Let me know your new Pingdom/GTmetrix scores in the comments! Or if you need help fixing GoDaddy’s slow WordPress hosting, leave a comment and I’ll be glad to help with whatever I can. If it’s related to a plugin/tool I mentioned, keep in mind they also have their own support
Please share if you liked this tutorial – I’d appreciate it!