How to Speed up WordPress: Boost Speed & Performance (2020)

Learning how to speed up WordPress is an essential skill for any website owner.

Why?

Because page loading speed influences everything from traffic to bounce rate to conversions, user satisfaction and, ultimately, profits.

For that reason, we have put together a detailed guide on how to speed up WordPress. We will talk about why page loading speed matters, which factors influence the speed of your WordPress site and how to measure it. After that, we have compiled the best techniques to make your site as fast as possible. They range from basic all the way to advanced measures so that the users of advanced skill levels will find something they can implement.

Are you ready to wave goodbye to slow-loading WordPress sites? Then keep reading.

Basics of WordPress Performance

  • Why Speed is Important for your WordPress Site?
  • How to Check Your WordPress Website Speed?
  • What Slows Down Your WordPress Website?
  • Importance of Good WordPress Hosting

Speeding Up WordPress in Easy Steps (No Coding)

  • Install a WordPress Caching Plugin
  • Optimize Images for Speed

WordPress Performance Optimization Best Practices

  • Keep Your WordPress Site Updated
  • Optimize Background Processes
  • Use Excerpts on Homepage and Archives
  • Split Comments into Pages
  • Use a Content Delivery Network (CDN)
  • Don’t Upload Audio/Video Files Directly to WordPress
  • Use a Theme Optimized For Speed
  • Use Faster Plugins

Fine-Tuning WordPress for Speed (Advanced)

  • Split Long Posts into Pages
  • Reduce External HTTP Requests
  • Reduce Database Calls
  • Optimize WordPress Database
  • Limit Post Revisions
  • Disable Hotlinking and Leeching of Your Content
  • Use Lazy Loading if Needed
  • Use DNS Level Website Firewall
  • Fix HTTPS/SSL Errors without Plugin
  • Use Latest PHP Version

Why Speed is Important for Your WordPress Site?

How to Speed up WordPress: Boost Speed & Performance (2020)

Studies show that from 2000 to 2019, the average human attention span has dropped from 12 seconds to 7 seconds.

What does this mean for you as a website owner?

You have very little time to show users your content and convince them to stay on your website.

A slow website means users will potentially leave your website before it even loads.

According to a StrangeLoop case study that involved Amazon, Google, and other larger sites, a 1 second delay in page load time can lead to 7% loss in conversions, 11% fewer page views, and 16% decrease in customer satisfaction.

On top of that, Google and other search engines have already started penalizing slower websites by pushing them down in the search results which means lower traffic for slow websites.

To sum it all up, if you want more traffic, subscribers, and revenue from your website, then you must make your WordPress website FAST!

Future Read:

  1. How To Optimize WordPress Using Google Search Console
  2. On-Page SEO Guide: The Complete SEO Checklist 

How to Check Your WordPress Website Speed?

How to Speed up WordPress: Boost Speed & Performance (2020)

Why test WordPress site performance? Well, things like site speed are becoming increasingly more important each year, and maybe even each month.

Quite simply, and this is something that’s been proven multiple times, the faster your site is, the better you’ll be able to serve your audience.

This rings true on many levels:

  • chief of them: faster sites are more user-friendly – there’s simply less lag,
  • faster sites are more optimized for mobile viewing,
  • faster sites rank better in Google,
  • lastly, faster sites convert better (people generally don’t like to wait more than two seconds for a webpage to load).

1. Test your load times

How to Speed up WordPress: Boost Speed & Performance (2020)

Let’s begin by going through perhaps the most significant way to test WordPress site performance – the test of how fast your site is.

For starters, you could just enter the URL of the site in your browser’s address bar, and see for yourself. But a test like that doesn’t give you the whole picture. As in, it only lets you know how fast the site behaves for you, and not for your audience.

To do a better test, go to Pingdom

There, select the server location from where you want to measure your site performance. It’s best to select the location that is nearest to your target audience:

How to Speed up WordPress: Boost Speed & Performance (2020)

A couple of seconds after clicking “START TEST,” Pingdom will let you know about the individual components of your overall performance score.

You can look into them one by one for more insight:

How to Speed up WordPress: Boost Speed & Performance (2020)

2. Test how much concurrent traffic your site can handle

The next test really worth doing is via the Load Impact tools:

How to Speed up WordPress: Boost Speed & Performance (2020)

Just enter your site’s URL in the box and click “Run free test.”

What Load Impact does is that it actually creates 25 concurrent (bot) users, and sends them over to your site in order to see how the site performs under load. The test takes place over the duration of five minutes.

When the test is done, you get a nice summary + chart:

How to Speed up WordPress: Boost Speed & Performance (2020)

At first glance, this seems complicated, but you can actually read that chart pretty easily. Basically, all that matters is this:

(!) You want the green line – representing your load time – to be as flat as possible. If it goes up, it means that your site performance can be improved.

3. Test the quality of your WordPress setup

How to Speed up WordPress: Boost Speed & Performance (2020)

Much like all software products, your WordPress site consists of multiple small elements, scripts, and mechanisms that, when combined together, give you all the features that make WordPress awesome.

However, not all those elements are always 100% optimized…

This is where GTmetrix comes into play, and provides a really comprehensive way to test WordPress site performance.

Similarly, all you need to do is enter your site’s URL and click the “Analyze” button.

After a while, you will get a detailed summary, going through different elements of your website:

  • image optimization,
  • browser caching,
  • JavaScript optimization,
  • CSS optimization,
  • redirections,
  • HTTP requests optimization, and much much more.

GTmetrix also gives you an overall score using a simple grading system. For example, if you’re not doing all that great in the performance department, you’ll see this:

Before optimization and upgrade hosting:

How to Speed up WordPress: Boost Speed & Performance (2020)

After optimization:

How to Speed up WordPress: Boost Speed & Performance (2020)

How to Speed up WordPress: Boost Speed & Performance (2020)

Pagespeed

 

Future read:

  1. How To Fix Slow WordPress Hosting On GoDaddy
  2. How to Install and Setup W3 Total Cache

What Slows Down Your WordPress Website?

Your speed test report will likely have multiple recommendations for improvement. However, most of that is technical jargon which is hard for beginners to understand.

Learning what slows down your website is the key to improving performance and making smarter long-term decisions.

The primary causes for a slow WordPress website are:

  • Web Hosting – When your web hosting server is not properly configured it can hurt your website speed.
  • WordPress Configuration – If your WordPress site is not serving cached pages, then it will overload your server thus causing your website to be slow or crash entirely.
  • Page Size – Mainly images that aren’t optimized for web.
  • Bad Plugins – If you’re using a poorly coded plugin, then it can significantly slow down your website.
  • External scripts – External scripts such as ads, font loaders, etc can also have a huge impact on your website performance.

Now that you know what slows down your WordPress website, let’s take a look at how to speed up your WordPress website.

WordPress Hosting

How to Speed up WordPress: Boost Speed & Performance (2020)

Your WordPress hosting service plays an important role in website performance. However, on shared hosting you share the server resources with many other customers. This means that if your neighboring site gets a lot of traffic, then it can impact the entire server performance which in turn will slow down your website.

On the other hand, using a managed WordPress hosting service give you the most optimized server configurations to run WordPress. Managed WordPress hosting companies also offer automatic backups, automatic WordPress updates, and more advanced security configurations to protect your website.

Pro tip: I recommend hosting Godaddy and HostGator they have amazing performance

Speeding Up WordPress in Easy Steps (No Coding)

We know that making changes to your website configuration can be a terrifying thought for beginners, especially if you’re not a tech-geek.

But don’t worry, you’re not alone. We have helped thousands of WordPress users improve their WordPress performance.

We will show you how you can speed up your WordPress site with just a few clicks (no coding required).

If you can point-and-click, then you can do this!

Install a WordPress Caching Plugin

Speeding up your website makes your visitors happier, improves the chances they buy from you, and even gets you more of those visitors in the first place!

But even if you know you need a faster website, when terms like caching, minification, and content delivery get thrown into the mix, it can start to feel a little overwhelming, right?

So if you’ve been struggling with the time or technical know-how required to improve your site’s speed, I’ve got the guide for you.

In this guide, I’m going to show you how to drastically slash your WordPress site’s load time without paying a single cent. To do that, you’ll use two free tools: the W3 Total Cache WordPress plugin and a service called CloudFlare.

I’ll take you through every step of the process using real screenshots. So whether you’re a total newbie or an advanced WordPress user, you’ll be able to figure everything out.

Instead of going through the whole page generation process every time, your caching plugin makes a copy of the page after the first load, and then serves that cached version to every subsequent user.

Beyond choosing quality hosting, two of the biggest improvements you can make to a WordPress site’s page load times are:

  • A good caching plugin
  • A content delivery network (CDN)

W3 Total Cache knocks out the caching part. Caching speeds up your site by serving static files instead of dynamically rendered content (which WordPress is full of). I know that sounds a bit jargony, but all it really means is that your web server has to do less work and can, therefore, serve up your content faster.

CloudFlare boosts your site speed by another method: content delivery optimization. Without a CDN, every visitor to your site has to download all of your files from one location – your website’s data center.

Whether they’re located in Paris, Texas or Paris, France, they get your website’s data from the same place. CDNs change that by creating multiple global versions of your data.

Then, visitors can download static files like images and videos from the data center nearest to them, rather than your far-off web server. This physical proximity reduces download times and therefore speeds up your website.

Put W3 Total Cache and CloudFlare together and you’ve got a page load time-slashing super duo.

Install and Setup W3 Total Cache

Log in to your WordPress site via your browser. In your left-hand navigation menu, go to Plugins >> Add New. Then, in the top right corner, type into your Keyword search bar W3 Total Cache

How to Speed up WordPress: Boost Speed & Performance (2020)

This will bring up the search results for the W3 Total Cache plugin as seen below.

Next, click the “Install Now” button

How to Speed up WordPress: Boost Speed & Performance (2020)

After the plugin installs, click the Activate button

Note:
When you click Activate, page caching will automatically be running in basic mode until you modify the settings within the plugin and click save.

Now, let’s reset the permissions of the /wp-content/ and /wp-content/uploads/ folders back to 755. In your terminal run:

[email protected] [~]# chmod 755 /home/user/public_html/wp-content/

and

[email protected] [~]# chmod 755 /home/user/public_html/wp-content/uploads/

After we have activated the plugin and reset those permissions, we’ll see Performance added as a new top-level selection on the left side navigation menu. Click on the Performance link, and you’ll be taken to the W3TC Dashboard where you will see a full list of the W3TC menu items that include the following pages:

  • Dashboard
  • General Settings
  • Page Cache
  • Minify
  • Database Cache
  • Object Cache
  • Browser Cache
  • User Agent Groups
  • Referrer Groups
  • CDN
  • Monitoring
  • Extensions
  • FAQ
  • Support
  • Install
  • About
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To begin, let’s click on the Check Compatibility button:

Jasaseo.be server statistics:

How to Speed up WordPress: Boost Speed & Performance (2020)

W3 Total Cache Compatibility:

How to Speed up WordPress: Boost Speed & Performance (2020)

Note: If you use shared hosting you have limited features, here we use a dedicated server so we can add premium features

General Settings W3 Total Cache

On the left side navigation menu, click on Performance >> General Settings to start the configuration. This is where we can enable all of the W3TC features and settings. Luckily, we will not need every setting enabled so we’re simply going to be reviewing all of the options from this window.

Page Cache

In the next section under Page Cache, we can enable Disk Enhanced mode, which is a good starting point. Click the Enable textbox, and then click the Save all settings button. Under the Disk: Enhanced drop-down menu, multiple other settings can be utilized to fit your specific needs.

How to Speed up WordPress: Boost Speed & Performance (2020)

Note: If you use shared hosting, use memcache (you cannot enable opcache feature) memcache option can be used with shared hosting, but if memcache feature is not available contact your hosting provider

Minify

Minification compresses and combines many different file types, including JavaScript and CSS on your website. Minify also shrinks your website’s code, without losing any of its functionality. You will want to use minify to improved page load times. We suggest using the Auto Minify mode.

How to Speed up WordPress: Boost Speed & Performance (2020)

Opcode Cache

Opcode cache is primarily used to cache PHP code. Because WordPress is coded in PHP, multiple sections of WordPress are regularly utilized when serving up a webpage. Opcode cache can cache this site code for a definite increase in performance and speed.

How to Speed up WordPress: Boost Speed & Performance (2020)

Database Cache

This caching option transfers work from a running database to the CPU/RAM and is not recommended if you are on a shared server. Unless you are utilizing a sizable server (like a virtual, dedicated or managed server option) with a substantial amount of RAM, leave this option unchecked.

How to Speed up WordPress: Boost Speed & Performance (2020)

Object Cache

The Object Cache option stores the results of complicated database queries to reduce the server’s load. For example, say a user made a simple search on your site. That search performs a full search on your entire WordPress database. Object caching stores that info for future use so the results can be provided more quickly next time. You can try this option, but I would only leave it enabled if you see an increase in backend speed.

How to Speed up WordPress: Boost Speed & Performance (2020)

Browser Cache

This option instructs the client’s browser to retain a local copy of the visited webpages (on their browser) when they visit your site. This reduces the overall number of calls to your website. Browser Caching speeds up your site by enabling the sites static resources to be stored in your visitors’ browsers, thereby eliminating the need for the server to continually re-supply static content over and over again to repeat visitors. You definitely need to Enable this option.

How to Speed up WordPress: Boost Speed & Performance (2020)

CDN

If you use a CDN service like Akamai, Cloudflare or MaxCDN, you will want to enable this option. A CDN (Content Delivery Network) is a service that stores static website content (like images, HTML files, javascript files, stylesheets, and videos) on geographically diverse servers around the world.

The client is then served up the stored content by the CDN, which reduces the load on your server. The response times for the client requests are also significantly reduced since the server that is closest to the client is used to serve up your stored content.

If you enable this option, you will want to consult with your specific CDN provider’s support pages on how to input the relevant information into W3 Total Cache. The exact process will vary depending on the CDN being used.

How to Speed up WordPress: Boost Speed & Performance (2020)

Reverse Proxy

Reverse proxies are an advanced concept that generally requires a significant configuration investment. Reverse proxies operate like this; If your server receives a large number of requests at the same time, it can get bogged down fetching the requested data and trying to serve up new requests.

A reverse proxy server can assist in situations like this by acting as a middleman, as the proxy server will receive the redirected requests instead of your webserver. The proxy server can then access the cache itself and serve up the requested content to the client.

This allows for the actual server to perform other tasks. There are multiple reverse proxy software titles that handle this type of duty. NginX, Varnish, and Squid can assist in a large scale operation, but its setup and configuration are best left to systems admins and developers.

How to Speed up WordPress: Boost Speed & Performance (2020)

Monitoring

W3TC integrates nicely with New Relic which functions as a performance monitoring system. Because of New relic’s ability to work with multiple programming languages and server technologies (one of which is PHP), it makes for a significant way to further optimize WordPress.

New Relic’s PHP monitoring daemon tracks performance at a deeper level. This allows for the monitoring and diagnosis of unexpected server problems that can be related to your server’s overall performance. Again, the setup and configuration of New Relic are best left to systems admins and developers.

How to Speed up WordPress: Boost Speed & Performance (2020)

Fragment Cache

A modern advanced website has multiple sections, parts, and elements that are specifically designed to interact differently with each client. These components can be as simple as a social media icon at the bottom of the page all the way up to a shopping cart.

Many times these elements are designed to be personalized to each user. Because these features are dynamic in nature, trying to provide caching for these objects can be challenging at best. Fragment caching bridges that gap between no caching at all and full caching.

How to Speed up WordPress: Boost Speed & Performance (2020)

Licensing

If you have purchased the Pro version of W3TC, the license key is added here.

How to Speed up WordPress: Boost Speed & Performance (2020)

Cloudflare Settings

Now login to Cloudflare and go to your speed settingsEnable all auto minify settings, Rocket LoaderRailgunaccelerated mobile links, and just copy the same settings I use…

How to Speed up WordPress: Boost Speed & Performance (2020)

Once you’re done configuring W3 Total Cache, and Cloudflare, purge all caches in W3 Total Cache (below). If you don’t see this, there may be an ’empty all caches’ option in the dashboard tab. Then retest your site in Pingdom. It can take up to 24 hours for Cloudflare nameservers to propagate, but you should receive a confirmation email when it’s complete.

W3 Total Cache Issues

Website formatting issues – disable the “minify” option in the General Settings tab.

Slow WordPress dashboard – disable “object cache” in the W3TC General Settings tab, set page rules in Cloudflare, then disable unused settings in WordPress core using the WP Disable plugin.

Slower load times than before – disable “object cache” or wait 72 hours for propagation.

Crashed website: open wp-config and delete these lines:

/** Enable W3 Total Cache */
define('WP_CACHE', true); // Added by W3 Total Cache

Open .htaccess and remove all lines between and including:

# BEGIN W3TC ...
# END W3TC

Then delete: advanced-cache.php, objectcache.php, and db.php from wp-content. Also delete the w3-total-cache folder in wp-content/plugins.

Optimize Images for Speed

Images bring life to your content and help boost engagement. Researchers have found that using colored visuals makes people 80% more likely to read your content.

However, if your images aren’t optimized, then they could be hurting more than helping. In fact, non-optimized images are one of the most common speed issues that we see on beginner websites.

Before you upload a photo directly from your phone or camera, we recommend that you use photo editing software to optimize your images for the web.

In their original formats, these photos can have huge file sizes. But based on the image file format and the compression you choose in your editing software, you can decrease your image size by up to 5x.

At JasaSEO.be, we only use two image formats: JPEG and PNG.

Now you might be wondering: what’s the difference?

Well, PNG image format is uncompressed. When you compress an image it loses some information, so an uncompressed image will be higher quality with more detail. The downside is that it’s a larger file size, so it takes longer to load.

JPEG, on the other hand, is a compressed file format which slightly reduces image quality, but it’s significantly smaller in size.

So how do we decide which image format to choose?

  • If our photo or image has a lot of different colors, then we use JPEG.
  • If it’s a simpler image or we need a transparent image, then we use PNG.

The majority of our images are JPEGs.

Below is a comparison chart of the file sizes and different compression tool that we could have used for the StrangeLoop image used above.

How to Speed up WordPress: Boost Speed & Performance (2020)

As you can see in the chart, the image format you use can make a HUGE difference in website performance.

For details on exactly how to optimize your images using Photoshop and other popular editing tools, without sacrificing quality

Future Read:

WordPress Performance Optimization Best Practices

After installing a caching plugin and optimizing your images, you’ll notice your site will start loading a lot faster.

But if you really want to keep your website as fast as possible, you’ll need to use the best practices listed below.

These tips aren’t too technical, so you don’t need to know any code to implement them. But using them will prevent common problems that will slow down your website.

Keep Your WordPress Site Updated

How to Speed up WordPress: Boost Speed & Performance (2020)

As a well maintained open source project, WordPress is updated frequently. Each update will not only offer new features but it will also fix security issues and bugs. Your WordPress theme and plugins may have regular updates, too.

As a website owner, it’s your responsibility to keep your WordPress site, theme, and plugins updated to the latest versions. Not doing so may make your site slow and unreliable, and make you vulnerable to security threats.

Optimize Background Processes

Background processes in WordPress are scheduled tasks that run in the background of your WordPress site. Following are some examples of background tasks that run on a WordPress site:

  • WordPress Backup plugin tasks
  • WordPress cron jobs to publish scheduled posts
  • WordPress cron jobs to check for updates
  • Search engines and other crawlers trying to fetch content

Tasks like cron jobs for scheduled posts and updates have minimal impact on website performance.

However, other background processes like backup plugins and excessive crawling by search engines can slow down a website.

Use Excerpts on Homepage and Archives

How to Speed up WordPress: Boost Speed & Performance (2020)

By default, WordPress displays the full content of each article on your homepage and archives. This means your homepage, categories, tags, and other archive pages will all load slower.

Another disadvantage of showing full articles on these pages is that users don’t feel the need to visit the actual article. This can reduce your pageviews, and the time your users spend on your site.

In order to speed up your loading times for archive pages, you can set your site to display excerpts instead of the full content.

You can navigate to Settings » Reading and select “For each article in a feed, show: Summary” instead of “Full Text.”

How to Speed up WordPress: Boost Speed & Performance (2020)

Split Comments into Pages

Getting lots of comments on your blog posts? Congratulations! That’s a great indicator of an engaged audience.

But the downside is, loading all those comments can impact your site’s speed.

WordPress comes with a built-in solution for that. Simply go to Settings » Discussion and check the box next to the “Break comments into pages” option.

How to Speed up WordPress: Boost Speed & Performance (2020)

Use a Content Delivery Network (CDN)

Remember how we mentioned above that users in different geographical locations may experience different loading times on your site?

That’s because the location of your web hosting servers can have an impact on your site speed.

For example, let’s say your web hosting company has its servers in the United States. A visitor who’s also in the United States will generally see faster loading times than a visitor in India.

Using a Content Delivery Network (CDN), can help to speed up loading times for all of your visitors.

A CDN is a network made up of servers all around the world. Each server will store “static” files used to make up your website.

These static files include unchanging files such as images, CSS, and JavaScript, unlike your WordPress pages which are “dynamic” as explained above.

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When you use a CDN, every time a user visits your website they are served those static files from whichever server is closest to them. Your own web hosting server will also be faster since the CDN is doing a lot of the work.

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Don’t Upload Audio/Video Files Directly to WordPress

You can directly upload audio and video files to your WordPress site, and it will automatically display them in an HTML5 player…

But you should NEVER do that!

Hosting audio and videos will cost you bandwidth. You could be charged overage fees by your web hosting company, or they may even shut down your site altogether, even if your plan includes “unlimited” bandwidth.

Hosting large media files also increases your backup sizes tremendously, and makes it difficult for you to restore WordPress from backup.

Instead, you should use an audio and video hosting service like YouTube, Vimeo, DailyMotion, SoundCloud, etc., and let them take care of the hard work. They have the bandwidth for it!

WordPress has a built-in video embed feature, so you can copy and paste your video’s URL directly into your post and it will embed automatically.

Use a Theme Optimized For Speed and SEO

How to Speed up WordPress: Boost Speed & Performance (2020)

When selecting a theme for your website, it’s important to pay special attention to speed optimization. Some beautiful and impressive-looking themes are actually poorly coded and can slow your site way down.

It’s usually better to go with a simpler theme than to choose a theme that’s bloated with complex layouts, flashy animations, and other unnecessary features. You can always add those features using quality WordPress plugins.

Pro tip: Best AdSense Optimized WordPress Themes for 2020 High CTR

Use Faster Plugins

How to Speed up WordPress: Boost Speed & Performance (2020)

Poorly coded WordPress plugins often load too much bloat whether your site needs it or not. This increases your page load speed and slows down your site.

Slow Loading WordPress Plugins

Most slow WordPress plugins include social sharing, statistic (analytics), sliders, portfolios, page builders, calendars, chat, contact forms, related post, sitemap, Wordfence, WPML, WooCommerce, and any plugin that runs ongoing scans or processes. These can be identified using Query Monitor or GTmetrix Waterfall.

  1. AddThis
  2. AdSense Click Fraud Monitoring
  3. All-In-One Event Calendar
  4. Backup Buddy
  5. Beaver Builder
  6. Better WordPress Google XML Sitemaps
  7. Broken Link checker (use Dr. Link Check)
  8. Constant Contact for WordPress
  9. Contact Form 7
  10. Contextual Related Posts
  11. Digi Auto Links
  12. Disqus Comment System
  13. Divi Builder
  14. Essential Grid
  15. Facebook Chat
  16. Fancy Gallery
  17. Fuzzy SEO Booster
  18. Google Analytics
  19. Google Language Translator
  20. Google Translate
  21. Google XML Sitemaps
  22. Jetpack
  23. Leaflet Maps Marker
  24. MyReview
  25. NextGEN Gallery
  26. NewStatPress
  27. Real Estate Website Builder
  28. Really Simple Share
  29. Reveal IDs
  30. Revolution Slider
  31. Sharebar
  32. ShareThis
  33. S2 member
  34. SEO Auto Links & Related Posts
  35. Share Buttons by AddToAny
  36. Share Buttons by E-MAILiT
  37. ShareThis
  38. Social Discussions
  39. Socialable
  40. Similar Posts
  41. Slimstat Analytics
  42. SumoMe
  43. Talk.To
  44. Tribulent Slideshow Gallery
  45. Ultimate Social Media & Share
  46. VaultPress
  47. WooCommerce Customer History
  48. Wordfence (disable live traffic reports)
  49. WordPress Facebook
  50. WordPress Related Posts
  51. WordPress Popular Posts
  52. WordPress Social Ring
  53. WP Bakey (formerly Visual Composer)
  54. WP Facebook Like Plugin
  55. WP Jump Menu
  56. WP Social Bookmarking Lite
  57. WP Social Share
  58. WP Statistics
  59. WP Power Stats
  60. WP-PostViews
  61. WPML (if you use too many extensions)
  62. wpCloaker
  63. WPML
  64. Yet Another Related Post Plugin
  65. Yuzo Related Posts

Finding Slow Plugins In GTmetrix

An alternative solution to finding YOUR slowest loading plugins is to run your site through GTmetrix and check out your report. If when you expand items the same plugin appears multiple times in your report (or simply takes a long time to load in the GTmetrix waterfall tab), you should probably delete or replace that plugin.

How to Speed up WordPress: Boost Speed & Performance (2020)

Turn Off Unused Plugin Settings

Go through each of your plugins and decide which settings you can turn off (this will lower CPU).

Wordfence’s live traffic view also consumes high CPU…

How to Speed up WordPress: Boost Speed & Performance (2020)

Avoid Using 2 Plugins For Duplicate Functionality

Since Yoast creates a sitemap for you, you don’t need the Google XML Sitemaps plugin. If your host takes backups for you, you don’t need a plugin for that. If you have Google Analytics, do you really a statistics plugin that slows down your site and does about 1/1000 of what Google Analytics can do? Think about which plugins you actually need and delete the ones you don’t. And instead of using Jetpack so you can use 1 or 2 features, install a lightweight plugin that does the same thing but doesn’t have a million settings/features that will slow down your site.

Disable Unused Settings In WordPress

WP Disable lets you disable settings in WordPress that consume CPU and slow down your site. It also has options for heartbeat control (if you remember the actual heartbeat control plugin, you can now delete it and just use this)… as well as a few other options that can speed up your website/admin panel. Go through the settings and disable everything you don’t use…

Tips On Using WP Disable

  • Disable EVERYTHING 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
  • Miscellaneous options in the “request” tab can further your improve load times

How to Speed up WordPress: Boost Speed & Performance (2020)

Fine-Tuning WordPress for Speed (Advanced)

By using the WordPress optimization best practices and basic speed tips listed above, you should see a big improvement in your site’s loading times.

But every fraction of a second counts. If you want to get the very fastest speed possible, then you’ll want to make a few more changes.

The following tips are a little more technical, with some requiring you to modify your site files or have a basic understanding of PHP. You’ll want to make sure to backup your site first just in case.

Split Long Posts into Pages

How to Speed up WordPress: Boost Speed & Performance (2020)

Readers tend to love blog posts that are longer and more in-depth. Longer posts even tend to rank higher in search engines.

But if you’re publishing long-form articles with lots of images, it could be hurting your loading times.

Instead, consider splitting up your longer posts into multiple pages.

WordPress comes with built-in functionality to do that. Simply add the <!––nextpage––> tag in your article where you want to split it into next page. Do that again if you want to split the article on to the next page as well.

Reduce External HTTP Requests

How to Speed up WordPress: Boost Speed & Performance (2020)

Many WordPress plugins and themes load all kinds of files from other websites. These files can include scripts, stylesheets, and images from external resources like Google, Facebook, analytics services, and so on.

It’s ok to use a few of these. Many of these files are optimized to load as quickly as possible, so it’s faster than hosting them on your own website.

But if your plugins are making a lot of these requests, then it could slow down your website significantly.

You can reduce all these external HTTP requests by disabling scripts and styles or merging them into one file.

Reduce Database Calls

Note: This step is a little more technical and will require basic knowledge of PHP and WordPress template files.

Unfortunately, there are a lot of poorly coded WordPress themes out there. They ignore WordPress standard practices and end up making direct database calls, or too many unnecessary requests to the database. This can really slow down your server by giving it too much work to do.

Even well-coded themes can have code that makes database calls just to get your blog’s basic information.

In this example, every time you see <?php, that’s the start of a new database call:

<html xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml" dir="<?php language_attributes(); ?>">
<head profile="http://gmpg.org/xfn/11">
<meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="<?php bloginfo('html_type'); ?>
charset=<?php bloginfo('charset'); ?>" />

You can’t blame theme developers for that. They simply have no other way to find out what language your site is in.

But if you are customizing your site using a child theme, then you can replace these database calls with your specific information in order to reduce all those database calls.

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<html xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml" dir="ltr">
<head profile="http://gmpg.org/xfn/11">
<meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html; charset=UTF-8" />

Review your parent theme for instances like this that can be easily replaced with static information.

Optimize WordPress Database

How to Speed up WordPress: Boost Speed & Performance (2020)

After using WordPress for a while, your database will have lots of information that you probably don’t need any more. For improved performance, you can optimize your database to get rid of all that unnecessary information.

This can be easily managed with the WP-Sweep plugin. It allows you to clean your WordPress database by deleting things like trashed posts, revisions, unused tags, etc. It will also optimize your database’s structure with just a click.

Limit Post Revisions

Post revisions take up space in your WordPress database. Some users believe that revisions can also affect some database queries run by plugins. If the plugin doesn’t specifically exclude post revisions, it might slow down your site by searching through them unnecessarily.

You can easily limit the number of revisions WordPress keeps for each article. Simply add this line of code to your wp-config.php file.

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define( 'WP_POST_REVISIONS', 4 );

This code will limit WordPress to only save your last 4 revisions of each post or page, and discard older revisions automatically.

Disable Hotlinking and Leaching of Your Content

How to Speed up WordPress: Boost Speed & Performance (2020)

One way this happens is when other websites serve your images directly from their URLs on your website, instead of uploading them to their own servers. In effect, they’re stealing your web hosting bandwidth, and you don’t get any traffic to show for it.

Simply add this code to your .htaccess file to block hotlinking of images from your WordPress site.

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#disable hotlinking of images with forbidden or custom image option
RewriteEngine on
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^$
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^http(s)?://(www\.)?jasaseo.be [NC]
RewriteRule \.(jpg|jpeg|png|gif)$ – [NC,F,L]

Note: Don’t forget to change jasaseo.be with your own domain.

Use Lazy Loading if Needed

How to Speed up WordPress: Boost Speed & Performance (2020)

If you add many images, multiple video embeds, and photo galleries to your blog posts, then your site can benefit from lazy loading.

Instead of loading all your images and videos at once, lazy loading downloads only those that will be visible on the user’s screen. It replaces all other images and video embeds with a placeholder image.

As a user scrolls down, your website loads images that are now visible in the browser’s viewing area. You can lazy load images, videos, and even WordPress comments and gravatars.

For images, iframes, and videos, you can use the Lazy Load by WP Rocket plugin.

Use DNS Level Website Firewall

How to Speed up WordPress: Boost Speed & Performance (2020)

A WordPress firewall plugin helps you block brute force attacks, hacking attempts, and malware. However, not all firewall plugins are the same.

Some of them run on your website, this means attackers are already able to reach your web server before they get blocked. This is still effective for security, but not optimal for performance.

This is why we recommend using a DNS level firewall like Cloudflare. These firewalls block maclious requests even before they reach your website.

Fix HTTPS/SSL Errors without Plugin

How to Speed up WordPress: Boost Speed & Performance (2020)

If you are switching your site to HTTPS/SSL, then it is likely that you may run across mixed content errors.

The easiest way to fix this is by installing a plugin like Really Simple SSL. However, the problem is that these plugins catch all URLs first, then change them to HTTPS before sending them to user’s browsers.

This has a small but noticeable performance impact. You can reduce this by manually fixing all URLs.

Use Latest PHP Version

WordPress is mainly written in the PHP programming language. It is a server side language, which means it is installed and runs on your hosting server.

All good WordPress hosting companies use the most stable PHP version on their servers. However, it is possible that your hosting company is running a slightly older PHP version.

The newer PHP 7 is two times faster than its predecessors. That’s a huge performance boost that your website must take advantage of.

You can see which PHP version your site is using by installing and activating the Version Info plugin.

If your website is using a version lower than PHP 7, then ask your hosting provider to update it for you. If they are unable to do so, then it is time to find a new WordPress hosting company.

That’s it! We hope this article helped you learn how to improve wordpress speed and performance.

Go ahead and try out these techniques. Don’t forget to test your website speed before and after implementing these best practices. You’ll be surprised these changes will boost your WordPress performance.

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