Optimize your WordPress website for optimal speed

Increase Website Speed:

Want to increase website speed based on WordPress? Everyone loves a fast website. It also affects your ranking. Faster websites result in higher ranks. But achieving speed is not that easy but it’s not that difficult either. When you first start with WordPress it’s not horribly slow or anything like that but that doesn’t mean that you can’t increase website speed and improve its performance.

So first thing that you should do is actually check the speed of your website. There are two tools that I would recommend you to use. Pingdom and Google page insights. Pingdom also provides tools to check your DNS health, ping and trace route and site uptime.

So let’s get started, I am going to try to make it as brief as possible.

There are several things that affect the speed of your website. So let’s get started. Following are 15 tips to increase website speed.

Website Hosting:

Choosing a good hosting is the most important factor. You will hear everyone stressing on it when it comes to Website speed. Hostgator and Bluehost are reasonably priced and most famous and good Webhost for blogs. If you have a lot of visitors the go with VPS hosting or a dedicated server.VPS and Dedicated hosting will increase website speed greatly but they are also more costly.

Use a caching plugin:

WordPress is based on php which means that its dynamic hence it effects and increases your server load. What you can do is use a cache plugin that will create static files that are much faster to load and decrease the CPU load of your server. There are two best plugin at the moment to increase website speed. W3 Total cache and Super cache.

W3 Total cache:

I recommend using W3 total cache because it more advanced and it has a ton of options and setting that you can tweak to get the most out of it. But for some users this might be a little confusing, specially the beginners. But learning it is not that hard either there is no rocket science in it, just a few things that you should know. It may require a bit learning but it’s totally worth it. It can also integrate with Cloudflare which we will talk about in a bit. And it also minifies HTML CSS and JS and cache database and media query strings as well.

WP Super cache:

On the other hand is Super cache. It doesn’t have a lot of option like W3 total cache. It is a caching plugin and that pretty much about it. Its job is to cache and it does it well. It may be relatively easier for most users than W3 total cache.

Optimize CSS and JS:

I use Script optimizer to optimize my CSS and Java script. It does it quite well greatly improves performance. It has the following features:

  • Combine several scripts into the single file (to minimize http requests)
  • Pack scripts using Dean Edwards’s JavaScript Packer
  • You can move all Java Scripts to the bottom
  • Combine all CSS scripts into the single files (with grouping by “media”)
  • Pack CSS files (remove comments, tabs, spaces, newlines)
  • Ability to include JavaScript and CSS files (new)
  • If any script fails and shows error you can add it to exclude list

Data Base Optimizing:

Another important part of you WordPress blog is you database. It contains all the records of the revisions of your posts and the posts that are saved in your draft etc. You might not need all those extra copies of your posts but there are still there effecting your Database.

There is a neat plugin out there that is specifically for this purpose and gets the job done. It’s called WP-Optimize. WP-Optimize optimizes and increase website speed with a click of a button.

Compress Images:

Images largely effect the page size of your site. The best thing that you can do is compress those large images and reduce their size. EWWW Image Optimizer loselessly compresses images and reduces page load time and increase website speed.

There is another plugin called Smush.it by yahoo. It is a great plugin that uploads each and every file to Yahoo! and then downloads the resulting file. Without effecting your server speed. It has the option to Bulk Smush so it smushes every image on your blog with a click of a button and increase website speed.

Lazy Load Images:

Lazy Load is a WordPress plugin based on java script which does a very remarkable thing that it load images as you scroll down the page. So all of the images are not loaded at once when you open your site. So it increases website speed by load only those images that are visible at the moment.

CSS Sprites:

Background images make pages look good, but it also make them slower. Each background image is an extra HTTP request. There’s a fix: combine background images into a CSS sprite. But creating sprites is hard, requiring arcane knowledge and lots of trial and error. SpriteMe makes it a little simple. it automatically creates sprites for you all you have to do is replace those images. But remember you will have to will have to define the style of each image. But its worth it if you want to increase website speed. And lowering those HTTP requests really helps.

WP Parallel Loading system:

WP Parallel Loading system is used to increases website speed by parallelizing the connections to the server, since standard HTTP v1.1 only allows 2 connections, at the same time, from the same domain. This plugin will virtualize connections, through defined subdomains. You can have as many subdomains as you like. It greatly improves performance especially if you have a lot of images.

Use a CDN:

CDN (Content Delivery Network). Your visitors are from all parts of the word but your server is at one place, what CDN does is that it distributes your files to different locations of the world so that users can access the one that is the closest to them. Max CDN has the most reasonable pricing and it also performs well. You should try it out. It will greatly increase website speed.

Use Cloudflare:

Cloudflare is not considered purely a CDN but it almost the same as the topic above and its is a very good, in my opinion the best choice if you want to go with free package. It serves as a reverse proxy and all of your traffic goes from their servers while increasing website speed. They also provide CDN and Protection as well. It fully integrates with W3 Total cache and helps to Minify CSS JS and HTML also. It has several other bells and whistles that you should check out.

Disable hotlinking:

Hot linking occurs when a person’s directly links to your image hence he is using your bandwidth and slowing down you site and eating your resources which you don’t want to happen. You can disable hotlinking by pasting the following code in your .htaccess file.

RewriteEngine on
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^$
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^http(s)?://(www.)?devmadness.com [NC]
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^http(s)?://(www.)?google.com [NC]
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^http(s)?://(www.)?feeds2.feedburner.com/yoururl [NC]
RewriteRule .(jpg|jpeg|png|gif)$ – [NC,F,L]

Change the URL of my website with yours. And Feed burner also otherwise images there won’t load up correctly.

Responsive Design or Mobile theme:

The first thing that you should check while selecting a theme is that it is responsive or not. Being is responsive is becoming a standard now a days but if you are still using a non-responsive theme then no need to worry you can still optimize it for mobile devices. There are two plugins that you should know about. WP-Touch and the second one is the Mobile theme plugin bundled in Jetpack. Both of them are free so you have nothing to lose. And they will greatly increase website speed on mobile devices and it will also look good and will be easier for the users to read, eventually increasing user happiness and in the end making you happy J

Solid Framework:

Using a solid framework will ease you in many areas. There are three great frameworks in my sight. Genesis Framework, Thesis Framework and Woo Framework. They not only give you a good start in speed but also are good for SEO and well.

Leverage Browser cache:

Brewer’s cache is used so that your users don’t have to download the static content again and again. It will speed up you site as well as reduce bandwidth use. It is recommended that you set the cache limit for at least a week for that. You can do this by pasting this code in your .htaccess file.

ExpiresActive On
ExpiresByType image/gif A2592000
ExpiresByType image/png A2592000
ExpiresByType image/jpg A2592000
ExpiresByType image/jpeg A2592000

Minimal Design:

Final and the most important of all, keep it simple. People like clean simple and modern things. Keeping it simple doesn’t mean remove everything but the content. People come to your website for content don’t scare them with a lot of pop ups and widgets, that don’t need to be there. Only use essential and helpful widgets. Keep your homepage clean, Use excerpts instead of full posts and use the social media widgets along with post only and not on the home page. You can use Widget context plugin to specify which widget to be displayed on which page.

And that’s pretty much about it for now these were 15 tips to increase website speed, let me know if it helped.

I just love WordPress, Web development and design and talking about it. I am also a tech enthusiast and I also like to share my thoughts about Windows, Linux and Android.

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