Are you tired of your WordPress website loading slowly? Do you want to make it faster, but don’t know where to start? In this blog post, I will show you how to dramatically speed up your WordPress website. I will cover everything from the hosting plan you should use to optimizing your images. So if you’re ready to make your website lightning-fast, keep reading!
1. Stop using shared hosting and switch to cloud hosting
Shared hosting is when you are on a server that also stores websites for other people, which causes your website to slow down due to the heavy load. Instead of shared hosting, you should use cloud hosting to speed up your WordPress website so that your website gets its own dedicated resources.
An example would be if you are running your WordPress site on GoDaddy or a cPanel WordPress install. These websites are very difficult to optimize and require an enormous amount of time to speed up your WordPress website. Cloud hosting is proven to be incredibly faster since you are not sharing resources with anyone else.
This, by far, is the most effective tip to speed up your WordPress website. Why? Well, when you use shared hosting, your website is sharing resources with many other sites on the same server. This means that when someone visits another site on your host provider’s servers they are taking away some of the resources that your site could have used to load faster. If you have a really troublesome website that you share servers with, it can negatively impact your page loading speed to a point where it’s extremely slow.
If your website is on shared hosting, you should switch as soon as possible because there’s no doubt that you will see an improvement in page loading time and overall site performance.
I recommend setting up your WordPress site on Cloudways. You’ll notice a huge difference when you switch over from shared hosting to a cloud hosting environment. And Cloudways has been awesome so far. 24/7 live chat support and they know their stuff.
2. Enable “Breeze” and CDN (Content Delivery Network)
The next tip to speed up your WordPress website is to enable cache and CDN on the website. “Breeze” is a caching plugin and a CDN is a content delivery network. This means that whatever content you place on your website will be stored in a cache and then delivered to the visitor’s browser from a nearby server.
The result is that the webpage loads much faster for two reasons: 1) A cached copy of your content exists on local servers so people don’t have to download everything again from your own site. 2) If you have a CDN, it means your content can be loaded from a server near the person viewing your website (meaning it’s likely they will get the file faster).
Once you’ve set up your server and WordPress install on Cloudways, I recommend logging into the site and setting up the “Breeze” plugin first. Breeze comes installed automatically when you create the install on Cloudways.
Log in to your WordPress dashboard and head to Settings > Breeze. Enable Cache System, gZip compression, and Browser Cache. Then click the save changes button at the bottom. This will enable cache to speed up your WordPress website.
Head back to your Cloudways application settings and click the Cloudways CDN tab. Enter your full website URL and click the create button. Wait about 15 seconds for the CDN to be created. Click on the CDN URL to copy the CDN URL that was created to your clipboard. Head back to your Breeze settings and click on the CDN tab. Switch the Activate CDN option to “On” and paste the CDN URL in the field provided. Then click save changes at the bottom. This enables the CDN to deliver the content to speed up your WordPress website.
3. Optimize and compress your images
Although it’s incredibly important to have high-quality photos, images, and graphics on your website, it’s even more important to ensure that the images are optimized for both viewing and loading speed. If you have an enormous 3MB image that takes forever to load, you will lose visitors. The attention span of visitors nowadays is very short and you don’t want to lose them because of slow loading images. To speed up your WordPress website, you need to optimize all of the images.
It’s important to use high-quality photos on your website to showcase the best visuals that help convert your visitors but if the images are huge then they will load slowly, period. In addition, large photos can quickly eat up your website’s storage space.
You want to find the perfect balance between the quality and size of the images you place on your website. You can do this by compressing your images first using software like Adobe Photoshop. It’s ideal to crop and resize your images to the exact dimensions of the placeholders you’re putting them into.
For example, if you have a spot on your website that’ll fit a 600×600 pixel photo. If you put in a photo that is 1200×1200 pixels, you will have doubled the size of the photo, doubled the loading time, and kept the same exact quality. By reducing the 1200×1200 pixel photo down to 600×600, you have a 2x faster loading image with the same exact quality.
Pro tip: Install the “Optimole” plugin. This plugin can automatically speed up your WordPress website by compressing and resizing your images to the optimal size and quality that’s being served to your visitors. It would still be ideal to compress your images a little bit before uploading them to the website but Optimole does a lot of the heavy lifting for you with your images.
For example, if a visitor loads the website on a mobile device, Optimole will serve smaller images that are scaled to the visitor’s mobile device. This can potentially make the mobile experience even faster than the desktop experience.
4. Reduce the number of plugins you use
Each plugin that you add can potentially slow down your website to a small degree. This isn’t because there’s anything wrong with the plugins but rather due to the way WordPress works and how it loads the plugins when a webpage is loaded. By reducing the number of plugins you use, you can sometimes speed up your WordPress website to a small degree.
Sometimes plugins break, especially if they’ve been abandoned by their developers. When a plugin breaks or some internal WordPress codex changes within the website (like deprecated WordPress functions in older WordPress versions), it can cause your website to break and/or load slowly. If this happens, you’ll need to deactivate the plugin and contact the developer or find a new alternative.
Try to keep the plugin count to a minimum. The more plugins you have running on your website, the more scripts need to be loaded to serve your visitors. And when 1 plugin breaks or has conflicts, it’s sometimes difficult to troubleshoot. The best way (and this really sucks) to troubleshoot problematic plugins is to deactivate them 1 at a time to find which one is causing issues.
5. Keep themes and plugins updated
Always keep your website’s core version, plugins, and themes up-to-date to speed up your WordPress website. When a theme or plugin doesn’t function because it hasn’t been upgraded to the latest version of WordPress, your site becomes potentially vulnerable to security holes that hackers can use as an entry point to exploit.
Sometimes a website can run perfectly fine on an older WordPress version but still needs to be updated because the older version will eventually stop being supported. That means no more updates or security patches are coming your way, leaving your website exposed to hacker attacks. It’s important to keep up with all of this because it affects your visitors, too. The last thing you want is for a visitor’s information to get hijacked just because they’re browsing your site and buying your products.
Expert advice: Always keep a backup of your website before running any updates on your website. There are a number of backup plugins out there (like UpDraft, for example). This will allow you to roll back to your older website in case there was a problem with the update. I can’t stress this enough.
How To Drastically Speed Up Your WordPress Website Conclusion
If you want to speed up your WordPress website, follow these tips. Shared hosting is not going to cut it anymore – cloud hosting is the way to go. Enable Breeze and a CDN for even faster loading times. Optimize and compress your images. Reduce the number of plugins you use (or find lighter-weight equivalents). Keep themes and plugins updated. Reach out to me for a one-on-one consultation if you need help implementing any of these changes on your WordPress website – I’d be happy to help!