It’s all well and good designing a nice looking website with cool graphics and features, but if the website doesn’t run smoothly then user experience can suffer.
However, there are a couple of steps you can take to maximise the speed of your wordpress website. Let’s get into them.
One of the most engaging features of any website is the images. You expect every website to have imagery, but it does add to the amount of content that the site has to load which can affect the site speed. The best way to deal with this is to optimise your images either before adding them to your website or after using a plugin such as litespeed cache to compress the files and serve a format such as webp on the front end.
When uploading your images to your site, in whatever format, make sure that the files are not too large. You can use a variety of photo editing software such as photoshop or apple preview to resize your images prior so that you’re only sending what you need to the server.
It can help to plan out what image sizes and aspect ratios you want before you export them. For example, a JPEG image which needs to fit a landscape background will rarely need to be larger than 2560px by 1440px and most of the time aspect ratios for this purpose will stick to 16:9 or 4:3. Preparing in this way and exporting what you need rather than files that may be too large can go a long way to increasing site speed even before using any plugin to compress the images further or serve smaller file formats.After these images are created and uploaded plugins will transform them to .webp files which are incredibly small and take a whole lot less time to load.
This sort of image editing is usually best done through an application like Adobe Photoshop but there are many other image editing softwares can be used to alter images before putting them into wordpress.
You can of course minimise the script yourself if you’re a more experienced developer. It may be more time consuming but if you know what you’re doing you can also spend some time removing unnecessary scripts and code that may be hindering your site from reaching its full potential.
Caching is important to saving time and speeding up loading of a page because it allows the browser to remember certain resources from a previous visit meaning it doesn’t have to produce it again when it’s reloaded. Again, similarly to general script optimisation, there are plugins which will do this for you.
There are a variety of caching plugins to help speed up page load times by creating and storing a static copy of posts and pages, reducing the number of queries needed to render the site. If you are looking to speed up your website, we’d highly recommend that you consider this option as it is easy enough to set up after installation.
It is always good to remember that when making future edits or changes to your website, clear the site cache before and after, and to be extra careful we find it’s generally a good idea to deactivate the caching plugins entirely while making changes.
Some website hosts will provide a level of caching or an ability to purge database caches by default if you host your site with them.
CDN – Cloud Delivery Network
Using a CDN combined with your existing server can certainly decrease the loading times of your website depending where the servers are located. CDNs work by distributing the data through a number of servers after the origin, meaning that the user will be able to access the website closer to where the data has been sent from, reducing the time it takes to get to them. Due to the distributed nature of the servers, they are also more reliable and more able to withstand traffic. For example if one server goes down then having a CDN set up will allow your data to be accessed still from these other sites.
Most of the best hosts will have some form of CDN but you can also get plugins which offer their own CDNs to integrate into your site to improve load times.
The final option is to invest in faster servers. This can cost you a lot depending on the size of your site, but is a simple way of guaranteeing that your wordpress website will load faster. There are a variety of fast wordpress hosting platforms that will do the job, but it is best to do the research in these areas to find the best fit for your website that is within your budget. Find out where your visitors are coming from and ideally choose servers based nearer where those visitors to your website are based. There’s no point in forking out for an AWS (amazon web services) server when all you may need is something cheap and simple like a server from Ionos or Godaddy.
Get an all-in-one plugin
Yes, you heard us correctly. There are actually plugins which can do a lot of these jobs in an all-in-one package of sorts. We’re always on the lookout for new plugins and Nitropack has given us fantastic results on our site. We had an optimisation score of 60 and after going through and running the various parts of the plugin we moved up to 99 on page speed, google insights and an A rating on GTmetrix. Nitropack has both a free and paid version, the free version is limited to 5,000 page views. There are various tiers of pricing scaling with the amount of page views and bandwidth.
This kind of all in one plugin will optimise caching, script and more without you needing to worry about every possible way you can squeeze out a bit more speed, because it does it for you. Each has a variety of settings that need to be tweaked to give the best results but if you’re looking for an easier way to make your site go a bit faster then look no further. Many other plugins are available including WProcket, Litespeed cache and WPsmush all of which are great options.
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