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Increase WordPress Speed | Tried & Tested on over hundred sites

The 8 second factor for websites:

A user waits for maximum 8 seconds for your website to load and if this doesn’t happen, more than 50% of visitor will leave.

More than 80% of the websites are never optimized for speed and people end up paying for useless stuff.

How to check your website page speed: You can check your website page speed using GTmetrix.com. This website checks your site with Google page speed as well as Yslow and generates a rating based upon page load time, caching, image optimization and many more factors. If your website is 85+ rated on Google page speed  and load time is less than 6-7 seconds, you are on the safe side.

But what if your website is rated less than that?  What if your website is loading in 8+ seconds.

I am sharing some of the simple tips and tweaks which can be used & done by anyone (yes even if you are not a developer or coder) to Increase WordPress Speed. Using these simple techniques I have optimized more than 100 websites, so these are tried & tested.

The tweaks are mentioned in the priority of highest to lowest :
1. Leverage Browser Caching via W3 Total Cache :  Browser caching is the most important thing which must be done in a proper way to add extra fuel to your site. There are many plugins in WordPress for caching like WP Super Cache, Quick cache and many more but if you want the best results, use W3 Total Cache.

So here are the settings which I think to be best for the website.
Note: Do not change any other setting of the plugin if it is not mentioned below

  • Go to General Settings and enable Page Cache, Object Cache, browser cache. (Don’t enable minify)
  • Now go to Browser Cache page and make the settings as given below :

General:





CSS & JS :


HTML & XML

Media & Other Files:

Expires header lifetime:  seconds

Note: We do not recommend enabling Minify on websites using Javascripts for major functionalities (e.g Slider) as sometimes it breaks the layout of the website.

These settings will properly implement caching on your website, now lets see the other tweaks.

2.Enable Gzip Compression : We have setup Gzip compression via W3 Total Cache already but in order to make sure it is implemented properly we have to make changes at two more locations :

  • Enable GZip in WordPress Options.php file : Open the options.php file of your wordpress.
    options.php file can be accessed using the link format : http://example.com/wp-admin/options.php

In the options.php file, search (CTRL + F on Windows & Command + f on Mac) Gzip.
You will find its default value to be 0, change it to 1

  • Secondly if you are using Cpanel for your hosting :

Go to Software/Services and click on Optimize website
Cpanel Optimizw website _wpwire.net

Now you will get a screen showing these options. Choose the radio button saying Compress all contents and press the update settings button.
Disabled
Compress all content
Compress the specified MIME types
MIME types 
These settings will properly enable Gzip on your wordpress site.

3. Compress all images: WordPress has its own image mechanism and many plugins are available in the plugin repository for crunching images but using a plugin for every single thing will make your site complex.

Why do a task with plugin if it can be done manually ?

In order to losslessly compress JPEG images ( Not for PNG Images) the best software is Advanced JPEG Compressor by Winsoftmagic
Cost of software when this post is being published is $39.95.
Click here to direct purchase the software

4. Scale the images: In many cases we ignore this option which slows down the website to a great extent.

What does scaling the images actually mean ?
If we want to use an image on website and the resolution of that image is  1920×1080, what generally non-techies do is that, they upload the image without compressing and without resizing.

Scaling basically means resizing the image so that it fits the need of website.

For example : We have uploaded an image of 1920×1080 and the theme allows image of maximum 720×480  than our website will have to serve the unscaled image to the visitor.
In that case, your image will show as 720×480  image to the user but in reality it will be the original 1920×1080 image !!

Why serve beer in a drum ?

So you need to use proper tools like adobe photoshop to resize your images according to the need of your website so that they are served to the visitor as it is intended to be.

5. Switch to better hosting:  A good hosting provider is very important for your wordpress website. If the hosting  provider is not good, your website will load slow. We recommend Inmotion hosting over all the medium budget  hosting providers like hostgator, godaddy, bluehost etc.

These 5 Sutras of optimization will definitely improve your website’s speed.

If you want more help or facing some strange challenges regarding your website speed : Post a question on WpWire forum

By WpWire Admin

Rishab Garg is a senior web developer and consultant in India. He has created over 200 website and managed several e-commerce projects. He is passionate about Wordpress and founder of WpWire.