Genuine web visitors likes to revisit web pages that loads fast because they have some clicks away before they can leave the web page; this is the main reason why you need to speed up WordPress loading time.
From my research and review from web visitors, every visitor expects each web page to load under some seconds or even in milliseconds. Many websites today do not retains their old visitors due to the fact that their web page loading is very slow.
A good website that is well optimized should be expected to load under 2 seconds in the absence of third-party advertisements, which may require loading external scripts that will display the ads.
For instance – if you visit an e-commerce website and you intended to purchase a product that you like, the page loading time will determine whether you’ll proceed to the checkout page or not.
Imagine when each page in the e-commerce has a pre-loader and overall loading time for each page takes up to 11 seconds, you’ll definitely abandon that particular e-commerce site and look for another fast loading site to purchase the product.
Reasons why you should speed up WordPress loading time
Google reveals that speeding up website page loading time is not just relevant to site owners, but also to all internet users because Google takes site speed into consideration in their site ranking on SERP.
This guide focused on websites that are using WordPress CMS, the motive is that; currently WordPress CMS (Content Management System) powers over 64% of the CMS market share and powers 40% of all the webistes in the world.
In this article, I’ll introduce some WordPress plugins which will help you to speed up WordPress loading time while optimizing your website speed. But this guide is still useful to other websites that are hosted outside WordPress.
How to check your WordPress page loading speed
Some times as a web owner when you view your website on a browser, the page loading speed may seems to be perfect at your own end. Probably it’s loading under 5 seconds with your Google ads and other ads displaying.
In some instance; when visitors visit your website they will experience different things because the loading time you expected was not what they are expecting.
For you to actually know how your website loads to visitors from different geographic locations, you need to use a site speed testing tools to check the loading performance of your website.
There are so many free online tools for testing your website page loading speed. I’ll share with you some of the well-known free website test tools.
Below are some free tools you can use to check your website performance which will help you to speed up WordPress loading time.
- Google PageSpeed Insights
- KeyCDN Website Speed Test
- Yellow Lab Tools
- Sucuri Load Time Tester
- Solarwinds Pingdom Speed Test
How to speed up WordPress loading time with above tools
To use above tools, click on any of them and insert your website URL to see the actual time your website takes to load. You can as well test the speed of some of your web pages and blog posts.
It is not only limited to testing just your homepage loading speed.
When you use any of these tools to check your website performance, you’ll know what exactly that is slowing down your web page. Sometimes it may be some plugins that you don’t even use.
From research, a web page should load under 2 seconds. However if your website loads more than 2 seconds, don’t be overwhelmed.
Supposing that you have Google advertisement displaying on your website, you should not expect your website to load under 2 seconds – reason is because you monetized your site using a third party ads.
In this situation your website will take a little bit longer to load in the sense that your site is connecting to many http request in order to display ads.
What are the things that can slow down your WordPress website?
When you test your website loading performance, these websites I listed above will show you things that are slowing down your page and what you can do to speed up WordPress loading time.
Identifying what slows down your website is the beginning of the solution on how to speed up WordPress loading time.
From research, some of the internal factors that can reduce your page loading speed are:
Web Hosting – Your hosting company has a lot to do with the loading speed of your website. When purchasing a hosting plan, some plans like shared hosting can affect the loading speed of your website. Reason is because other websites are using the same server that you’re using, drawing more resources from it.
External Scripts – These are scripts (codes) that are not being processed directly from your website root folder. Examples of External Scripts are ads placement codes, codes that loads external fonts (e.g. fontawesome.io) etc.
Too much plugins – Using so many WordPress plugins will definitely slow down your page loading speed. Because all the codes that constitute the plugin will have to be executed before your page will be fully loaded.
Page size – Having so many contents that are not optimized will definitely slow down your web page loading speed.
Beneath are 15 things you should do to speed up WordPress loading time or increase the page loading speed of your website
Choose a Good Web Hosting Company
When selecting a web host for your website, you will see options like; VPS hosting, dedicated server, shared hosting etc. Shared hosting means that you’re sharing your hosting server with other people.
Some web hosting company like Bluehost offers quality shared hosting which enhances website loading speed.
We strongly recommend hosting your website with Bluehost hosting company . They are one of the best hosting companies in the world.
Supposing that you have enough cash when purchasing your hosting plan, we recommend purchasing Managed Hosting from WPengine; because in Managed Hosting you’re given a personal server to run your website.
WPengine hosting company is one of the leading companies in terms of Managed hosting. Why not chose them?
Shared hosting is usually cheaper than Managed hosting; because of its limited features. If you have enough money when setting up your new website, we recommend purchasing Managed hosting.
Always Use a Theme Optimized For Speed
Most premium WordPress themes that has a lot of customization’s often takes time to render all the codes that constitutes the amazing design of the theme.
When choosing a theme (be it premium or free theme) for your WordPress website, it’s advisable to check the theme loading speed to know if the theme is well optimized for fast loading.
Some premium themes that are developed by amateur developers usually have slow page loafing effect. In this case, someone may prefer to use free themes since they are of light weight and loads faster. But we all know that free themes are highly limited in functionality.
We recommend purchasing premium themes from shops like CSSIgniter and Themify because they sell themes that are well optimized and they are designed to speed up WordPress loading time.
Here is our article where you can find free WordPress themes that are unhindered from virus.
Use a Content Delivery Network (CDN)
A CDN aid reduce delays in loading web page content by decreasing the physical amount of space between the server and the end user.
This enables different users around the world to view the same high-quality content in your web page without experiencing slow loading times.
CDN delivers your web page content faster to your users no matter the location they are, the browser they are using and the device they are browsing with.
Below are few merits of CDN
- It decreases server loading time
- Reduces your bandwidth consumption
- Helps to improve page loading speed
- CDN helps users to stay more engaged
- It blocks spammers and other bad bots from your website
Optimize / Compress Your Images for Fast Loading
Using images in your website will make your website to be attractive to your visitors and readers and this helps in engaging your visitors.
But if you’re using high quality images that are not optimized, it will hinder your page loading speed due to the sizes of those images.
For instance; supposing that you have multiple images in your web page and each of them has size of up to 250KB, the loading time of those pictures will actually decrease your web page loading speed.
If you’re using a mobile phone to upload your images to your website, we recommend using a photo editing software to reduce the size of your images before uploading them. You can reduce a high quality PNG image to JPG or if possible to GIF; it all depends on the quality that you needed.
Assuming you create most of your images e.g. screenshots, you can use PhotoShop to edit it and save the image in JPG format in order to reduce its size.
At JonakyBlog, we compress most of our images from PNG to JPG and in some cases to GIF; in order to increase our page loading speed.
We all know that images take most of the bandwidth of our website.
Use a WordPress Caching Plugin
Caching means the process of storing copies of files in a cache, or temporary storage location, so that they can be accessed more quickly from within the device.
When you use a caching plugin in your website, it will automatically create temporary storage files in your visitor’s browser when they visit your web page.
This will increase your web page loading speed by fetching some information from the user’s browser instead of getting it from your web server.
We recommend using WP Super Cache or Autoptimize plugin in caching your WordPress site for fast loading.
Divide Comments Into Pages
Supposing your blog posts used to generate huge number of comments! Wow that’s good. It’s showing that your content is triggering visitors either to ask you further questions or to thank you for such a post.
Having so many comments displaying in one page will definitely slow down your page loading speed.
In this case we recommend dividing your comments into pages.
To achieve this, from your WordPress dashboard, go to Settings > Discussion Below image shows you how to divide your comments into pages in your WordPress website
Decrease External HTTP Requests
For you to reduce the number of http requests that loads on each of your web pages, you have to minimize the number of plugins you’re using in your WordPress website.
I do advice our readers to avoid using so many plugins in their website; as this will reduce their page loading speed.
Since plugins loads external files into your website, we usually recommend using codes to achieve some tasks in your website.
We have written a well detailed article (with screenshots) on how to add share button to WordPress website without plugin.
You can as well check out our article on how to create contact form in WordPress without plugin.
Do well to read this → some disadvantages of WordPress plugin.
Use Lazy Loading for Your Images
In WordPress there are some plugins that you can use to delay the loading of your images and videos.
Supposing your web page have many images, photo gallery and embedded videos, using lazy load will ultimately increase the loading speed of your website.
The reason is that all the images and those embedded videos can only load when the user scroll to the place where those images and the embedded videos are placed.
This will make the images and embedded videos in your website not to load once when a visitor visits your web page.
If you want to lazy load images, iframes and videos, we strongly recommend using Smush plugin.
When you install the plugin, go to the plugin dashboard and click on “Lazy load” to setup other things you may need.
With this plugin you can set your images, iframes or videos to delay for some milliseconds before they can appear to the user while scrolling through your web page.
Use Latest PHP Version
Using the latest version of PHP in your WordPress site will enhance the fast loading of your web pages.
In each new version of PHP, new modifications are made. And this modification are optimized to speed up the loading of your WordPress website.
When installing WordPress from your web hosting company, you will find out they usually serves you the latest version of PHP that is available at that particular moment.
This will show you that even your hosting companies knows the advantage of using the latest version of PHP that is available in the market.
Research said that each latest version of PHP is twice faster than its previous version.
Keep Your WordPress Site Updated
You should always update your WordPress because each new version is designed to increase the speed of WordPress websites.
Updating your WordPress site, theme and plugins helps to speed up your web page loading speed.
In the case of plugins, we strongly recommend setting your plugins to “Enable auto-updates” as this will automatically update all your plugins frequently.
Use Excerpts on Homepage
In case if your theme does not have post excerpt for your blog posts that appear in your homepage, blog page, achieve and category pages, you can manually set it up from your WordPress site.
Using excerpts will make your page to load faster by abbreviating the whole content of your blog post into some few lines of words.
Another advantage of using excerpt is that your visitors will be encouraged to read the whole blog post when they see an attractive introduction that tells them to “read more”.
To manually ad “Read More” to your blog posts, from your WordPress dashboard – go to Settings > Reading See image below
Don’t Upload Video/Audio to Your Website Root Directory
YouTube have given web owners the opportunity to upload and host their videos in their unlimited storage and bandwidth server.
Instead of uploading your videos direct to your website, you can upload it on YouTube and embed the video to your website.
This will ease the storage and bandwidth task in your web server, thereby assisting you to speed up WordPress loading time.
You can host your audios and videos on services like DailyMotion, SoundCloud etc.
Avoid Using So Many Plugin
Although WordPress allows their users to use unlimited number of plugins, it is not advisable to have so many of them in your website.
Plugins usually loads external http that will ultimately slow down your website.
Below are some demerits of WordPress plugins
- They are vulnerable – More likely to be exposed to the chance of being attacked or harmed
- Likely to slow down your website – Plugins contains external files that are all connected to your website
- They can clash with each other – in the sense that they are designed by different people
- They can restrict some of your website functionality
- Plugins requires regular updates
Optimize WordPress Database
When you have used your mobile phone for a long time, it will automatically create some junk files within your phone storage.
The same effect happens to our WordPress websites.
It is advisable to use a database cleaning plugin to clean your WordPress database at least once every year in order to delete some junk files that are taking up your storage space.
This junk files may include trashed comments, posts, images etc.
We recommend using WP-Sweep plugin which is the most rated plugin for cleaning WordPress database.
Turn Off Pingbacks and Trackbacks
Trackbacks and pingbacks are methods for alerting blogs that you have linked to them. The difference between them is that Trackbacks are created manually and send an excerpt of the content while Pingbacks are automatically created and don’t send any content.
Pingback and Trackback offers no meaningful value to your blog as these will increase your web page loading speed and http request.
I have detailed out the surest ways to optimize your website for faster loading speed.
Use the above methods to optimize your website speed and drop your testimony using the comment section below.
The plugins that I listed above are the top rated plugins that many users have testified of its effectiveness in their website.
Help others to increase their website loading speed by sharing this article to them.
We have written a detailed article (with screenshots) on how to properly setup CDN, lazy load for images, iframes and videos.
Read it here →→→ Increase Your WordPress Loading Speed With This 2 Plugins [Recommended].