In 2024, speed will be more critical than ever for WordPress sites.
With so much competition online, you need to ensure your site is as quick as possible to keep your visitors engaged.
The speed of a website has a direct impact on its performance.
In fact, 47% of consumers expect a web page to load in less than 2 seconds, and nearly 50% will abandon a site that takes more than 3 seconds to load.
For every one-second delay in page response time, conversions can drop by up to 20%.
These stats prove how vital a site’s speed is for a business.
Luckily, speeding up a WordPress site is pretty easy and can be done just by following a couple of steps.
In this blog post, we will discuss some easy ways to speed up your WordPress site without compromising on user experience.
But why do fast websites win?
TL;DR, because fast websites improve customer experience, give an edge over the competition, and help with Google rankings as well.
Customers expect websites to load quickly and efficiently, without any delays or interruptions because, in today’s fast-paced world, speed is everything!
If a website takes too long to load, users will simply move on to the next one.
In a competitive market, this can be the difference between winning and losing customers.
Furthermore, Google now uses site speed as a factor in its search rankings, so faster sites are more likely to appear at the top of the search results.
For all these reasons, it’s clear that fast websites win.
They provide a better user experience, resulting in higher conversion rates and better Google rankings.
So basically, there’s simply no excuse for having a slow website.
How to check your WordPress website’s speed?
There are several tools you can use to check your website speed and identify ways to improve it.
One of the most popular is Google’s PageSpeed Insights.
Simply enter your URL, and the tool will give you a score out of 100, as well as specific suggestions for how to improve your speed.
Another helpful tool is GTmetrix, which not only measures your page load time but also tells you what factors are impacting it.
Now that you know the two most powerful tools to measure a site’s speed, it’s time to finally dive into the ways to make a WordPress site blazing fast.
How to speed up WordPress
Optimize images for speed (size and dimensions)
Images are an essential part of any web page, providing visual interest and helping to convey information.
However, large images can slow down a page, making it difficult for visitors to view the content.
There are a few simple steps that can be taken to optimize images for speed.
- First, ensure that the size of the image is as small as possible. This can be accomplished by reducing the image’s dimensions or by using a file format with a smaller file size.
- Second, make sure that the image is saved in a web-friendly format such as JPEG or PNG.
- Third, compress the image to further reduce its size without sacrificing quality.
WP Compress takes care of all 3 steps for you automatically.
We recently started using it and are totally amazed by the awesome features it offers to optimize our site’s images.
Update WordPress and all plugins
Updating WordPress and all plugins is essential for speed.
Outdated software can slow down your website, which can frustrate visitors and lead to lost business.
WordPress releases regular updates that often include speed improvements, so it’s essential to stay up-to-date.
Plugin developers also regularly release updates that can improve speed.
In addition to speed improvements, updates often include security fixes that can help protect your website from hackers.
Keeping WordPress and all plugins up-to-date is the best way to ensure that your website runs smoothly and efficiently.
Simply log into the WordPress Dashboard, go to Updates and follow the prompts to install the latest updates.
By taking this simple step, WordPress website owners can make sure their site is secure and faster than ever.
Remove unnecessary plugins
Plugins are essential for adding more features to a WordPress site.
However, it’s important to only use the plugins you absolutely need.
Having too many plugins can slow down your site and increase the risk of security breaches.
When choosing plugins, always opt for those that are lightweight and well-supported.
To remove unnecessary plugins, go to Plugins » Installed Plugins from the left menu bar in WordPress.
You should see a list of all the active plugins that are currently installed on your website.
Find any plugin that you think might be unnecessary or slowing down your site, and click Deactivate.
By taking these steps, you can ensure that your WordPress site runs smoothly and safely.
Use a fast WordPress theme
A fast theme can help your website load quickly, improving your user experience and helping you rank higher in search engine results.
The Astra theme is one of the fastest WordPress themes, thanks to its lightweight design and optimized code.
Not only it is lightweight and easy to use, but it’s also fully customizable.
With Astra, you can create a responsive website that looks great on all devices and performs even better.
Plus, it comes with a number of pre-built templates that make it easy to get started.
DigitalKube is built using Astra.
We have been using it for years now and recommend it to everyone.
Here’s a speed test of a demo site built using Astra:
You can clearly see the performance of Astra.
The demo site is not optimized in any way.
The test was run on a freshly installed WordPress site with Astra with no caching plugin or any kind of performance customization.
In a nutshell, if speed is a priority for your website, Astra is a perfect choice.
Use a caching plugin
A caching plugin is a great way to speed up your WordPress site.
Caching creates a static version of your pages and posts, which means that your server doesn’t have to generate a new page every time someone visits your site.
This can reduce your page load times significantly, as well as improve your site’s overall performance.
There are many different caching plugins available for WordPress; the one we use and recommend is WP Rocket.
Once you’ve installed and activated the plugin, be sure to clear your browser cache so that you can see the full benefits of the plugin.
It’s the best and most user-friendly WordPress plugin out there that regularly gets updates and new features.
Minification simply means removing all unnecessary characters from the code, such as whitespace, comments, and code that isn’t used.
This can make your code much smaller and easier for browsers to process, resulting in faster page loads.
So if you’re looking to give your website a speed boost, minification is a great place to start.
Enable GZIP compression
One great way to speed up your WordPress website is to enable GZIP compression.
This will compress your files so that they load faster for visitors.
GZIP is a file format that compresses files so that they take up less space.
This means that your pages will load faster, as the server will have to send less data.
Enabling GZIP compression is a fairly simple process, and WP Rocket takes care of it by default.
Once the plugin is enabled, GZIP compression is enabled by default, and you should see a significant speed increase in your WordPress site.
Leverage browser caching
Leverage browser caching means that when a user visits your site, the static files (like images and CSS) are stored in their browser cache.
That way, when they come back to your site, those files don’t need to be downloaded again.
This can improve your page load times, especially for users who visit your site frequently.
There are a few different ways to set up browser caching, but one easy way is to install WP Rocket.
Use a CDN
If you’re looking to speed up your WordPress site, one of the best things you can do is use a content delivery network (CDN).
A CDN is an extensive distributed system of servers that deliver web pages and other web content to users based on their geographic location.
By using a CDN, you can ensure that your site is delivered faster to users located further away from your server.
In addition, a CDN can also help reduce the load on your server, improving its overall performance.
There are many different CDN providers to choose from, but the one we use and recommend is BunnyCDN, a.k.a bunny.net.
You can check our BunnyCDN review to know more about them.
In case you don’t want to go through our entire review, then here’s a TL;DR conclusion:
It is the fastest yet most affordable CDN solution out there!
Minimize external scripts and HTTP requests
The most important thing you can do to optimize your site is to minimize external scripts and HTTP requests.
By reducing the number of external scripts, you can minimize the time it takes for WordPress to load.
In general, the fewer external scripts and HTTP requests your WordPress site has, the faster it will be.
As a result, it is important to carefully select which plugins and themes you use on your WordPress site in order to optimize its performance.
Use lazy loading
Optimized image loading can be a great way to improve the speed of your WordPress site.
Lazy loading delays the loading of images until they are needed, which can dramatically reduce the amount of time it takes for your pages to load.
WP Rocket has a feature to add lazy load to images.
Using lazy loading can have a significant impact on your page speed.
In addition to improving the user experience, faster page speeds can also lead to better search engine rankings.
Host videos offsite
One of the best ways to ensure fast loading times for the videos on your site is to host them offsite.
Simply upload your videos to a third-party hosting service like YouTube or Vimeo.
Then, you can embed the videos on your WordPress site.
This method has a number of benefits:
- First, it ensures that your videos will load quickly, even if your WordPress site is getting a lot of traffic.
- Second, it reduces the storage requirements on your own server, which can free up resources for other tasks.
- Finally, it provides an additional layer of security, as offsite video hosting services are typically much more robust.
Optimize WordPress database
Out-of-the-box, WordPress can be slow and sluggish, especially on larger sites.
One of the most effective methods is to optimize the database.
By optimizing the database, you can reduce the size of database files, improve SQL query performance, and free up valuable server resources.
As a result, your WordPress site will load faster and feel more responsive.
There are a few different ways to optimize the WordPress database.
One option is to install a plugin such as WP Rocket.
This plugin will optimize your database for you automatically.
Another option is to manually optimize your database by running SQL queries.
This is a more technical approach and requires some knowledge of SQL.
If you’re not comfortable with this, you can always hire a WordPress developer to help you optimize your database.
Whichever approach you choose, optimizing your WordPress database can help speed up your website or blog.
Use a reliable WordPress host
When people start a blog, they often overlook one of the most important aspects – hosting.
A good host will make sure your site is always up and running, has fast loading times, and provides regular backups in case anything goes wrong.
WordPress is one of the most popular website platforms.
Hence there is a wide range of hosts to choose from.
However, not all WordPress hosts are created equal.
Some are faster than others, some are more reliable, and some provide better customer support.
The one we use and recommend is Cloudways.
It’s fast, managed, secure, and gives you tons of flexibility when setting up your server.
By choosing a good host, you can avoid many potential problems down the road.
Use the latest PHP version
WordPress is written in PHP.
That means the version of PHP you use for your WordPress install can have a direct effect on your site’s speed and security.
Every WordPress release has a minimum supported PHP version, which could be a couple of years older than the latest available PHP version.
The updated version includes several improvements over previous versions, such as increased speed and security.
While you can continue to run an older version of PHP, we strongly recommend that you upgrade to the latest version to take advantage of these improvements.
Speed up your WordPress site today!
Implementing the techniques we’ve outlined in this article should help you see a noticeable improvement in your website speed and performance.
Keep in mind that results may vary depending on your site’s configuration, hosting service, theme, and plugins.
Be sure to test your website before and after making any changes to ensure you are getting the desired results.
Have you tried any of these methods? What has been your experience? Let us know in the comments below!