Easy Ways to Speed Up WordPress for a Faster Loading Website

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Speed Up WordPress Website or BlogWaiting for a blog or website to load is like waiting for paint to dry.

Most of the time, we click exit and find a faster website to answer our query.

This is why it’s essential to speed up WordPress so you can ensure people aren’t bouncing and you provide the best possible user experience.

Keep in mind, Google uses user signals to determine if your website should rank higher or lower in the search results so if your web pages are performing poorly you can expect to lose rankings.

The best bloggers know how to tweak their websites for better performance. Having a lightweight blog is one way to achieve a faster-loading blog site.

Here are WordPress tactics you can use to improve the loading time of your website. There’ll be no need for a web developer for this guide on how to speed up WordPress we are going to cover the easy changes you can make.

Here’s what you’re going to learn:

  • Why Having a Fast Loading Web Page is Important
  • How to Test the Loading Speed of Your Website
  • 13 INSANELY Effective Hacks to Make Your Website Load Fast

Let’s begin:

Why Having a Fast Loading Web Page is Important

People are used to instant gratification and want to find the answer to their search without having to wait so making sure your site loads quickly helps you in several ways.

Increase Conversions

Every second is crucial when you’re working online. A single second could cost your bottom line to take a 7% hit in conversion rates. This alone should be enough incentive to encourage people to focus on their loading times.

Search Engine Rankings

Web page loading time is a well-known SEO factor that impacts your site’s rankings. By improving your website’s loading time, you not only improve your conversions, but you also get more organic traffic.

Reduce Bounce Rate

Expect 40% of users to leave your website if it doesn’t load within 3 seconds. That’s roughly half of your potential traffic gone before you get the chance to present your content. A high bounce rate and low dwell time could be seen as a poor result for that query and lead to your rankings dropping.

How to Test the Loading Speed of Your Website

Optimizing your WordPress website speed involves using speed testing websites and you want to use the best and most accurate options or compare different tools to get a mean average.

While there are lots of third-party tools that offer an accurate assessment of your website speed online, using Google’s PageSpeed Insights is proven to produce the most accurate results.

Asides from determining website speed, Google’s PageSpeed Insights also suggests how to improve the website’s performance.

Using Google’s PageSpeed is very easy. You just need to input the URL and then press ‘Analyze.’

How to Use Google PageSpeed Insights

It will take a few moments before the software completes its analysis.

Google PageSpeed Insights Results

Not only do you get a complete performance review of your site, but PageSpeed Insights will also show you a list of actionable opportunities to improve your site’s loading speed.

Google Recommended Speed Improvement Opportunities

Other free software and websites to measure the website speed in 2019 include:

WebPageTest

This is one of the most underrated website speed measurement tools. When you do choose WebPageTest, you get the following perks:

  • You can perform multiple runs to check the consistency of your website’s loading time.
  • WebPageTest is compatible with any browser. This can help you identify browsers that have loading issues with your site. Perhaps something isn’t compatible with an older version of Internet Explorer or Opera for example.

Pingdom

This free website speed tool offers simplicity. Aside from this, you have the following advantages:

  • It provides easy-to-read reports, including a list of issues that are slowing down your website.
  • Run a web page speed test in four different locations around the globe to see what the speed is when testing from nearby or the other side of the planet. This is useful but you should always prioritize the geolocation your target audience is from.

Consider using a CDN like CloudFlare to improve your web page around the globe by caching copies of your website in different geo-locations.

GTmetrix

This is one of the most celebrated free website speed test tools in 2019. Simply place the URL on the operation tab and click ‘Analyze’ to review your website.

The benefits of GTmetrix include:

  • Easy to use interface that also goes into detail breaking down all of the resources your website relies on.
  • It provides speed test results with comparative data to other websites.

Website Speed Test (Cloudinary)

This software is specially developed to read the loading time of web images.

Website Speed Test (Cloudinary) provides the following:

  • Reports detailing the number of images your website can smoothly load in a given time.
  • Suggests image compression methods you can use to maintain high-quality photos on your website.

Dotcom-Tools.com

This tool gives you a comprehensive report by performing a speed test from 24 different locations.

Other pros:

  • Gives comparative analysis regarding the loading time of the 24 locations you set.
  • It provides a ‘waterfall’ graph to let you monitor your websites loading continuity.

DareBoost

A reliable application that tests your website speed and provides a video report.

  • DareBoost provides a video breakdown of data and analysis.
  • Reports are presented using videos along with comparative descriptions of other websites.

9 INSANELY Effective Hacks to Make Your Website Load Faster

Improve Your Hosting Package

Your website hosting service is the biggest factor that influences how fast your website loads.

This is because whatever package you are on and regardless of the provider you will have a finite number of resources such as storage space and CPU allowance.

If you are using GoDaddy, Bluehost, HostGator or any of the other web hosts owned by EIG a group that own over 60+ hosting companies and are renowned for putting profit before performance then you are likely suffering from poor performance.

These hosting companies squeeze way too many websites on each server which pushes it to its limits and creates a bottleneck.

I will say this right now if you are on a budget and currently using one of the hosting companies mentioned above then I strongly recommend you consider switching to SiteGround.

Siteground benefits include:

  • HTTP/2 – A more optimized way to connect to a website (read more on Pingdom)
  • PHP 7.3 support – Newer versions of PHP perform much faster than old outdated versions. Some GoDaddy legacy accounts are still running PHP 5 which is defunct and unsafe.
  • Staging Server on GrowBig and GoGeek packages – A staging install allows you to create a clone of your website that’s hidden from Google and humans, this allows you to make changes and upgrades to your site while it’s not live and once it’s complete you can push the updated site live.
  • Free migration assistance – They will even help you migrate your website to reduce downtime and any issues.
  • Great customer support and live chat – Sitegrounds support is quick and reliable, they also have live chat which is the most convenient option.
  • Uses CPanel – Uses the most popular web management software for its websites. This makes it easy to use and get support with. Most servers I have used over the years run CPanel.
  • Great performance – If you have optimized your WordPress website for speed then you can get fantastic results and 99.9% uptime with Bluehost. This is a far cry from the service you will get with GoDaddy and the EIG hosting companies.

If you want a sure-fire tweak to speed up your WordPress website or blog, simply upgrade your hosting subscription.

When you first start your blog it’s understandable to go for a budget shared-hosting option but as you progress and gain greater traffic, you will want to start considering a premium hosting solution instead.

With $1-10 per month hosting plans, you get what you pay for. Don’t expect high quality hosting services on the cheap; It just doesn’t happen.

Below are a few reliable web hosting companies you might want to consider:

  • WPEngine
  • WPXHosting
  • SiteGround – The cost-effective choice we recommend to most website owners.

If your website is generating more than $50 per month, spending $20-30 a month for a more powerful hosting solution will help you increase your site earnings faster than anything else you can buy with that kind of money.

Disable Hot Linking

Even if you have already optimized your website for speed and you are doing everything right, other website owners can affect your server capacity by hotlinking your images.

Hotlinking is when you embed an image or video to your website rather than saving and uploading it. This has a negative effect on the host website’s performance because all of the websites using the same image are loading it from the origin server and not their own.

Remember that there are effective methods to increase web traffic without relying on external links.

Fortunately, preventing hot links is just a matter of adding some code to your website files.

Locate your .htaccess file in the root folder of your website install in your hosting account’s control panel using File Manager and add the following:

#disable hotlinking of images with forbidden or custom image option
RewriteEngine on
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^$
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^http(s)?://(www.)?mazepress.com [NC]
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^http(s)?://(www.)?google.com [NC]
RewriteRule .(jpg|jpeg|png|gif)$ – [NC,F,L]

Replace mazepress.com with your domain.

You can also do this using FTP.

Optimize Your Photos

Optimizing your website’s images saves bandwidth and improves the loading time of your web pages. Fortunately, there’s plenty of image compression software available online.

An example is Kraken.io which lets you compress images without compromising quality. Kraken.io optimizes bulk photos ‘losslessly’.

Compress your images Losslessly WordPress

Drag and drop the images into the Kraken web page and wait for the compression to finish, then download your newly compressed file and upload it to WordPress.

Choose the Best Theme to Speed Up WordPress

Your choice of theme will also impact how lightweight your WordPress site is. If you want to generate traffic and improve the loading time, be sure to install a minimal theme and avoid any unnecessary bells and whistles.

A good example of a WordPress theme for speed is Genesis.

A bad example would be Divi.

The good news is, WordPress comes with truckloads of ready-to-use themes that are built to load quickly. You can install and activate most of them for free from the official WordPress repository.

WordPress Theme Repository Previews

Don’t forget to prioritize speed if you’re considering purchasing a theme from a third-party source. Pick something that has a good reputation and avoids excessive animations, and CSS effects. Less is more when it comes to WordPress themes.

Limit the Homepage Posts

Effective management of your homepage speeds up your WordPress website.

I recommend you limit the number of photos on your homepage. Fewer photos = faster loading web page.

If you want to do this by showing fewer posts on your homepage then this is an easy change to make:

Go to the dashboard, find ‘Settings,’ and hover the ‘Reading’ tab.

WordPress Settings - Improve speed

Hover to ‘Blog pages show at most’ option and set the value at 10 or less.

WordPress Reading Settings - Set Number of Posts to Show

If you want to create the perfect homepage then head over to our guide here.

Manage Ads

Monetizing blogs is vital for writers. After all, it’s a blog writer’s primary source of revenue.

However, in your face advertisements are unappealing to readers but this also affects your website’s loading time.

Ads aren’t always bad if they’re relevant to your viewer’s interests and needs. But if possible, place ads on a small rectangle below your browser so it won’t obstruct your viewer’s experience.

Additionally, make sure your ads don’t push your content below the fold.

Remember, your viewers didn’t come to your website for your ads but to learn from your content. Look at how Google encourages website owners to present ads with the screenshot below:

Google Ad Layout Advice

Configure Blog Comments

WordPress users have this feature called Gravatars that pulls the viewer’s photo onto the comment section. However, adding too many photos negatively affects the site’s loading speed.

The good news is, you can disable profile photos from showing on the comment section very easily.

Simply go to ‘Settings’ and select ‘Discussion.’ Find the ‘Show Avatars’ and ‘Deselect’ the Avatar Display.

Turn of Avatars and Gravatars on WordPress Comments

Use Website Caching

To get your WordPress website loading as fast as possible, it’s important to enable caching.

This feature temporarily stores data on the browser so they can be instantly fetched on the user’s next visit and any subsequent visits before they expire and need to be refreshed.

To turn on website caching, go to the .htaccess file in the root folder of your WordPress install either via File Manager in CPanel or SFTP and add this piece of code:

## Begin EXPIRES CACHING ##
ExpiresActive On
ExpiresByType image/jpg "access 1 year"
ExpiresByType image/jpeg "access 1 year"
ExpiresByType image/gif "access 1 year"
ExpiresByType image/png "access 1 year"
ExpiresByType text/css "access 1 month"
ExpiresByType text/html "access 1 month"
ExpiresByType application/pdf "access 1 month"
ExpiresByType text/x-javascript "access 1 month"
ExpiresByType application/x-shockwave-flash "access 1 month"
ExpiresByType image/x-icon "access 1 year"
ExpiresDefault "access 1 month"
## End EXPIRES CACHING ##

Avoid Plugin Overload

There are lots of plugins for WordPress that can help you customize the look and functionality of your website or blog.

Using these plugins, you can create landing pages, contact forms, tables and lots of other useful features.

But using too many plugins significantly affects your website’s loading speed.

These plugins consume your server’s disk, resulting in sluggish performance. Check your dashboard for any redundant plugins and remove any that are surplus to requirement and only install the essentials.

Find plugins that offer multiple features and functions in one plugin instead of relying on multiple.

I recommend the Elementor Page Builder if you want to consolidate lots of features that usually require using multiple plugins.

Speed Up WordPress Conclusion

Working through these WordPress tweaks for a fast loading website can take some time. By following these guidelines, it won’t be as difficult as you think though.

Do you think I missed an important strategy to improve WordPress speed time and increase dwell time? If so, let me know.

Notes from the Editor

A great article from Ankit covering some of the easy to DIY tips for speeding up a WordPress website or blog.

I would also recommend people consider installing WP-Optimize and running it every few months on a busy website to clean the database and remove any expired transients (database entries that are no longer needed).

It’s also well worth using CloudFlare CDN to manage your DNS and provide cached versions of your website from different servers all across the globe. That way someone visiting your website from America will access the American hosted cache while someone from Europe will access the European cache meaning a shorter geographical distance and a faster response time.

There are lots of ways to speed up WordPress and this just scratches the surface with some of the easy options, in the future we will go into more depth on things you should consider hiring a WordPress speed expert to help you with.

Easy Tips to Help You Speed Up WordPress Site or Blog

This page may contain affiliate links, which means I receive a small commission, at no additional cost to you, if you make a purchase through a link on this page.

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Mazepress, Wordpress, Genesis

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Ankit Singla

Ankit Singla

Ankit is a professional blogger, affiliate marketer, consultant, trainer, public speaker and founder of MasterBlogging, where he is passionate about helping people generate a full-time income with blogging. You can follow him on Twitter at @iAnkitSingla