11 Sep 2017

17 Actionable Steps to Increase Page Speed in WordPress

17 Actionable Steps to Increase Page Speed in WordPress

While 28% of the websites are now powered by WordPress, increasing the site’s speed is definitely a hot topic. The good news is, there are different techniques you can use to improve your WordPress speed. We will introduce you to 17 effective steps to get the job done, but first – why does it matter?

Why Website speeds matter?

Improvement of WordPress speed is important because of many alarming factors. Excess page loading speed may be a major concern for you, because of the following reasons:

  1. Page loading speed is now considered as a ranking factor of the renowned search engine platform like Google. The search engines are positioning the fast loading websites higher in the SERPs than that of the slow loading pages. So, if you want to secure a higher position in SERPs then you have to improve your page speed.
  2. Many research statistics reflect that the page speed and the bouncing rate of the site are related. It is found that site with a loading time of more than 2 seconds generally results in ~47% of the visitors bouncing. So, you have to speed up WordPress, if you want to hold on to your customers and improve UX. Even many WordPress care plans come with the assurance of faster loading web pages.
  3. Most of the online buyers have less patience. Yes…it’s true, no one likes slow websites, especially if they are searching randomly to buy products. So, if you are interested to improve customers’ engagement then it is time to improve website speed.

How to test the website loading time?

Load time

The loading time of pages of the same website could vary as it depends on different factors:

  • The size of the page
  • The type of content (static or dynamic) included in the page
  • Number of requests it generates
  • Whether the page is cached or not

Hence, you can pick individual page URL to test it’s loading speed. You can also check the loading speed of the homepage as it is considered as a benchmark for the loading time of a site. You can use the following tools for this job:

17 Useful Steps to speed up the WordPress

  1. Select a Great Hosting Provider

The hosting providers play a significant role to speed up the WordPress. You can find hosting services in three different categories, such as shared hosting, dedicated hosting and virtual private server (VPS). If you want speed in your WordPress, he Virtual Private Server is better than shared hosting. On the other hand, dedicated hosting is a level up from VPS and is certainly the best choice for WordPress.

  1. Update WordPress

Update WordPress

WordPress offers update frequently (approximately twice in a year). Updating WordPress on regular basis helps to ensure the lightest code for the site. Besides, major updates are mostly related to the security, performance, and speed of the website. So, try to update your WordPress whenever it is possible. An up to date WordPress can give you a more competitive edge and stay more functional.

  1. Update All Themes and Plugins

Keep your plugins and themes up to date along with your WordPress. The old code becomes incompatible when an updated version of the same hits the market. In most of the cases, the updated version of the themes and plugins contains security improvement and lighter codes, which in turn boosts the WordPress. Hence, try to update all of your themes and plugins.

  1. Use a lightweight Theme / Framework

A theme is an out of the box set up that is ready to install. On the other hand, a framework helps you to set up a WordPress site, but it is not an out of the box material. Updated default themes like Twenty Sixteen and Twenty Seventeen are very light weight as it consists of smaller codes. The best part of an updated theme or a framework is their compatibility with the latest software. Speed, community, and reliability are the three components that you will get from a lightweight theme.

  1. Reduce Homepage Load

The loading time of homepage is considered as the benchmark. One of the easiest ways to speed up your WordPress site is to create an easier homepage, which is less bulky. You may need to remove unnecessary plugins, widgets, and images. Try not to put all of the information on home page. Reduce the clutters as well as the image sizes. If you are running a blogging site, then display your blogs on the page with minimum description (not more than 200 characters is better).

  1. Select a Caching Plugin

wordpress cache plugins

Image source: colorlib

Caching is one of the most important factors that could have a direct impact on the page speed. Caching helps in improving the loading time by storing local data. Cached files are easily accessible and don’t require to be parsed repeatedly. There are hundreds of caching plugins that you can find for WordPress in affordable price. However, the best of them are – WP Rocket, WP Super Cache, W3 Total Cache, Zen Cache and WP Fastest Cache.

  1. Optimize Your WordPress Database

Your host can help you to optimize WordPress database. Sometimes, your database could have a bloat or your database became crashed. If you have a private host, it is easier to fix the issue. The WP-optimize plugin can also help you to optimize your tables. It helps to remove unwanted junks from the tables and make them lighter. Optimization of the database not only improves the page loading time but also improve the website’s working efficiency.

  1. Optimize Images

Image and posters are now playing a key role to attract the viewers. Unfortunately, too many heavy images on one page can affect its page loading time. Hence, you have to optimize the page images. For this task, you can use plugins (available free and premium) or cut down the image size. The WP-Smushit is one of the best free plugins that could be used to optimize the images. When you upload the images this plugin automatically optimizes it and you don’t have to take care of the images on your own.

  1. Use Content delivery network

Content delivery network

The content delivery network or CDN can exceptionally help to speed up the WordPress site. Most of the large publishers take the advantage of CDN. CDN confirms that visitors can access your static WordPress files (JavaScript, images, videos, CSS, etc.) to the nearest remote server. Because of CDN, the users can download the content and images almost instantly without facing the page-loading issue. You can find both paid and version of CDN. Paid versions like CloudFlare CDN and Max CDN are the most recommended options. All of these CDNs are easy to use and comes with multiple efficient features.

  1. Disable Hotlinking of the Contents Use

Hotlinking is a real trouble, commonly faced by the great publishers. When someone uses one of your server’s links to refer your image and contents, is known as hotlinking. In this process, one can load images from your CDN or server without visiting the site. This could be problematic when your website is full of images and infographics. You may need to modify the .htaccess file to take care of the issue.

Copy and paste the following codes in your .htaccess file:

RewriteEngine on
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^$
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^http(s)?://(www\.)?YOUR-URL.com [NC]
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^http(s)?://(www\.)?google.com [NC]
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^http(s)?://(www\.)?feeds2.example.com/YOUR-URL [NC]
RewriteRule \.(jpg|jpeg|png|gif)$ – [NC,F,L]

  1. Minify Your CSS and JavaScript

If you run your website through Google page speed insights tool, you may be advised to minimize the size if JS and CSS file. It means that reducing the JS and CSS files and the calls, you can boost your website loading speed. If you have coding knowledge and familiar with WordPress themes, read the study guide offered by Google and conduct some manual fixing. But, if you can’t, then check for plugins that can do the job for you.

  1. Use Lazyload

Most of the viewers do not scroll the whole page. In that case, use lazyload to cut your resources and load only those content parts that the users actively see. This process is highly efficient when you have a long-scrolled site or pages filled up with cool images and infographics. However, if you are using CDN, this may not be required, but if aren’t using CDN then this might be the best way to speed up the site.

  1. Use Comment Manager

The long comment list can take over the resources and make the site too heavy to load. If your comments are stored locally (Server or database), then it might lead to the heavier web page. In that case, you can use comment manager plugin like Disqus. This plugin gives you full control over comments. You can clear nearly all of the spam comments and through the Disqus community maintain quality comments. The comments will load on your site from this third party (just like CDN) while increasing the site loading speed.

  1. Try to Avoid Excess Plugins

Yes, we have already recommended a handful number of plugins to improve your WordPress speed. Hence, recommending to reduce plugin use is kind of contradicting out own recommendation! But, there are thousands of plugins are available and not all of them help in optimization. Many of these plugins simply increase the site’s load. Hence, select a minimum number of plugins with higher efficiency.

  1. Enable GZIP Compression

GZIP compression is used to compress all of the WordPress files. The use of GZIP compression can dramatically reduce the bandwidth. It also reduces the time of accessing the website. GZIP compresses all of the WordPress files; hence, while the visitors will try to access your website their browser will first unzip the website. This procedure brings down the bandwidth and makes the website load faster. You can use the plugin like GZip Speed Optimization or paste the following codes in the .htaccess file.

AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE text/plain

AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE text/html

AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE text/xml

AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE text/css

AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/xml

AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/xhtml+xml

AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/rss+xml

AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/javascript

AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/x-javascript

  1. Disable Trackbacks and Pingbacks

The pingback and trackback feature is now not a necessary thing. According to the feature, if your site is mentioned in other site, then your will get notifications. While it is not much of use, it increases work for your server and site. Therefore, removing or disabling this feature can certainly help to boost the WordPress site.

  1. Get Rid of Post Revisions

Sometimes we have a habit of storing the revisions of the content. It is not necessary but we still keep it for “safety.” Try to get rid of these post revisions as when you have already published your “polished contents”, then those revisions are nothing but the junk files. Removing these files can optimize database and improve WordPress speed to some extent.


Increasing page-loading speed of WordPress is not a difficult job but it is indeed toilsome. All of the above 17 steps are easy to conduct even if you have little coding knowledge. However, if still feel uncomfortable; we will advise you to take help from the WordPress support service providers. If your site loading time is more than 5 seconds, it is the time to take some serious decisions and try to improve the condition.

8 thoughts on “17 Actionable Steps to Increase Page Speed in WordPress

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