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How to speed up your WordPress website?

speed up your WordPress site

Well first of all we discuss why a site speed is so important. It is important because people have many choices when they search for anything today. If they are searching they come to your website.
Once they come they can at the most wait for a specific time and after that if the site still doesn’t appear they may move on to the next/other site.

Hence it is very important part of lead generation to have an optimized website which loads faster.

In this article we will discuss how to help speed up your WordPress based website:

1. Hosting: A good host is always necessary. For people who are just starting their business and don’t have too much money they should opt for hosting providers like hostgator, bluehost, hostmonster, ixwebhosting and similar.

Shared hosting providers charge around $3-$6 per month.

In case your website is somewhat bigger or gets more traffic or you have the desired money you should opt for managed WordPress hosting services which are better hosts like wpengine, page.ly, zippykid and synthesis. These managed WordPress hosting providers have lesser latency and are much faster than your shared hosting providers. Managed hosting providers charge around $30-$45 per month. Another option is also VPS hosting. VPS hosting is also similar is cost to Managed WordPress Hosting.

In case you need help in migrating your WordPress website contact us.

2. Optimizing the WordPress website: Well every one can’t afford managed or vps hosting so hosting is something which easily can’t be changed for everyone. Hence we should also look for other basics inside and within your WordPress website:

a.       Spam comments removal

It is very essential that one keeps on removing the spam comments on a weekly basis. This is because spam comments take up considerable amount of space in your database. To automate this process you can use WP-Optimize WordPress plugin.  But yes for blocking spams from happening on your comment section you can either have a simple math captcha or akismet or recaptcha for your WordPress comments.

In case you want to use any other plugin for managing WordPress plugin. Check out our post for WordPress plugins for comments.

b.      Revisions deleted

It is essential that you should delete your revisions regularly. I revised this post 10 times before posting it so basically WordPress kept on saving each of those revisions. You can again automate this process as well by using WP-Optimize plugin.

c.       .htaccess file optimization

.htaccess plays a very important role while optimizing your WordPress website. Here are some of the htaccess codes one can follow to speed up the site a bit:

This one should use for deflate:

Header append Vary User-Agent env=!dont-vary

AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE text/css text/x-component application/x-javascript application/javascript text/javascript text/x-js text/html text/richtext image/svg+xml text/plain text/xsd text/xsl text/xml image/x-icon application/json

# DEFLATE by extension
AddOutputFilter DEFLATE js css htm html xml

 

This one should use for server cache for files which don’t change regularly. For example images:

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 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 2 days”

 

WARNING:  .htaccess is difficult to play with and one should take a backup first before modifying htaccess. If something wrong happens on your htaccess file your website may go down.

d.      Optimizing Database

Optimization of database is essential. We discussed how to optimize db for revisions and spam comment. One should also check database for other items like previous themes have entered some code into the database or previous plugins have some unused columns.

We can optimize a database using WP-Optimize again or WP-DB-Manager plugin.

e.      Image Optimization

Image optimization is important since the more heavy your images are more time it takes to load up your website. You can optimize your images by using timthumb script for optimizing the images to a certain size. Or you can use internal functions of wordpres.

Another mostly used plugin for image optimization is WP Smush It and EWWW Image Optimizer.

f.        Cache Plugins

This one is one of the most important factor for increasing speed. Cache plugins have files as well as images in server cache so that they load up the website fast. There are several cache plugins available however the 2 most used and popular ones are:

W3 Total Cache and WP Super Cache.

We normally use W3 Total Cache however there are many who prefer WP Super Cache over W3 Total Cache. You can try and test both and see which one suits you the most.

g.       Disable Hotlinking

Hotlinking is leveraging someone else’s script or image. This means if someone likes an image on your website they will just hotlink it on their website. Meaning everytime their site loads up it will place load on your server to load that image.

Hence it is essential to disable hotlinking of images. One way of disabling hotlinking is by using a plugin: Hotlink Protection

Another way is to play with your htaccess file and place this code in it:

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

h.      Pingbacks and Trackbacks

You can stop pingbacks and trackbacks as well. This is because pingbacks and trackbacks means your WordPress site gets notified when someone refers any content or link from your site. That time it pings your site about the same. If your site is popular it may cause a lot of unnecessary traffic and may cause to slowly load your site. Hence one should go to admin panel>settings>discussion and from there stop pingbacks and trackbacks.

Another way of doing it is by using htaccess again:

RewriteCond %{REQUEST_METHOD} ^(TRACE|DELETE|TRACK) [NC]

RewriteRule ^(.*)$ – [F,L]

i.        Remove unwanted plugins

Unwanted plugins which do not offer anything and aren’t being used by your site should be removed. Please check every 6 months for unwanted plugins and remove them because plugins normally load their scripts in either header or footer. So if there are more plugins it takes a lot of time for a website to load.

3.       CDN: CDN means content delivery network. It is used if your site is heavy with images or videos. CDN then loads up your content like images or videos faster. There are several CDN providers which are free like Amazon, Photon from Jetpack and Cloudflare.

We prefer cloudflare because Cloudflare uses DNS point feature which means even if your hosting is down Cloudflare would still show your site up and present all the static content.

Cloudflare also doesn’t have seo implications like others because in Amazon S3 or Photon images are loaded from different server. So if your site is old then images loaded from elsewhere may have huge impact on your SEO of images.

4.       Choose your theme wisely: There are several WordPress themes nowadays available. Most of them target a client with several features so that they can modify the theme and make their website. However by adding several features they also add too many slider scripts, accordion scripts and other junk javascripts and jquery which take a lot of time and hence making your site slow.

Hence it is utmost important you select a professional WordPress theme from one of the best theme developers who test their themes for page speed.

5.       Last and important: Check your site speed on several page speed tools like Pingdom, Google Page Speed and GTMetrix