WordPress is a one of the best platform to have build and maintain your web presence. But standalone website without any optimization, WordPress quickly becomes slow to load, and no one likes slow site. According to Hostingmanual.net, 57% of your visitors will leave the site if it takes more than 3 seconds to load, and majority of those might never visit your site again. We have worked on more than 200 websites and found out that these are the 5 points which are necessary for Faster WordPress site.
Having a faster website has several benefits, it adds to a better experience, it makes a positive first impression and it helps in SEO as well.
Let’s start with our 5 Point guide for Faster WordPress
Good Great Web Hosting
Having a great Web hosting matters a lot for faster WordPress site. WordPress is a very dynamic and flexible platform, and a great host understands optimum requirements and configurations for operating WordPress at its best. There are specialty hosts available for WordPress like WPEngine, Pagely etc. but as a starting point (and ofcourse budget friendly way) we recommend GetFlywheel.com, for out-of-the-box managed WordPress hosting. Alternatively you can head to cloud providers like DigitalOcean.com & use its marketplace images for getting a performance server for your WordPress site. We have discussed the details in our blogpost about Web Hosting. Great Host improves website loading immensely.
2. Good Theme
People often head up to theme marketplace and get a multipurpose feature loaded theme for the project. It is easy & popular approach, but often such themes slow down the website. Having a good starter theme for building a website is often perfect balance between attractive & lightweight site. Astra is our recommendation for starter theme. It supports popular page-builders like Elementor, Beaver Builder, Brizy as well as WordPress Native Gutenberg aka block layout. Furthermore, Astra is supported by many free (also paid) ready to import website layouts. Head over to https://wpastra.com for more details. We use WP-Astra for many of our projects.
3. Cache Plugin
Cache plugin helps serving static html version of your website content for quicker loading & less stress on server resources. Each time user types URL of your website, cache plugin servers lightweight html pages of website instead of triggering a PHP execution & database call on server, this results in reducing load time significantly. There are many cache plugins, if you are using Managed WordPress Hosting, your host might offer its own configuration/plugin for it, which serves the best. But if you are on your DIY server or shared hosting, we recommend using W3 Total Cache. This plugin is slightly complex and requires basic understanding about web hosting environment and facilities available, otherwise it may break your site. For easier and out-of-the-box solution we suggest to go for Autoptimize. There are other server specific plugins like Nginx helper (for Nginx server), WP Redis, LS Cache (for Lightspeed/OpenLightSpeed servers) and works impressively.
4. Use CDN
CDN – stands for content delivery network, it takes all the static files from your site like images, styles, scripts and serves to the visitor via closest possible route. In a way, part of site is getting served from different location than the website server itself. This makes loading faster & reduces execution load on server. There are paid CDN available, but we recommend using CloudFlare. Cloudflare comes with Free plan, and additionally adds website protection from DDoS attacks. Cloudflare comes with WordPress plugin and W 3 Total cache extension, which makes the operation easier.
5. Optimizing images
In order to achieve faster WordPress site, image optimization is must. There are two approaches here, one says images should be optimized and then uploaded to the WordPress. In this case squoosh app is handy set of tools, which has variable compression level, image preview, before-after comparison & image resizing available, for FREE. Squoosh is product by Google Chrome labs. If you prefer other approach of compressing images in WordPress itself, there are plugins available for that. We recommend Smush & Shortpixel plugins which works out of the box. Also make sure to have images of exact size. Higher size images adds to loading time and has visually no impact. Few seconds spent in resizing an image can help reducing a second of loading time, which matters a lot.
You can test performance of your website on free tools like GTMetrix.com & Google Pagespeed insights. Both tools offer suggestions and optimized resources for implementation. Further more, We offer Website Optimization service and we have few notable successes in our credit. Contact us to make your website faster.
Photo by Guillaume Jaillet on Unsplash