The speed of a website is a crucial factor in SEO optimization because Google gives priority to faster loading pages. In this text, you can read about ways to speed up WordPress websites by optimizing for improved loading speed.
The reason why Google favors faster websites is the good user experience, which is one of Google’s goals in ranking optimization. This way, it aims to provide its users with the best search results.
How will Google evaluate the quality of a website?
If someone clicks on one of the search results and doesn’t like the website, or if the website is slow or for any other reason, Google will mark it as a worse website compared to others. It will notice if someone stays on the website briefly or returns to the search results. When we leave a website, there is a small chance that we will return to it, and Google has this in the strategy of its algorithms. Loading speed is a crucial factor in website ranking for these reasons.
Why does the loading speed of WordPress websites decrease over time?
WordPress is a quite complex system, despite its simple appearance. When displaying a website to the user, a considerable number of processes occur, whether it is retrieving data from databases or displaying media elements, as well as various programmatic add-ons. The more of these elements you add, the more the speed of the website will decrease.
How to speed up WordPress websites?
Here are some tips that could help speed up your website:
Choose a quality web hosting
Quality web hosting is the first thing we should consider when asking the question “How to speed up WordPress websites?”.
Quality hosting providers offer specially designed packages for websites powered by WordPress. Check out our partner’s offer for optimized WordPress hosting, as well as other quality hosting packages:
How can we evaluate the quality of a web hosting service?
A quality web hosting service will have fast, stable, and high-quality servers. This means that the speed and quality involve good configuration and specification of server computers. Stability means that the servers are constantly available to display your website due to their quality.
A quality web hosting service will also provide good scalability. These are resources that will adapt to increased and dynamic traffic for serving web pages.
Furthermore, the quality factor is the personnel who upgrade the servers with the latest software upgrades and take care of negative occurrences on the servers, such as malicious attacks or viruses. Personnel is also available in terms of customer support that will respond to resolving your issues or special requests.
Check out our Web Hosting page where hosting packages are offered customized for different requirements.
Update PHP to the latest version?
PHP is a server-side programming language that, in simplified terms, generates your pages on the server side and sends them to your visitors as such. Updating PHP to the latest version will increase the performance of your web pages. The updated version will give you faster processing times, i.e., generating web pages and reducing the use of server resources.
Hosting providers generally offer support for PHP as part of their service packages, although in modern cPanels, you can perform the upgrade yourself.
We must also note that upgrading PHP can cause compatibility issues with some WordPress plugins or themes, so after upgrading, you need to check if everything is working well.
Update WordPress to the latest version
The version of WordPress should always be upgraded to the latest one. Whether it is for speed or security reasons, always upgrade WordPress to the latest version. This has a lot to do with how to speed up WordPress websites because every upgrade brings better user experience.
Updating WordPress is also a risky operation, just like updating PHP, so before updating, we recommend backing up or checking if the plugins you use follow the latest version. In any case, after updating, you need to check everything thoroughly.
Install caching system or speed up caching
Caching is a crucial factor in speeding up WordPress websites. This is particularly important for visitors who return to your website multiple times.
What is caching? It is a method of storing frequently used data in a temporary storage space. Instead of generating web pages every time a visitor makes a call, the web pages remain generated in one temporary location.
The same goes for calling data from the server. After caching, the loading speed of web pages increases. In short, every time a visitor accesses a recently viewed web page, it will be loaded from the cache instead of being generated on the web server, and all the necessary elements are fetched from the database.
There are plugins or add-ons that do this job excellently. However, be careful not to install multiple add-ons that perform this task because they may interfere with each other and slow down the web pages instead of speeding them up.
Here are some of the caching add-ons…
- W3 Total Cashe is a flexible and effective solution for speeding up your website. Installation is easy, but advanced options can be a bit complicated, so if you don’t know what you’re doing, it may not be a good idea to mess with the settings.
- WP-Optimize is a well-known tool among WordPress experts, offering basic page caching and some advanced solutions for optimizing databases and media.
- WP SuperCashe is a basic solution that offers page caching, but does not have advanced optimization techniques.
For a fee:
- WP Rocket – this is an excellent solution, perhaps the best, but unfortunately, it requires payment. The configuration and the whole solution of this plugin are simple.
- NitroPack is an advanced optimization solution that comes with many add-ons for all solutions.
Use a simple and SEO optimized theme
The theme has a significant impact on the overall appearance and functionality, as well as the loading speed of the website. Some themes load faster than others due to better or poorly optimized SEO code during theme creation. Are simpler themes faster? Often, yes, although it is not always the rule. In any case, themes with many complicated options will surely be slower than simpler themes.
When deciding on a theme, it is good to check other users’ opinions and reviews.
Remove inactive plugins and widgets
Websites with many plugins and widgets can seriously slow down website loading. Try not to install too many add-ons for every little thing you need. Regardless of how installing plugins can help a lot of functionality, try to avoid them as much as possible. An alternative would be to find some other solutions. Also, consider plugins that have more features in them. Additionally, plugins that are installed but not activated can slow down the system.
Optimize your images as well
Optimizing images is perhaps the best advice for increasing website loading speed. In my many years of work, I have seen images of various sizes, totally unoptimized on some websites. Regardless of how good they look, large images can have a significant impact on loading speed. You must find a good balance between good quality and loading speed.
Well-tuned images will particularly reduce loading speed for web shops or similar systems with many images.
There are plugins, or add-ons that compress images already uploaded on the website.
Optimize the delivery of media files
Optimizing media content, primarily referring to images, will significantly increase website loading speed. How to optimize image loading? There is a technique called “lazy loading,” which will significantly improve speed. With this technique, the browser when visiting your website is configured to load images only when needed, instead of loading them all at once when the website is loading.
In addition to images, there are also solutions for videos. For them, the rule is that it is better to have them on another server, such as YouTube. YouTube is a master for videos and will optimize them excellently regardless of their type and size. Also, use the procedure for displaying an image preview, and load the video only when needed.
Use a CDN (Content Delivery Network)
The Content Delivery Network (CDN) is an excellent solution for increasing the loading speed of WordPress websites. This is a great way to speed up if your visitors are far away from the hosting server.
What is CDN?
CDN is a network of interconnected servers that work together to deliver content to visitors of your website. These servers make copies of your content, such as media files or static pages, and serve them to users who are close to them.
This service is not simple or cheap, so if you want to implement it, you will need to look for a suitable solution. One example of a CDN system is Cloudflare.
When choosing one of these systems, make sure they have good caching integration and automatically update resources, as the problem with them is that they need to have the latest versions of changes.
First, you should find out what is being loaded. Then you can decide whether to remove these processes at the expense of animations or similar dynamic effects, or to leave them at the expense of speed reduction.
External scripts could be ads that are loaded from another source. Also, other external sources such as Google fonts could affect loading speed.
Reduce file size
This is a more complicated operation, so if you are not an experienced programmer, working with code is not a good idea. As with all WordPress problems, famous plugins or add-ons can help here. Some cache plugins have this built-in, so check them out.
Reduce the number of HTTP requests on your server
When a visitor comes to your site, their browser sends HTTP requests to your web server. The server processes that data and returns the necessary files to the visitor’s browser. Reducing the number of these files helps reduce the amount of data transferred. How to speed up WordPress websites by reducing the number of HTTP requests is actually addressed by all the items in this text.