13 Effective Ways to Make WordPress Load Faster

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In this video post I’ll be going over 13 different ways that you can optimize WordPress to make it load faster and more efficiently.

The video is practically the same as what’s in the post, so you’re a visual learner than watch then video, if you’re not then read along!

The following 13 methods will:

  • Help you to optimize WordPress for PageSpeed Insights
  • Speed up your server
  • Decrease page-load time
  • Provide an overall better user experience for
    • You
    • Your users
    • and Search Engines

All of these methods can and should be used together!

Server Caching

A Cache is something that stores data so future requests for that data can be served faster. On WordPress, a caching plugin will store your posts and pages as static files so that your server doesn’t need to think every time it serves a page. You should use plugins such as W3 Total Cache or WP Super Cache for caching.

Browser Caching

“Cache” was explained in the previous example. A browser cache is when data is stored on the viewers machine, this reduces server load
and increases page speed. W3 Total Cache and WP Super Cache also offer these options.

GZip Compression

This is when your server sends your data in a compressed form to your viewers browser. This can cut load time by over 300% in some cases (Dwuser.com). Gzip compression can be activated from your hosting cPanel. You can also use plugins such as Force gZip. Alternatively, most caching plugins such as W3 Total cache also offer this.

Optimize your Permalinks

Instead of using permalinks like:
/%category%/%postname%/
“truemiller.com/make-money/money-making-method/”

Use a numerical field such as:
/%year%/%monthnum%/%postname%/
“truemiller.com/2012/6/money-making-method/

This makes it easier for WordPress to distinguish between posts and pages.

Use a CDN

A CDN uses several servers around the world to better serve data to your viewers dependent on their location. Cached files are then served from these super-fast servers to your viewers to cut server strain and increase page-speed dramatically. This is very easy to incorporate with WordPress when using services such as CloudFlare or Free CDN. W3 Total Cache also has a function to merge a CDN easily.

Minify and Combine CSS and JavaScript

Minification of CSS and JavaScript is almost like compression. It removes redundant data such as link breaks and comments to serve a smaller and more efficient file. Combining your CSS files and JS files will also cut the amount of connections a person’s browser is required to make. Again, W3 Total Cache provides this service. CloudFlare CDN also offers the ability to combine both internal and external files too.

Remove Unused Plugins

The more plugins that you have, the more strain that you server will undergo when your blog is viewed. Regularly go through and make sure that any plugins that you aren’t using are deactivated. If you do not plan to use them again, then delete them too.

Reduce Advertisements

Image-based and flash-based advertisements can put tremendous strain on load times so Keep these too a minimum. While Google AdSense is served from fast servers, make sure that your ads are loaded asynchronously or use Lazy Loading (explained later).

Compress Your Images

Compressing your images doesn’t always lead to poorer quality. There are two types of image compression: Lossy, where you lose image quality, and
Loss-less, where you don’t lose image quality. Wherever possible you should use lossy compression, but loss-less compression is suffice for larger images.

Use EWWW Image Optimizer to compress all the images on your site and all future uploads too.

Read this post for a more in-depth explanation of WordPress image optimization and what free plugins are best to use.

Resize Your Images

There is no point serving super-large images to mobile phone and tablet users when their screen simply cannot fit in many pixels.

Making several different copies of your image in different sizes will cut server strain when necessary.

Hammy offers this function to automatically generate and serve the most appropriate image size

Lazy Loading

This delays loading of images on your page. Images outside of your browsers – will not be loaded until a user scrolls to them. Plugins such as Hammy offer this by default.

A3 Lazy Load also offers support for lazy loading HTML5, Flash and Video Streaming services.

Take a look at a large post like this one, and scroll down. You will see that the images fade into view and aren’t loaded until you scroll to them. This is Lazy Loading.

Reduce Blog Posts Shown

Instead of forcing your visitor to load 10+ posts on your homepage you should cut this amount to a more practical amount.

Most themes use thumbnails on your homepage so you should try to serve as few images as possible. Aim to keep to less than 10 on your homepage. This obviously depends on your theme.

Optimise Your Database

You should delete any lingering spam, old plugin debris and post data from your database.

Leaving this data can lead to unnecessary “passes” when your server is browsing through your database to find a specific piece of data.

You can use WP Optimizer for this task.