The Ultimate Guide to Boost WordPress Speed & Performance

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how to speed up your wordpress site

There’s no doubt that website speed has a big impact on the user experience and how users engage with your site. If it’s too slow, they may not even wait to see your content at all. If you want to stay competitive, a speedy website is a must-have. 

That said, are you wondering how to speed up your WordPress site? 

There are many benefits to understanding how to improve your WordPress site speed, including: 

  • Better user experience
  • Increased pageviews
  • SEO boost 
  • Higher conversion 
  • And more 

Our priority is helping you to have a full and complete understanding of how to speed up your WordPress site; we won’t focus on generic WP site optimization— we will give you a full and comprehensive guide for WP site speed improvement. 

From discussing why speed is important to what can slow down your WordPress site, we will give you actionable steps to make your WordPress site immediately faster. 

Check out our table of contents to jump to a topic of your choice, or read through the whole article for a big picture look at how to improve your WordPress site speed. Let’s get loading! 

Why Speed is Important for Your WordPress Site?

If you hadn’t already noticed from everyday interactions, the human attention span isn’t so great. In 2000, the human attention span was about 12 seconds and has since dropped down to roughly 8.25 seconds, perhaps even less. 

So, what does this mean for your WordPress site? 

You don’t have a lot of time to get your audience’s attention before they’re ready to move on to something else. 

If your site is loading slow, you will severely cut down the time you have to engage your user— they may not even see your content at all! 

In fact, data from Google shows that the bounce rate for a website with a page load time of 1s to 3s goes up to 32%, and if your page takes over 6 seconds to load, the bounce rate is already over 100%.  

Google Bounce Time Graphic

Not only will you see the bounce rate skyrocket, but the probability of conversion will take a serious hit. There will also be a decrease in customer satisfaction, fewer page views, and more. 

Google is serious about this, and it has begun to give less priority to websites with inefficient loading speeds, listing them further down in search results. This is the case with other search engines as well. 

If you want to have the highest ranking possible in searches, it’s absolutely vital that you learn how to speed up your WordPress site. Not only that, you will also have more visits, higher viewer satisfaction, and even make more money through sales. 

How to Check Your WordPress Website Speed?

The next logical step, then, is to assess our WordPress site speed and understand where we’re starting at. If you don’t know your website speed, you may have simply tested it out on your computer and decided that it “seemed okay.” 

This won’t be enough information to effectively learn how to speed up your WordPress site. 

Your site may load fast for you, that doesn’t mean it will appear that way for all viewers. Why not? 

Your website will, no doubt, have been visited by you multiple times. Your web browser, such as Chrome and others, will store the website in its cache and grab the site as soon as you start typing it and select it. 

The website will load almost immediately. This, however, doesn’t gage what the typical user experience will be, especially if the visitor is viewing your WordPress site for the first time. It can even depend on factors such as the user’s geographical location.

In order to understand how to speed up your WordPress site, you first have to know what the website speed is. 

We recommend that you use a tool such as IsItWP WordPress speed test to perform a speed test on your WordPress site. 

wordpress speed test isitwp

This tool is free, and it will tell you exactly how fast your WordPress page loads. 

You should be hoping for a page loading time of 2 seconds or under; that said, the faster you can get it, the better. Even just a few milliseconds cut off of your load time will ultimately help you to get your site loaded to viewers much more quickly. 

Once you enter your website’s URL and run the test, note your starting point and see how it compares to the goal of 2 seconds or under. You’ll also see a variety of recommendations to help with WP site speed improvement. 

While these can be useful tips, many beginners or even intermediately-skilled website owners may have a hard time deciphering this technical jargon. Let’s expand on this in the next section. 

What Slows Down Your WordPress Website?

Knowing the different elements that can slow down your WordPress website is vital in learning how to speed up your WordPress site. You will be able to troubleshoot problem areas and thus make better decisions for long-term WordPress optimization. 

These are the main reasons you may have a slow-loading WordPress site: 

  • Web Hosting — if your web hosting server isn’t optimized and not properly configured, your website speed will suffer. 
  • Page Size — the biggest factor here is images that aren’t optimized for web; this will cause problems for load time. 
  • WordPress Configuration— your server can become overloaded when your WordPress site doesn’t serve cached pages; this will cause a slow website or can even crash the site completely. 
  • External Scripts— another big reason why your website may lag is because external scripts like ads, font loaders, and more can burden your website and impact its overall speed. 
  • Bad Plugins— if your plugins don’t have effective codes, you will no doubt have trouble getting your website to load quickly. 

These are the main factors that contribute to poor speed on a WordPress website. Now that we have identified them, we are ready to start learning how to speed up your WordPress site. 

Importance of Good WordPress Hosting

If you truly want to know how to speed up your WordPress site, you should consider your WordPress hosting service— this has a huge impact on your overall site loading times. 


If you’re using a shared hosting provider, make sure that they care about WP site optimization and go the extra mile to provide you with optimal website performance. Some of the best shared hosting providers for WordPress include Bluehost or Siteground

Even if you use one of the best WordPress shared hosting providers, you’re still going to see some slower loading speeds. Why? 

The server resources are shared amongst all of their other customers. If the site that neighbors yours pulls in a lot of traffic, it will impact the whole server’s performance, thus slowing down your website. This is one of the downsides of a shared hosting provider. 

Alternatively, a managed WordPress hosting service provides you with the most WordPress optimization in terms of configurations for a quick-running WordPress. You’ll also get automatic backups, automatic WordPress updates, and additional advanced security configurations to help combat website hacking and phishing. 

We highly recommend WPEngine as the top managed WordPress hosting provider. With powerful features and ultra-fast loading times, WPEngine is widely recognized as the prime WordPress hosting provider in the industry. 

Speeding Up WordPress in Easy Steps (No Coding)

Finding out how to speed up your WordPress site can be a daunting task for beginners, but making changes to your website configuration is possible, even if you aren’t incredibly tech-savvy. 

You’re not alone out there, and we’ve helped thousands of WordPress users with WP site speed improvement in easy and accessible ways. 

We’re going to show you just how to improve your WordPress site speed in a few simple clicks, with no coding required. Phew! 

If you know how to use a mouse and can click on a few options, you’re good to go! 

Are you ready to learn how to speed up your WordPress site? Onward! 

Install a WordPress Caching Plugin

One thing you should know about WordPress pages is that they are dynamic— this means they are built-to-use every single time a visitor views your post or website pages. 

WordPress runs a process to find, join, and display all of your page information as soon as they visit your site. 

As you can imagine, this process isn’t completed in one step— it requires a range of steps, which can, in turn, slow down your website especially when you have multiple visitors at the same time.

To maximize wordpress optimization, we recommend that every WordPress site use a caching plugin. Caching is a big key in how to speed up your WordPress site, making it between 2x-5x faster in terms of loading. 

How is this possible? 

The caching plugin will make a copy of the page after it loads for the first time; it will then serve the cached copy to every user that visits the page afterward. It will eliminate the need to generate the page every time a user visits. 

What normally happens when a user visits your page is this: 

  • User visits your page
  • Your server gets information from a MySQL database and PHP files 
  • The server combines all information into HTML content
  • The user views the content
WP cache

WordPress optimization can happen though the use of a caching plugin because much of this process is eliminated. 

There is no shortage of WOrdPress caching plugins to choose from, but the two that we recommend are WP Super Cache (free) or WP Rocket (premium). 

In order to install a WordPress caching plugin, you’ll follow a few simple steps and it will be ready to go; there’s no doubt that your visitors will see WP site speed improvement. Keep an eye out for our guide on this topic, coming soon! 

Your WordPress hosting service may include caching solutions; Bluehost, SiteGround, and WP Engine all provide this within their service. Depending on which WordPress hosting service you use, it may look a little different, but ultimately the function is the same. 

Bonus Tip: Combining caching plugins with a web application firewall is also a great tip on how to speed up your WordPress site; Sucuri or CloudFare are both great options. 

Optimize Images for Speed

It’s likely that you also have a variety of images on your WordPress website; if you don’t, you definitely need to consider adding them, as they make a huge impact on visitor engagement. When you use images in your content, it catches the user’s eye, making them more likely to view your content. 

80% more likely, in fact. 

While images are an essential part of any website, if they aren’t optimized, they can actually cause big hiccups for your WordPress optimization. Understanding how to speed up your WordPress site is also understanding how to optimize images. 

Non-optimized images account for a large portion of speed issues that we find on beginner WordPress sites. 

With technology as effective as ever, you may think that uploading a photo directly from your phone or camera is no problem for your website. The problem here, though, is the file size. 

It’s in your best interest in terms of WP site speed improvement to use a photo editor to optimize the photos for use on the web. 

The original image formats that we get from our devices tend to be pretty huge. When the file size is very big, it takes longer to load, causing your site to have slow loading times. 

image optimization

Using an editing software for these images can help you to choose the right compression and image file format, decreasing the image size as much as 5x. This is a huge victory for loading time. 

The primary photo formats that are used on WordPress sites are JPEG and PNG; those are the file types that we use here at ProjectCool as well. 

What’s the difference between JPEG and PNG, you might ask? 

The main difference lies in image compression. 

The PNG image format is uncompressed, which means that it will have more detail and be of higher quality. When you compress an image, some of the information is lost, which is why an uncompressed image will have more detail.

Unfortunately, uncompressed image formats like PNG are also larger in file size, causing it to load more slowly. 

Conversely, the JPEG image format is a compressed image file format that results in a smaller image size with somewhat reduced image quality. It’s one of the most commonly-used image file types on the web. 

How can we decide between the two image file types? It’s simple: 

  • If it’s a simpler image with less overall detail, or we need a transparent image, PNG is the best option. 
  • If the photo has a lot of colors or details, JPG is a better choice. 

In reality, most of the images you will find online are JPEGs. 

Even though you see that the file size of most images are going to be in KB, they can still make a huge difference in how to speed up your WordPress site and your overall WordPress optimization. 

One of the most popular tools you can use to optimize your image size is Photoshop, but it's by no means the only one. The goal is that you get your image down to a size that is right for WP site speed improvement but doesn’t lose out on image quality either. 

WordPress Performance Optimization Best Practices

Now that you know how to speed up your WordPress site through caching plugins and image optimization, you’ll see a great WP site speed improvement, which is exciting! The work isn’t over yet, though. 

If you truly want your website to run at lightning speeds and reach its full potential, there are a handful of best practices that you’ll want to implement. 

The tips don’t require a lot of background knowledge or technical skills; they don’t require any code to implement them, either. They will, however, prevent common issues that tend to slow down your website and help you in terms of WordPress site optimization. 

Let’s take a look. 

Keep Your WordPress Site Updated

We live in a world of operating systems, programs, and software, which means we’re always being told to update something. As with all of the other things in our lives, our WordPress site is no different. 

WordPress is a highly popular, well maintained open source project that receives frequent updates for WordPress optimization. There are a variety of things each update will do: 

  • Offer new features
  • Fix security issues
  • Fix bugs

The update may do all three, or a combination of the three. You’ll notice that your WordPress theme as well as any WordPress plugins you have will also have regular updates. 

The main takeaway here on how to speed up your WordPress site is that you have a responsibility as a website owner to ensure that all of your WordPress elements are updated, meaning your site itself, your theme, as well as any plugins. 

If you slack off on this, your site may load slower, become prone to bugs and security threats, or even be unreliable. 

dashboard updates wp

Always keep an eye out for updates; you will notice that WordPress will typically alert you when it's time for an update; you can also check the update tab on the sidebar to make sure that you’re all caught up with this type of WordPress optimization. 

Optimize Background Processes

Websites don’t run all on their own; there are often other things happening behind the scenes so that your WordPress site runs smoothly. These background processes may or may not have a big impact on how to speed up your WordPress site. 

Some common background tasks on WordPress sites include: 

  • WordPress cron jobs that publish scheduled posts
  • WordPress cron jobs that check for updates
  • WordPress Backup plugin tasks
  • Search engines and other crawlers that deliver content 

The cron jobs that check for updates and publish scheduled posts won’t affect your WordPress site optimization; however, background processes like backup plugins and a lot of search engine crawling does have an impact. 

When this happens, your site will become slower than desired. 

In terms of backup plugins, you should ensure that your WordPress backup plugin runs only during low traffic time(s). While backups are important, you have to ensure the settings don’t impede your site performance. 

You can also adjust the frequency of backups as well as the data that will be backed up for WP site speed improvement. 

For instance, if you have a backup scheduled on a daily basis when you only post new content two times per week, you can make an adjustment here for WordPress site speed improvement.

If you need backups that occur more frequently, or even real-time backups, it’s much better to use a SaaS (Software as a Service) solution so that your server isn’t taking the brunt of this task. 

In addition, if you really want to make sure you know how to speed up your WordPress site in terms of search engine crawling, it’s a must that you use Google Search Console. There, you can access crawl reports that will tell you when errors were encountered so that you can ensure this doesn’t impact your WP site speed. 

Use Excerpts on Homepage and Archives

Next up on how to speed up your WordPress site is to consider how much of your content is appearing on your page. 

Consider your own experience when viewing a webpage: if you were able to see all of the information included in an article directly on the main page, would you bother clicking on the link and navigating to the content page? 

You likely answered no. This is similar to what happens with the default WordPress setting. 

WordPress will display the full content of each article on both your homepage as well as in archives. Because of this, your homepage, archive pages, categories, and tags will be subject to slower loading times. 

This is unfortunate because it hinders you in how to speed up your WordPress site, but it also does something more. 

Users also won’t feel the need to visit the actual article when WordPress displays the whole thing on these pages, which means you’ll be gaining less pageviews, minimizing the time users spend on your website. 

Therefore, in order to see WP site speed improvement and page visit likelihood, you can configure your WordPress to display only excerpts in place of the full article content. 

project cool wp excerpts

To do this, navigate to Settings > Reading and then select the summary option next to “For each article in a feed, show.” 

excerpts wordpress posts

Your WordPress will now only show a small snippet of your article instead of the whole thing, benefiting not only your load time but also time users spend on your page and how many pages they view. 

Split Comments into Pages

You may not realize it, but even audience engagement can slow down your WordPress site speed. We always see engagement as a sign that something is working, but when we start getting a lot of engagement, it’s important that we plan ahead. 

Comments in particular can cause slow loading speeds on your website. If you notice you’ve got a lot of comments, congrats! That’s great for your website. If you want to know how to speed up your WordPress site, though, we have to address it before it becomes an issue. 

WordPress makes it very easy for you. Navigate to Settings > Discussion and locate Break comments into pages with. 

comments into pages wp

You can then select how many comments will appear per page and which page will appear by default, thus improving your WordPress site speed. After all, you don’t want to worry about comments having a negative impact on your site! 

Use a Content Delivery Network (CDN)

As we mentioned at the beginning of this article, there are many factors that play into how quickly your site loads for viewers. One of those factors is the geographical location— users viewing your site from different spots will experience different loading times. 

This has to do with the location of your web hosting server and how it's delivering the content to your viewer, which will affect how to speed up your WordPress site. 

For example, let’s imagine that your web hosting company’s servers are based in the United States. If your visitors are primarily coming from the United States, it’s logical that they will see faster loading times than those visitors from other areas, such as China. 

A key component of how to speed up your WordPress site is bridging this gap, and that’s where a Content Delivery Network (CDN) comes in. A CDN will help you to speed up loading times for all of your visitors, no matter where they’re viewing from. 

Wait, what’s a CDN, really? 

A CDN is a network that contains servers from all around the world. Each of these servers will store static files that compose your website. 

cdn wordpress

Files such as images, CSS and JavaScript are the main static files that a CDN holds. Remember, your WordPress pages are dynamic, not static. The static files assist in storing and providing those files to viewers in different locations. 

When a visitor views your page from a distant location, the CDN will send those static files from the closest server. This means that you will also see WP site speed improvement from your web hosting server as well; the CDN is taking on a lot of the work. 

One of the best CDNs is StackPath CDN, which now includes MaxCDN. They work well with your WordPress site and will help your caching plugins to help serve up even higher levels of WordPress optimization. 

If you use a managed hosting solution like WPEngine, they include a CDN that you can enable, making your life even easier.  The WPEngine CDN is very simple to get going on your site and you won’t have to look elsewhere to make your loading times globally effective. 

You can even enable SSL security on CDN URLs via WPEngine, making your site experience faster and safer for all visitors. 

Don't Upload Audio/Video Files Directly to WordPress

youtube vimeo 1

Photos aren’t the only type of media you should include on your site. You can also include video and audio media; in fact, website visitors are 10x more likely to engage with a video over simple text, so it’s a valid strategy for boosting your audience’s engagement and view time. 

As we saw in our image optimization section, the original file size can be quite large, so you should avoid uploading them directly. For videos and how to speed up your WordPress site, a similar principle applies. 

It’s completely possible to upload audio and video files directly to your WordPress site; they will be automatically displayed in an HTML5 player, but this is not ideal. Avoid at all costs! 

Audio and videos are very large and they also cost bandwidth. Even if your web hosting company includes unlimited bandwidth, you still may be charged overage fees by them, or even worse, they could decide to shut down your site due to heavy bandwidth usage. 

What’s worse, you will also be backing up these huge media files, causing the size of your backups to increase exponentially; this will cause issues later if you need to restore WordPress from backup. 

So, how to speed up your WordPress site with large media files? 

It’s a simple solution. Don’t upload your audio and video media directly to your WordPress site. With third party tools such as YouTube, Vimeo, SoundCloud, and more, you can upload your large files there and let them deal with storing the larger media content. 

You can then use WordPress’s built-in video embed feature, which is also straightforward. Copy and paste the URL of the video into the post, and it will be automatically embedded. 

Tip: If you’re making a podcast website with WordPress, you can use Blubrry for podcast hosting and it also includes your WordPress site and file migration.  

Use a Theme Optimized For Speed

themify wordpress

When you are ready to choose a WordPress theme for our site, how to speed up your WordPress site may not even cross your mind at all! Themes are great for having an appealing website, but they are a big factor in how fast your site loads. 

In fact, some very impressive and professional-looking themes are coded terribly and will be a big damper on your site speed, offering little in terms of WordPress optimization. 

The best thing you can do for your WordPress site speed improvement is choose a theme that is more simple and straightforward. Avoid themes that include flashy graphics or animations, overly complex layouts, among other superfluous features. 

You can always customize your theme later through the addition of high-quality, optimized WordPress plugins. 

Some of the best WordPress theme shops include Themify, Astra, StudioPress, and CSSIgniter; all of the themes from these shops are coded for speed and offer WP site optimization. They offer many beautiful themes that won’t hinder your site speed. 

When you go through the process to change your theme, you should also test the load time to ensure that the speed is either the same or better. You can use a tool like Pingdom to do so, or the free tool we mentioned in the earlier section, IsItWP

Use Faster Plugins

plugins optin monster

WordPress plugins are an essential part of your site functionality and features, so using them is a must. That doesn’t mean, however, that you have to suffer due to poorly coded WordPress plugins. 

The problem with these low-quality plugins is that they will create more for your website to load, resulting in website bloat, lowering your site speed and WP site optimization. 

How to speed up your WordPress site with plugins, then? 

You have to choose the right plugins to begin with; there’s no other alternative. To help you do this, we’ve created a quick-look guide for the best WordPress plugins for WP site speed improvement in the 4 most common plugin categories. 

Here are our top picks: 

  • OptinMonster: widely considered to be the best Optin form Plugin for WordPress, OptinMonster recently took their plugin to its own site, significantly minimizing the impact that the plugin has on your WordPress loading times.  
  • Shared Counts: social media is a must-have on your website, but some plugins don’t load these scripts quick enough. With Shared Counts, you’ll have one of the fastest social media plugins for WordPress on your side.
  • Soliloquy: when you need to add sliders to your website, Soliloquy can be considered the best WordPress slider plugin both in features as well as performance. 
  • Envira Gallery: WordPress photo gallery plugins are also notorious for slowing down your WordPress site. Envira Gallery is a premium gallery plugin for WordPress that will offer quick loading speeds, faster than any others.  

If you have another plugin in mind but don’t know how to speed up your WordPress site with it, you can test the speed and see how your site runs. How? 

Run a speed test before you install the plugin, and then run another one after. Based on the results, you will be able to tell whether or not the plugin is good for WP site optimization and can either keep it or cut it.  

Fine-Tuning WordPress for Speed (Advanced)

So far we’ve got a wide range of ideas on how to speed up your WordPress site, and they’ve all been things that you can do immediately. Awesome! 

That’s a great start, but there are still more things you can do to see WP site speed improvement. You’ll undoubtedly see a big improvement with the best practices and tips above, but every tiny piece of a second matters. 

There are a few more things you can do to further your WordPress optimization; while the following tips are a bit more technical, they are worth it. They require some site file modification or perhaps some basic knowledge on PHP. 

Before you attempt any of the items in the next section, it’s a good idea to backup your WordPress site first just to be safe.  

Split Long Posts into Pages

next page wp

The truth of the matter is that blog posts rank higher in search engines when they are longer and more detailed, which is a big incentive to create longer pieces of content. 

What’s more, though, is that your site visitors will spend more time on your page and also really enjoy reading these longer posts, diving into more information about the topic that they’re looking for. 

While that’s all well and good, it’s not so good in terms of how to speed up your WordPress site. In fact, long-form articles that include many images may even ding your loading times, causing less satisfaction with your visitors. 

Does that mean you should eliminate photos from your long-form blog posts? Absolutely not! Remember, media such as photos, audio, and video always keep visitors on your site longer and gets them more engaged. 

Instead, remember that you should always optimize the images as we explained above, don’t load audio and video directly onto your site, and there’s even one more way that you can ensure your longer posts load quickly. 

You can split up your longer posts into multiple pages, which will help alleviate the loading time. WordPress has a built-in way for you to do exactly that. 

You can add the <!––nextpage––> tag in your article when you are ready to split to the next page; you will follow this throughout your whole post to your liking. It’s an effective tactic in how to speed up your WordPress site.

It’s a good idea to try and keep the pages at a similar length and consider the amount of media you’re using on each one so that your content remains consistent and engaging. 

Reduce External HTTP Requests

WordPress plugins and themes don’t exist in a vacuum; it’s likely that they are loading all types of different files from a range of websites. These files include things like stylesheets, scripts, and images from many external sites— Google, Facebook, analytics, and more. 

If your plugins do this too often and make tons of requests to other sites, it’s going to become a problem regarding how to speed up your WordPress site. It will damage your loading times without a doubt. 

A few of these are okay, but when you notice some slower loading times, this can be an issue. It can especially become problematic when you have multiple plugins that are doing this on a regular basis. 

If you feel that this is happening and you want to check it out, consider using your browser’s developer tools. On Chrome, there are many ways that you can access DevTools. The option you’re looking for is inspect, which can be accessed by right-clicking on the element you want to examine. 

inspect loading time

Then, click network and reload your website. You will see a handy graph of all of the elements and how fast they load. You can then determine which plugins could be cut, or which ones need improvement.

loading times inspect graph

If you want to reduce the external HTTP requests made by plugins, you can disable the scripts and styles on the plugin itself, forcing it to stop. You could also merge them into one file through copy and pasting all styles and scripts into the stylesheet so they load altogether. 

Any and all of these are great ideas for how to speed up your WordPress site in lieu of external HTTP requests. 

Reduce Database Calls

server database

Disclaimer: a basic knowledge of PHP and WordPress template files is needed for this next step. 

As we mentioned earlier, not all WordPress themes are created equal in terms of coding. If you are serious about how to speed up your WordPress site, it’s vital that you recognize this and choose wisely. 

One main reason why so many WordPress themes are coded so poorly is because they end up making too many unnecessary requests to the database; this is called direct database calling, and it’s due to the fact that they ignore WordPress standard practices. 

This database calling overworks your server, resulting in lower WordPress site loading times. 

You can identify a database call everytime you see the code <?php , which indicates the start of a database call. 

php wp

Developers need to use database calls in order to find out what language your site is in, but there is room for how to speed up your WordPress site here. 

If you’re customizing your site using a child theme (a version of the original theme without making any direct changes to the original “parent” theme), you can see WP site speed improvement by replacing database calls with the specific information it needs. 

no database call php

You can then replace the database calls with static information that won’t hit on your loading speeds. 

Optimize WordPress Database

We’ve thrown this term around a few times, but here’s an overview if you’re unsure: a WordPress database is where all of your relevant website information is stored, including: 

  • Basic information 
  • Usernames and passwords
  • Posts
  • Pages
  • Comments
  • Website theme
  • Configuration settings 
  • And more 

It can be accessed through your cPanel >  WP File Manager 

wp file manager

If you’re just starting out with your WordPress site, your database is probably still pretty fresh and won’t have much to it. After a while, however, you’ll see that there will be an accumulation of unnecessary information. 

You can then optimize the WordPress database to get rid of the information you don’t need, helping with how to speed up your WordPress site effectively. 

One of the most effective ways to clear out your database is with the WP-Sweep plugin. You’ll be able to get rid of things like posts you trashed, unused tags, revisions, and more. 

Even better, WP-Sweep will optimize your whole database structure with a simple click. 

Limit Post Revisions

When we used to write with pen and paper, we left behind physical remnants of all the drafts that never were. We then had to throw those away, or they would clutter up our desk! With digital content, it’s not as easy to see the visual, but this same idea remains. 

When you write something on WordPress and you trash the draft, we don’t see it or feel it, but the database stores it. The same goes for revisions. When you revise a WordPress post, it will take up space in your WordPress database, even though we wouldn’t necessarily think so. 

wp revisions edited

Focusing on how to speed up your WordPress site, don’t forget to address these hidden elements so that you can shave off as much time as possible. Plugins may even be searching through revisions if they’re not excluded in the plugin’s queries. 

If you want to limit the number of revisions per article WordPress stores, you can add a simple line of code to do so: 

wp post revisions code

The code will then limit WordPress in saving only the last 4 revisions of each page or post; after that, it will delete the older revisions without you having to do anything. You could change that number as you so desire.

Disable Hotlinking and Leaching of Your Content

One thing you also have to consider about your website and its content is that it’s accessible to anyone on the internet. This is a good thing, but it can also be a negative thing that comes back to haunt you in how to speed up your WordPress site. 

Your high-quality content is vital in your WordPress success, but unfortunately because it’s high quality, it’ll likely be stolen at one point or another. 

One of the most common ways this happens is when your images are taken directly from your website URLs instead of uploaded to the server of the other website directly. They’re basically stealing the bandwidth that your image occupies on your server, and you’re not getting any traffic from it. 

If you want to curb this occurrence and block people from hotlinking images from your WordPress site, you can add a simple code to your .htaccess file. 

hotlinking wp

You’ll enter your website in the fourth step as you can see in the image. 

Another way this happens is when other websites use content scraping to create automatic posts through stealing content from your RSS feed. WordPress offers a thread on how to prevent content scraping. 

Ensuring that users aren’t scraping your content or hotlinking your images is sure to help in how to speed up your WordPress site. 

Use Lazy Loading if Needed

Content is so much more than just written text; it’s likely that your content includes images, videos, and photo galleries. If you find that you use a high volume of these elements, your WordPress site speed improvement can come from lazy loading. 

After all, a little lazy never hurt anyone, right? 

What happens in lazy loading is that your images and other media won’t all be loaded at once; only the media that is visible to the user on their current screen will be loaded. In the meantime, a placeholder image will be substituted for the content out of view. 

Your website will load the images and media as they become visible to the user in their browser area through scrolling or other site movement. This helps you in how to speed up your WordPress site and is a big factor in WordPress optimization. 

Some different types of media that can use lazy loading includes: 

  • Video
  • Images
  • WordPress comments
  • Gravatars
  • Iframes
  • Thumbnails
  • smilies

A useful tool to facilitate lazy loading is the Lazy Load by WP Rocket plugin, which will lead to WP site speed improvement and a reduction in the number of HTTP requests. 

lazyload wprocket

Lazy loading is most commonly used when there is a lot of media that needs to be loaded; if you don’t feel that you use an overwhelming amount of media on your pages and in your content, you may be able to skip it. 

You could also test it out and see if there is an impact on your loading times by running a test before you implement Lazy Load and then afterwards as well, gaging the improvement (if any). 

Use DNS Level Website Firewall

dns firewall

The internet isn’t as safe as we’d all like, and there are always entities out there with malicious intent trying to hack your page, attack your page, and even install malware on your page. This is why firewalls exist. 

There are a variety of WordPress firewall plugins that will help to defend your site against these attacks, but not all are created equal. 

Some of them run directly on your website, allowing attackers to reach your web server before they are blocked. It helps your site in terms of security, but can still weigh on performance and how to speed up your WordPress site. 

One way to combat this is to use a DNS (Domain Name System) firewall. This type of firewall will block any type of malicious attempts before they even arrive on your website, saving your site some load time. 

Some of the recommended DNS firewalls include Sucuri and Cloudflare.

Fix HTTPS/SSL Errors without Plugin

mixed content error

If you are taking your site to HTTPS/SSL encryption, you may find that you encounter mixed content errors along the way. 

An HTTPS/SSL site is a secured webpage that includes secure content. If you have a regular HTTP site that includes non-secure content, this is where you can encounter mixed content errors. 

What’s more, even if you have an HTTPS site, attackers may still be able to access, read, or modify the HTTP content regardless, so this can be dangerous for your site. 

If you run into mixed content errors, you can easily fix them by installing a plugin that will run through your URLs and catch the mistakes. A good option for this is Really Simple SSL. 

The downside here, though, is that the URLs aren’t actually being fixed; the plugin simply changes them to HTTPs before the URL gets sent to the user’s browser. 

The impact in how to speed up your WordPress site is noticeable albeit small; if you want to avoid this altogether you can manually fix all URLs. 

Use Latest PHP Version

php wp version

PHP is a programming language that is installed and run on your hosting server. WordPress is by and large written in this PHP language. 

PHP versions are also updated or revamped now and then, and any good WordPress hosting company worth its weight uses the most stable PHP version, helping you in how to speed up your WordPress site. 

Some hosting companies, however, don’t do this and may be using an older version of PHP. 

PHP 7, the newer version, is much faster than its previous versions— 2x faster, in fact. This is an absolute must in terms of WordPress optimization and WP site speed improvement. You don’t want to miss out on that performance boost. 

If you want to check up on your version of PHP, you can install the Version Info plugin and activate it to find out. 

Once you activate the plugin, it will show you your PHP version, found in the WordPress admin dashboard at the footer. It’s very simple, but something you absolutely should know. 

If you see that the PHP version is lower than 7.0, contact your WordPress hosting provider and require them to update it for you to take advantage of faster speeds. 

If they aren’t able to do the update or refuse, it’s worth it to find a new WordPress hosting company. There are plenty of options out there that focus a great deal on WordPress optimization and can get you speeds and uptimes that will blow you away. 

Final Thoughts: How to Speed Up Your WordPress Site 

You made it! Now you’re a pro on how to speed up your WordPress site using some tips, basic principles, and more advanced concepts. Try out these techniques and see which ones work for you. 

The key takeaway is that you should always be performing site speed tests because you can’t rely on how fast your website loads for you to determine how it will load for your visitors. Before and after you try out our WordPress optimization tactics, always do a speed test to gage results. 

You’ll be surprised at how much of an impact these small but mighty actions can have on your WP site speed improvement. 

Have you tried any of these practices? Which one resulted in the most improvement? Let us know in the comments! 

By Nicole

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By Nicole

6 Guides

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