Is your WordPress site’s speed holding you back? According to the New York Times, visitors will avoid a site if it’s even 250 milliseconds slower than a competing site. That means that every fraction of a second counts when it comes to your page’s loading time.
If you’re worried your website might be too slow, don’t worry: there are plenty of ways to increase the speed without having to completely rework your site. Here are 21 ways to speed up your WordPress site in 2018:
1. Upgrade your hosting package.
Look for one that can handle the amount of traffic you regularly receive while still leaving room to grow. If your current provider doesn’t offer many options, you might consider a switch.
2. Change your theme.
A simple theme will load faster than something complicated and ornate.
3. Use a Content Delivery Network (CDN).
This is a network that loads your files to a visitor from a server that’s closer to them geographically, decreasing their loading time. There are plenty out there, so look for one that works for your site. KeyCDN and MaxCDN are two of the big names in the industry.
4. Don’t upload videos directly to your site.
Instead, upload them to a third party like YouTube and embed them on your page.
5. Optimize your images for speed.
This might involve uploading a smaller size or changing the file type to make the image load faster. You can do this automatically with the free WP Smush plugin.
6. Update your plugins.
An outdated plugin is likely to not work correctly, causing problems for you and slowing down your site. Make sure you’re updating your plugins whenever possible to keep things running smoothly.
7. Cut down on what you display.
Think excerpts instead of full articles, fewer images, and removing extra widgets to reduce the clutter on your homepage. A simpler homepage makes things easier to find in addition to speeding up your load time.
8. Optimize your database.
There’s a plugin that will do this for you, and it’s free: WP-Optimize.
9. Disable hotlinking.
Hotlinking, or outside pages linking directly to your images, puts a strain on your bandwidth. As your articles get shared more often, it’s almost guaranteed you’ll run into this issue at some point. You can learn how to prevent hotlinking in step 3 of this tutorial.
10. Only load what you need.
Lazy Load is a plugin that will only load images on the part of the page your visitor is currently looking at. When they scroll down, the rest will load. This prevents every image from loading at once and slowing down the page.
11. Get rid of your drafts.
WordPress stores every revision you make to your posts even after you hit publish. Use the Revision Control plugin to cut back on the amount of drafts WordPress saves.
12. Clear out old plugins.
Plugins you’re not using anymore or just don’t work could be slowing your site down. Make it a point to go through them periodically and remove what you don’t need.
13. Disable link notifications.
The link notification feature lets you know whenever someone has linked to your site. You can easily find this information through other services like Google if you need it, and keeping this feature activated puts a strain on your site from signals crossing back and forth. You can turn it off under Settings > Discussion.
14. Remove unneeded PHP executions.
PHP commands can seriously slow down your site. While this step is a little more advanced, you can learn how to do it yourself with this tutorial.
15. Enable caching.
A cache is a place where information about your site is stored. If you enable caching, a visitor can load the page from the cache instead of pulling the information from WordPress every time they visit. This speeds up the loading time for them and reduces the strain on your resources. You can use a plugin like WP Super Cache to make it happen.
16. Update your site.
WordPress updates regularly, and falling behind on these updates can slow your site down and leave you vulnerable to security threats. If your site doesn’t update automatically, make sure you’re always checking for new updates to stay ahead of the game.
17. Create a separate page for comments.
If you get a lot of comments on your articles, they might be slowing down your posts’ loading time. You can put them on a separate page under Settings > Discussion by checking the box that says “Break comments into pages.” This prevents them from loading all at once along with your article and allows the article to load faster.
18. Shrink your scripts.
Your website requires a lot of different files in order to load properly. Often, those files are stored in the page’s header. By making them smaller and moving them to the footer you can cut down on page load time. Autoptimize is a great plugin that will do just that.
19. Take out your slider.
While it might be a fun way to display multiple articles or images, a slider slows down your site and isn’t more effective than having static images or links.
20. Say no to spam.
Spam comments are the bane of a site owner’s existence. They can clutter up your site and slow you down. Use a plugin like Akismet tofilter out these comments and delete them when they accumulate.
21. Disable Gravatar.
These are the user avatars that show up next to a comment on your page. They can be cute, but they’re not necessary. Disabling these images can speed up loading times on your posts. You can do so under Settings > Discussion.
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