In today’s article, we will show you how we speed up a WordPress site, without going too technical. If you are a beginner who has started a website or blog on WordPress but sadly are suffering from slower loading website, this article is for you. Keep reading.
Please remember that this is not some kind of a technical how-to guide. We are not geeks so we can’t show you how to become one.
Instead, we will show you a few simple tricks to speed up your website’s performance. You don’t need to be an expert coder or an epic web designer to speed up your WordPress site, in most cases.
We will show you how by using a certain theme, web hosting and a few plugins, we boosted our website’s performance. But before showing how we did it, we want to show you the most recent performance results for our website.
Speed and Performance Results
All of these online tools offer free web page performance results. You can try these tools if you want to check the speed of your WordPress site.
Here are the screenshots showing our test results that were obtained using these tools over a period of time.
Speed Test Results Using GTmetrix
Speed Test Result Using Web Page Test Tool
Speed Test Results Using Pingdom
As you can see in the screenshots above, our website received excellent scores for performance and speed in all of the above instances.
Now let’s show you the tools we use to speed up the WordPress site and get these amazing results.
We Speed Up WordPress Sites Using These Tools
The tools we are showing you below are the ones using which we increased the speed and performance of our website significantly.
This Web Hosting Made a Difference
If you ask us to choose one element that impacts the overall speed and performance of your WordPress site, that would be hosting.
No matter how well optimised your WordPress site is, if you are using a poor web hosting service, your website won’t load fast. And our experience was no different.
The day we changed our web hosting from a cheap shared hosting plan to a premium managed WordPress hosting, our website’s speed and performance increased significantly.
And the managed WordPress hosting we are using for our WordPress site at present is WPX hosting. WPX is a premium managed hosting company that only deals with WordPress sites and blogs.
Although we are getting premium services from WPX, the cost of our hosting isn’t that high. We only pay $24.9 per month, to host this website. We can also host 4 additional websites in this same hosting plan, at no extra cost.
You can check out the WPX hosting coupon code from here for a 50% discount on your first-month billing if you want to try the hosting we use.
If you feel that you can’t spend $24.9 per month at this moment, no worries.
You can always get a shared hosting plan in the beginning and later make a switch to the premium hosting plans when you start getting a good amount of traffic and income from your blog.
At present, one shared hosting company that offers good performance and speed at a relatively lower price is SiteGround.
Check out this SiteGround offer where you can get 3 months hosting for only $0.99 (time-sensitive).
Cache Plugin for WordPress
This is the second tool in our kit, that made a noticeable difference to the overall speed and performance of our WordPress website. In fact, caching plugins themselves are built for the sole purpose of increasing the speed and performance of web pages.
A caching plugin improves the speed of any web site by generating a static HTML version of the same and saving it on the server.
Whenever a visitor arrives at your website, this caching plugin serves him/her the static HTML version of your site, which is lighter. By doing this, the speed and performance of your website are tremendously increased.
There are many popular WordPress cache plugins available at present. Some are free and some are paid.
The one we use is a paid caching plugin. It is arguably the most popular caching plugin available right now. Its called ‘WP Rocket’.
WP Rocket is a very advanced caching plugin, that improves the performance and speed of a WordPress site in the following ways.
- Lazy loading of images
- Minification of HTML code
You don’t have to know or understand these technical terms anyway.
Installation and activation of WP Rocket plugin take hardly a minute or two. And once you activate the plugin, it immediately gets into action and you can see the difference in page loading speeds almost instantly.
This is another factor which influenced the improvement in the performance of our WordPress website in a positive way.
As you already know, there are many awesome WordPress themes available online at the moment. So we are not here to tell which WordPress theme is better than others. We only want to share our personal experience.
When we started using a certain theme on our WordPress site, we did find an improvement in speed, and performance, and surprisingly, even in the SEO scores. It is a popular WordPress theme and most experts recommend it.
Its called ‘Astra’. Astra is a freemium WordPress theme which is available in both the free version and the paid ones. The free version is limited on features. The one we are using is a paid version of Astra.
The premium version of Astra is available in the form of a plugin. So we need to install the free Astra theme first and then later install the Astra premium plugin to activate the advanced features.
This is also a great theme to use if you depend on page builders to structure and design content on your WordPress site. Astra integrates great with page builders like Thrive Architect, Elementor, Beaver Builder, and more.
You also get numerous starter templates with Astra, if you want to build a WordPress site from a template. Astra pro addon costs $59 per year, for a single WordPress site. You can get the Astra theme from the link below.
Image Optimization Tool
We use a WordPress plugin to optimize images on this website. Image optimization is essential for decreasing page load times. When we started using the image optimization plugin with our caching plugin, we noticed two-fold improvements in our website’s performance.
The image optimization plugin we heavily use on our WordPress websites is called WP Smush Pro. It is a premium plugin that only costs $7 per month/site.
If you don’t want to pay for the WP Smush Pro plugin, you can always use its free version. But the free version has its own limits on the number of images you can optimize and the optimization features you can use.
If you already have hundreds of images uploaded to your website, WP Smush Pro can optimize them too, with its unique ‘bulk smush’ feature. We have used this plugin to optimize thousands of images on various websites, and have had no problem till date.
The WP Rocket team has its own image optimization plugin called ‘Imagify’, which we have started testing recently. It can be installed as a WordPress plugin.
It also has the option to optimize images online, which can be done by logging into your Imagify account and uploading the images to the interface. Once the optimization is complete we can download the image and use it wherever we want.
Why Do You Need a Faster Website?
The answer is simple. For better search engine rankings and for better user experience. Google has indicated that the site speed and the page load time are two of the many factors it considers when ranking a website on its search engine.
So in simple terms, if you need better rankings on search engines, you need to speed up your WordPress website.
Similarly, a slower loading website may not be able to retain its visitors. Recent studies have shown that the human attention span is lesser than that of a GoldFish. GoldFish’s attention span is 9 seconds and the human attention span is 8 :-).
So we have only a few seconds to grab the attention of our readers when they arrive at our website. If our web site or the web page takes forever to load, the chances of the visitor remaining on the website are very minimal.
Who has got the time, right?
If the visitors start leaving early, it sends a wrong signal to the search engines. Search engines will start categorising our content as of lower quality because readers are leaving early. And because of this, our search engine rankings may drop.
That’s the reason why you need to speed up your WordPress site and blog. With a faster website, you don’t have to worry about anything else other than creating great content.
What Should You Do To Speed Up Your WordPress Website?
The answer is simple.
Just do exactly what we did.
Get a good web hosting plan. If you have the budget, go for WPX hosting. If not, get SiteGround. But don’t go for other cheaper web hosting plans. They suck.
If you have already hosted your WordPress site on a cheap shared hosting plan, wait for your plan to expire and then shift to one of the two web hosting solutions mentioned above.
The next change you need to make is to install the caching plugin on your WordPress site. Install WP Rocket on your site for maximum benefit. If you can’t afford to pay for WP Rocket at the moment, install a free caching plugin like W3 Total Cache or WP Super Cache.
Finally, use the Astra or Generatepress theme on your WordPress blog. Both of these themes are equally efficient and are backed with great customer support.
You can check out the GeneratePress WordPress theme from here.