How to improve the performance of your WordPress website?

Maik Gruppen, October 4, 2018

WordPress is a popular platform for many website builders and users. For good reason. It is a simple, free, and user-friendly platform with many themes that can easily be expanded with plug-ins. However, convenience sometimes comes at a price in the form of poor performance, because these fancy plugins and themes hog precious server resources. In this article we will show you how to improve the performance of your WordPress website.

Install caching

Caching is the temporary storage of data in a different location to allow for faster access to said data. This technology is extremely important for the speed of your WordPress website. Picking up and assembling a page over and over again takes both time and server capacity.

If you have high numbers of visitors, this can quickly lead to a lot of stress on the server. The result? A slow website. By using caching, you store the results (or parts thereof) of a page request in a temporary location. This makes the information more readily accessible when it is called upon for a second or third time. This way, your website will stay quickly accessible even during peak periods.

Caching is done in three layers: browser caching, plug-in caching, and reverse proxy caching. For the first two layers, WordPress typically uses W3 Total Cache, WP Rocket, or WP Super Cache. Varnish caching is used for the reverse proxy cache. This form of caching operates ahead of the HTTP server that your WordPress website runs on.

Varnish caching thus becomes the first contact with the visitor’s PC. Caching usually offers a solution, but is best avoided for parts of the website that have to be unique for every visitor. The shopping cart of a web store is a good example of this.

Choose the right hosting provider

The host that you chose naturally also influences the performance of your WordPress website. A fast and well-oiled website is a delicate balancing act between website and host.

Although shared hosting is fine for many websites, for heavy and complex websites it is often better to use a VPS. This way you do not have to share a server load with other parties, which helps the performance of your website. Perfect for WordPress sites that attract large numbers of visitors and use lots of videos or images.

Sometimes it is difficult to see the forest for the trees. Fortunately, with a good hosting party like Savvii, you can choose from a broad spectrum of shared and VPS packages.

Take a closer look at your plug-ins

WordPress gives you the option to install a large number of plug-ins that provide extra functionalities. Of course, this is convenient, but too many plug-ins can also slow down your website significantly.

So you should always check whether a specific plug-in is really necessary for your website. Deleting or deactivating redundant plug-ins can really boost the performance of your site. The P3 plug-in (Plugin Performance Profiler) gives you a quick and easy insight into the loading time of various plug-ins.

Compress images

Images can also adversely affect the performance of your WordPress website.

Large images are disastrous for your loading speed. A picture of 2 or 3 MB can easily double the loading time of your website. This is something you do not want in a speed-governed world like the Internet.

Fortunately, you can easily solve this problem by consistently compressing images, for example with a program like ShortPixel. With this plug-in you can significantly reduce the loading time of images (30 to 90 percent).

ShortPixel allows you to compress an image online. You can reduce the file size of the photo to decrease loading time. The advantage is that the quality, format, or sharpness of the photo is not visibly affected. Always keep in mind that a picture for a website has less stringent quality requirements than those for print.

Use a CDN

Do you have a WordPress website that is internationally oriented and attracts many foreign visitors? Then the use of a content delivery network (CDN) is certainly worth considering.

A CDN ensures that files from your website are stored in several places around the world. So if someone in the United States or Australia visits your website, the information is summoned locally thanks to the CDN. A CDN allows you to reduce loading times from abroad by more than fifty percent.

Optimize your database

Your database can become quite polluted, especially if your WordPress website has been around for a while. There is a good chance there are various files and functionalities you either do not or hardly use anymore. This is why it is wise to regularly clean up your database.

This can very easily be done with a tool like WP Optimize. Always make a backup of your database first, because something can always go wrong when you delete files.

Less is more

The saying “less is more” is often used for WordPress websites as well. WordPress certainly gives you the option to completely fill your entire website with various elements. But are all of them really necessary? Chances are you can do without animations, a moving slider, or a sidebar with advertisements. If these elements are not essential for your core business, they are elements that slow down your site that you should get rid of.

Choose a quick theme

When selecting themes and templates, carefully look at the used code. Themes with ‘clean’ coding (clean code) load faster than their more complex counterparts. By always paying attention to ‘clean coding‘, you can significantly improve the performance of a WordPress website.

Conclusion

As you can see, there are several ways to optimize the performance of your WordPress website. All of it starts with excellent hosting that is precisely tailored to your needs and wishes.

In addition, you can gain a lot within the website by looking closely at your images, codes, themes, elements, plug-ins, and caching tools. Want to know more? We are happy to help you in choosing the right hosting package and optimizing your WordPress website!

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