In today’s articles we will have a quick look at reasons why your site has gone from a fast WordPress website to a super slow sloth.
Best hosting for a fast WordPress website:
Although we are not going to discuss different website hosting Companies it may be a good thing to see whether your WordPress website has grown significantly since its launch that it may become necessary to scale up your hosting solution. If you have started with a shared hosting server it may be time to look at other options such as Cloud Hosting, Managed Dedicated Hosting etc.
Hosting options varies in prices and it may be good to do proper research into a solution that will suit your WordPress Website best. Although it may be costly to upgrade to a faster hosting solution the benefit of visitors not bouncing outweighs the increased costs.
According to WordPress the server requirements for version 5.3+ are:
- “PHP version 5.6.20 or greater. PHP 7 is highly recommended” The current version is 7.3 with version 7.4 currently in Beta format.
- “MySQLversion 5.6 or greater or the MariaDB version 10.1 or higher”
Optimising media files to ensure a fast WordPress website:
One of the leading causes of a slow website is the fact that many people simply upload images without keeping a check on its sizes. Large images takes ages to open in a browser and if a visitor is using a mobile device they will immediately leave your site. There are software available to resize your images such as GIMP and Photoshop Express. You can also consider a couple of free and paid alternatives to Photoshop at the Creative Blog
In addition to many large images some people also upload videos and host it on their servers. This takes up valuable space on a server and also slows down a website since the videos are rendered from your server. This slows down a fast WordPress website in seconds.
Although there are free tools such as HandBrake to compress a video file and make it much smaller the best option will be to rather create a YouTube Channel. After uploading your videos to your YouTube Channel, you will be able to embed them in your WordPress Website. In this manner your server resources are not used to store and display the video in your visitor’s browser.
Too many plugins will prevent a fast WordPress website:
WordPress, as is the case with all other CMS platforms make use of plugins to extend its functionality. However, having too many plugins will cause your website to slow down considerably. Since different WordPress websites have different needs and requirements it is very difficult to establish how many plugins are too many. The criteria that we should then set for ourselves is: Use only the plugins that are essential to allow your website to perform the functions that it should. Any plugins that offers nice-to-haves should not be installed and avoided at all costs. It is also best to avoid poorly coded plugins as it may contain a lot of unnecessary bloat that will be loaded every time your website is visited.
Using Speed Optimised Themes:
It is wise to select a WordPress Theme that is optimized for speed. Although not impossible, it may cause headaches if you need to replace a theme once your website contains a lot of content. “WPBeginner” have a nice article on selecting the perfect WordPress Theme
By minifying these files you will simply be removing the whitespace, strip comments left by the coder/developer and combine some files. All these actions will make the website ”smaller” and allow it to be loaded faster. Although unnecessary plugins should be avoided there are plugins to assist. Quality themes however do offer “minification” options which negates the need of a plugin as can be seen in the below image.
Caching equals a fast WordPress Website:
We first need to know what caching is. Every time a visitor visits a page on your website his/her browser sends a request to the server (on which your website is hosted). This includes database queries. Thereafter all the code and components that makes up the specific web page is accumulated and sent to the visitors browser to display as a website. This obviously takes time. Now consider the fact that this process must be repeated over and over each time a page is visited. With caching your server is instructed to make a copy of that web page and store it for display without having to run a server and database query again. In short a static version of your web page is displayed instead of all the code and queries having to be ran again. Caching can be accomplished by a plugin. If you are however using a Managed WordPress hosting solution caching is done for you and you will not need a plugin.
Using Speed Testing Tools:
Speed Testing tools are great assets to assist you in securing a fast WordPress Website. Here you can consider both free and paid online tools such as:
These tools not only shows you the speed of your website from different servers across the globe but also give you valuable information in respect of actions that you can take to speed up your WordPress website.
The above list is definitely not exhaustive. There are many other techniques that WebScripto applies when building websites for its clients. We also incorporate our techniques in our website maintenance packages that we offer. You can view our maintenance plan and its costs here.
You are very welcome to share your favourite techniques that you apply in ensuring a fast WordPress website.