Speed Up WordPress: Essential Strategies for a Lean & Fast Website

WordPress speed is always a hot topic among website owners and developers. Ensuring that your WordPress site loads quickly is essential for providing a smooth user experience and optimising your search engine rankings. In this article, we will explore some key strategies to keep your WordPress site running like a well-oiled machine.

Choose a Suitable Web Host

First and foremost, the web host you select plays a crucial role in the speed of your WordPress site. Make sure to choose a hosting provider that is optimised to run WordPress websites efficiently. A reliable and well-configured web host will provide the necessary infrastructure and server resources to keep your site running smoothly.

Opt for a Lightweight Theme

When it comes to WordPress themes, less is often more. Opting for a lightweight theme, such as GeneratePress, can significantly contribute to your website’s speed. These themes are designed to be lean and efficient, minimising unnecessary code and functionalities that can slow down your site. By choosing a lightweight theme like GeneratePress, you can ensure that your website loads quickly and remains responsive. In fact, at WPSmart, we have built our own website using GeneratePress, and we always recommend our clients to use or switch to GeneratePress.

Limit the Number of Plugins

While plugins can add functionality to your WordPress site, using too many can have a detrimental effect on its speed. Each plugin you install increases the workload on your website, potentially leading to speed issues. Therefore, it’s important to evaluate the necessity of each plugin and only keep the ones that are essential. The fewer plugins you have, the better your website’s performance will be.

Optimise Images for Speed

Large image files can significantly slow down your WordPress site. To mitigate this, optimise your images by reducing their file size without sacrificing quality. You can use image compression tools or plugins to automatically optimise your images during the upload process. For eCommerce or media-heavy websites, consider offloading your images to a content delivery network (CDN) to further enhance loading times.

Use a Cache Plugin

Caching can significantly improve the speed and performance of your WordPress site. By storing static versions of your web pages, a cache plugin reduces the need to generate each page dynamically upon every request. This results in faster loading times and reduced server load. There are several popular cache plugins available, such as WP Rocket and WP Super Cache, which are easy to set up and configure.

Optimise File Delivery

Minifying your JavaScript and CSS. Minification involves removing unnecessary characters, whitespace, and comments from your code, reducing file sizes which in turn improves loading times. Additionally, consider leveraging browser caching, which allows visitors to store static files locally, reducing the need to retrieve them from the server on subsequent visits.

Serve Fonts and Analytics Files Locally

Reducing the number of external requests your website makes should always be at the top of your list. One effective way to achieve this is by serving fonts and analytics files locally. Hosting these files on your own server eliminates the need to fetch them from external sources, reducing latency and improving overall performance.

Keep Your Database in Tip Top Shape

Regularly optimising your WordPress database can help keep your site running smoothly. Clearing transient data, which includes temporary and expired information stored in your database, can help reduce its size and improve efficiency. Several plugins, such as WP Rocker, WP-Optimize and WP-Sweep, can automate this process and ensure that your database remains happy.

Increase Heartbeat Intervals

WordPress uses a feature called the heartbeat API to facilitate real-time data exchange between your browser and the server. By default, this API sends requests every 15 seconds, which can put a strain on server resources and slow down your site if too many plugins are requesting the same query. Increasing the heartbeat intervals can alleviate this issue. You can use WP Rocket’s own Heartbeat Control plugin to adjust the intervals or disable the heartbeat feature on specific pages where it’s not required.

Don’t be Lazy, use Lazy Loading

Another important technique to consider for improving website speed is implementing lazy loading. Lazy loading is a method where images and other media content are loaded only when they are visible on the user’s screen. This means that as visitors scroll down your web page, images will be loaded dynamically, reducing the initial load time. Plugins like Lazy Load by WP Rocket or Jetpack include the lazy loading feature. WordPress 5.5 introduced native lazy loading and started lazy load images by default through the native HTML loading attribute.

We hope this article was helpful and provided you with valuable insights on how to keep your WordPress website lean and fast. By implementing the strategies mentioned you can ensure that your WordPress site performs at its best. Remember, a fast and efficient website not only improves user experience but also contributes to better search engine rankings. So, take these tips into consideration and enjoy a streamlined and speedy WordPress website.

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