Website speed has become a really hot and important subject if you really want to build a real successful online presence. A slow website is a success killer for your business. Over the next three episodes of WP-Tonic we are going to have a detailed look at how you make your WordPress website a speed machine.
We at WP-Tonic offer a detailed pre-checkup connected to seeing if you have WordPress speed problems and give you direct recommendations on how you could fix these speed problems.
In this post we are going to give you a detailed description on how and what tools and plugins can help you make your WordPress into a real speed machine.
Firstly, what you choose to do connected to the code and individual set-up of your own website. If you have poor hosting none of this is going to work. However, on the other hand, if you have a poorly set-up WordPress website a good quality hosting plan is not going to give you the benefits which you are probably hoping for!
We are going to look at on-site elements that might be slowing your WordPress website.
Speed Testing Tools
There are a number of different web-based tools that can help and scan your website and give you some insights into what might be slowing it down. However, one of the biggest problems is making some sense of all the data you are going to get from these tools and websites.
I personally like Pingdom and WebPagetest. However, I would still say it is important to get a positive result from Google PageSpeed Insights because this tool is provided by Google themselves and shows you how Google sees your website and if Google thinks you have a slow website it probably will have a direct damaging result to your search engine placement with Google.
Google PageSpeed Insights
One of the biggest areas that can affect the speed of your website is having poor hosting.
If there is one thing that will start a heated discussion on Twitter or any other WordPress heavy online forum it’s the question of which hosting company offers the best value when it comes to hosting.
To start with, did you know that most general hosting companies that are based in the U.S. are owned by the same parent company EIG? For example, they own BlueHost and HostGator? Here is a website that lists from A to Z all the hosting companies that EIG owns in the U.S.
One of the problems that some people in the WordPress community have with EIG is that they offer a very high referral commission to third party review websites and so called independent reviewers.
I personally cannot recommend clients to use GoDaddy either for their normal hosting or specialized WordPress hosting plans.
Here’s a small list of companies that I would be more than happy to recommend (the list is in no particular order of recommendation.) However, all that are recommend are offering WordPress specialized hosting on shared server environment.
DreamHost: I personally feel they offer some best value at the present moment connected to WordPress specialized hosting.
SiteGround: I have used them over a number of years but their higher specialized WordPress account offerings can get pricy after the first year.
Inmostionhosting: They seem to offer some great value WordPress packages.
Flywheel: They have some nice features and services.
WP-Engine: There’s quite a big step up in price from their starter plan to the next level. However, they do offer some nice unique functionality with their hosting plans.
Important area that can and will slow down a lot of WordPress websites is poorly coded plugins. You do get a lot of people that say it’s the volume of plugins that you need to keep down.
I personally don’t really agree with this broad statement; however, keeping the level of plugins down to the lowest possible level is a really good idea and practice.
People tend to install a lot of plugins at the beginning of using WordPress, then they almost always remove these plugins at some stage and if these plugins are poorly coded it is more than likely that they will leave code in your WordPress website’s database which is not a great situation.
Also, plugins can and do conflict; however, this normally happens when you have three or four plugins installed that are basically doing the same thing. So it is not really a numbers game, it is more of a quality problem. However, the more plugins you have installed on your website the more doors you are opening to poor code.
A great tool in judging if you are dealing with a rogue plugin that’s really slowing down your website is another WordPress plugin P3 (Plugin Performance Profile) This particular plugin was developed by a developer who was working for GoDaddy. It gives you a clear interface where it shows you if any of the plugins that you are using is taking up a lot of bandwidth.
Another big thing that a lot of beginners don’t realize is that a lot of deactivated plugins are still using up a lot of bandwidth resources. This is why is a good idea to have a non-production/live copy of your website where you can try out plugins. I REALLY don’t think it a good idea to have any inactive plugins on your production website.
This is a difficult area that I don’t want to go down the rabbit hole of bashing ThemeForest because in some ways I feel this has been overdone; however, some of the most theme heavy and badly coded WordPress themes I have worked with have come from ThemeForest.
However, if you want an individual look and you don’t have the cash to hire a WordPress web designer or front end developer to do a custom design– you are going to find the biggest selection on ThemeForest because it’s a market place and not a theme shop.
However, here is a nice post on Chris Lema’s website that gives some good advice on where you can find the best selection of quality WordPress themes.
A lot of people forget about images’ weight and size when it comes to setting up their WordPress websites. I personally feel a lot of this problem is connected to images and size. This is linked to two major factors:
- That most people setup their websites on desktop computers with fantastic broadband connection and then they forget that a growing amount of their users are viewing the websites on mobile devices on a G3 or G4 connection.
- Trendy website designs, at the present moment that do tend to lead to very heavy pages. You see this a lot with people who have developed a website for themselves–they tend to have everything apart from the kitchen sink on the home page!
CDNs (Content delivery network)
If you really want to make your WordPress website a speed machine you will probably need to use an external CDN network. There are a number of them. The one that I have used is Cloudflare, both the free and paid versions. However, be warned getting one of these CDNs setup so it really works correctly is little bit more difficult. You really do have to do some reading of each CDN’s help sections and also do a number of Google searches. This is why I like using the Cloudflare system because they provide a lot of information on their website and also there is a lot of advice on how to set-up the system on Google.
These tools will give you great insights on what is going on with your website connected to what is loading into your header area of your website.
Plugins That Can You Make Your WordPress Website a Speed Machine
ZenCache: I personally feel this one of the best WordPress caching plugins on the market at the present moment and it pretty easy to use but also very powerful.
WP Rocket is a premium plugin that advertises speed and simplicity. And they certainly deliver results with little effort on the part of the user. The plugin is currently in active use on 26,000+ websites
WP Smush.it: Image compressor
One of the most popular plugin to optimize the images in your site. Every image you add to a page or post will be automatically run through Smush.it behind the scenes.
EWWW Image Optimizer Image compressor
It automatically and losslessly optimizes your images as you upload them to your site. It can also optimize images that you have previously uploaded.
WP-DBManager: Database optimizer
Powerful database manager WordPress plugin, it can speedup your WordPress site to a great extent. It optimize database, repair database, backup database, restore database, delete backup database, drop/empty tables and run selected queries.
WP-Optimize: Simple but effective plugin allows you to extensively clean up your WordPress database and optimize it without doing manual queries.
This plugin will remove query strings from static resources like CSS & JS files, and will impro and GTmetrix. Here a link that tell why this is important How to Remove Query Strings From Static Resources
Most modern websites and website themes use Google Fonts to make their website typeface nice to look at and read. Some plugins even include Google Fonts to make their plugin fancy.