5 Tips for Speeding Up Your WordPress Site

A slow website is annoying for your customers and is hurting your search engine results. Here are just a few things that you can do to speed up your site.

1 – Merge and Compress Javascript and CSS

Have you ever looked at the source code of your website only to find 20, 30, or 50 different linked javascript and CSS assets? That, my friend, is a performance killing bottleneck that needs to be addressed.

Every one of those files needs to be accessed, checked, downloaded, and then fed into your browser’s rendering engine. Each time this happens adds a few milliseconds to half a second to your page load speed.

Fortunately, there are plugins that will help you clean up the clutter by merging then minimizing your javascript and CSS files. Autoptimize is an excellent free plugin to help you combine and minimize your styles and javascript without much effort.

The merging takes several of your files and loads them into a single file. The minimizing removes extra white space and line breaks to make the file size smaller and faster to load. If your server uses gzip compression the file size gets even smaller for faster loading.

2 – Use a CDN

A content delivery network (CDN for short) places your media content and selects files on servers that are geographically distributed throughout the world. This allows your content to be served from a physical location that is closer to your site’s visitor than it might normally be.

Being physically closer to the server reduces the time required for communication between your device and the server, which in turn means faster request times. Many CDNs such as Cloudinary will even provide image and video optimization services. This results in delivering content faster while still maintaining good quality.

3 – Review and Optimize Your Images

Are you using a lot of images on your site?

How big are those images?

Are they sized correctly for the space they are taking up?

These are just a few of the questions you should be asking about the image content on your website. Many people do not realize that they are accidentally placing a 2400 pixel wide image into a space that will max out at 400 pixels.

If you haven’t reviewed your images, it is likely that you have some extra weight on your page loads that could easily be trimmed out.

4 – Get Off the Cheapest Hosting You Can Find

Have you ever heard the phrase “You get what you pay for”?

Well, I would suggest that this be modified to “You don’t get what you don’t pay for.”

If you are on a cheap, shared hosting plan or a service provider that focuses its services and product offerings around the “cheap” phrase – you may not be in the best place.

Many of these hosting providers will cram too many customers on too little hardware. This results in inconsistent server responses and little to no effort in providing services that improve your site speed or performance.

Another common deficiency of cheap hosting is poor caching. Caching is a term that describes saving and serving a copy of a page or file instead of asking the server for a new one. Instead of continually getting the same data and information from your database it simply sends you a remembered version of that page.

Where cheap hosting fails is either not providing any caching or providing overly aggressive caching.

No caching means that every page on your site is served as brand new for each page hit. This means a lot of redundant database queries when the data hasn’t changed. 

Over-aggressive caching means that your visitors could be seeing old content, images, or styling even though you have changed it. If you have ever had a critical business information change and need your content to change but it doesn’t, then you have likely felt the pain of overly aggressive caching. If you are not working with an agency to assist you in the management of your website and server solution at least consider using a reputable service provider. We would recommend WP Engine or Pantheon as two good choices for your self-selected hosting provider.

5 – Review and Reduce Your Plugins

WordPress is great in a lot of ways. One of them is the ability to almost always say “There is a plugin available for that,” to a function or feature need.

Over time, however, the “plugin for that” will lead you to a site that is bloated with plugins. Each plugin can add several different calls to your database as well as javascript and CSS requests. This leads to slower response times.

So, take a look at your currently installed plugins. Try to determine if they are actually needed. Chances are pretty good that some of these plugins are extra bloat without much reward. And in many cases, you may not even know why they were installed in the first place or what they do.

But before you go you willy nilly deleting them, try to disable them first in a safe dev environment. Then check out the operation of the site and look for adverse effects.

Bonus Tip – If You Value Speed Over Everything Else

If you have the absolute need for speed, consider the switch to static. A static site is just optimized HTML, javascript, CSS, and media assets – that is it. There is no database to connect to or server-rendered content. So everything is basically cached and ready to go.

You can still continue to use WordPress with a static site. Instead of being in charge of everything, editing, storing, retrieving, and displaying your content, WordPress becomes what is called a Headless CMS. That is, the editing and storing of content are separated from the retrieval and display.

A static site generator like Gatsby or Gridsome is used to pull the content from your headless WordPress and then build that content into static HTML. It does this for all of the pages on your site.

This isn’t without its trade-offs but can result in the fastest website possible.


If you need some help making your website faster, we are here to help. Contact us and we can do a quick review of your website. We will identify areas of improvement and create an action plan and budget to speed up your site.

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