15 tips to improve your WordPress blog speed [ultimate guide 2022]

In this ultimate guide, we will see 15 tips to improve your WordPress blog speed in 2022.

WordPress, as the most popular Content Management System (CMS), covers 30% of all websites on the internet. Although it’s great for many things, we’d like to focus on a specific problem and offer solutions to fix it.

Speed ​​has become an important factor for all websites and many case studies have shown that a slow website with a loading time of more than 3 seconds will have a negative impact. In fact, since July 2018, Google has launched an update in which “SPEED” is a ranking factor, especially for mobile phones.

methods to improve the speed of your WordPress site

In short, the faster your website is, the more likely you are to keep your visitors, most of them will leave before it opens if it takes longer than 3 seconds.

How to test the speed of your site?

Before we look into how to optimize it, we need to test the website to find out exactly what is needed for optimization.

On the websites that we are going to provide, there is something called a “waterfall” chart and it is actually very simple. It shows how long each of the resources on the website took to load. For example, if you have a 3MB image somewhere, the graph will be larger, which means it took longer for that resource to download and display.

There are a few websites where you can test your website speed:

  • Pingdom  – Very Simple with a great waterfall that provides useful information and speed analysis
  • GTMetrix  – GTmetrix  is ​​an online service offering free analysis of your website. GTMetrix notably makes it possible to identify the elements that weigh down a page, such as certain images that you may not have had the time or the idea to compress. Reducing the number of HTTP requests, limiting page redirects or even reducing the size of cookies are examples of recommendations that GTMetrix can suggest to you.
  • WebPageTest  – Cascade  The best service to find the real loading time of the site.
  • Google PageSpeed ​​​​Insights  Google has implemented a tool to help developers improve the performance of their pages: the Google PageSpeed ​​Insight. It does not measure the loading time of your pages in seconds… but it gives you several notes on 100 both mobile and desktop and lots of tips to improve your page load time.

Important : The actual speed of your web pages is the most important factor, not the scores provided by websites. Having a perfect score is great because it saves server resources. On websites with too many external dependencies, you may not get a perfect score and your speed may suffer.

We’ll walk you through every step of optimizing a WordPress website.

Use a caching plugin for WordPress

Caching is one of the most important factors when considering web page speed. This will make your web pages faster even on poorly performing shared hosting plans. There are many caching plugins, here is a list with the free versions, in any case, they will all be very useful, the difference is in milliseconds.

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What are you looking for in a cache plugin?

Apart from its caching default job, you should look for the following features:

  • Minify HTML, CSS
  • Combine CSS and JS files separately into one file.
  • Use Gzip
  • Preloading (creates a cached version for all your articles)
  • Use LazyLoad for Images

Free WordPress Cache Plugins

  • Autoptimize  – A beast often used in combination with other cache plugins, such as WP Super Cache.
  • Swift Performance Lite  – This new plugin has a promising future, especially its pro version. It may provide the absolute best speed times, but does not always work as it should, depends on the website and how it is configured.
  • WP Fastest Cache – A great plugin, but its Pro version has the necessary options to get advanced results. The plugin used on our site.
  • WP Super Cache  – Awesome and easy to install add-on. Since it lacks a few key options, you can combine it with autoptimize for optimal results. Works well on websites with huge traffic.
  • W3 Total Cache  – This is one of the oldest and most downloaded WordPress cache plugins. but make sure it’s set up by someone who knows what they’re doing.

Optimize images

Image optimization is one of the most important things to speed up WordPress. This can be done automatically by the following plugins:

  • EWWW Image optimizer – My absolute favorite. Just install, bulk click optimize and that’s it. It has a lot more options and a paid version, but that’s fine for a free plugin.
  • ShortPixel Image Optimizer  – The best image compression plugin, the free version only gives you 100 images per month to compress. Its compression is the best and can save a lot of server resources.
  • Compress JPEG & PNG images – by TinyJPG – This is one of the best, but it has limitations, 100 free images per month. If you’re not lazy, you can exceed this limit and do it manually on their website, TinyJPG.com,  where you can upload around 17-20 images at a time.
  • SmushIT  – Great plugin, but it can sometimes be slow when uploading images, great for batch optimization.

Others:  Imagify  ,  Imsanity  ,  Optimus  ,  WP Compress

Special bonus:

There is an awesome image compression website called  Compressor.io  . It can compress like crazy, even better than TinyJPG. The only downside is that there’s no plugin for it and it only accepts one image at a time, so it’s useful for images that will always be used on your website (like a logo, icons, etc.).

Content Delivery Network

Your place of accommodation may be far from that of your visitors. In case your website is hosted in Canada, a visitor from India might need some time to access your website. A Content Delivery Network (CDN) solves this problem because most providers have servers in different countries and your content is delivered.

Recommendations are   Cloudflare  ,  Dyn ,  and  MaxCDN  . Not only will they improve your website speed by connecting you to the nearest server in the region, but they will also protect your website by prohibiting bot and DDoS attacks.

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Optimize the database

The WordPress database is great but after a while it becomes chaos. Most of the plugins you have installed and removed leave their tables behind, creating havoc. There is also a problem with revisions, because WordPress automatically saves everything you write for each post and keeps all versions of it, forever. Each time you update a post, WordPress keeps a separate version of it in the database. Removing them will greatly improve performance.

The best plugin to optimize the WordPress database is  WP Optimize  .

IMPORTANT: Make a backup before doing anything with this plugin.

To limit post-release revisions, add the following line to the bottom of your wp-config.php file

define( ‘WP_POST_REVISIONS’, 3 );

You can modify the database using caching plugins such as Swift Performance, WP Fastest Cache, and WP Rocket.

Use Well-Optimized Themes

There are thousands of WordPress themes out there, but most of them are unoptimized. Even if you manually minify each file in the theme, it can still be slow due to the way it is coded and can lead to huge consumption of server resources.

Go for fast and well-coded WordPress themes, I recommend Genesis, a very good theme with a variety of child themes.

If the chosen theme is fast and optimized and your site is still slow, then the culprit is probably your host.

Reduce external demands

Having too many external HTTP requests will slow down your website. Some of them can be hosted locally, like fonts or icons. You will notice that this will slightly improve the speed.

Having ads on your website is not a bad thing, but try to keep them to a minimum. If you have custom clients and serve ads to them on your website, it’s best to host them locally through a separate open source ad server such as  Revive  or  DoubleClick for Publishers  .

Some clients may give you JavaScript codes that require files from other servers, which may be slower than yours. Any outside demand that may be slow is a major problem for your website speed, you just need to find the perfect balance.

Add security to save server resources

Strong security on both the server and the website can save you a lot of resources if it blocks unwanted traffic. If the server is working properly, it can deliver your website faster.

Since security in general is a huge topic, we’ll stick to WordPress.

  • WP Firewall  & Security  (All in One) – (AIOWPS) My personal favorite, it is lightweight and has almost all the features you need to protect your website. Some of the cool features that will help you speed up your website is actually a bot blacklist that blocks them before they can scan your website thousands of times.
  • Wordfence  – Another favorite but this one can use a lot of server resources. It can block bots and people from its own list or monitor each user’s activity and block them accordingly if they perform suspicious activities. You can also block users from other countries with its premium features, which saves a lot of server resources. Personally, I use it to scan hacked websites for malware.
  • Disable REST API – Great way to disable features you don’t usually need. It’s also good to keep your admin users out of the public eye.
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Disable “hotlinks” to your images

If your images are used outside of your website, it can affect the speed of your WordPress site and drain your server resources by exploiting your bandwidth limit. AIOWPS has a cool feature that can help you out and it works pretty well, no need to install any additional plugins. If you have cPanel, there is also an option to disable dynamic links.

Too Many Plugins

Plugins are written by different developers with different knowledge and coding styles. While their functionality can be impressive, some plugins actually slow down your page load time. To detect plugins that are affecting your load time, you should spend some time analyzing their behavior with a free plugin called  Query Monitor  .

After determining which requests take the longest time, you can either disable these plugins, change their loading order. To change the loading order of plugins, there are a few plugins, but the best one is  Plugin Organizer  . You can rearrange them and it can greatly improve the speed of your WordPress site.

Another interesting technique is to load plugins only when they are needed (eg contact forms). By default, they are loaded for each visitor even if the “contact form” is not present on this page. To limit this, use this free  WP Asset CleanUP plugin  .

Lazy Load Images

Many caching plugins will provide this option. It can greatly improve the speed of your WordPress blog by only loading the necessary images. It will load others when you scroll.

You can look for a plugin to do this job on the WordPress site.

Disable trackbacks and pings

This will save a large amount of server resources as many spammers use this feature to be visible on your WordPress admin dashboard.

To turn it off, go to Settings -> Discussion and Uncheck -> “Allow link notifications from other blogs (pingbacks and trackbacks) on new posts”.

Disable/Limit WordPress Features

Do you want to disable emoticons in WordPress? What about Gravatar? or XML-RPC and RSS? These two plugins will provide you with everything you need to simply complete your WordPress installation and remove unused features that load in the background and slow down your website.

  • WP Disable  – An awesome all-in-one plugin for disabling tons of unnecessary stuff for general users.
  • Heartbeat Control  – Awesome yet advanced way to save server resources and speed up your website.

Don’t rely on plugins to add simple functionality

Suppose you want to add Facebook, Twitter, Google+ on your website, you don’t need to install any plugin to add these social media buttons.

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SAKHRI Mohamed
SAKHRI Mohamed

The blog of a computer enthusiast who shares news, tutorials, tips, online tools and software for Windows, macOS, Linux, Web designer and Video games.

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