How to Speed up WordPress Blog [Guide]


WordPress is the most popular content management system which powers millions of websites and blogs. There are many popular websites running on this CMS. Techcrunch and Mashable are examples of popular WordPress based websites. So, if you are planning for a new blog or website, you can go for WordPress. WordPress is best in many ways. But there is a problem with most people face with WordPress. After some posts, the blog speed goes down and it takes more time to load. And we know that website speed directly affects your website’s ranking in Google search results.  If you are also facing this problem, you are in the right place. There are many optimization WordPress plugins available that you can be used Speed up WordPress blogs and improve the performance of your blog. Along with these optimization plugins, there are also a few other things that you should follow to Speed up WordPress blogs.

Why WordPress Site Speed Matters

If your website is slow, it may frustrate visitors. When someone clicks your URLs on search results, tea wait for a few seconds before the page loads. If your page takes more than 2 seconds in loading, user satisfaction drops by 3.8 percent and a lot of people go back for another result. This is the reason Google also includes site speed in its ranking algorithm. If your website takes time in loading, it will affect the SEO.

Best Managed WordPress Hosting

WPEngine is the best and most secure managed hosting provider

How to Check Your WordPress Website Speed?

You should always check the website’s speed and load time. If it is slow, try to improve it. There are several online website load time and performance tester tools. I recommend GTMetrix.

Isitwp also developed a tool for testing the speed of WordPress websites and then giving suggestions.

See the snapshot to understand how properly I have optimized this website.

What affects your WordPress Website?

There are several things that affect the land time of your WordPress. These are the primary things:

Web Hosting: If your host is not properly configured, it can hurt website speed.

Page Size: If the page size is high, it will take a longer time to load.

Plugins: If a plugin is poorly coded, it can significantly slow down your website.

External scripts: External scripts such as ads, fonts, and icons can impact your website’s speed and performance.

If you also want to improve your website and make it fast, you can keep reading. In this article, I have added all the steps you need to take for improving the load time of your WordPress website. You should try these things to speed up WordPress-based blogs and websites.

Ways to Speed up WordPress Blog

Here are ways to speed up WordPress. If you want to improve load time and get a better page speed score, follow all these ways.

1. Use Good Quality theme

It is recommended to use a good quality theme. Here, Google quality means a theme that is coded to be lightweight and uses fewer resources. Every theme is coded differently and it depends on whether the theme is fast or not. Default WordPress themes are fast but if you switch to other themes, you will see a noticeable amount of change in load time. There are various attractive themes available that look good but make your website slow. So, It is recommended to go with a theme with less loading time. I recommend you to use themes from the Elegant theme, Mythemeshop, Magazine3, and Theme Junkie like companies. You can also use Thesis and Genesis frameworks.

Take extra care purchasing themes on popular marketplaces such as ThemeForest. Read the review and also check the load time of websites before making the final decision.

2. Use of Caching Plugins

Caching is the most important thing which you should always have in your WordPress blog. You should install one of the popular WordPress Caching plugins. You can try W3Total cache or WP Super Cache. I personally use WP Super Cache and recommend this. Caching plugins help you in reducing the server load by caching pages as static HTML content. When a visitor requests those pages, static HTML content is served and thus it saves multiple DB requests. It makes web page service faster and improves your website’s performance. Most people use caching plugins as a primary way to Speed up WordPress blogs.

3. Optimize images

It is another thing that you must take care of in your blog. Images take enough time to load. So, you should either upload images of less size or have something which can compress your images. I recommend the use of is WordPress for this. This plugin compresses images thus it takes less time to load those images. It optimizes JPEG images and strips Metadata (like captured data, camera model number, etc.) from JPEG images.

Also see: How to Optimize WordPress Images

4. Optimize Database:

When you keep on adding new posts, the database becomes larger. WordPress also saves all the revisions of posts. So, you need to do regular database optimization. You can do this via available plugins. WP Database Optimizer is a nice plugin to optimize your WordPress database. It reduces the time of queries from the database by removing the Post revisions. It also removes auto-drafts and optimizes database tables. You can also use this plugin to take backups of your blog.

5. Limit Post Revisions

Post revisions take up space in the WordPress database. If there are too many revisions, it will increase the size of the database. It will also slow down database queries and your site. WordPress revision is an important feature. If you are not using revisions, you can completely disable WordPress revisions or limit revisions of each article.

6. CDN:

CDN (Content Delivery Network) is the best thing if you have a big website. CND helps you in distributing your static content across the world and hence reducing load time. It caches your static content including images, CSS, JS, and videos to all its servers spread across the globe. When a visitor requests or a page, resources are served from the nearest CDN and thus it reduces network delay.

The most popular and reliable CDN service is MaxCDN. It has many plans and you can select according to your needs. If you have a big business online, I recommend using CDN to improve your website’s load time.

In case you do not want to pay, CloudFlare is a free CDN service. Most of the web hosts support CloudFlare so you can also take advantage of the service. It also has a plugin for WordPress blog. Another advantage of using Cloudflare is that it protects your blog from various kinds of web attacks. So, using Cloudflare makes your blog secure and fast.

7. Reduce the number of plugins installed on your WordPress website

It is recommended to use fewer plugins. It is because every plugin includes its own CSS and JS file and increases the number of page elements. I have already talked about combining CSS and JS files. Try to reduce the number of plugins and do most of the work without plugins. You can add functionality directly in the WordPress theme and avoid plugins for small tasks.

8. Lazy Load Images, Videos, and Disqus

Lazy loading is an important thing that you can implement in your WordPress blog to make it faster. Lazy load is the concept of loading the element only if it is in the viewport. In this way, you can avoid loading all elements at once and improve load time.

To implement a lazy load of images, you can use the free plugin called BJ Lazy Load. It automatically implements the lazy loading of images in your blog. If you use WP Rocket caching plugin, it also has an option to lazy load images.

If you want to add a lazy load for videos, you can install Lazy Load for Videos plugin. It replaces embedded Youtube and Vimeo videos with a clickable preview image. On clicking the image, it will load the video. In this way, it can reduce the considerable amount of load and improves website load time.

Disqus Conditional Load is also a nice plugin that can help you in reducing the load caused by Disqus. You can use this plugin to add the conditional loading of Disqus and improve the load time.

9. Combine CSS and JS files

When we install a plugin, it adds its own CSS and JS files. Installing many plugins increases the number of included CSS and JS files. The more plugins, the more HTTP requests. So, you should try to combine CSS files in one and similarly js files in one. Try to do this if you are confident that you can do this without affecting the code.

For this, you need to edit plugin code and remove the CSS or js include code. And then copy the CSS code to the master CSS of your blog. And copy the js code in the master js file of your blog. Try to have only one CSS and one js file. If it is not possible, try to have as less as you can.

10. Enable GZip compression

Compressing your web pages also makes it faster. So you should try to install GZip on your website to save bandwidth and speed up load time. When a visitor visits your website, he will be served the compression page and the browser will automatically decompress the file to show the content. There are a few plugins that automatically add Gzip in your blog. You can also do this manually by adding a few lines in the .htaccess file.

Add these lines

AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE text/plain
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE text/html
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE text/xml
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE text/css
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/xml
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/xhtml+xml
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/rss+xml
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/javascript
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/x-javascript

Once you have added these lines to your website’s .htaccess file, check if it is working or not. Open check Gzip compression and enter the website URL.

11. Leverage Browser Caching

When a browser displays a web page, it loads several things including logo, CSS, js to display the page to the visitor. If you have browser enabled, it will save these static things in the browser cache. If a user visits other pages of your website, the browser will serve this static content from the local cache and thus it reduces the HTTP requests and improves the load time.

The most common way to enable browser caching is to add some code to the .htaccess file. Just add the following lines in that file.

<IfModule mod_expires.c>
ExpiresActive On
ExpiresByType image/jpg "access 1 year"
ExpiresByType image/jpeg "access 1 year"
ExpiresByType image/gif "access 1 year"
ExpiresByType image/png "access 1 year"
ExpiresByType text/css "access 1 month"
ExpiresByType text/html "access 1 month"
ExpiresByType application/pdf "access 1 month"
ExpiresByType text/x-javascript "access 1 month"
ExpiresByType application/x-shockwave-flash "access 1 month"
ExpiresByType image/x-icon "access 1 year"
ExpiresDefault "access 1 month"

After adding these lines, save the file and refresh the page. This is not only to Speed up WordPress, but you can also use this if you have any other CMS or custom-coded website.

12. Move the CSS file to the top of the page and JS to the bottom

This is another small but helpful move. Try to have CSS files at the top of the page because the browser will not render the page before CSS files. And JS files should be at the bottom because these are not necessary for rendering the page. So, moving js files to the bottom will give additional improvement.

13. Minify CSS and JS.

This is also an important thing which you should take care of. Minifying js and CSS files reduce the size of these files. Better WordPress Minify is a great plugin that can help you in having control over the CSS and JS files of the blog. You can move the placement and minify.

14. Identify plugins that are slowing down your website

Few plugins really cause issues and you should uninstall those plugins. To know what plugin is causing an issue, you can try P3 Plugin. I personally use this to identify which plugin is creating a problem in my blog. This plugin helps you to easily spot which plugin is slowing down your blog. Try to uninstall the plugin which is taking time to load. You can also find an alternative plugin with similar functionality from the WordPress plugins directory. Try to have as few plugins as you can. The more plugins you will install, it will impact the more load time. If you really want to Speed up WordPress, you should take extra care with plugins.

15. Choose a good host

Yes, you should always try to go with a good web hosting company. There are various cheap hosts available that claim to offer so many things. But you will end up having a slow website with other problems. I always recommend using BlueHost and Hostgator for hosting. These are good and affordable. If you are comfortable paying for managed WordPress hosting, you can go for LiquidWeb.

16. Disable hotlinking and leeching of your content

Hotlinking is when other sites direct links to the images on your website directly in their article. If their post gets good traffic, images will be loaded from your server. This is the reason why Hotlinking is also called bandwidth “theft.”

To avoid Hotlinking, add the following code in your root .htaccess file:

#disable hotlinking of images with forbidden or custom image option
RewriteEngine on
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^$
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^http(s)?://(www\.)? [NC]
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^http(s)?://(www\.)? [NC]
RewriteRule \.(jpg|jpeg|png|gif)$ – [NC,F,L] 

17. Use the Latest PHP Version

WordPress is written in PHP programming language. So it requires web hosting running PHP. Now it is important to use the latest and stable version of PHP on your server. PHP 7 is two times faster than its predecessors. So, you can understand how much positive effect it will use if you start using PHP 7 or higher on your server. If your web server is using a lower version than PHP 7, ask your hosting provider to update it.

After following the given steps, you will surely see an improvement in the speed of your WordPress blog. In case you have a problem or you are not tech-savvy enough to do these tasks, you can contact me for help.

What do you do to speed up a WordPress blog? How do you reduce the load of your blog on a shared server? let us know your views via comments.

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Deepanker Verma is an experienced WordPress developer who has been working on WordPress for more than 12 years. On TheWPGuides, he writes about WordPress, WordPress development, and WordPress plugins.

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