Building a WordPress website is quite easy, which is why 30 % of the websites on the internet being powered by WordPress. Having a slow WordPress website is a recipe for disaster. Not only does it make the user experience horrible, but it also has serious damage to the SERPs of the website.
Recent studies by SEO experts have proven that site-loading speed of more than 2 seconds typically results in about 42 percent of visitors bouncing off the website. Knowing that having a fast website is essential for the growth and longevity of the website.
Factors affecting WordPress website loading time
1. Web Hosting Service
Web Hosting service is a company that stores all of your website’s data. You settle a plan and upload images, videos, contents, and more that would be stored on the host server. The hosting company gives you access to the data, manage it, and show it to your visitors.
When deciding on a WordPress host you may not even think of researching into what network they’re using, however, you should. This will have a large impact on your website’s overall performance. Many hosts will leave this out of their advertising as they’ll choose the cheapest network to reduce costs.
One of the biggest factors that affect a WordPress website loading speed is the theme of the website. WordPress themes are usually built with lots of features like sliders, carousels, dynamic content displays, widgets to name a few.
Having lots of these features on a page can cause an increase in the loading time of the website. The best option when choosing a theme for a website is a lightweight theme. Here are a few lightweight themes to choose from:
Selecting a suitable theme for your WordPress blog or website is easily the fastest way to speed up the website.
PHP a.k.a Hypertext Preprocessor is an extensively used open-source scripting language that is suited for web development and can be embedded into HTML.
The majority of WordPress scripts are written in Hypertext Preprocessor, along with your plugins and themes. Make sure your web hosting service provides you with PHP version 7 upwards else look for another hosting service. The higher the PHP version, the more requests that can be handled per second.
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To understand what caching is as a process we must first understand how a web server works. When a visitor accesses a URL on your website, it sends a request to the webserver which processes the request and displays a webpage for the visitor.
Caching is the easiest way to reduce the loading speed of a WordPress website. Caching sends requests to the webserver and saves these requests on the RAM/disk, basically making it easier and faster to display as a webpage when next a visitor sends a request.
5. Overload Plugins
Plugins are quite nice, get the job done easily without the stress of coding, hence everyone can build a website. Yet you are advised that having much of it on your WordPress website often slows down the website.
The biggest problem most developers have with plugins is that the standard uninstallation doesn’t remove all the data stored in the database. Over time these stored data on the website database would eventually result in slowing down the website.
A well-developed plugin would have an option in the plugin settings suggesting deleting of all data if uninstalled. For some under-developed plugins, you would need to do a google search to find out the proper way to uninstall the plugin completely.
How to check your WordPress website loading time
Testing the loading speed of your WordPress is the first step in solving the problem. What to check during the test:
- The number of requests.
- Page size generated.
- Obviously, the loading time.
The homepage (http://YOURDOMAIN.COM) of the website is used as the benchmark during the test. In order to test the speed of the website, the following websites provide the free tools for such:
Go the Gtmetrix and type in your website domain name.
Within seconds the result would out, which is quite self-explanatary and easy to comprehend.
Step by step guide on speed up a WordPress website
1. CDN (Cloudfare)
Those that visit your website belong to numerous locations within the globe, and needless to say, the website online-loading pace will fluctuate if the site visitors are placed some distance faraway from which your website is hosted.
Cloudfare offers free CDN but with limited services. Their cheapest monthly package is $20. The free service they offer is enough for a personal blog or a small enterprise website.
Steps in setting up a Cloudfare CDN
Step1: Create an account
Step2: Add the domain name of the website
Step3: Change the nameserver of the domain to Cloudfare nameserver
Step 4: Cloudfare will automatic optimize your website.
Step5: Additional settings for more optimization
2. Image Optimization
To run a successful website, image optimization is a must. Images are the major contributors to the size of a given webpage. The trick is to reduce the size of the images without compromising on the quality. Normally on WordPress websites, this process is done automatically with the aid of plugins.
One of the best plugin for image optimization that’s totally free not freemium nor premium, just free is Robin Image optimizer. There are usually three options when it comes to image optimization.
- Lossless: This mode provides lossless compression and your images will be optimized without visible changes. If you want an ideal image quality.
- Lossy: This mode provides an ideal optimization of your images without significant quality loss. The file size will be reduced approximately 5 times with a slight decrease in image quality, we recommend this mode.
- Hard: This mode will use all available optimization methods for maximum image compression. The file size will be reduced approximately 7 times. The quality of some images may deteriorate slightly.
For more image optimzation let’s introduce Webp
Webp is an image format employing both lossy and lossless compression. It’s not accessible by all browsers but with verse majority of the internet uses using Chrome browser this would reduce the image size and enable for even faster loading time. To convert your images to Webp use WebP Converter.
3. Caching, Lazy loader and Minify
Selecting a Caching plugin
We previously explained what caching means and how it helps accelerate the loading time of a website. There are lots of plugins that can add this feature to your WordPress website. Here are a few recommended plugins:
- WP Rocket – Premium (Best).
- WP Fastest Cache – Freemium.
- Lite Cache – Free.
- W3 Totoal Cache – Freemium.
Lazy loader /Minify
LazyLoad is a lightweight and flexible script that speeds up your web application by deferring the loading of your below-the-fold images, gifs, and videos. In other words, the webpage loads faster but display the images later on as the user scrolls down the page.
The option for this setting are usually available within the caching plugin media section.
Minify CSS/JS is just as the name sounds, the reduction of the size of the CSS/ JS script file. This is done by the removal of white spaces, comments in between the codes in CSS/ JS files to reduce the size. Most caching plugins have this within the settings.
We have discussed the factors that affect a website loading speed. We also covered how to test a website loading speed, last but not the least how to reduce a website loading time.
One of the biggest advantages of having a fast loading website is the user experience it gives your visitors. It equal increases the website SERPs ranking dramatically on google.