WordPress, the final frontier, to go where no other content management system has gone before…but ‘Scotty’ I’m having problems with the speed, I just can’t get warp speed captain.
The beauty of WordPress can often become overweight and slow with plugins, poor server configuration and lack of understanding on accelerators. It’s no secret we’re nuts about WordPress and our development team have perfected the art of ensuring your WordPress website works as it should. Elementary Digital use the following to assess and then speed up WordPress driven websites:
1. Switch On/Switch Off – begin with disabling all plugins, measure the sites speed and then switch them back on one by one, all the while measuring the site speed. A rather crude way to assess the difference, but very effective.
2. P3 Plugin Performance Profiler – use a plugin to assess the performance of other plugins! P3 will help you identify problematic plugins providing a detailed breakdown of those causing issues.
3. New Relic – for a more advanced assessment (best handled by a developer) use New Relic. Providing PHP application performance profiling allowing you to pinpoint down to website functions, New Relic will identify the issues and help you create a list of updates required to improve performance.
4. gtmetrix.com – test your server, GT Metrix provides an online tool to assess criteria such as gzip. Run the free analysis and if your server minded you’ll be able to see issues beyond on-site assessments of WordPress e.g. hosting.
So you’ve found the issues, what next, some ideas for improving WordPress website speed:
a) Hosting – start with improving your hosting. You can easily get cheap hosting and prop your WordPress website up, however it’ll never deliver the performance, stability and security you require. We recommend using dedicated WordPress hosting, such as WPEngine (the best), Dreamhost, Hostgator. Don’t base your decision on price alone, pick the hosting that will best compliment your site and deliver the speed you require. Not all hosting is equal…some will provide some of the ideas we now go on to discuss out of the box.
b) Caching – don’t use a plugin to cache your site (they’re riddled with backdoors for hackers). Instead invest in database, php and browser caching, if these don’t sound familiar speak with your hosting company or WordPress agency, they should be able to help (or contact us).
c) CDNs & Accelerators – CDN or Content Delivery Network and WPO (Web Performance Optimisation) services can speed up you site immediately. By removing some of the load on your server and offloading them to a distribution network you can dramatically improve the delivery of your website.
d) Images – review your ‘media’ section on the site, we often find that images have been uploaded without any consideration for file size. Using the media tool embedded in WordPress you can re-size the images as required, this reduces the file size and improves performance.
There is nothing more satisfying then knocking a few milliseconds off your site load speed (geeky but true for us!), follow these ideas and you could be achieving warp speed before you know it. Do you have any ideas for speeding up WordPress sites, if so please let us know.