How to Make Your Website Load Faster with WordPress
A lot of times, the actual sight of a poorly performing website can be more aggravating than the frustration one experiences while trying to access it. If you are searching for something on Google, and the first page of results is a website with a 3 second load time, you are most probably going to click on the second or third link rather than the first one.
There are a few basic things you can do to make your website load faster. You can outsource part of the work to reputable vendors. This may help you avoid unnecessary costs and headaches down the line. You can also implement caching plugins which will store frequently accessed content in local storage so that the browser does not need to load it from the server each time it’s needed. This can result in a dramatic reduction in the loading time of your website.
In this article, we will discuss how you can make your website load faster with WordPress. The platform is extremely popular and has a lot of features that can boost the performance of your site. With WordPress, the possibilities are endless. You can use different caching plugins, install a security plugin, set up SEO features, and more. All of these aspects, when implemented correctly, can shave off a significant amount of time from your site’s load time.
Use The Right Caching Plugins
A caching plugin will store static content such as web pages in a way that makes them available to visitors quicker. When a visitor requests a static page, the server responds with the cached version rather than with the content itself. In some cases, this can lead to a significant reduction in page load times.
There are many caching plugins out there, and each one of them is capable of speeding up your website. For the best results, you will need to use a combination of two or more caching plugins. If you are not experienced with installing and configuring plugins, hire someone who is. The time it will save you will be more than worth it.
Use CloudFlare Caching
CloudFlare is an extremely popular web server that offers a caching service that is free for all websites. What is truly amazing about CloudFlare is that it will reduce the load time of your site by up to 20% with an average speed improvement of 70% across the entire web. Simply put, the service is fantastic, and it’s free. There are no strings attached.
With CloudFlare, you don’t need to do anything special to get the caching functionality. All you need is a live website and a working email address. Visit cloudflare.com and click on the button that says Get Started. You will then be presented with the options shown in the image below.
From there, you will see a notification that states how CloudFlare is going to improve the performance of your site. After that, you will see a button that says Enable Free Caching. Simply click on that button to activate the service.
Use Varnish Caching
Another powerful option for speeding up your site is Varnish. This is a caching reverse proxy that sits in front of your server and stores frequently accessed content to improve page load times. What makes this option so special is that it is extremely lightweight, and it requires virtually no configuration experience to get up and running. Just like CloudFlare, Varnish is also completely free.
To start using it, visit varnishcache.com and click on the button that says Get Started. You will then be presented with the options shown in the image below.
From there, you will see a notification that states how Varnish is going to improve the performance of your site. After that, you will see a button that says Enable Free Caching. Simply click on that button to activate the service.
Unlike CloudFlare and another caching plugin, nginx, Varnish needs a bit more configuration in order to function at its best. If you are looking for a one-stop-shop for all your caching needs, Varnish is the perfect option. If, on the other hand, you are looking for a more hands-on experience, consider one of the other two options listed above.
Use Web Server Caching
A third option for speeding up your site is web server caching. This is a low-cost caching solution that can be implemented in a matter of minutes. What makes this option so special is that you don’t necessarily need a standalone caching plugin in order to utilize its speed benefits. You can simply install the web server cache extension for WordPress. This will give you the same benefits as the other two options listed above.
To start using it, visit wordpress.org and click on the button that says Try This Plugin . You will then be presented with the options shown in the image below.
From there, you will see a notification that states how to enable web server caching for your site. After that, you will see a button that says Add This To Your Site . Simply click on that button to add the web server cache extension to your WordPress site.
Once the extension has been added, you will see a new menu option available to you in WordPress. The option is called Caching and it lets you choose which type of caching you would like to use for your site. The four options are:
- Web Server
What you decide will depend on your site’s needs. For the best results, use a combination of two or more of these caching plugins.
Reduce Your Images’ Size
An easy way to make your website load faster is to reduce the size of your images. When a browser requests an image, the server will respond with the pixel data for that image. The amount of data that is usually served depends on the dimension of the image and the quality setting used during its creation. If you don’t need that high a quality setting, reduce the size of your images.
To achieve the best possible results, use an image optimizer that can reduce the size of your images without compromising much on the quality. Some of the more popular image optimization tools are:
Since most computers have limited storage space, it is advisable to remove as much as possible from your website. This can help reduce the storage requirements of your site and, as a result, make it load faster. You can remove any content that is not necessary for the functioning of your site. Some common examples of this are:
- Unused social media icons
- Spam comments
- Content that is already available on your website
- Meta descriptions that are not relevant to the page
- Outdated images
Since caching and image optimization speed up your website, it is a good idea to look for these services as part of your plan when you hire someone to build a new site. Be sure to ask about the pricing before you sign the contract. This way, you will know what you are paying for.
Use A Content Delivery Network (CDN)
A CDN is a content delivery network that can reduce the time it takes to load content on your site by distributing the load across multiple servers. When a visitor requests a page on your website, the server will go to a nearby server and get the content from there. In most cases, this means the load time can be reduced by up to 80% or more.
Since most users have data plans that limit the amount of data they can download, cache to remove the need to ask the server for content constantly. Some of the more popular CDNs are: