How to Increase Speed of a WordPress Website
A slow website can ruin even the best planned marketing campaign. Chances are you’ve already felt the impact. After all, web performance is becoming more important to consumers. According to HubSpot Blogs research, 42% of respondents rank load speed as somewhat or very important, compared to only 22% who say it’s somewhat or very unimportant.
Find Your Theme’s Twin
Searching for speed isn’t just about loading time. According to W3 Total Cache, optimizing web performance also includes ensuring proper caching, reducing page load errors, and minimizing HTML and CSS size. In some cases, all of these factors can contribute to a significant increase in speed.
Fortunately, many WordPress themes come with a feature that can help optimize the load time of your site. Twin themes are designed to run simultaneously on the same domain. This approach can cut down on the HTTP requests made by one theme when it loads, which in turn can increase page speed. The majority of WordPress themes include twin features.
HTTP/2 is the swiss army knife of web performance. This latest version of the HTTP protocol allows for faster delivery of content to your users. Many web browsers, such as Google Chrome, support HTTP/2. If you’re not using it yet, it’s time to consider upgrading.
Content delivery networks (CDNs) are a great way to increase the speed of your website. These are services that help distribute your content across multiple servers (such as Google’s Cloud Storage or AWS S3) so that it can be easily accessed by users. This approach can dramatically decrease the time it takes for your users to load your content. When a visitor lands on your site, there is a good chance that the content will already be cached by the CDN. The speed boost from a CDN can be significant. In 2018, CDNs saved Google and other search engines billions of dollars in web performance-related search revenue. (Wikipedia)
The Domain Name System (DNS) is the Internet’s phone book. It helps users navigate to websites by translating domain names into IP addresses. You can also use DNS to establish a hostname for your website that will be easier for users to remember. When a user types in the address bar of their browser, the DNS server will look at the domain of the website and return the corresponding IP address. As a result, users can easily find your site whenever they want. You can use free DNS services like Google’s 126.96.36.199 and 188.8.131.52 or Cloudflare’s 184.108.40.206 to experiment with different DNS settings and see which one results in the best performance for your site. The general rule of thumb is to use the DNS settings of your router with the exception of subnets, which you should configure manually.
Use a Content Delivery Network
While CDNs can improve page load speed, they can also cause problems. If you host your content on a CDN, you give up the privacy of your visitors. Anyone who visits your site while it’s on a CDN will see the words “Content Delivery Network” next to your site’s domain name. This is what makes it easier for content creators to find and connect with your audience. You can also set up some restrictions, such as allowing only registered users to download certain files. This can help protect your privacy.
While web performance is improving, it’s still not perfect. One of the major factors that affect page speed is the number of popups users have to navigate before they reach the content they want. If you have a lot of popups on your site, it will be harder for users to find the content they want without feeling annoyed by additional interface elements. To prevent lots of popups from slowing down your site, make sure you only use them when strictly necessary. Instead of using a popup for a simple questionnaire or survey, consider using a simple “thank you” page with a built-in email signup.
Use a Content Security Policy
Content Security Policy (CSP) headers are used on websites to indicate what types of content can be viewed by a user. This policy is meant to ensure secure transmission of data across a network via a website. When a user visits a site with a CSP header, their web browser will automatically add it to the list of allowed content. If your site uses a third-party content management system like WordPress, it will have a CSP by default. To learn more, visit the W3C’s Content Security Policy documentation.
At the end of the day, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to increasing the speed of a WordPress site. Different approaches work better for different sites. When you find something that helps your site load faster, make sure you keep using it.