How to Increase WordPress Website Speed With A Plugin
Many people are experiencing slow WordPress website speeds – even ones running on the most expensive dedicated servers. While there are a number of reasons why your site might be acting sluggish, the main culprit is usually a bloated theme or plugin. In this article, you’re going to discover how to increase the speed of your WordPress website with a few tweaks to your plugin and theme folders.
Clean Up The Theme And Plugin Folders
One of the main causes of slow website speeds is excessive bloatware in your theme and plugin folders. When you install a new theme or plugin, you’re usually presented with a screen offering you a choice of pre-made widgets to integrate into your website. While it’s awesome that these integrations are included, you’ll rarely need them all – which means you’ll end up with a ton of unnecessary files taking up valuable space on your server.
If you’re finding your sites packed with unnecessary files, it’s time to clear them out. Luckily, you can do this easily with a plugin called Minify. Once installed, head to your dashboard and click on the Minify button to activate the plugin. Next, click on the settings tab and change the settings as needed. You’ll want to select the Never option under Advanced Settings so that files aren’t trimmed even if your site’s performance is good. Next, click on the Files tab and select the Keep files for future updates option to prevent older files from being overwritten by future updates.
This will help maintain the integrity of your site’s files. However, it’s not always the case that you’ll be upgrading your plugins and themes regularly – which means you might not need to keep this setting.
An alternative approach to maintain optimum performance is to use a caching plugin. Installing a caching plugin is fairly simple – just click on the Plugins tab in your WordPress dashboard, scroll down to the bottom and click on the Install Button to activate the plugin. Next, return to the dashboard and click on the Settings tab to configure the plugin.
Depending on your site’s requirements, you may need to change the “Maximum HTTP requests to cache” setting from its default of 20 to a higher or lower number. For example, if your site’s performance is good but you know it’ll tend to lag a bit after a user has visited a couple of pages, you may want to increase this setting to 50 or 100 to prevent the occasional lag that could creep in. Remember, the lower this number, the faster your site will load.
Update And Optimize Images
Another cause of slow WordPress website speeds is poor-quality images. If an image is large, it’ll probably take a while for your web browser to display it completely. During that time, the user is likely to perceive your website as sluggish.
To fix this, you have two options: either you can reduce the size of your images using a tool like Canva’s image optimization tools or you can replace them with a lighter version of the same image using a tool like Imagify.
The first step in both cases is to go to your WordPress dashboard and click on the “Settings” button to go to the settings page. Then, you can either select the “General” option to adjust the general settings of WordPress (like the background color and font size) or you can select the “Media” option to reach the media settings.
Here, you can change the way photos are displayed on your site using a slider. You can choose from several options, like “No slider” or “Fluid slider” (the typical WordPress default). Depending on your needs, you may want to try out a different option to see which one works best for you.
Once you’ve made your selection, click on the “Update Settings” button to save your changes and return to the general settings page.
The second step is to click on the “Optimize images” button to start the process of reducing the size of your images. You’ll need to enter a username and password and click on the “Submit for analysis” button.
Once the analysis is complete, you can either download the.zip file containing your optimized images or you can return to the dashboard and click on the “View results” button to view a graphical representation of how much space your images have saved. You can also click on the “Download” button to save a copy of the.zip file on your computer.
You’ll have to repeat this step for each of your image attachments. Once complete, you can return to the dashboard to see the improvements.
Now that you’ve cleaned up your theme and plugin folders, it’s time to address another important aspect of your site’s speed: the source of your content.
Use The Right Caching Plugin
A caching plugin is a must for every WordPress website. When a user visits your site, their web browser will first ask the server if the requested page has been updated since the user last visited it. If so, the page will be served directly from the cache instead of being downloaded from the server every time.
The most common caching plugin is called WP Speed – which is developed by the WordPress community and is, in fact, open source. Installing this plugin is extremely easy – just click on the Plugins tab in your WordPress dashboard, scroll down to the bottom and click the Install button to activate WP Speed.
Once activated, return to your dashboard and click on the Settings tab to configure the plugin.
This is where you can access the Settings page of the plugin, where you can either enter a URL or select an image to cache. For the best results, use both – enter a URL for the cached page, and select an image to serve as a poster child for your cached content. You’ll need to make sure that the URL you enter actually points to a page on your site. Once you’ve confirmed that the URL is correct, click on the “Update Cache” button to start caching.
You can also use WP Speed’s free trial version to test the cache performance of the plugin before committing to buy it. Just click on the Try WP Speed button to access the free trial.
A caching plugin will not solve all of your site speed issues – but it can help a lot. Make sure to keep the above tips in mind as you browse through your WordPress dashboard looking for areas to improve. With a bit of luck, you’ll soon see your site running smoother than ever before.