How to Optimize a WordPress Website Without a Plugin

WordPress plugins are great for most things, but when it comes to improving your website’s load time and usability, they can be the worst. Especially when you’ve tried to optimize a WordPress website without a plugin.

You’ve probably tried to do something similar, maybe you even went through the motions of manually editing your website’s code and measuring the results. Maybe you got really lucky, and your site sped up just from editing a few lines of CSS. But, the chances are, you didn’t get the results you were really looking for. And that’s because plugins can sometimes get in the way of what you’re trying to achieve.

WordPress is a powerful content management system, and it’s constantly evolving to improve itself. One of the ways it does this is by automatically installing and using plugins that solve common problems. For instance, there’s a WordPress plugin that allows you to choose the perfect Thumbnail for your posts. Or, there’s one that automatically generates a navigation bar for your blog’s blog posts. These are all great, and useful plugins. But they can also get in the way of you achieving your primary goal – creating a beautiful, functioning website that does exactly what you want it to do.

If you’re looking for an easy way to quickly and effectively improve the performance of your WordPress website, you’ve come to the right place. Below, you’ll discover exactly how to do that, without using plugins – and what you’ll need to get started.

The Basics

For the sake of this article, we’ll assume you’ve already set up a WordPress website, and you’re ready to jump right into taking care of it. You’ll also need to have a healthy dose of tech knowledge, which you can learn more about below. But, first, let’s take a quick look at what you need to know.

Server Info

You’ll need to know the name of your server, as well as its IP address. The name is typically the FQDN (Fully Qualified Domain Name) of your server, for example, And the IP address is the numerical address that your server gives to devices (like your computer and mobile phones) that want to reach it. Your server’s IP address can be found using a tool like Google’s DNS Lookup.

Database Info

You’ll need to know the name of your database and what sort of program it is. If you use a WP plugin to manage and store your content, you’ll need to know the name of the database that the plugin uses. You’ll also need to make sure that the database is up to date and has the right permissions set.

Page Genes

For the sake of this article, we’ll assume that you’re using a free WordPress website hosting service. These hosts already have the necessary software installed on their servers to compile and optimize your website’s HTML code. But, even if you’re not, you can still use these instructions to improve the performance of your site. So, if you’re looking to create a WordPress website or blog, you can use this guide to get started.

Cron Jobs

Cron jobs are a way of scheduling tasks to be performed on a regular basis. You can use them to automate certain actions on your website, so you don’t have to do them manually. You can also use them to send out automated emails or post updates to your website’s social media accounts. You can learn more about them here. For the purposes of this article, we’ll simply assume you want to run a background task every week that compiles your freshly edited content and spruces it up a bit.

Editing /etc/hosts And /etc/resolv.config Files

These files are small but mighty. They’re the internal configuration files for your operating system (OS). The /etc/hosts file lists the IP addresses of your server’s domain names (e.g., as well as any IP addresses you might want to use for certain domains (e.g. The /etc/resolv.config file is where you specify the search domains and search paths that your network connections will use. For example, if you have multiple DNS providers or a mixture of static and dynamic IP addresses, you can specify which DNS servers to use and how to resolve domain names to IP addresses.

Advanced Settings

WordPress keeps a lot of settings and options under the hood that can be useful for certain types of websites or users. However, they can also cause performance issues for other types of websites or users. The below settings and options can be useful for improving the performance of your WordPress site. You’ll need to adjust them to suit your specific needs and circumstances.

Use HTTP/2

HTTP/2 is the next-gen web protocol, and it’s here to stay. It’s the successor to HTTP and it uses a lot of the technology built into today’s web browsers. This includes things like the new H2H Cookie and SPDY headers, which allow websites and web servers to more effectively communicate with each other.

When using HTTP/2, you’ll need to include these H2H and SPDY headers in your website’s code. If you use a web host that doesn’t support HTTP/2 natively, you can use a plugin to get it working. Alternatively, you can use this tool to test your site’ compliance with HTTP/2.

Remove Unnecessary Assets

On a related note, it’s never a good idea to have assets – like images, videos, and audio files – on your site that you don’t need. These are all additional bits of bandwidth that your site will need to handle, and they eat into your site’s performance. If you’re working with a web host that doesn’t support expunge files natively, you can use a plugin to remove them. Alternatively, you can use this tool to test your site’s compliance with the Pareto Principle – which dictates that 20% of your site’s content should represent 80% of its usefulness.

Reduce Image Sizes

When it comes to image sizes, the default is usually ok. You don’t always need huge images for all your blog posts. However, you don’t need small, crappy images either. There’s a happy medium, and you can use this tool to test the images on your site to see which ones work and which ones don’t. Keep in mind, though, that larger images usually mean better performance.

Header Customizations

You can also use headers – the small boxes that appear at the top of a website’s web pages – to customize the look and feel of your site. The most useful headers for performance are: