How to Increase Page Load Time on a WordPress Website

WordPress is the #1 content management system (CMS) in use today, with over 80 million downloads and a 90 percent market share.

The popularity of WordPress is largely due to its versatility: it is not just a blogging platform, but it also allows for full-fledged websites to be developed using its APIs.

However, the performance of a WordPress website can be a concern. Typically, WordPress’s popularity has led to it being bundled with limited resources, which in turn, can limit its performance.

In this article, we will discuss some fundamental best practices for increasing the performance of your WordPress website. These practices will not only help you reduce web traffic and improve your SEO, but they will also help to ensure that your WordPress site runs smoothly and without lag.

Use the Right Hosting Platform

Any modern web host will allow you to install WordPress to create a website, but the right host will also provide you with additional features that can make your experience more enjoyable. For example, if you use DreamHost, you can install WordPress apps like Hello Bar and Wocket, as well as integrate Google Pay with your shopping cart to accept online payments through Google Checkout.

Besides, using the right host can help to ensure that your website’s performance is optimized, as they have the tools to do so. When choosing a web host, make sure to check out their performance metrics before committing.

Install WordPress on a Dedicated Server

Dedicated servers are expensive, but they offer a number of strategic advantages. First, you can use additional servers if you have more users or content than the standard shared hosting plan. Second, having a dedicated server means that you can install extra software, including WordPress-specific applications. Third, having a dedicated server helps to ensure that your websites’ performance is consistent, as it avoids any potential performance bottlenecks caused by other users on the shared hosting plan.

Shared hosting plans are great if you are just starting out and don’t have the resources to dedicate a server. However, if you are already running a website and want to improve its performance, shared hosting is not the solution.

Use a CDN For Content Delivery

A content delivery network (CDN) is a group of servers that function as an intermediary between a website’s servers and its users. When a user visits a website that is using a CDN, the website’s content is first delivered by the CDN, and then served to the user. The end result is that content is served faster to users, resulting in a better user experience.

The majority of today’s popular web hosts include a CDN, such as Cloudflare, that can be integrated into your website’s settings. If you are signed up for Cloudflare, all of your content will automatically be served through their network, which can result in faster page loads and fewer connection errors.

Use HTTP/2

HTTP/2 is the next-generation version of HTTP, the protocol used to transfer webpages from servers to browsers.

One of HTTP/2’s main advantages is that it is optimized for user experience. When an HTTP/2-enabled browser receives a new page during a session, the page is immediately served with all the necessary resources, instead of waiting for the browser to request them. This helps to avoid potential delays while loading webpages.

Additionally, the HTTP/2 protocol allows for multiple requests to be sent during the same connection, with the result that pages can be requested faster than ever before.

Reduce Request Bloat

Request bloat occurs when overly extensive resources are used to display a simple webpage. The results of this bloat can be slow response times and reduced performance. To avoid this, simply use a minimal set of essential resources, such as CSS, JavaScript, and an image.

For smaller sites, the bloat from an image alone can be significant. However, for larger sites, the impact from CSS and JavaScript can overshadow the impact from an image. As a general rule, you should aim to keep these files below 10kb in size.

Use a Mobile-Friendly Design

Designing a website with a mobile-first approach means that the usability of your site’s designs does not depend on the device used to access it. When a user visits your website on a mobile device, the first thing they will notice is the layout of the page. Good mobile design can quickly be identified by the lack of a menu bar at the top of the screen and the large areas of screen real estate occupied by content.

As a general rule, your website’s designs should respond well to any screen size and orientation, with the result that it can be accessed from any device.

Avoid Too Many Clicks

When a user arrives at your website and clicks a link or a button to visit another page, it is known as a [redirect]. Too many redirects in a row can cause your website to become less accessible, as a user may find themselves repeatedly redirected, despite trying to navigate your site with ease.

To avoid this, create a one-page experience by developing static pages for your blog. If you use WordPress, create a single-page template in your theme’s layout, and use the front-end editor to add content to it. When a user clicks a link or a button to navigate to another page in your site, they will not be redirected to a different location, but instead, will stay on the same page.

Use a Responsive Design

A responsive design is one that adjusts the layout of a webpage based on the device used to access it. A great example of a responsive design is Google’s website, which automatically adjusts its content and design based on the device used to access it.

When a user visits Google’s website on a mobile device, the results page will appear correctly formatted, with the sidebar, social media links, and other features, such as images and videos, appearing on the right-hand side. However, if the same user visits Google’s website on a laptop, the entire page will be filled with images and videos, with no sidebar or other elements included.

To achieve a similar result, integrate CSS into your WordPress themes to define a responsive design. For example, if you use the Twenty Fourteen WordPress theme from the WordPress team, you can use the following CSS to change the layout of your site to a vertical, two-column format: