5 Ways to Improve Wordpress Performance

6 min read

Simple blogs, portfolios, news sites, large shopping sites. Wordpress is all around the Internet. According to W3Tech, 34.6% of all the websites on the internet are using Wordpress.

Web performance matters. It effects user experience, conversions and SEO. When you follow the right steps it is very easy to make your website fast. If you make any mistakes, your website may slow down. In this post, I am going to share 5 ways to improve your Wordpress site’s performance.

5 ways to improve Wordpress performance

Table of Contents
  1. Keep your site updated
  2. Use a cache plugin
  3. Use CDN
  4. Optimize Images
  5. Asset CleanUp
  6. Conclusion

Keep your site updated

Wordpress core, themes and plugins gets update frequently. These updates fixes vulnerabilities, introduces features and speeds up your site. You can update your Wordpress version with one click. But there is a one crucial thing: Backup. Updates are good but sometimes they can break your site completely or partially. Sometimes you can find a solution, sometimes you cannot. What a nightmare that would be.

Wordpress admin panel, update section.
Updating Wordpress is very easy. If you backup your site, you can update your site with one click.

If you backup your site regularly, you do not have to worry about these things. Did updates break your site? Restore it. In this post I will not go into details. If you want to learn how to backup your site, SitePoint has a good tutorial about it.

Use a cache plugin

When you visit a website, its makes requests from the server. As a result of this request, the server sends the files necessary for the load of the website to the user’s browser. If caching is enabled when a user visits your site, the site loads the normal way and your browser stores the HTML file. This way, when you visit the site the second time, the site loads quickly.

Wordpress cache plugins enable caching. There are many caching plugins available on the market, but I will recommend 2 of them based on my own experience.

WP Rocket

WP Rocket is the best caching plugin in the market. It’s easy to use and has ton of features like lazy loading, minify, CDN support etc.

WP Rocket is a premium plugin. That means you have to pay for one time. But if you want customer support and plugin updates you have to pay annually. You can find pricing options on WP Rocket’s pricing page.

W3 Total Cache

It’s no coincidence that W3 Total Cache is one of the most popular caching plugins. It has more than a million users and is used by large sites like Mashable, AT&T.

W3 Total Cache has free and premium plans. Free plan will be enough for small sites. It may be confusing that the plugin has too many settings, but this WPMU DEV guide provides detailed instructions.

W3 Total Cache settings panel screenshot.
W3 Total Cache has more than a million users.

Use CDN

In a normal hosting service, the site is hosted on a single server. When the site serves its visitors to a single server, there is a difference in the connection speed between the person close to the server and the person further away. For example, if your host is in London, the person in London will connect to your site in less time than the person in Istanbul. CDN solves this problem. But how?

Content Delivery Network (CDN) is a network of servers in various locations. CDN stores a copy of the website on its servers around the world. When a user visits a website, the files required to upload the website are served from the server closest to the user. This makes websites faster.

There are multiple CDN providers on the market. Cloudflare’s free plan is a good option for small sites. For larger and corporate sites, you can review Cloudflare’s paid plans. WPBeginner has a good tutorial about how to use Cloudflare with Wordpress.

Optimize images

Large size images can slow down your website. If you optimize your images before and after the upload, you will avoid slowing down your site. You can easily reduce the size of your image with various applications before uploading it to the site.

Photshop, GIMP and Krita

These are graphic editing programs. The best way to reduce your images before uploading is to use graphics editor programs. A quick tutorial for image optimization with Photoshop:

TinyPNG and Optimizilla

TinyPNG and Optimizilla are online image optimizers. They both use smart lossy compression techniques to reduce your image sizes. These websites are easy to use and gives great results.

TinyPNG, online image optimizer.
This image optimized with TinyPNG.

When you optimize your images with these tools, you are ready to upload your site. If you don’t have time for this, there is lots of plugins for this job. I suggest reSmush.it. reSmush.it allows to optimize pictures up to 5MB. It’s free and easy to use.

Asset CleanUp

Asset CleanUp is a page speed optimizer plugin. The plugin scans your page and detects every asset that are loaded. You can choose not to load some files on the pages with the plugins CSS/JS Load Manager feature. Let’s give an example for this.

I use Everest Form plugin on one of my sites. This plugin loads a CSS file on the home page but I am not using a contact form on the homepage. In this case, it is unnecessary to load that file on the home page. I can prevent this file from loading using the CSS/JS Load Manager.

Asset CleanUp, CSS/JS load manager
CSS/JS Load Manager is one of the most useful features of the plugin.

I can easily say that Asset CleanUp is one of the best plugins I’ve used. Easy to use and very handy.

Conclusion

In this post, I tried to share 5 ways to improve Wordpress performance. Of course, this subject is not limited to 5 ways. I will be sharing other ways about Wordpress performance in the future.

Beyond any doubt, there are some other ways to improve your web site’s performance. My post provides five of them. These steps are easy to implement, but if you don’t have the time for this, you can hire me for my Wordpress optimization service.