How to: Improve WordPress performance and page load times

WordPress is a great blogging platform, both powerful and lightweight, but performance can be improved with plugins. Good page performance will help retain existing subscribers and encourage new readers and traffic to your site.

Performance gains can be measured using a tool such as Google PageSpeed Insights, or Pingdom. Be sure to benchmark your site prior to trying any of the following:

  1. WP Fastest Cache (or W3 Total Cache)

    Add browser, page, object and database caching as well as minify and content delivery network (CDN) to WordPress.

  2. WP Smush

    Reduce image file sizes, improve performance and optimise page load times. This plugin will automatically compress new images uploaded to your WordPress posts, and optimise all the existing images in your WordPress gallery.

  3. WP-Optimize

    Simple but effective plugin allows you to extensively clean up your WordPress database and optimize it without doing manual queries.

  4. Jetpack, ‘photon’

    Consider using a content delivery network (CDN), to cache the images from your website and serve them directly, thus reducing the load from your own web-host.

  5. Autoptimize

    Autoptimize concatenates all scripts and styles, minifies and compresses them, adds expires headers, caches them, and moves styles to the page head and can move scripts to the footer. It also minifies the HTML code itself, making your page really lightweight.

In addition to the above plugins there are a few other tips to maintaining a responsive site, they are:

  • Enable PHP caching on your web-host
  • Choose a lightweight theme which is optimised for speed
  • Disable and remove any plugin’s that you don’t use or need (Plugin’s are actually one of the main culprits for increasing page load times, so more is less)
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