Wordpress San Diego

Speed up WordPress – the 3 Best Techniques to Make Your Site Fast

WordPress is fantastic – and economical. But let’s face it, it can suck for speed. We ask this faithful platform to achieve so much, and it faithfully struggles to deliver!

A great way to test site speed is with Pingdom.com’s Speed Test page.

To keep your customers delighted with your online presence, it’s important to focus on site performance. In our new article we detail three often-overlooked methods for boosting performance:

Check your host

Not all hosts are created equal. Those guys charging you $5 / month to serve your site might have worked great for that site you designed in 2007 in Dreamweaver, but times have changed, and with the increased flexibility offered by WordPress you’re going to have to throw a bit of love at it. Shared hosting isn’t quite perfect. You’ll need at a minimum, managed WordPress hosting, and ideally some sort of dedicated server or allocated resources.

It doesn’t really matter who you choose to host your site, as long as you have enough resources available to you, and they understand WordPress’s needs. Dreamhost, Bluehost, Rackspace, as well as other, managed options like Websynthesis are all good options that could speed up WordPress on your site.

Cache and minify

WordPress works by pulling bits and pieces of posts and pages together from a database, and generating a website from fragments in real-time. This isn’t easy, and as your site and your audience grows you will notice it taxes the system more and more. You can help relieve the pressure on your servers by having the site create cache versions of important pages. It simply creates a version of the dynamic, database-driven site, and translates it into a static page which is easy to serve to visitors.

There are a couple of really good cache plugins for WordPress: W3 Total Cache and WP-SuperCache. Setup of these plugins can be complex and outside the scope of this post. Generally, WP-SuperCache is the simpler option, and W3TC, while more powerful, takes a bit more knowledge and effort to configure. Shared host sites are probably best using WP-SuperCache.

Once your site is caching well, make sure all your associated scripts like Javascripts and CSS are merged and minified as much as possible – this is called minification. There are plugins that do this for you, and the feature is built-in in W3TC.

Use a CDN

All those images and scripts you have on your site? They slow it down! Try offloading some of that heavy lifting to the big players – Amazon, NetDNA, Cloudflare etc. It’s called using a Content Delivery Network, and it really helps. You simply send your large files off to a third party, and using a CDN plugin on your site, you set it up to deliver those files from the third party. Hello Speed!

These three techniques are a great start when you want to speed up WordPress. If you’re overwhelmed or need help, drop us a line and we can help.