There is no secret that WordPress is one of the most popular CMS/Web design tools available in the market and according to some estimated almost one-third of all the websites on the internet is powered by WordPress. The most common question we get from WordPress users is “how to make my site load faster?” Unfortunately, there is no magic fix; but you can take a series of steps to boost WordPress speed and performance. In this blog I am going to cover the 4 essential steps to speed up your site:
1. Keep your WordPress, PHP and Plugins updated
The biggest advantage of updating WordPress and plugins is that it improves the site security and also offers new features. Postponing the updates might leave a portion of your site to malfunction, vulnerable to attacks, unreliable and slow. According to W3Techs.com more than 40% of the WordPress sites are running on WordPress version 4 or older. Users typically overlook the importance of updating their PHP version as well according to wordpress.org “Your website will be faster as the latest version of PHP is more efficient. Updating to the latest supported version (currently 7.3) can deliver a huge performance increase; up to 3 or 4x faster for older versions. “
Before you go about updating your site, please take the following steps to minimize the risk of losing data / breaking your site.
a) Make a backup of your website and store it on your local computer or cloud
b) Upgrade your WordPress and plugins (there is a chance that you might run into compatibility issue or your site might not load correctly)
c) Make sure you satisfied all the PHP upgrade dependencies
d) After the PHP upgrade make sure your site is loading as there is a chance you need to get your developers involved to fix compatibility issues.
2. Choose a lightweight theme
Choosing the right theme is very important, you should strike a balance between the design, features, price and response/load time. I know it is not an easy task to choose from more than 11 thousand available themes but a lightweight well-designed theme and plugins will save you money and time.
3. Take advantage of Caching
In sample terms, Caching is a process of storing the static website data on your visitor’s computer so that future requests can be served faster. Caching not only helps your site to load faster but also reduces the load on your server. There are many caching plugins available in the market; I am not going to recommend any plugin here but whatever plugin you decide to go with please make sure they are constantly being updated.
4. CDN, accelerator and Compression
Content Delivery Network (CDN) basically distributes your static web content to different geographically dispersed point of presence (POPs) as a result your server load will be reduced; you will enjoy a lower network latency and higher security. If you have subscribed to Cirrus Hosting’s cloud VPS/VM v2.1 you can take advantage of the Accelerator option, Cloud Accelerator automatically optimizes web applications and content running on the virtual private server (VPS) and automatically publishing them to our global CDN.
Remember compression is your friend, in order to enhance your website load speed, you should consider reducing your total page size, the easiest way to accomplish that is to utilize compression tools like GZIP and WordPress Image compression plugins.