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Webbed Feet UK, web developers in Salisbury, Wiltshire

How to speed up a WordPress website

The speed of your website is critical to its success. It affects everything, from how long visitors will spend on your site to how well Google will rank you.

A slow website (one that takes more than 5 seconds to load a page) will be hurting your bottom line.

WordPress is pretty clunky out of the box, but with a few steps you can really speed up your website.

If you’re not using WordPress then get in touch and we can help advise you how to speed up any website.

Better hosting

The quickest win when it comes to speeding up a WordPress website is to make sure it’s on good quality hosting. The WordPress code itself is not particularly optimised for speed, so it’s important to choose hosting that uses the software that works well with WordPress. At a minimum you want to be using:

  • PHP 7+
  • Nginx
  • HTTP/2

A server using these technologies with standard settings will make WordPress considerably faster. You can speed up the website even more by carefully configuring each aspect of the software the server runs.

Servers can also cache files that remain the same for long periods of time, and compress the data that is being sent across.

If you’re not sure about how to move your WordPress website, or what kind of hosting you’re on now then Webbed Feet can help, just get in touch.

Reduce images

One major factor that influences the speed of a website is how much data is downloaded. As you’d expect the more data that is sent the more the longer it takes to load the page.

Images are usually the main culprit when it comes to large files. One simple step to take is to reduce the number of images on each web page, there’s no need  to just have a plain page of text, but taking out a couple of images can really help.

If you have an image slider/carousel then, as studies show people rarely see past the second slide, you can remove most of the slides with no compromise to your website. Slider images are usually large so this can represent a big speed up.

You should make sure that WordPress is resizing images appropriately. I’ve seen lots of WordPress websites where sloppily coded themes or badly set up sites load images at their original size only to display them in a box a few centimetres across.

If you’re not sure if images are affecting your page load times then, why not get in touch and we can take a quick look for you, we can usually spot ways to speed up your website while we’re on the phone!

Less files

Another way to speed up your WordPress website is to reduce the number of files that need to be downloaded. Lots of files will cause a slowdown greater than just their size alone. For example downloading a hundred 1k files will take a lot longer than one 100k file, despite the size of the data being the same.

This has historically been one of WordPress’ biggest downfalls, each plugin and theme will add several files to each page load.

If your server runs HTTP/2 it will seriously improve your website speed as it is designed to reduce the overhead of downloading many files.

Try to reduce the number of files each page needs to speed page loads up. To do this you’ll need some technical knowhow to combine multiple files, this can take some trial and error as it can lead to conflicts that stop the website working. If in doubt contact a web developer.

Limit plugins

Every plugin you add means more code that needs to run every time you load a page, and usually it also means 2-10 extra files that will need to be downloaded when someone looks at the page.

Only use plugins that you need and offer a real benefit, disable or remove any others. As not only are they dead weight but each plugin is a new way to get your wordpress site hacked.

Don’t use it

Okay this isn’t an option for everyone, especially if you’re generally happy with your website, but if you’re thinking of a redesign in the near future it may be the perfect time to switch from WordPress to something faster.

Using a bespoke system like our Content Management System (CMS) means that the code is very focussed and heavily optimised, rather than WordPress which has lots of bloat and features for every conceivable use, most of which are never used.

When we design a website we carefully craft it to make sure that images are the correct size, files are kept to a minimum along with hundreds of other improvements to make it run faster.

Unsure what to do?

If you have a slow website and would like to speed it up, but are unsure what to do then why not give Webbed Feet a call. We’ll be able to take a look at your website and offer you some suggestions on how to improve it, and we can move it to a faster server or optimise it for you.

This article is categorised within:

Website Design WordPress