6 Ways to Optimize Your WordPress Website For Speed

There are various factors that contribute to the success of your website while each having its own reasons. However, the loading speed of your website is one of the most important factors that determines how successful it will be. A web user tends to abandon a website if your website takes more than 5-8 seconds to load. Therefore, a slow loading speed of a web page is the ultimate cause of increased bounce rate.

Today, in this article, we are going to share some of the tried and tested ways to speed up a WordPress website.

1. Using an effective Caching plugin

WordPress plugins are the omnipresent God of the WordPress web development industry. Whether you are looking to customize the look and feel of your website or merely need to extend the functionality, WordPress plugin is the solution to look out for. Using a caching plugin is a great way to improve your website’s loading speed by enabling browser caching. A caching plugin stores the static HTML of your website on the user’s browser to prevent dynamic loading of the web pages every time the user visits the website. Thus, it reduces your bounce rate and improves your visitor count.

Recommended plugin:

W3 Total Cache is by far the best caching plugin available in the WordPress plugin directory. It is a free plugin and comes with a wide variety of options to choose from.

2. Optimizing Images

Images play a significant role in engaging your visitors on your website. However, they are also responsible for making your website slow especially if you are running an image-oriented blog. Optimizing images of your website reduces their sizes and web page loading speed.

Recommended Plugin:

WordPress comes with an image optimizer plugin called Smush.It to help you minimize the size of your images without compromising the quality of the images.

3. Optimize your WordPress Database

You may not know but your WordPress database may have a lot of empty space left by a query or other data. This empty space takes up a lot of bytes and eventually influences the MySQL performance. Therefore, it is important to optimize your database every now and then to reclaim this space and improve your website performance.

Recommended plugin:

WP-Optimize is a free plugin that allows you to optimize your database for empty tables, drafts, post revisions, spam etc.

4. Disable Hotlinking

When a website automatically links its content to the images on your website, it is called hotlinking. So, indirectly these websites use your website’s bandwidth and server to load the images on their pages. This drastically reduce your server load time, making your website slow.

To prevent hotlinking, you need to edit your .htaccess file by copying and pasting this code in the file:

disable hotlinking of images with forbidden or custom image option

RewriteEngine on
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^$
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^http(s)?://(www\.)?sparringmind.com [NC]
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^http(s)?://(www\.)?google.com [NC]
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^http(s)?://(www\.)?feeds2.feedburner.com/sparringmind [NC]
RewriteRule \.(jpg|jpeg|png|gif)$ – [NC,F,L]

5. Minify Javascript, CSS, and HTML

The orderly structure, tabs and spaces used in writing the code of these files is to make them human-readable. Browsers and servers do not care how the code of the files look like provides it is error-free and valid. Therefore, you can remove these unncessary spaces, and tabs to make your files load faster.

Recommended plugin:

WP-Minify is a great plugin to perform the job since it allows you to minify your JS and CSS files without ever touching a single line of code.

6. Removing inactive plugins and themes

There are times when we download and install a huge number of free plugins and themes, and then deactivate them when we don’t need them. However, a majority of webmasters often forget that these inactive plugins and themes take a lot of space in the database and on the website, making it heavy. Completely removing these plugins and themes improves the performance of your website as well as database and consequently enhancing its loading speed.

Did I miss something?

We have tried to list every possible solution to optimize a WordPress website for speed. However, if you find we have missed something, you are always welcome to suggest your ways and techniques that you may have used and found useful.

PerOla Hammar 陈家悦
Father of 2. Marketing, sales & web geek who is open-minded & eager to learn. Experienced a lot in the past years, both good and bad. Lesson learned? LIVE LIFE!