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How to optimize WordPress for Speed! - 9 Tips to create a fast and responsive instance of WordPress

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Optimize WordPress Speed by following these nine steps from simple optimization techniques to theme and hosting choices. Make WordPress as fast as it can be and make the web a better place.

Simple WordPress speed optimization techniques

Tip #1: Delete or uninstall anything you do not need

Delete plugins and themes if you are not using them. Deactivating can be helpful especially if it has background functions. However, deleting is best if you are not using a theme or plugin.

Tip #2: Optimize your images

Use tools like Smush It. Smush It will automatically optimize pictures as you add them to your site. Smush It can also “bulk smush” reducing any files that currently exist in the media folder.

Tip #3: Use caching plugins

I personally like WP Super Cache and Autoptimize used together. With WP Super Cache, if you do not make frequent updates to your site, turn off the “frequent checks to homepage” and bump up the garbage collection to 7200 seconds or more (you can always manually flush the cache if needed). Autoptimize allows you to minify javascript, css, html etc.

Tip #4: Optimize the database

Use WP-Optimize to clean up the database. It has some options to do it automatically as well if you so choose.

Moderate involvement WordPress speed optimization techniques

Tip #5: Use Google’s PageSpeed Insights to guide your optimizations

Use Google’s PageSpeed Insights as a checklist to optimize your site. Also, note that at the bottom of the page it says: “Download optimized image, JavaScript, and CSS resources for this page. You can use these provided resources to speed up your site and get a better score. The PageSpeed Insights images feature is very useful if you are using the free version of Smush It and need the files outside of the media folder to be optimized.

Tip #6: Use a CDN (Content Delivery Network)

CloudFlare is a CDN that has a free option to act as a proxy to your website and also does additional optimizations to your assets as well as provide another layer of security to your site. This can reduce the load on your server, provide better uptime and faster response time for cached content. If you are hosting more than one site, this effect can be amplified if you apply across all of your sites. This is actually very easy to setup. The only reason I’ve labeled it as moderate is that you need to login to the hosting provider and change the Nameservers. If you want a top of the line CDN you could go with someone like Akamai.

Tip #7: Lazy load and avoid render blocking

Use lazy loading to help render something on the screen as fast as possible and try not to have render blocking resources. Put as much javascript and CSS in the footer as possible. A couple of good lazy load plugins are Lazy Load which is pretty much a set and forget setup and a more customizable Lazy Loader BJ Lazy Load. I also like WP YouTube Lyte, which lazy loads YouTube videos.

More involved WordPress speed optimization techniques

Tip #8: Pick a fast theme

One of my favorite themes to start with for speed is from My Theme Shop called Schema. Overall, it is well built and easy to optimize further.

Tip #9: Upgrade your host

If you are using hosts like GoDaddy, see what your upgrade options are and see if it makes sense to you fiscally. GoDaddy for example has a separate WordPress hosting option that can provide greater performance than their standard hosting setup however that is still a long shot from the performance you will get from other hosting solutions like Amazon Web Services (AWS) or Pantheon.

9 tips to optimize WordPress for Speed!

  1. Delete or uninstall anything you do not need (plugins and themes)
  2. Optimize your images
  3. Use caching plugins
  4. Optimize the database
  5. Use Google PageSpeed Insights
  6. Use a CDN like CloudFlare
  7. Lazy load and don’t resource block your content
  8. Pick a faster/more optimized theme
  9. Pick a new host or hosting option

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