Why Is WordPress So Slow?

Millions of people use WordPress as a foundational platform for their websites and blogs. Oftentimes, users find that their WordPress website speed takes a dive which is cause for quite a bit of concern seeing that browse times, return visits and Google rankings are all affected by sluggish loading speeds. Of course, all these things directly affect your revenue, the ultimate cause of concern.

Various aspects can cause your WordPress website to slow down. Some of the culprits are even considered good tools that are necessary for improving viewer experience or ease of tweaking your website design and effectiveness. So, how do you know what is wrong and what needs to be corrected? To determine what the problem or problems are, you will need to do some troubleshooting. Following are some of the top contenders for system sluggishness where you can begin your search.

Check Your Plugins

Plugins are heralded as the solution to every problem and webmasters, especially beginners, grab and add plugins like the world is ending. However, these proclaimed solutions are very commonly the root of speed problems.

Plugins can present a number of speed bumps to page loading. They can be incompatible with your WordPress version, contain bad coding, or lose connection to a required external source.

In order to figure out which plugin or plugins are dragging down your speed, you will need to disable them all and then re-add them one at a time. However, if your system is still slow after disabling all of your plugins, there is another underlying problem that needs addressed before you resume plugin testing.

Regularly Make WordPress Upgrades and Repairs

Deleted and corrupted files are other detriments to site loading. Sometimes, this problem is a direct result of hackers who have infiltrated your files. Because files can become damaged, corrupted, or deleted unawares, routine upgrades and repairs should be completed.

The first step would be to ensure you are running the most current version of WordPress and to upgrade to that version. You can also check your plugins as described above which might do the trick. However, if you still experience loading problems then the best route would be to create a backup of all your files and then to totally recreate your website using the backed up files, checking for problems as you go.

Check Connections and ‘Go Turbo’

Sometimes, slow loading speed is a result of bad connections. You can run a connectivity check of your website and/or dashboard to determine if a problem lies in this area.

There are several ways to check your connectivity to the internet. If you are on a router, you can skip it and attempt to connect directly to the internet. ISP problems can be determined by using an anonymous browser to access the administrative panel. Another method is to try and connect directly to your ISP.

Those who have a WordPress version that allows the use of ‘go Turbo’ can initiate that option by clicking the link on your dashboard located in the upper right area. Turbo links you to a variety of special browser features through Google Gears which include compacting images, CSS files, and scripts into locally stored files that load directly from your site and bypass the server.

WordPress Speed Optimization Tips

All in all, WordPress is a good platform to use for operating websites. The numbers back that up with around 74 million blogs being run from the popular platform due to its ease of use, compatible plugin availability, and speed.

Website loading speed has moved to the top of the “must have” list since Google began considering it as a main element in their ranking formula. This is a good thing, because Google makes such moves based on internet user feedback and most users agree that they will leave a site and not return if it takes more than four seconds for a site’s pages to load. Folks just don’t want to wait around and when they go… they take their money with them.

Therefore, as good a reputation as WordPress has among website owners and bloggers, there are always optimizations that can be made to increase speed and overall website performance. Here are some top tips for doing just that.

Tip #1 – Database Optimization

Optimizing your WordPress database is vital for avoiding root problems. This includes maintaining your database by regularly upgrading to current versions as well as seeking out and repairing any internal problems that interfere with speed and website performance.

There are numerous good plugins that you can use to carry out this task. A couple suggestions are WP DB Manager and Yoast Optimize DB. You can also search the WordPress Plugin Directory which also contains options for database optimization. More advanced users can optimize their WordPress database using PHPMyAdmin.

Tip #2 – WordPress Speed Is All About Caching In

Caching information is one of the best ways to keep your WordPress website operating smoothly. When a server has to constantly query files for each page and post, it can slow down performance significantly. However, by caching such information and storing it strategically within your web pages, it can be run internally which increases server speed.

Therefore, once you optimize your WordPress database, you should go through and cache information. This can be done via several caching plugin options including W3 Total Cache, Hyper Cache, WP Super Cache, or DB Cache.

Tip #3 – Don’t Forget to Combine and Compress

Another excellent way to significantly increase loading time is to combine and compress your CSS and JS files. Combining these files into one reduces server requests by HTTP. Compressing them decreases the overall size of your web page. Both of these actions will increase page speed.

To compress CSS files, you can use either CSS Compressor or Minify CSS. JS files can be compressed by using either Minify JavaScript or Closure Compiler. WordPress’s WP Minify can be used to combine into one file your various CSS and JS files.

Tip #4 – Compress Images Too

Image files are other inhibitors to WordPress site speed and performance. By compressing your image files, it takes less time to open them which equals faster response times. You can use WP Smush IT to achieve this task.

As you can see, there are various ways to optimize your WordPress website and increase both speed and performance. Taking the time to optimize your site will boost your Google ranking, increase both user browse time and revisits, and multiply your revenue.

Top 10 Website Speed Optimization Ideas

Webpage speed is an important element in the user experience. Not only will slow loading speeds reduce visitor browsing times, but it will also decrease revisits and even initial visits since Google now considers webpage speed as an important factor in determining ranking.

If your site is slow, you not only lose visitors, but potential paying customers. Even one second in load speed can mean the difference between someone buying your product or service, or them leaving and not coming back.

Here are 10 suggestions for improving the speed and performance of your website.

1. Defer Content Loading When You Can

When you have pages that contain a lot of data, you should set them up to only load important items or images first. This is known as lazy loading and is best explained using image pages as an example. Images take up a great deal of space and, therefore, require more time to load. Therefore, instead of requiring all images to load, only supply thumbnails so the page loads quickly and your visitors can choose which images they want to see.

2. Cache Similar Content

When a website has been up for awhile, it begins to create duplicate content to which the database has to constantly connect. This can significantly reduce running speed. Therefore, utilize a caching system that stores and uses similar information internally and stops the drag.

3.   Convert to External CSS and JavaScript Files

Resources such as JavaScript and CSS files are cached each time a web page is opened. This can slow down the time it takes to open a webpage because the browser has to search and store these necessary files. To correct this problem, you can use external JS and CSS files which are conveniently stored and waiting to be used. This cuts down on the work load that your browser has to do to load the page. External file storage also prevents large amounts of scattered code from occurring.

4. Don’t Use Images to Display Text

Although using images to display text looks good, it also presents a couple of problems for websites and website speed. First of all, image files take longer to load thus slowing down the load time. Secondly, text displayed within images is not readable by search engine crawlers and is therefore useless for SEO purposes. Instead, dress up your text by using colors, fonts, styles and other features that are equally attractive but don’t slow down page loading and can be advantageous for search engine ranking.

5. Don’t Use HTML for Resizing Images

Resizing images is a necessary procedure when applying them to web pages. However, you want to avoid using weight and height resizing features of HTML. Instead, use a program such as Photoshop to resize your images and then save them as a new file. Such images will be smaller than when using HTML and won’t bog down your loading speed as much.

6. Save Images in Correct File Format

Another image tip that will save space and, thus, reduce lag time is to optimize your images into the correct format. With the exception of alpha layered images requiring transparency and the PNG format, most images can be placed into smaller sized formats which save space without sacrificing clarity. Learn about the various image formats and image optimization tools available and then resize your website images accordingly.

7. Reposition JavaScript If Necessary

A major hindrance to webpage performance is when your scripts are loaded at the beginning of your page. This requires your browser to deal with the lengthy loading times of JS before moving onto the body of the page. To remedy this speed bump, defer your JS to the end of the page. That way, your page loads quickly so that users can be viewing information while the browser is working on the more difficult JS files.

8. Utilize Web Caching

Web caching should be used for your site as much as possible. A heap of files such as JS, CSS and images can be cached and used by your browser instead of constantly having to pull them all up anew. There are various methods you can use to ensure full cache file optimization that will increase the performance of your website.

9. Optimize Your Code

Your written code can also be optimized for better website performance. Efficient and proper code writing reduces the size of files in both CSS documents and HTML files which creates better performance as well as provides easier maintenance.

10. Enhance Delivery Time by Using CDNs

Content Delivery Networks (CDNs) are incredibly helpful for increasing load times for distant users. When you have multiple users who are located in far away locations, it takes much more time for the data to be delivered to those locations. By utilizing CDNs strategically, you place access to your website info within quick reach of those distant users, thus cutting down delivery time significantly.