Speeding Up WordPress

Here’s a few suggestions on how to speed up WordPress blog.

Choose A Good Hosting

While starting out, a shared hosting might seem like a bargain and good idea at the time but it comes at another price,  incredibly slow site speed and frequent down time during high traffic periods. If you plan on doing something that creates high traffic, you should choose the VPS (Virtual Private Server) hosting provider and reputable good quality.

Start With Solid Theme

You might be surprised, but the TwentyTen, TwentyEleven, TwentyTwelve, TwentyThirteen or TwentyFourteen (default WP themes) are quite speedy frameworks to use. That’s because they keep it simple and light. It is definitely a solid framework for quick page loads.

Use Caching Plugin

WordPress plugins are obviously quite useful, but some of the best fall under the caching category, as they drastically improve page loads time, and best of all, all of them on WordPress.org are free and easy to use. Crowd favorites is W3 Total Cache or WP Super Cache, it has all of the features you need and is easy to install and use. Simply install and activate it, and your page loads faster as elements are cached.

Use CDN – Content Delivery Network

Essentially, a CDN or content delivery network, takes all your static files (css, javascript, images, etc) you’ve got on your site and lets visitors download them as fast as possible by serving the files on servers that closer to them as possible. You can use the free service offered by CloudFlare. If you need more features then you need to pay extra. There is also a plugin called Free-CDN that promises to do the same.

Optimize Images

There is an amazing, free plugin called WP-Smush.It  which will do this process to all of your images automatically, as you are uploading them. Others with similar features like EWWW Image Optimizer and Prizm Image plugins.

Optimize Homepage To Load Quickly

Easy things that you can do to ensure that your homepage or frontpage loads quickly, which probably is the most important part of your site because people will be landing there the most often. Things that you can do:

  • Show excerpts instead of full posts.
  • Reduce the number of posts on the page.
  • Remove unnecessary sharing widgets from the homepage.
  • Remove inactive plugins and widgets.
  • Keep in minimal. Less widgets on the homepage.

Overall, a clean and focused homepage will load quicker.

Optimize WordPress Database

Simply use the WP-Optimize plugin. This plugin lets you do just one simple task that is optimize the your database (transient options, orphaned postmeta, spam, post revisions, drafts, tables, etc.) to reduce overhead. Also recommended the WP-DB Manager plugin, which can create a schedule for database optimization.

Disable Hotlinking and Leeching

Hotlinking is a form of bandwidth theft. It occurs when other sites direct linking to the images on your site from their articles making your server to load increasingly high and reached quota limit really fast. This can add up as more and more people scraping your site content and especially image files, become more frequent because it’s dead easy to do by just copying a direct link to your site. Add this codes in your root .htaccess file to block hotlinking:

#Disable hotlinking with forbidden or custom image option 
RewriteEngine on 
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^$ 
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^http(s)?://(www.)?yoursite.com [NC] 
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^http(s)?://(www.)?google.com [NC] 
RewriteRule .(jpg|jpeg|png|gif)$ – [NC,F,L] 

Add Expires Header To Static Resources

An Expires header is a way to specify a time far enough in the future so that the client browsers don’t have to re-fetch any static content such as stylesheets, javascript, images etc. This way can cut your load time significantly for your regular visitors. Add this codes in your root .htaccess file:

ExpiresActive On 
ExpiresByType image/gif A2592000 
ExpiresByType image/png A2592000 
ExpiresByType image/jpg A2592000 
ExpiresByType image/jpeg A2592000

The above numbers are set for a month (in seconds). You can adjust them as you like.

Add LazyLoad to your images

LazyLoad is the process of having only only the images above the fold load (i.e. only the images visible in the visitor’s browser window), then, when reader scrolls down, the other images begin to load, just before they come into view. This will not only speed you page loads, it can also save bandwidth by loading less data for users who don’t scroll all the way down on your pages. Install the jQuery Image Lazy Load plugin to do it automatically.

Control Post Revisions

WordPress would store every single one of these drafts indefinitely. Once post is published there is need to store drafts anymore and you have to clear it manually. You can use the Revision Control plugin to keep post revisions to a minimum, just set it to 2 or 3 revisions so you have at least something to fall back on in case you make a mistake, but don’t set it too high that you clutter the backend with unnecessary large amounts of drafted posts.

Turn Off Pingbacks and Trackbacks

By default, WordPress interacts with other blogs that are equipped with pingbacks and trackbacks option. Every time another blog mentions you, it notifies your site, which in turn updates data on the post. Turning this option off will not break the backlinks to your site, just the setting that generates a lot of workload for your blog. For more detail, read this explanation about WordPress Pingbacks and Trackbacks.

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