How To Speed Up WordPress Site – Step By Step Guide (2018)

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How To Speed Up Your WordPress Website

 

Some time ago, I have published an article containing the list of the best WordPress plugins. Today, you will learn how to speed up your WordPress site so it will be loading much faster. Its Google rank should also be improved that way.

Below, you will find screenshots with GTmetrix scores.

Before starting the process:

How To Speed Up Your WordPress Website - 01

After completion:

How To Speed Up Your WordPress Website - 02

 

Here, you can see Pingdom results:

California (before speeding up):

alivebetter.com - Pingdom - California - 01

California (after the process):

alivebetter.com - Pingdom - California - 02

Sweden (before the start):

alivebetter.com - Pingdom - Sweden - 01

Sweden (after completion):

alivebetter.com - Pingdom - Sweden - 02

Texas (before the process):

alivebetter.com - Pingdom - Texas - 01

Texas (after completion):

alivebetter.com - Pingdom - Texas - 02

Below, you will find step-by-step guide and you will learn how you can get similar or even better results than I did.

 

1. Choose the best possible hosting provider

 

Your hosting company is the first and one of the most important aspects of your website’s speed optimization. Some time ago, I have published an article with the list of the best hosting providers in the world. This list is still up-to-date. I’ve been very satisfied SiteGround‘s customer since I created my first website in June 2016. Here, you can make sure that both my websites are hosted with SiteGroundPolish version, English version.

Now, it’s time to show you some basic statistics about the most popular hosting companies. The first characteristic is loading speed:

SiteGround - loading speed

Performance:

SiteGround - performance

Security:

SiteGround - security

Support:

SiteGround - phone support

SiteGround - chat support

SiteGround - ticket support

SiteGround - issues - support

Shared hosting (which is recommended for websites with low and medium traffic) is offered by SiteGround in 3 plans:

SiteGround - shared hosting

GoGeek is the most expensive option and it gives you the most possibilities. I chose that option when I was going to create my first website in June 2016:

SiteGround-GoGeek-2018

GoGeek plan gives you the most powerful account configuration as well as highly valuable feature called Staging (a copy of your live website, which can be used in order to test whatever you want and do the experiments without any risk of destroying your live website). It also gives you more possibilities of using backup function.

You can choose StartUp plan if you want to – it’s much more powerful than similar accounts in other companies. However, you will get the least powerful configuration as it comes to SiteGround accounts and you will be able to host only 1 website on that account! On the other hand, there’s one advantage of that choice – you can upgrade to GrowBig or GoGeek account anytime. 🙂

SiteGround - shared hosting - comparison

StartUp, GrowBig, and GoGeek accounts can handle 10,000, 25,000, and 100,000 visits every month. If your monthly traffic is bigger than 100,000 visitors, you should choose cloud hosting or dedicated hosting. Their monthly fees are much higher than for shared hosting, but having such a big traffic on your website, you will be able to spend so much money. Your website’s loading time will also be improved.

After choosing the best hosting package, you can choose where you want your server to be located. Currently, there are 4 locations to choose from: Chicago, London, Amsterdam, Singapore.

SiteGround - locations 2018

Uptime measured by Uptime Robot amounts to 100% on both my websites.

SiteGround - alivebetter.com - uptime

SiteGround - alivebetter.pl - uptime

WordPress recommends SiteGround as one of the best hosting providers.

SiteGround‘s support is very fast, professional and reliable. You can see my 3 tickets on the screenshots below:

ticket-01

ticket-02

ticket-03

You can also read this article on SiteGround’s blog. Artificial intelligence preventing brute-force attacks is a modern solution, not used by any company before.

After reading this article, pay attention to the comments. Below, you can read a few of them:

SiteGround - comments

SiteGround - comments

SiteGround - comments

* If you need visitors only from your country, you can stay with your previous hosting provider. If you target visitors from all over the world, it is highly recommended to switch to SiteGround.

 

2. Configure CDN (Cloudflare) in a proper way

 

Log into your SiteGround account and click My Accounts -> Information & Settings -> Access cPanel -> Cloudflare -> Manage -> Settings. Then you should see a window with Cloudflare settings. Below, there’s a screenshot with optimal configuration.

SiteGround - Cloudflare - settings

After logging into https://www.cloudflare.com, you will gain much more possibilities of managing Cloudflare settings. The best settings are shown on the screenshots below:

Cloudflare settings

Cloudflare settings

Cloudflare settings

Cloudflare settings

Cloudflare settings

Cloudflare settings

Cloudflare settings

Cloudflare settings

The 1st path is my WordPress login page. If you’d like to change your login path, you should download WPS Hide Login, type in your path, and add it to the Page Rules tab as you can see above.

Cloudflare settings

 

3. Reduce number of 301/302 redirects

 

Both my blogs (www.alivebetter.com and www.alivebetter.pl) have SSL certificates (green padlock on the left-hand side of your address bar), hence their addresses begin with “https://” instead of “http://”. As you can see below, this blog had two redirects instead of one.

alivebetter.com - redirects

This issue has been solved by SiteGround support. In order to solve a problem like this one, you should configure Cloudflare as it is shown in point 2 of this article, and add the following lines:

RewriteEngine On
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^alivebetter\.com [NC]
RewriteCond %{SERVER_PORT} 80
RewriteRule ^(.*)$ https://www.alivebetter.com/$1 [R=301,L]

to .htaccess file. In order to edit this file, log into your SiteGround account, click My Accounts -> Information & Settings -> Access cPanel -> File Manager -> Go, go to public_html, click .htaccess file, and click Code Editor -> Edit.

edit .htaccess

Remember to type in your website’s address (in lines 2nd and 4th) instead of mine 🙂

 

4. Optimize images

 

Compressing images is a very important factor of speeding up your WordPress website. There are a few popular WordPress plugins for that purpose, such as: EWWW Image Optimizer, Imagify Image Optimizer, Kraken.io Image Optimizer, WP Smush. My favourite plugin for optimizing images is ShortPixel Image Optimizer and I can recommend it to everyone! Most of the photos on this website were optimized online with tinyjpg.com, then with a WP Smush plugin, and ShortPixel managed to reduce their sizes about 25-30% without any noticeable loss of quality!

ShortPixel statistics 2018

 

5. Install the best possible WordPress caching plugin

 

W3 Total Cache is a well-known WordPress caching plugin. However, there are two plugins which can give you better results than W3 Total Cache. One of them is WP Fastest Cache. It is available in two versions – free and paid. Below, you can see optimal WP Fastest Cache configuration.

WP Fastest Cache - settings

The screen above shows settings of free version of WP Fastest Cache. You can also test paid version of this plugin, but you will learn about better solution in a moment. Free version of WP Fastest Cache doesn’t make any huge difference in loading speed tests.

The best choice is a plugin called WP Rocket. The cheapest version ($39) of WP Rocket can be installed on one website only, the most expensive one ($199) is for unlimited number of websites.

WP Rocket - pricing 2018

After choosing the cheapest or medium package, you will be able to upgrade to higher package(s), and you will pay only the difference between your current and the future package.

WP Rocket - upgrade 2018

If you’d like to renew your licence before the end of the first year, you can get even more than 50% discount!

WP Rocket - renewal discount 2018

WP Rocket is the tool which helped me achieve the best results in terms of speed. You can find them at the beginning of this article. Below, you can see WP Rocket optimal configuration:

WP Rocket - settings - Dashboard 2018

WP Rocket - settings - Cache 2018

WP Rocket - settings - File Optimization 01 2018

WP Rocket - settings - File Optimization 02 2018

WP Rocket - settings - File Optimization 03 2018

WP Rocket - settings - Media 2018

WP Rocket - settings - Preload 2018

WP Rocket - settings - Advanced Rules 2018

WP Rocket - settings - Database 01 2018

WP Rocket - settings - Database 02 2018

WP Rocket - settings - CDN 2018

WP Rocket - settings - Add-ons 2018

WP Rocket - settings - Cloudflare 2018

This tool is compatible with almost every theme and plugin.

If something was wrong with your site after installing WP Rocket, you should try to change some of the settings of this tool (especially minifying and caching). If it doesn’t help, you may need to deactivate it – this should bring your website back to the previous state.

WP Rocket is updated regularly and has very good online documentation.

SiteGround and WP Rocket offer 30-days and 14-days money-back guarantee. If you were discontent with their services, you can get your money back in 30 days (or 14 days) since the day of your purchase.

Remember to minimize the number of active plugins on your WordPress installation. If you don’t use any plugin, just deactivate it or even remove it.

Furthermore, remember to update your theme and active plugins as frequently as it is possible. It is also important to update WordPress, but SiteGround will take care about it, and your WordPress will be always up-to-date due to automatic updates which are implemented on all their hosting plans. 🙂

Current scores of my website loading tests can be slightly worse than they were after speeding up since I added Flag Counter script to my sidebar. Anyway, my website is still working much faster than before. 🙂

 

How To Speed Up WordPress Site – Step By Step Guide (2018)
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