How To Speed Up Your WordPress Website

How To Speed Up Your WordPress Website – Step By Step Guide

 

A few weeks ago, I published an article containing the list of the best WordPress plugins. Today, you will learn how to speed up your WordPress website so it will be loading faster. Its Google rank also should 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.

[Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive some commission (without additional cost from you) if you make a purchase using one of the links below.]

 

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. A few months ago, I 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

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.

SiteGround - servers locations

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

SiteGround - alivebetter.com - uptime

SiteGround - alivebetter.pl - uptime

WordPress and Joomla recommend SiteGround as one of the best hosting providers.

SiteGround‘s support is very fast 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

 

2. Properly configure CDN (Cloudflare)

 

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 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, 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

 

4. Optimize images

 

Compressing images is 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 Image Optimizer - settings

 

5. Install the best possible WordPress caching plugin

 

W3 Total Cache is well-known WordPress caching plugin. Anyway, 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

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 future package.

WP Rocket - upgrade

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

WP Rocket - settings 01

LazyLoad delays loading of some elements of a website until they are going to be displayed on the screen. It may improve scores in loading speed tests, but it is not comfortable from visitors’ point of view. That’s why “Enable for images” should be unchecked.

If your website allows visitors for signing up, you should check “Enable caching for logged-in WordPress users”.

Before going to another tab, click Save Changes at the bottom. You should do it every time you make changes on any tab.

WP Rocket - settings 02

WP Rocket - settings 03

On Static Files tab you should have as many as possible options checked. After unchecking any of them your website’s loading speed will go down. Some options (especially Minify files and Combine files) can visually (and temporarily) damage your website. If it occurs, you should uncheck all of the options gathered in two sections mentioned above, check them one by one, and test your website loading. If you want to see the effects of changes faster, you should clear the cache after saving settings (SuperCacher in cPanel after logging on www.siteground.com, Caching -> PurgeCache on www.cloudflare.com, and Clear cache in the Tools tab in WP Rocket settings).

You can also change settings in Speed -> Auto Minify after logging on www.cloudflare.com. Even your WordPress theme is one of the factors of your website’s speed. Bridge theme used on this blog is difficult to be loaded under 2-3 seconds.

WP Rocket - settings 04

CDN tab: check Show Cloudflare settings tab option. If you have WP Rocket, you shouldn’t install Cloudflare plugin.

WP Rocket - settings 05

WP Rocket - settings 06

The second option from the top on the screen above depends on your plugin used for SEO and XML sitemaps. I’ve chosen All in One SEO Pack so on the screen you can see an option suitable for this plugin.

WP Rocket - settings 07

On Cloudflare tab paste your email address associated with Cloudflare account, and your API key. In order to find it, sign in on www.cloudflare.com, click Overview -> Get your API key -> View API Key next to Global API Key and copy-and-paste a string of characters.

WP Rocket - settings 08

On Varnish tab you can check Purge Varnish cache automatically.

WP Rocket - settings 09

When your configuration is done and saved, click Tools -> Clear cache.

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

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

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

Current scores in website loading tests can be slightly worse than after speeding up since I added Flag Counter script to my sidebar.

 

24 Comments
  • Pieter
    Posted at 14:13h, 13 August Reply

    I checked it and it works perfectly – my website went up from 56/59 to 94/92! 😀

  • Harry
    Posted at 09:45h, 14 August Reply

    Worked for me. Previously I had quite good scores – 87/94, now I have 98/95 🙂

  • Marco
    Posted at 15:28h, 14 August Reply

    I spent some time speeding up my website, but this guide is outstanding. 79/83 went up to 95/94. Thank you very much 🙂 I’m really glad I found this blog 🙂

  • Georg
    Posted at 12:28h, 15 August Reply

    It takes some time, but now I see it’s worth it! Pingdom, GTmetrix, and users’ experience are much better since I went through this guide 🙂

  • Garcia
    Posted at 13:20h, 15 August Reply

    This is really long article, but it works like it’s shown. My page went up from about 60/60 to 99/98. I have seen more interesting articles on this blog. I’m really glad that I found it! 🙂

  • Pablo
    Posted at 07:34h, 16 August Reply

    This article helped me speed up my blog on WordPress. Previously I had gtmetrix results C/C (75/79), now I have A/A (97/99). Thanks a lot! I will recommend your guide to others 🙂

  • Stefano
    Posted at 04:26h, 17 August Reply

    Amazing step-by-step guide. 😀 After this, one of my websites went up from 79/77 to 99/98 and the other one from 83/86 to 97/96 🙂 It works great on all devices – I’ve checked it on 3 smartphones, one tablet, one PC and two Macbooks (each of devices has at least two web browsers).

  • Admin
    Posted at 07:07h, 17 August Reply

    I’m glad it works for all of you 🙂

  • Bjoern
    Posted at 07:45h, 17 August Reply

    Pingdom, webpagetest, gtmetrix and visitors’ experience significantly improved 🙂 Thanks a lot for this guide! 🙂

  • Donald
    Posted at 10:37h, 17 August Reply

    Loading time of my 5-years old website was going up every year. It has reached about 7 seconds. Thanks to this guide I reduced it to about 1.2 second 🙂 Gtmetrix scores are also outstanding – 99/97 🙂 😀

  • Brenda
    Posted at 16:14h, 17 August Reply

    I have also Bridge theme on my blog and you are right – it’s not so easy to speed it up, but about 90/90 and < 2s loading time is achievable 🙂

  • Abbie
    Posted at 09:49h, 18 August Reply

    This guide has solved all my problems related to load time 🙂 GTmetrix went up from 59/48 to 98/95, loading time is between 1-2 s. Before it was about 5-10 s. It’s really cheap and VERY EFFECTIVE solution! 😀 I can recommend it to everyone 🙂 🙂

  • Andrew
    Posted at 11:25h, 18 August Reply

    If you use lightweight theme, you can achieve really outstanding results with this guide – one of my websites scores in gtmetrix are 99/98 after doing the steps from this article 😀
    My other WordPress site is based on Bridge theme, and I achieved 94/92, which is also really amazing result 🙂
    Loading times of my both websites are about 1s in Pingdom and GTmetrix, so I would definitely recommend this guide to everyone 🙂

  • Cassandra
    Posted at 11:58h, 19 August Reply

    I’ve heard about SiteGround, but I’ve never thought that it’s possible to speed up WordPress website with such amazing results. Loading time of my web page has been reduced by 70%. PageSpeed and YSlow on GTmetrix are significantly higher than before. Thank you very much! 🙂 I’m so glad I found this blog and this article 🙂 😀

  • Eric
    Posted at 14:57h, 19 August Reply

    The best of the best! Using this guide, I managed to speed up my WordPress site from 81/78 to 100/99. Loading time less than 1 second! 😀 😀 I’m totally amazed and excited! 😀 Thanks a lot 🙂

  • Manuel
    Posted at 11:20h, 20 August Reply

    It also works for me. I’m not using Bridge theme, so my site achieved 97/98 in gtmetrix. Loading time is about 1-2 seconds according to any speed test. I’m so happy that I’ve found your website 🙂

  • Petrova
    Posted at 09:18h, 23 August Reply

    Initially I had some issues with Cloudflare and WP Rocket settings but got through it, and now my site has 97 and 96 scores in gtmetrix 🙂 Loading time is shorter by 60% according to prior results 😀 Thank you so much!

  • Johnatan
    Posted at 07:01h, 25 August Reply

    Very good and detailed guide. Images help a lot 🙂 It took me only a few hours and my website is now much faster than before!

  • Rodrigo
    Posted at 05:04h, 26 August Reply

    Wow! It really works and it isn’t so difficult! Thanks to this guide my website loads faster and it went up 3 positions higher in Google search results 😀

  • Jeremy
    Posted at 15:30h, 29 August Reply

    It’s a really great guide – loading time of my page is now less than 1 second, GTmetrix scores are equal to 100 and 99 😀 After going through this guide, every load tester shows much better results than before.

  • Kamiko
    Posted at 13:09h, 30 August Reply

    I am very happy to be the next person whose website works much better thanks to this blog and this guide 🙂 It’s not so difficult, and it really helps. Thanks a lot!

  • Mario
    Posted at 10:34h, 12 September Reply

    I’m very satisfied with the results. My page works much faster on all devices 🙂

  • Fabio
    Posted at 10:47h, 01 October Reply

    My website also works much faster than before! Now, I will recommend this article and your blog to others 🙂

  • Pierce
    Posted at 12:25h, 31 October Reply

    My site is now much faster than before. 🙂 This guide and this blog are perfect! 🙂

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