The DIY Guide to Speeding Up Your Slow WordPress Website
Do you have a slow WordPress website? Well, you’re not alone. Many people that start to use WordPress for their blog or small business, quickly realize they need to make upgrades in order to keep up with the demand. There are many reasons why your site may be slowing down including an outdated theme, too many plugins, and more.
At WpSpeedFix, we’ve worked with over 4000 satisfied clients to help them speed up their website. We’ve seen sites go from taking over a minute and a half to load all the way down to 100 milliseconds!
Today, we want to share with you our Easy-to-Follow DIY guide on how to speed up your WordPress site on your own. We will show you step by step how to speed up your website so it’s not only running smoothly but also loading quickly!
And if you’re looking for an expert solution, check out our premium WordPress speed optimization service here.
Reasons Why Your WordPress Site Loading Slowly
In order to fix your WordPress site’s speed issue, you need to understand the underlying reason why it is running slow. There are many reasons that can cause a website or blog to run slowly.
Our DIY Guide will help you find and the following 8 most common reasons:
- Poor or Slow Hosting Provider
- Insufficient Server Resources
- Caching Not Set Up Properly or No Caching at All
- Not Using a CDN (Content Delivery Network)
- Images Not Compressed or Not Optimized
- Not Forcing HTTPS
- Using an Old Version of PHP
- Outdated Plugins & Themes
These are some of the most common reasons that cause a WordPress site to run slowly. Obviously, there are many other reasons not mentioned here but the above issues are usually the culprits for most speed problems.
Detailed Guide to Fix Common Causes of a Slow WordPress Site
In case you’re wondering how to tackle any of the issues above, we’ve included a detailed guide anyone can do on their own.
Migrate to a Faster Hosting Provider
We’ve been working with clients from all around the world for over 10 years now, and the most common cause of a slow WordPress site is Bad Hosting!
Hosting plays a huge role in the performance of your site. You can have the most beautiful, high converting website out there but if your hosting provider is giving you subpar service, it’s going to show. This goes for any platform – not just WordPress!
Today many companies are offering cheap shared hosting plans so they can lure in customers with their low monthly rates. However, these types of hosts usually provide very few resources for your site and have been known to cram up to 10,000 sites on a single server!
Moving your site to a high-quality hosting provider with proper resources and up-time will immediately improve your site’s speed and loading time.
Fast Hosting Providers for WordPress Sites:
Kinsta- is one of the most reliable and fastest WordPress hosting providers out there. Their platform is built on NGINX technology and is hosted on Google Cloud servers. They also provide other critical features for a speedy site like built-in caching, CDN integration, and the latest PHP Version.
Cloudways- are leaders in the VPS hosting industry. They’ve built a platform that allows you to control and easily optimize your hosting environment. You can customize your server’s resources, and scale your VPS to meet traffic demands and tackle a slow site.
WP Engine- is another great WordPress hosting platform. They offer state-of-the-art infrastructure and premium customer support to ensure your website is always on, fast, secure, and up-to-date no matter what device someone may be using!
Siteground- is also one of the fastest hosting providers we know will definitely improve your blog’s loading time. They also provide you with cPanel access which is one of the easiest interfaces for beginner site owners to use.
Switching to any of the above hosting providers should be the first step you take to fix your WordPress site’s loading time and overall speed. You should expect to see improved loading and faster response times almost instantly after switching.
You can check the before and after results using our free speed test tool at sitespeedbot.com.
Hosting Providers Known to Slow WordPress Sites:
If you’re hosting your site with any of the following companies, you may want to consider switching immediately if speed is an issue.
GoDaddy- provides cheap shared hosting plans but at the cost of very few resources.
Bluehost- Known for slamming their customers with hidden fees and slow servers.
HostGator- Unable to handle large amounts of traffic properly and overloads servers causing a slow response time across the board.
Melbourne IT- known for overselling its shared hosting plan and poor customer service.
Crazydomains- offers extremely limited resources on their shared plans compared to competitors.
Importance of Fast Hosting:
The performance and quality of the server you host your site on can make or break your business.
We’ve worked with customers that swear by these cheap shared hosting, but after showing them the results of switching to a premium provider, they were amazed at the difference and could never go back! They saw a noticeable improvement in the speed of their website; not only on desktop devices but mobile as well.
If you’re still wondering why hosting is so important? Well, you’re only as fast as your slowest loading factor. If you host with a terrible provider, it doesn’t matter how awesome your website is! It will take forever to load and customers will leave before even giving you the chance to convert them into leads or sales.
Allocate Sufficient Server Resources:
Server resources refer to the amount of CPU, RAM, and storage space allotted on your server. Every WordPress installation needs a minimum of these three core resources to function properly.
If your site is experiencing a slow loading time, this could be due to insufficient server resources or an overloaded server that’s struggling to meet demand. Unfortunately, if you are on a cheap shared hosting plan, your website will be sharing server space with many other websites and have to compete for every bit of resource available.
How VPS Hosting May Cost Less than Shared Hosting:
You might think that upgrading to a VPS is expensive, but that’s not always the case! A VPS gives you the option to customize the resources allotted to your site and you only pay for what you need.
Recent research done by Google found that 53% of mobile visitors to a website will leave if it takes longer than 3 seconds to load. You should take that into consideration when calculating how much to spend on Hosting.
Set Up WordPress Caching Efficiently:
Caching is a way to store the HTML content of your pages so it doesn’t have to be regenerated every single time. It can take the load off your server and vastly increase your site’s loading speed by serving the cached pages instead.
WP Rocket- When it comes to premium WordPress caching, there is no better tool out there. WP Rocket allows you to set up caching for your site in minutes with a few simple clicks.
Sure there are some free plugins out there that you might want to give a try. They require some backend customizations on your part and don’t provide much control over how to set it up. But for the price of a Cup-of-Coffee Once A Month, WP Rocket is a much better option.
W3 Total Cache- If you’re looking for a free caching plugin to speed up your WordPress site, W3 Total Cache is your best option. It has the most comprehensive features and settings to fine-tune your site’s caching.
Some of the better hosting companies include a premium caching plugin for free as part of their hosting plans. Another reason not to skimp on your hosting in the long run.
Use Cloudflare or Other CDN (Content Delivery Network):
A Content Delivery Network (CDN) is a network of servers that are distributed across different geographical locations. When users try to access your website, they will automatically be routed to the nearest server closest to them based on their location.
This means if you have a lot of visitors from Germany and Australia accessing your site, they will get served from a server in Germany or Australia.
Cloudflare- Cloudflare is the most widely used CDN in the world and their free version doesn’t require a credit card to set up. You’ll need to change some settings on Cloudflare before it starts working properly with WordPress. You will also want to install the official Cloudflare plugin for easier integration with WP Rocket or other caching plugins.
They have various paid plans if your website gets more traffic and starts to get bogged down.
Paid Cloudflare plans are mainly for larger sites and their costs may not suit WordPress blogs. In that case, you might want to consider an alternative such as KeyCDN.
KeyCDN- If your site has outgrown Cloudflare or you’re just looking for a more premium CDN we recommend KeyCDN as the best alternative. Their plans are affordable and you will see results immediately after switching over.
Use a Plugin to Optimize Images:
Images take forever to load on a WordPress site and can be the number one reason why your blog or website is slow.
There are several plugins that will compress all of your images automatically as you upload them:
WP Smush- This plugin offers compression, optimization, and intelligent size scaling for JPEG and PNG files. It’s free but if you upgrade to the pro version, you can get even more features.
ShortPixel- This is a powerful and easy-to-use WordPress plugin that automatically optimizes your images with just a few clicks. It only needs to be set up once and it will optimize all of your images as you upload them.
There are several DIY methods to manually optimize your images but plugins are much easier to use.
Install SSL Certificate and Use HTTP2 Protocol:
If you’re wondering how serving your pages over an encrypted connection can speed up your WordPress site, we’ll explain.
Not only will it encrypt the data that’s transmitted between you and your website visitors but it also speeds up their browsing experience.
The new HTTP2 protocol allows browsers to download multiple files at once, in parallel. So if you have a large site with lots of images and videos, it will drastically reduce the amount of time it takes for your pages to load.
Enabling SSL on your WordPress website is really easy these days so there’s no reason not to do it! It can be done on any hosting company and it’s absolutely free.
Upgrade to the Latest PHP Version:
Most people don’t know that you can update your PHP version within your cPanel dashboard. You only need to enable it once and your WordPress site will automatically upgrade to the latest version of PHP.
It’s a very simple process that many beginners may not be aware of and it can improve your website speed by almost 30%!
If you can’t find this option in your hosting dashboard, you can always contact the hosting provider’s support team and they can do it for you.
Cleanup Your Plugins and Themes:
The WordPress plugin directory contains over 50,000 free plugins and it’s pretty easy to get carried away and install a lot of them on your website. The same goes with themes.
While some plugins are really useful and will improve the functionality of your site, others may cause it to run slow if they’re not coded properly or not updated regularly.
If you have a few minutes on your hands, take some time to go through your plugin list and delete any plugins you’re not using.
Also, try to use a theme that is lightweight and doesn’t include dozens of unnecessary features or shortcodes. You can always add new themes later if needed so there’s no need for it when you first launch your website!
Professional WordPress Speed Optimizations:
Many of the features and optimizations mentioned above can be done on your own. But if you’ve tried everything and you’re still experiencing speed issues, it’s time to bring in the professionals.
We’ll work with you to discover the root cause of your WordPress website speed issue. We’ll give you a clear explanation of why your site is slow and how we can fix it.
Our average turn-around time is between three to five business days. So, you can rest assured that your site will be running smoothly again in no time at all!
What to Expect from Our Speed Optimization Service?
We’ll run through our detailed checklist to identify the root cause of your website speed problem.
Next, we will compress all images on your site using lossless compression so they load as fast as possible without taking up so much storage.
Then, we will review your plugins and troubleshoot any speed issues as required.
We’ll check your code and fix any bugs in it that are causing your site to load slowly. We can also install Cloudflare for you (optional but recommended).
Next, we will migrate your DNS hosting so the new host is secure with SSL enabled.
Once complete, if necessary, we will help you set up WordPress caching.
This is an all-inclusive service! We’ll not only optimize your site speed but also fix any issues that may be slowing down your website. Once the optimization process has been completed, we can migrate your site to a new host (if required) and configure Cloudflare for you (optional but recommended).
If you’re looking to have your WordPress website speed up, then WpSpeedFix is the place to be. Our team of experts are standing by ready to help you out! You can either book a one-on-one optimization session or go with our premium service here.
Frequently Asked Questions
How can I check the speed of my WordPress site?
There are many tools that you can use to test the speed of your website. We highly recommend using Google’s PageSpeed Insights or SiteSpeedBot if you’re looking for a more in-depth analysis.
My site is faster after upgrading hosting, do I need to do anything else?
Bad Hosting is usually the number one reason why a website runs slowly and upgrading to premium hosting gives the biggest speed increase. However, it’s still possible to improve the speed of your site even further. It’s likely that your website is still using an old version of PHP or you have many plugins running on the site which are slowing things down.
If my images are optimized, will it help to resize them too?
Yes! Images that are large in file size will cause your site to load slowly so it’s important that you resize or compress them before uploading. Some plugins can automatically resize them for you too.
Can I use Cloudflare along with KeyCDN?
Yes, you can absolutely use both Cloudflare and KeyCDN at the same time. This is an excellent way to speed up your WordPress site because it will leverage KeyCDN’s global network of data centers for content delivery while also using Cloudflare’s superior DNS speeds.