WordPress can be a great platform, easy-to-use & can be moulded into just about anything these days.
With endless features such as e-commerce, membership sites, squeeze page, lead capture pages, it’s just not for blogging anymore.
Of course with all these great features and thousands of different themes made by extraordinary programmers and some, well let’s just say not so good.
We often find ourselves helping clients with WordPress websites who are literally crawling, taking up to 5 seconds or more to load a single page.
First, let’s start off by getting a base reading. To do this we will run a website through a speed test.
There are several places you can use but here are my favourites.
Sometimes, it’s simply a server response time. Servers are one of the biggest WordPress website slow loading reasons.
You may have to actually pay a little more to get a decent server. The servers that specialize in WordPress like WP Engine have an extremely good reputation.
If you have an existing WordPress site with many plug-ins, you may want to analyze if one of the plug-ins is causing you problems.
By installing the P3 profile plug-in and clicking the start analyzing you can walk away and let it do its thing.
A full report will be generated to let you know exactly what plug-in is dragging your site down.
You can then make a decision to either replace a plug-in or if it’s worth the feature that this plug-in is providing you.
1. Start off by optimizing the images
You can download your images and optimize them all one by one and then re-uploading them into your image library. If you have time on your side, then go for it.
The best tool to do this that I have found on the Internet is
They have a WordPress plug-in, that will do the work all automatically, but the service cost is $9 a month.
I prefer using the plug-in
It does all the work on autopilot within your WordPress admin area, it has worked flawlessly for me so far.
It also scans your site for images that are not contained within the image library. Which is fantastic, especially if you are using a gallery plug-in like NexGen gallery.
2. Lazy Load
You may also want to use image lazy load. This is a technique where images above the fold are loaded and then only when the user scrolls the other images are loaded.
3. Database optimization
WordPress has a bad habit of saving a lot of junk in your database. This could slow down your site and definitely make your database unnecessarily large.
After testing several plug-ins I have found that WP-optimize works the best.
Caching is a technique used to speed up sites by serving a snapshot of the HTML code as opposed to generating a dynamic page.
WordPress works by gathering all the information that you have given to generate the one page. Every time someone requests this page, it must go through this process. By taking a cached image of the coding used to generate this page, we can serve this instead of having to regenerate it.
There are two ways to do this
1) is to tell the browser of the user to keep a cached version of your website locally on their machine and to serve this if the person ever returns to your site.
2) is to keep a cached version on your server and deliver this to the new users.
Let’s do both.
First will start by modifying our htaccess file to tell our user’s browser to cash our site. You can use an FTP client to do this if you are not familiar with this, you can install a plug-in such as
Which will allow you to access this file on your server without an FTP client.
You will add this coating above the WordPress coding.
## EXPIRES CACHING ##
ExpiresByType image/jpg “access plus 1 year”
ExpiresByType image/jpeg “access plus 1 year”
ExpiresByType image/gif “access plus 1 year”
ExpiresByType image/png “access plus 1 year”
ExpiresByType text/css “access plus 1 month”
ExpiresByType application/pdf “access plus 1 month”
ExpiresByType application/x-shockwave-flash “access plus 1 month”
ExpiresByType image/x-icon “access plus 1 year”
ExpiresDefault “access plus 2 days”
## EXPIRES CACHING ##
Now server-side caching there are several plug-ins that you can use to accomplish this.
W3 is the most popular, although it can be quite complex to set up.
Quick cash is one of my favorite free caching plug-ins as it is the lightest and easy to set up.
If you are willing to put out a little bit of money WP rocket would probably be my first choice. Easy to use and works very well.
5. Minimize CSS and HTML
Minimizing code simply means taking out all spaces out of the coding.
The spaces are great for humans, but completely unnecessary to render your site.
If you’ve installed a cache plug-in most of them have this feature built-in simply check the box that states minimize code.
6. CDN content delivery networks
If the steps above still haven’t sped up your site to your satisfaction you can use a content delivery network CDN to deliver your content.
A CDN service basically uploads all your static files and images on servers around the world and serves them to your user from the server that is closest to them.
W3 total cash and WP rocket have built-in integration features, making this simpler.
A few popular CDN are Amazon and Max CDN
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