Did you know that WordPress runs nearly 43% of top 10 million websites on the Internet?
Hands down, WordPress is the most popular CMS in the world which is used by millions of people around the globe. In fact, WordPress has been downloaded over 20 million times.
So if you’re running a WordPress site, there’s ONE most important thing you need to always consider i.e your speed.
How fast your WordPress site loads literally determines the success of your website. In this detailed guide, let’s talk about how you can speed up your WordPress site in 2023.
Table of Contents
- How To Make Your WordPress Site Faster
- How To Speed Up WordPress Site: Top 10 Hacks
- FAQs About How To Speed Up WordPress Site
- Final thoughts on speeding up WordPress site loading times
How To Make Your WordPress Site Faster
How to Check Your Website Speed And Performance: 3 Amazing Tools
“Is my website slow?” – this is one of the most commonly asked questions by a lot of people who run websites and blogs.
So how do you check your website speed (page loading times) along with its performance?
Well, there are a couple of amazing (free) tools which can help you easily test and analyze your website loading times which are mentioned below.
GTmetrix is one of the most popular website speed and performance optimization tools that you can use to test your website speed.
Just enter your website URL and click to Analyze and it will instantly generate a report of your website which looks like this;
As you can see above, it gives you a ton of details including:
- Page speed score
- YSlow score
- Fully loaded time (this is the actual time of how fast your page or website is loading, in our case, Bloggers Passion is loading in 1 second)
- Total page size
- Number of requests
It also gives you all the required suggestions to improve your website speed and performance when you scroll down.
This is another incredible free website speed test tool which helps you easily find and analyse how fast your website is. It uses more than 70 global polling locations to test and verify websites which is great.
Enter any URL or individual page URL and click on the start test button to continue. It also gives you an option to test your website from a wide range of countries.
Here’s how it looks like;
As you can see above, you can find a ton of insights of your website including;
- Performance grade
- Page size
- Load time (your actual website loading time)
- Number of requests
It also gives you a section called “Improve page performance” where you’ll find all the suggestions you need to increase your overall website performance along with its speed.
Last but not least, let’s take a look at PageSpeed Insights which is developed by Google itself which analyzes the content of a web page and offers you suggestions to make that page faster. Again, it’s a free tool to use.
Go to PageSpeed Insights, enter your domain name (or any individual URL if you want to optimize one particular page) and click on the Analyze button to continue.
Instantly, it shows you a score for both devices which are mobile and desktop. The higher your score, the faster and better optimize your web pages are.
Here’s how it looks like;
As you can see above, on desktop version, our site Bloggers Passion got a score of 79 out of 100, which is actually good considering the fact that we’re showing a lot of heavy files (such as featured images, optin box etc) on the homepage.
The color coding maps to these Performance score ranges:
- 0 to 49 (slow): Red
- 50 to 89 (average): Orange
- 90 to 100 (fast): Green
Did you know that Google takes your website speed as a ranking factor?
Have a look at the following post from Google’s official blog.
As you can see above, Google is obsessed with speed and they’ve introduced site speed as a Google ranking factor.
That means, if your site is loading faster when compared to other sites, you’ll ultimately enjoy higher rankings in search results. Similarly, you’ll face issues with your organic rankings if your website has slow loading times.
According to an Akamai study, 47% of visitors expect a page to load in under 2 seconds, and 57% of visitors will abandon a page that takes more than 3 seconds to load.
So yes, both site speed and SEO are interlinked and if you want to increase your search rankings especially from Google, improve your website speeds. It’s as simple as that.
WordPress Speed Optimization: Top Benefits
Did you know that Amazon calculated that a 1 second slowdown of their page loading speed would cost them $1.6 billion in yearly sales? That’s a lot of money, right?
There can be lots of issues that are slowing down your WordPress blogs. You need to speed up your WordPress blogs and the reasons for doing so are mentioned below. These reasons will apply to all standard websites along with WordPress blogs.
Speed Is a Ranking Factor on Google
In 2010, Google included page speed as one of the ranking factors in its search ranking algorithms. So if you have faster loading website, you will have an edge over your competitors who are not putting much effort in improving their website speed.
For Better User Experience
No one loves to visit a website that takes more than 2 to 3 seconds in loading. People will immediately leave your website if they are experiencing a slow loading website. You have few seconds to convert a visitor into your potential customer or subscriber.
If you are unable to deliver your website content in less than 10 seconds or even lesser, you are losing lots of money making opportunities. Since lots of your website readers will be leaving your website immediately, it will have a negative impact on your website engagement metrics.
By improving your website speed, you are making your website readers and Google happy and which will result in more traffic and business for you.
If you’re still wondering why you need to increase web page loading speed, here are some of the biggest benefits of faster loading websites.
- Higher search rankings as search engines like Google takes website speed into consideration while ranking a page
- Better conversions as most people will abandon a site if it is taking more than 2 to 3 seconds of time to load
- Overall improved user experience
- Your website page loading times affect a huge percentage of your website’s success
- And the list goes on and on
Enough talked about the benefits of WordPress speed optimization. Let’s now talk about how you can actually speed up your WordPress websites in 2023.
How To Speed Up WordPress Site: Top 10 Hacks
1. Move to a faster web host
There’s a reason why we’re putting this #1 in the list because we know how important a web host is to determine the speed of a site.
One of the biggest reasons most websites are fast (or slow) is due to their web host. Your web host plays a KEY role in determining your website speeds. Literally no one would want to spend their time waiting for a website to load at its own pace, right?
Everyone loves faster websites including Google. There are a couple of things that determine how fast your web host is including;
- Type of hard drives it uses (SSD storage enabled web hosts load faster)
- Cloud hosting web hosts load faster (such as WPX hosting, Kinsta hosting etc)
- Dedicated resources (so you’re not going to share your resources with anyone, that’s also the reason why you should avoid shared hosting although they are cheap and prefer managed web hosting choice)
- Https encryption (there are now many web hosts which are offering SSL certificates for free to make your domain go from http to https and https version sites are safer and faster)
- The usage of CDN (there are hosts like Kinsta, WPX hosting etc give you access to a global CDN for free to improve your website loading times no matter from where they are getting visited)
So what’s the best web host that you can use to have faster websites?
Over the last couple of years we’ve used a ton of web hosts and we know what web hosts actually produce excellent website speeds. There are 2 recommendations we’ve for you.
Let’s talk about both of them now along with their pricing plans and features so you can decide which one works best for your website and budget needs.
1. WPX hosting: Probably the best investment you can ever make
We’ve been using WPX hosting for more than 3 years now and we never faced even one issue with them. Our site loading times have been improved dramatically and most of our individual pages take less than a second to load – thanks to WPX cloud hosting!
So how much does WPX hosting cost?
WPX hosting offers you the 3 pricing options which are listed below.
1. Business plan: This is the basic and cheapest hosting plan from WPX hosting which costs you $24.99 per month and you can host up to 5 websites with a bandwidth of 100 GB. You will also get 10 GB disk space of storage space. You can save $50 (i.e. 2 months of free hosting) by using this link if you go with their annual plan.
2. Professional plan: This plan costs you $49.99 per month and you can host up to 15 websites with a bandwidth of 200 GB. You will also get 20 GB disk space of storage space. You can save $100 (i.e. 2 months of free hosting) by using this link if you go with their annual plan.
3. Elite plan: This is the advanced and expensive hosting plan from WPX hosting which costs you $99 per month and you can host up to 35 websites with unlimited bandwidth. You will also get 40 GB disk space of storage space. You can save $198 (i.e. 2 months of free hosting) by using this link if you go with their annual plan.
WPX hosting offers a 30 days money back guarantee so if you’re not happy with their hosting, you can get your money back within 30 days.
Click here to get 50% FLAT discount on WPX hosting (enter bloggerspassion as promo code to get 50% discount on their first month hosting)
2. Hostinger: One of the best hosts!
Hostinger is currently hosting millions of websites worldwide and it offers features like SSD storage, unmetered bandwidth, free SSL certificates at low prices starting at just $2.69 per month.
How much does Hostinger cost?
Hostinger offers many hosting choices, but we recommend their Premium web hosting plan which costs just $2.69/mo.
Their 4 year hosting plan costs just $129!
Have a look;
Hostinger also offers a 30 days money back guarantee on all their shared hosting plans if you’re not interested in their services or hosting, you cancel your account and ask for a refund within 30 days of your hosting purchase.
So what are you waiting for?
Click here to start your blog on Hostinger
2. Install a caching plugin
Did you know that your website retrieves information from a lot of places before they are provided to your website visitors? Just have a look at the following illustration.
As you can see above, when someone visits your WordPress site, it retrieves information (such as blog posts, images, videos etc) from PHP files and MySQL databases and then puts the information all together in HTML content and finally serves it to your website visitors.
That’s a LONG process, right? You can skip that by using page caching.
If you’re wondering about what page caching is all about, it is the temporary storage of web documents such as HTML pages and images. Usually your web browser stores copies of web pages you’ve visited recently to reduce its bandwidth usage, server load and so on to provide faster speeds to the users.
Fortunately, you can easily enable page cache by installing any caching plugin such as W3 total cache.
Although there are a ton of caching plugins out there (and we’ve tried many of them over the last 5 years) but one caching plugin that stood out which is WPRocket.
Here’s how the dashboard looks like;
As you can see above, you’ll find everything from file optimization to cache to preload and CDN feature to make your site loading times super faster.
Here’s a list of things you can easily perform with WP Rocket plugin.
- Remove all cache files from your website as you can remove all your website page cache files with one click
- Start cache preloading
- Purge OpCache content which improves PHP performance by storing precompiled script bytecode in shared memory and thus by removing the need for PHP to load for faster loading times
- Regenerate critical CSS
You can also check out our detailed WP Rocket plugin review to find more details about this ultimate WordPress caching plugin.
3. Optimize images
Whether you know it or not, images consume a lot of size and create a burden on your website databases which ultimately result in slow loading times.
It doesn’t matter what web host you use, if you’re using too many images, it affects your page loading times. So make sure to optimize image sizes if you really want to increase your website loading times.
There are basically 2 ways to shrink image sizes;
- Resize them in size before you even upload onto your WordPress library (use online image optimization tools)
- Use plugins (so you can optimize image sizes even after uploading to your site)
If you’re using WordPress, there’s an excellent image optimization plugin called ShortPixel Image Optimizer.
This plugin can optimize any image you have on your website even the images that aren’t listed in Media Library like those in galleries like NextGEN, Modula or added directly via FTP. It also offers both lossy and lossless image compression for the most common image types such as JPG, PNG, GIF and WebP.
The biggest benefit of using this plugin is you can freely convert any JPEG, PNG or GIF to WebP (which Google loves).
Apart from that plugin, you can also try WP Smush or EWWW Image Optimization plugins as both of them will compress any image you upload to your WordPress site.
4. Enable gzip compression
You can either use a caching plugin that helps you with gzip compression automatically or you can simply add the following code to the .htaccess file in your root directory.
Quick note: Yes, we mentioned already that this detailed guide on WordPress speed optimization is mostly for newbies and no coding is required but the following code is exclusively mentioned for geeks who don’t want to use an extra plugin for gzip compression. You can simply skip this task and install any gzip compression plugin!
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/rss+xml
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/vnd.ms-fontobject
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/x-font
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/x-font-opentype
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/x-font-otf
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/x-font-truetype
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/x-font-ttf
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/xhtml+xml
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/xml
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE font/opentype
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE font/otf
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE font/ttf
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE image/svg+xml
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE image/x-icon
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE text/css
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE text/html
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE text/plain
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE text/xml
# Remove browser bugs (this is only needed for very old browsers)
BrowserMatch ^Mozilla/4 gzip-only-text/html
BrowserMatch ^Mozilla/4\.0 no-gzip
BrowserMatch \bMSIE !no-gzip !gzip-only-text/html
Header append Vary User-Agent
You can use the above code above or below the WordPress brackets as it doesn’t matter that much. So there you go, that’s how you can easily enable gzip compression without adding any extra plugins.
5. Use A Content Delivery Network (CDN)
Are you serving to international audience? If you’re getting website visitors from all around the world, you must use a CDN.
A CDN (Content Network Delivery) is a way to deliver your website’s content to people more quickly, based on their geographic location. A CDN is what provides both your desktop and mobile users a faster website experience no matter what location they are browsing it from.
When someone visits your website, the CDN closest to user will deliver the static content such as images, java files etc ensuring the shortest distance for the data to travel (also known as reduced latency).
Just have a look at the following illustration of how a CDN works.
As you can see above, CDNs ensure your website visitors to view or download data from servers that are closest in geographical proximity. That’s how a CDN helps your website visitors get the fastest website experience.
If you’re using a web host like WPX hosting (which is already mentioned above), you’ll get free access to a global CDN which ultimately improves your website speed.
If you’re looking for a free CDN, then you can opt for Cloudflare CDN free plan, which gives you features like unmetered mitigation of DDoS attacks, access to a global Content Delivery Network (CDN) and shared SSL certificates.
6. Optimize databases
Whether you know it or not, your WordPress site databases store a lot of stuff including unwanted data such as trashed/unapproved/spam comments, stale data, pingbacks, trackbacks and so on.
All these unwanted things create more burden on your databases which ultimately affect your website speed. So you should optimize your databases regularly if you want to clean up unwanted data.
There’s an incredible WordPress plugin called WP Optimize that you can use to optimize your databases which easily cleans your database, compresses your images and caches your site.
7. Check for updates related to plugins and themes
Most of the times your WordPress site load slow due to the themes or plugins that you use.
In fact, most of the free themes are infected with malicious codes or heavy loading scripts which affect your site speed. That’s why you should always avoid free WordPress themes.
Not only themes, but the plugins you use on your site need to be regularly updated and you should avoid using outdated and heavy loading WordPress plugins as they create a lot of burden on your databases which slows down your site speed.
You can install a free WordPress plugin called WP Health which checks for updates and makes sure your WordPress site is up to date.
Here’s how it looks like once it’s enabled on your site.
As you can see above, it checks everything from server checks to WordPress latest version to the themes you’re using to all the plugins so you can stay up to date with them.
8. Try these 3 simple WordPress hacks
Here are a few quick and simple WordPress hacks you can use to speed up your WordPress site in 2023 and beyond.
- Disable image hotlinking: Image hotlinking is when someone embeds your images on their site by linking them directly from your website which negatively impacts your site speed because those images are still loading from your server. You can either disable it through your hosting cPanel or you can install WP Security plugin and go to Firewall setting and select the “Prevent hotlinks” option to prevent image hotlinking.
- Limit post revisions: Whenever you make changes to your existing posts or pages, WordPress creates “post revisions” which again creates burden on your databases. You can limit those revisions through your wp-config.php file or by activating a free WordPress plugin like WP Revisions Control
- Activate lazy loading: If you’re using a ton of images on your site, you can enable lazy loading as there’s a plugin called Lazy load by WP Rocket which displays images on a page only when they are visible to the user and it ultimately reduces the number of HTTP requests and improves your page loading times.
9. Reduce server requests
So you need to reduce server requests to improve your site loading times. You can easily find out what are the server requests are required by your website, you can use tools like Pingdom Tools, GT Metrix etc which are already mentioned above.
That being said, here are some quick tips that help you reduce server requests on your site.
- If any of your blog posts get a lot of comments, break them up into several pages from your WordPress dashboard Settings > Discussion (avoid closing comment section after 30 or 60 days)
- Uninstall heavy loading or outdated plugins
- Remove spam comments and spam pingbacks
- Enable lazy loading on images
- Stop using fonts from external sources like Google fonts as it can negatively impact your loading times
- Show lesser number of posts on your homepage
- Only show post excerpts on your homepage or archives
10. Keep an eye on your WordPress site security vulnerabilities
Did you know that 90% of the infected websites belong to WordPress? Literally over 100,000 WordPress sites get hacked or infected with malicious codes EVERY single day.
Keeping an eye on your website speed and performance is one thing. Making sure your WordPress sites are fully secure from all the security threats is ANOTHER important thing.
In fact, if you can secure your sites from majority of the security vulnerabilities, you’ll definitely have a faster loading website.
We have written a huge guide on WordPress security tips which you can go through to safeguard your WordPress sites in 2023.
That being said, here are a few security precautions you can take to secure your sites.
- Limit login attempts on your site
- Install security plugins like iThemes security, Sucuri etc
- Use https version
- Use a secure web host like WPX hosting
- Update your themes and plugins
- Take backups of your site so you can restore in case of data loss
FAQs About How To Speed Up WordPress Site
Here’s a list of few interesting questions around improving your website page loading times and speeding up your WordPress sites in 2023 and beyond.
1. Does site speed affect Google ranking?
Yes, since the beginning of 2010, Google started taking site speed as a ranking factor. So faster websites are getting better search results when compared to slow loading times.
2. Why faster websites matter in 2023?
According to 2018 research from Google, more than half of mobile users will leave a website if it takes more than 3 seconds to load?
Not only that, a 2-second increase in page load time increases the bounce rate of your websites by 32% and a 5 second increase in page loading times doubles the number of abandoned visitors on your site. That’s why faster websites matter so much in 2023 as they help you with better speed, user experience, traffic and conversions.
3. What is page speed optimization?
Page speed optimization involves finding all the factors that are affecting the loading times of an individual page and optimizing them for faster speeds and better performance. You can use tools like Pingdom Tools, GT Metrix, Google PageSpeed Insights etc to easily perform speed optimization for individual pages by entering those URLs.
4. What slows down your WordPress website?
Finding out what is slowing down your WordPress sites is extremely important if you want to increase their page load times. Here are some factors that could most possibly slow down a WordPress site.
- Web hosting (it plays a key role)
- External scripts (such as ads, pop-ups, extra fonts loaded from other sites)
- Page caching (installing a cache plugin like WP Rocket helps a lot)
- The size of your page (optimize image sizes)
- And the list goes on
5. How fast should your websites load?
That’s a great question. There’s actually no rule of thumb in general on how fast a website load but aiming to make it load within 2 seconds should be your primary goal. In fact, if you can achieve super-fast page loading times where the page loads under 1 second, you can assume that your website loads faster than 90% of other websites.
Final thoughts on speeding up WordPress site loading times
It doesn’t matter what niche you are in, having a faster website improves your overall bottom line. From improved search rankings to better user experience to higher conversions, your website speed plays a key role.
Hopefully, this guide helped you how to optimize your site loading times to provide faster experience to your website users. If you’ve any more questions, let us know in the comments.