Read Time: 4 min­utes

I’ve been blogging and developing custom WordPress websites for my clients for the past few years. And one of the problems I often encountered was the website was too slow to respond.

 

Is website speed important?

Either you use your web­site as your online jour­nal or busi­ness, the speed of your web­site is extreme­ly impor­tant and nec­es­sary. Peo­ple today, have the lack of patience to wait. If any­thing doesn’t hap­pen in a few sec­onds, the chances are peo­ple will avoid your web­site and the search engine bots crawlers too!
 
With that, if your web­site is slow, you will lose vis­i­tors and poten­tial cus­tomers. As well the rank of your web­site in search engines will be affect­ed.
 
Google has repeat­ed­ly remind­ed the web own­ers the impor­tance of load speed in its search engine algo­rithm. The biggest web search engine doesn’t want to send its traf­fic to a slow web­site.
 
I’m not that yet expert in Word­Press and still explor­ing some of its func­tion­al­i­ties, but here are my top 10 Word­Press plu­g­ins that helped me to increase the speed of my web­site dra­mat­i­cal­ly.
 
Just a bit of note, I only rec­om­mend the plu­g­ins that I used. And this is for self-host­ed blogs.
 
 
I recent­ly dis­cov­ered that every time I hit the pub­lish or update but­ton in posts, it cre­ates a revi­sion of your post and stores it in your data­base. It hap­pens if you are using the Word­Press Edi­tor.
 
The same how it works in your unap­proved and spam com­ments. It would dra­mat­i­cal­ly affect your web­site speed.
© WP Opti­mize
 
To coun­ter­act this, thanks to the team who devel­oped the WP Opti­mize plu­g­in. It cleans up all of your post revi­sions and all those unap­proved and spam com­ments from your data­base. It also opti­mizes your data­base for bet­ter per­for­mance.
 
One more thing I like about this plu­g­in is that you don’t need to exe­cute it man­u­al­ly as you can actu­al­ly sched­ule it to run auto­mat­i­cal­ly.
 
 
Every time an inter­net user vis­its your web­site, their brows­er needs to load tons of assets from your serv­er like images, logos, javascript, and CSS. This is why web­sites take some time to load.
 
To speed up the process, you need to lever­age the pow­er of brows­er to cache pages and bad­ly, Word­Press can­not do it with­out a plu­g­in.
 
WP Super Cache does the job of remem­ber­ing the items the brows­er needs to load. It gen­er­ates a sta­t­ic HTML file from your Word­Press blog. Once the file is cre­at­ed, your serv­er uses that to speed up the process.
 
The plu­g­in runs auto­mat­i­cal­ly once it’s uploaded and acti­vat­ed. It also has advanced set­tings, but for a begin­ner like me or you, the default set­tings work best.
 
 
Sure, your web­site uses Javascript or com­po­nents like AJAX, Jquery. The users need to down­load these scripts when they first vis­it your web­site.
 
Your Word­Press Blog host­ed this file local­ly on your serv­er mak­ing your serv­er to load it repeat­ed­ly when­ev­er a new user vis­its your web­site. Google Libraries plu­g­in does a good job of allow­ing your web­site to host these files and oth­er scripts on Google’s AJAX Libraries API.
 
The plu­g­in was a bit tech­ni­cal one and you don’t need to know more about how it works, but it does a great job improv­ing my web­site speed.
 
 
 
Nor­mal­ly, some of the scripts and style sheets in your web­site will load syn­chro­nous­ly. This plu­g­in con­verts ren­der-block­ing CSS and JS files into NON-ren­der-block­ing, improv­ing the per­for­mance of a web page.
 
Syn­chro­nous­ly, where scripts are loaded sequen­tial­ly, one after anoth­er, start­ing with the <head> tag
 
Asyn­chro­nous­ly, where some scripts can be loaded simul­ta­ne­ous­ly.
 
With syn­chro­nous­ly, the oth­er script has to wait for the first script to load com­plete­ly unlike load­ing asyn­chro­nous­ly, it doesn’t wait for oth­er scripts. Scripts can run simul­ta­ne­ous­ly.
 
 
 
Web­sites nor­mal­ly have line spaces in its codes. I am guilty of doing this because for a devel­op­er to under­stand the code, I often prac­tice of putting breaks with each line. But it has an effect on the page load.
 
Autop­ti­mize plu­g­in cre­ates a mini­fy or com­pressed ver­sion of your Word­Press scripts mak­ing your web­site to load quick­ly.
 
 
 
Cloud­Flare offers a lot of ben­e­fits to your web­site. They offer a FREE Sub­scrip­tion where­in you can use their flex­i­ble SSL to make your web­site secure by run­ning it with “https”, and it offers a CDN or con­tent deliv­ery net­work.

© Cloud­Flare

 
Cloud­Flare makes a cache ver­sion of your web­site. When your web­site is down, it can imme­di­ate­ly dis­play the cached ver­sion of your web­site for your read­ers.
 
Today run­ning on https is impor­tant. Google Chrome start­ed to dis­play if sites were secure or not.
 
Lat­er on, I will update this arti­cle on how to set­up your web­site to run on https using Cloud­flare Flex­i­ble SSL. But for now, here’s a quick tuto­r­i­al how to set­up your Word­Press Site with Cloud­Flare.
 
 
 
As the plu­g­in name sug­gests, there are sev­er­al web­sites you can test your page speed. I use Google Page Insights as it also checks if your web­site is load­ing prop­er­ly in mobile devices.

© WP Per­for­mance Score Boost­er

 
This plu­g­in in speed up page load times and improve web­site scores in ser­vices like Page­Speed, YSlow, Ping­dom, and GTmetrix.
 
 
 
I fig­ured out that one of the cause, why my web­site responds too slow, was the images I had on it. Since I used large and high def­i­n­i­tion images, the serv­er needs to down­load this images every time the user load the web pages.

© WP Smush

 
WP Smush, reduces image file sizes every time you upload a new image. It offers also to opti­mize your images in bulk up to 50 images (for free).
 
The time I smushed all my images, my web­sites loads faster.
 
 
Each time your web­site loads from the brows­er of the user, it down­loads every­thing. Lazy Load plu­g­in does a great job of load­ing my images only when I need it.
 
To define lazy load­ing, accord­ing to Wikipedia, it is a design pat­tern com­mon­ly used in com­put­er pro­gram­ming to defer ini­tial­iza­tion of an object until the point at which it is need­ed. It can con­tribute to effi­cien­cy in the program’s oper­a­tion if prop­er­ly and appro­pri­ate­ly used. The oppo­site of lazy load­ing is eager load­ing.
 
And one more thing:
 
 
Some­times, there are plu­g­ins that cause your web­site to slow. There was a time where I can’t fig­ure out which caus­ing my web­site to respond too slow.

© P3

 
P3 Plu­g­in allows me to see which plu­g­ins are using it, and delete it if nec­es­sary.
There are a lot of plu­g­ins to use out there, but here are my top 10 plu­g­ins which I think the best of for begin­ners. 
To begin speed­ing up your web­site, you can begin by check­ing your web­site issues in Google Page Insight.
 
How about you? what plu­g­ins are you using?
Share it in the com­ments if you have any, or ques­tion to ask me about.



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