The Ultimate Guide to Speeding Up Your WordPress Site in 2022

Choose High Performance WordPress Hosting

Hosting companies store your website’s data on their servers. The host provides you with a plan and all your images, videos, and other content are stored on the server. It is easy to use the WordPress host to access and manage data, and to route it to your website visitors. That sounds simple, right? Well, not quite.

You will find three different types of hosts on the web. Here are the advantages and disadvantages of each type. In order to avoid headaches and wasted time later on, choose the right one at the beginning.

There are many types of WordPress hosting available, but the most popular one is shared hosting. This includes the largest companies in the industry such as Bluehost and HostGator, and companies like Siteground, GoDaddy, Media Temple, OVH, and GreenGeeks. Most of them utilize cPanel and most customers pay between $3 to $25 per month.

There will be a point when anyone using this type of hosting will experience slowness. But why? The reason for this is that shared hosts tend to overcrowd their servers, which impacts your site’s speed. Suspension of sites and 500 errors are common occurrences because they must limit everything to survive and consolidate resources. Even worse, websites go down. Your WordPress site is likely sharing a server with 200 or more other websites, even though you don’t realize it. It is possible for issues with other sites to trickle over to your site.

For best performance, PHP 7 or higher is recommended

WordPress is built using PHP, which is an open-source, server-side scripting language used primarily for web development. A significant portion of the WordPress core software is written in PHP, as are most of your plugins and themes, which makes PHP an extremely important language for WordPress.

Nginx is the best web server to choose

All WordPress hosts utilize web servers to power your WordPress sites. The most popular options are Nginx and Apache. For performance optimization at scale, we highly recommend choosing a host that uses Nginx. It is frequently found that Nginx outperforms other popular web servers in benchmark tests, especially where static content is involved or there are many concurrent requests.

A Must-Have for HTTP/2

Known as HTTP/2, it was released in 2015 to improve the performance of websites. HTTP/2 requires HTTPS (SSL) because of browser compatibility. If your WordPress host does not support HTTP/2, consider switching. With the move of the entire web to HTTPS, this is no longer just a nice feature to have; it’s a necessity.

Make sure your visitors are close to the server

If you host your website on WordPress, you should check out where most of your visitors come from in order to know where to focus your efforts. Why is this important? It impacts your SFTP speed, TTFB, and WordPress admin dashboard responsiveness, as the location of your website hosts decides a great deal about your overall network latency.

Google Analytics: Check the Geolocation of Your Visitors

The very first thing you need to do is review your Google Analytics data on the geolocation of your visitors. This can be found under “Audience > Geo > Location.”

You can see from this example below that over 90% of the traffic is coming from the United States. In these cases, you should host your WordPress site in the United States. We would recommend a central location like Iowa, USA if you’re a local company. However, you can also filter the data down to specific cities. This is important if you’re a local company.

Analyze ecommerce data

You should check where your customers are coming from as well if you run an eCommerce store. This is how you generate revenue, so these are obviously your most important visitors. This should coincide with your traffic above; however, it is not always the case. When you use eCommerce or Google Analytics data in your eCommerce platform, you can overlay that information on top of the geolocation data to make better decisions. You can also look up location information from your eCommerce platform’s database.

Using a premium DNS service is better than using a free one

The Domain Name System, also known as DNS, is one of the most important yet least understood components of the web. Essentially, DNS translates domain names like tamimwahid.com into computer-friendly IP addresses like 216.58.217.206. It helps direct traffic on the Internet by connecting domain names with web servers.

You will find both free and premium DNS on the market. However, in general, we believe that premium DNS is a necessity in today’s world. Speed and reliability are two of the biggest reasons to opt for premium DNS, even if it’s just a matter of milliseconds. You’ll find that the free DNS that’s provided by your domain registrar is relatively slow, while premium DNS is usually faster.

Cloudflare DNS is an excellent middle-ground between the free DNS provided by your domain registrar and premium DNS that offers many of the benefits of premium DNS. Their response times are blazing fast around the world, averaging under 20 milliseconds.

WordPress Themes Are Important

It is always fun to check out a brand new WordPress theme, but before you grab the one with all the shiny new features, make sure you check out our article that explains the differences between free and paid themes. Performance is something that almost every element in your theme has to do with the speed of your site. And with so many themes out there, there are both good and bad ones.

The many things that you should be able to turn off when you are not using them include Google Fonts, Font Awesome icons, sliders, galleries, video and parallax scripts, etc. In either case, you shouldn’t be trying to tweak these manually after the fact, and we won’t show you 50 different ways to get rid of things. Instead, you should choose a theme that is lightweight or offers these options from the beginning.

Check out the WordPress themes below that we recommend and that you cannot go wrong with! You’ll thank us later!

  1. GeneratePress
  2. OceanWP
  3. Astra
  4. Kedence

A Quick Guide to WordPress Plugins

Here’s the scoop on WordPress plugins. You might have heard that you shouldn’t install too many plugins on your WordPress site as it’ll slow it down. While this is sometimes true, it’s not the most important factor. However, it is better not to keep unnecessary plugins. Trying to keep the plugin always updated.

Big Issues WordPress Plugin

Uninstalling plugins in WordPress is one of the biggest issues. Whenever you install a plugin or theme, it stores information in the database. There is a problem with deleting a plugin using one of the standard methods because it typically leaves behind tables and rows in your database. If you leave behind data in your wp_options table, that can cause your site to slow down. As an example, we removed the Wordfence security plugin, and it left behind 24 tables in our database (as below). It’s even worse if those data are behind data in your wp_options table.

The importance of caching

It’s vital to understand how caching works and the types of caching available before learning how to use it, so that you can effectively speed up WordPress.

What is Caching?

A user visiting a page on your WordPress site requires a request to the server, a response from the server (including database queries), and finally a final result sent from the server to the user’s browser. Eventually you will have your website and all of the files and elements that make it look the way it does.

You might have a header, images, a menu, and a blog on your website. Since the server has to process all of these requests, the complete webpage takes a while to load. This is especially true if your site is clunky or large.

With a WordPress caching plugin, you can instruct the server to store some files, depending on the configuration, to disk or RAM. Consequently, it can remember and replicate the same content it has served in the past. This, in turn, reduces the amount of work needed to generate a page view, so your web pages load faster directly from cache.

Types of Caching

When it comes to types of caching, there are two different approaches commonly used:

  1. Caching at the Server-Level
  2. Caching with a Plugin

No Caching vs Caching

You can see the difference caching makes, especially when it comes to overall speed and TTFB, by running a few speed tests with server-level caching.

You Must Optimize Your Images

An easy thing you can do that will have a significant effect on your page load time is to optimize images. This is not optional and every website should do it! A large image slows down your website, which reduces the user experience. Optimizing images is a process of reducing the file size of the image using either a plugin or script, which in turn speeds up the page’s loading time. Lossy and lossless compression are two methods commonly used.

Image Compression Plugins

Luckily, there are some amazing WordPress image compression plugins you can use to automate the entire process. Here are some that we recommend:

Lazy Loading

Consider lazy loading your images if you have a lot of them. This is an optimization technique that loads visible content but defers the download and rendering of content below the fold.

Take advantage of Content Delivery Networks (CDNs)

A content delivery network is a network of servers (also known as POPs) located around the globe that hosts and delivers static (and sometimes dynamic) content such as images, CSS, JavaScript, and video streams to your WordPress site. Firstly, don’t confuse the CDN with your WordPress host. They are two completely separate services. A CDN is not a replacement for your host, but rather a way to speed up your site.

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