Is your WordPress site slow? If yes, we need to work on that.Plugins to Speed Up Your WordPress Site
Ohh and if your website loads pretty quickly, can it be made even quicker – Every millisecond literally makes a difference. We can measure your site’s performance and see if there’s anything else to make it just a we bit faster. But we’ll get to that in a bit.
Before I tell you how you can make your website a great deal faster, I’ll try to establish the importance of having a fast loading website.
Does Site Speed Matter ?
Your website load speed matters a great deal to ensure good search engine ranking and a great user experience. It is a known fact that Google’s search algorithm includes your page load times as one of the many parameters while calculating page rank. Let’s have a look at what Google has to say about site speed and how it might affect your website and the size of your audience.
Google’s Take On Speed
At Google, they created an experiment to replicate the slowness that accompanies a website or webpage with a bad page load speed.
Google’s team did this by creating a system where the speed is deliberately decreased by injecting a server side delay, which translates to extending the processing time before and during the time that results are returned to the browser.
From the user perspective, it doesn’t matter much whether the results are returned slowly or the ability of their browser to process those results is slow. In effect, you wouldn’t know that it is your browser that is slow and not the webpage, but it creates the same effect as you would if you were on a webpage that loads slowly.
By dropping the load speed from 100 milliseconds to 600 milliseconds, there was a decrease in the number of searches by 0.2% to 0.6%, results averaged over four to six weeks. You might be tempted to question the significance of these results.
It was also discovered that those exposed to a 200-millisecond delay performed 0.22% fewer searches during the first three weeks and 0.36% fewer searches in the second three week period. And with a 400-millisecond delay, the same results followed a decrease of 0.44% and 0.76% in the first and second three week periods. As you can imagine such an impact in the number of searches performed is huge given the scale of Google web search.Plugins to Speed Up Your WordPress Site
Website Load Speed Matters – User Experience
Now forget the numbers, how much fun might use a slow website be? How many times have you visited a slow website and never bothered to visit again? How many times have you cursed your internet connection when it goes into a slumber? Slow websites are no fun.
Plugins to Speed Up Your WordPress Site
Now, let’s make your website faster.
Before starting with the tutorial, I will give you a simple set of rules you should follow:
- The more plugins you add, the more trouble you’ll run into.
- Use simple plugins (with only 1 function) instead of using plugins that do a lot of stuff.
- The best way to reduce initial latency is a fast server/service. Plugins won’t magically improve your site overnight.
- Implement one by one, refresh your site, try again, add a new plugin, refresh your site and so on..
This is a basic set of rules that will allow you to improve your site performance without creating additional problems for your WordPress installation. I have nothing against big commercial plugins but this tutorial is not for them. Aren’t you tired of reading speedup guides and implementing them and then finding out that your site is faster but completely broken?, read on then !
Best Plugins to Speed Up Your WordPress Site
Since the basic rule to have a fast site is to have a fast server, I’m going to create this guide based on a site hosted on a WordPress Dedicated Service which does have a very good response time. I registered the results using Pingdom Tools and it’s the only tool you’ll need for this tutorial since we are wanting to improve response time / load time, not Google approved rules for PageSpeed Insights which, contrary to what people think, don’t have such an impact on the actual speed of a site.
The first result thrown on Pingdom Tools is the total load time, that means the actual time the site took to load on a client’s computer. The amount of requests a site does is also an indication of how fast or slow it will be, normally speaking, sites with request 50 to 90 request are fast while site with more than 150-300 request are considered to be somewhat on the slow and very heavy to load.
Pingdom Tools allows us to see the actual First Time to Byte. This means the actual time the server took to give us the first byte of our website. This parameter is usually linked to how fast the server actually is. The more basic your hosting service is, the more time it will take to respond. A total response time of 224ms is actually quite good but take into consideration that PHP is being executed server-side and the web server has to pass that information from PHP to the web server.
Let’s get to work!
For this guide I’m going to show just how much a site can be improved with so little as only 4 plugins. We will only need these, be sure to install them before proceeding with this tutorial.
- Fast Velocity Minify (for JS, CSS & HTML minification and reordering)
- EWWW Image Optimizer (for lossless image compression)
- Remove Query Strings from Static Resources (self-explained)
- WP-SuperCache (for static HTML generation)
That’s it, 4 plugins will give you a much faster site, provided your hosting solution is adept enough
Plugins to Speed Up Your WordPress Site
Fast Velocity Minify
Fast Velocity Minify is as dangerous as all the other minify plugins. The difference is that Fast Velocity Minify is easy to setup and easy to test, unlike all the others. The suggested configuration is considered to be ultra safe for the vast majority of websites, as I have the plugin with disabled CSS processing. If you care to test & retest your site you can untick that option but you’ve been warned that having that option enabled can potentially break the style of your site.Plugins to Speed Up Your WordPress Site
If you’re into Divi or any other Framework Builder I seriously advice you to add this rule to the ignore list for the jquery-migrate file as that file will be one of the first responsible to break your style and functionality if it’s ever touched by the plugin. Loading the file on the ignore list will lock it down, preserving it against optimizations.
Once everything is configured you’ll see the minified files being written on the Status.
EWWW Image Optimizer
The first plugin in the list will take care of image compression. This is what is normally called lossless compression because images won’t loose detail or quality, they will be stripped of useless data such as capture conditions or EXIF data EWWW comes with it’s own set of tools that will be automatically installed.
The plugin will report back in case some plugin is missing. Just be sure to check the Plugin Status message. If you see All Clear then you’re good to go.
These are the suggested parameters you can use for EWWW. Take into consideration that if you change the JPG quality level you’re going to change the behavior into losy compression which means you will loose quality on pictures. If unsure, leave that empty. I suggest a quality level of no less than 85 to be on the safe side.
After you setup EWWW properly you need to go to your media library and do a full Bulk Optimize. That will update all the images in your site with the new compressed file. If your site has a huge amount of pictures I suggest you do the whole process at night so as to not saturate the server. You can also add 1 second of delay between pictures as that will reduce the load time of your server, this is the suggested behavior if you’re on a shared hosting.
Remove Query Strings From Static Resources
This plugin is gonna be the easier to configure because… there is nothing to configure!
Now we are going to install the main Cache plugin that will take care of converting the actual PHP code into HTML for faster load time. Since WP SuperCache only takes charge of converting the site to static content, it will not mess with minification done by Fast Velocity Minify nor with image compression done by EWWW. You can see why this setup is safer overall as you are in control of the whole process and you will be better fit to find a bug or problem in case some plugin breaks your site.
After the Tweak
Right off the bat you can see our score went from 86 to 94 and the load time dramatically improved from 1.32 seconds to 911ms, and there are no more red warnings either for the Remove Query Strings from Static Resources.
The actual FTTB improved too from 529ms to 224ms by having our content as HTML instead of PHP code subject to server-side execution. The minify process also reduced the amount of requests from 47 to 38 which also helped.Plugins to Speed Up Your WordPress Site
End of the line
Having a speedier WordPress site is not generally a thing committed to framework heads nor ought to be a thing that includes purchasing costly programming. There are huge amounts of individuals that think a solitary module should deal with every one of the enhancements undertakings and on numerous occasions it’s been demonstrated it’s not a flawless arrangement. Having separate modules to improve. The oposite is likewise an issue, WordPress destinations with unreasonable modules can prompt an unsteady working site. Streamlining shrewd, the less complex you go, the better. In this guide you’ve figured out how to execute few modules to do particular streamlining stuff. Presently is dependent upon you to try it out. I’ll be glad to answer any questions you may have in the remarks underneath.Plugins to Speed Up Your WordPress Site