How To Speed Up WordPress in 5 Steps

Recently I’ve had a few people ask me how to speed up WordPress when your site starts to slow down. Here are 5 easy steps to reducing your WordPress website’s load time, so your visitors will stick around and read your great content.

Let’s dive in!

Video: How To Speed Up WordPress

1. Reduce Image Size

The first step to making your website load faster is to ensure you’re using appropriately sized images. That means that you’re uploading images the size that you want them to appear, or at least compressing them before you upload.

WordPress allows you to choose what size image you want to use when you upload an image, but if you’re linking to images off your site (not recommended)… you’ll want to download, resize, and upload to your own site.

2. Pare Down Your WordPress Plugins

Got more than 15-20 WordPress plugins? They might be slowing your web site down! It’s time for you to pare down your plugins, especially if you have a few old or deprecated plugins that you’re not using anymore.

3. Install A Cache Plugin To Speed Up WordPress

how to speed up wordpressThe next step is to make sure you’re using a WordPress caching plugin. What is caching and why do you need it?

By default each time a visitor goes to your WordPress website, there will be a call from the browser through WordPress code to the database on your hosting server. The database returns your posts and settings and WordPress turns that into the page you see displayed on your screen.

What a caching plugin does is save a copy of each page on your server, so that WordPress doesn’t need to contact the database for each visitor. This saves a lot of back and forth and speeds up your site!

I use and recommend W3 Total cache.

4. Move Scripts To Footer

If you’ve got any scripts or pieces of code that can either go in the header or footer of your site, move them to the footer!

This allows the page content to load first, and the scripts to load last on your web site. What kind of scripts am I talking about here? Think Google Analytics, custom font scripts, and any fancy advanced code.

5. How To Speed Up WordPress in 3 Minutes? Run WP Optimize

The final tip in this list is to install and run WP Optimize. Yes, it’s another WordPress plugin but the good thing is that you can install it, run it, and then remove it until you want to clean things up again.

What WP Optimize does is remove old blog post and page revisions. Each time you edit and preview a blog post, there’s a new revision saved in your database. You don’t need all of these clogging up your server!

The same goes for comments that are marked as spam. WP Optimize will clear all the junk out so your site will be much faster.

What Else Have You Done To Speed Up Your Site?

I’d love to hear in the comments below the tricks you’ve tried for how to speed up WordPress… I know you’ve got some good ones to share!

 

23 Comments

  1. Laura Ribas on September 5, 2012 at 8:41 am

    That was a great post! As always, giving amazing useful tips to improve our businesses.

    Thank you Nathalie!



  2. Nathalie Lussier on September 5, 2012 at 10:32 am

    Thank you Laura! :)



  3. Theresa Reed | The Tarot Lady on September 5, 2012 at 12:18 pm

    Hi Nathalie – In your opinion, which are the plug ins we should have?



  4. jo on September 5, 2012 at 3:26 pm

    Thank you for these tip, I am new to WP and clueless when it comes to which plugins to use.
    When you upload photos, what DPI do you recommend. I usually use 150 but I am wondering if it should be lower.



  5. Jonathan Brown on September 6, 2012 at 2:28 am

    Just as usual You bring incredible value !

    Thanks Nathalie!



  6. Jonathan Brown on September 6, 2012 at 9:28 am

    Nathalie… Gettin it done.



  7. Krystina Rosario-Feucht on September 6, 2012 at 1:54 pm

    Great tips! The one about moving script to the footer is something I never thought about it. Good reminder to get ride of old plugins too. Going to try these out this week. Thanks!



    • Nathalie Lussier on September 6, 2012 at 3:44 pm

      Awesome Krystina! Way to implement. :)



  8. Nathalie Lussier on September 6, 2012 at 8:46 am

    @Theresa – great question, I’ll put it on my list for future episodes since it’s a more nuanced topic. :)

    @Jo – Hmm when I compress images I’m usually in Photoshop or Skitch, and I look for how big a file is instead of DPI. So if I have a small-ish image, I expect it to be maybe 200k in size, a larger image maybe 500k. Does that help?

    Thanks!



  9. Linda Esposito on September 7, 2012 at 2:06 am

    Had to laugh as I saw this post earlier. I installed W3 Total Cache only to find that it was already installed ;). I think you or Sarah did this for me. Love WP Optimize–I had over 3400 post revisions–Ugh! Thanks for the great tips.



  10. Linda Esposito on September 7, 2012 at 2:06 am

    Had to laugh as I saw this post earlier. I installed W3 Total Cache only to find that it was already installed ;). I think you or Sarah did this for me. Love WP Optimize–I had over 3400 post revisions–Ugh! Thanks for the great tips.



  11. Linda Esposito on September 7, 2012 at 2:06 am

    Had to laugh as I saw this post earlier. I installed W3 Total Cache only to find that it was already installed ;). I think you or Sarah did this for me. Love WP Optimize–I had over 3400 post revisions–Ugh! Thanks for the great tips.



    • Nathalie Lussier on September 7, 2012 at 6:49 pm

      That happens to me too sometimes when I find a great plugin – oh wait, I already have it! ;) Glad WP Optimized cleaned that many post revisions for ya too, woo!



  12. Linda Esposito on September 7, 2012 at 2:06 am

    Had to laugh as I saw this post earlier. I installed W3 Total Cache only to find that it was already installed ;). I think you or Sarah did this for me. Love WP Optimize–I had over 3400 post revisions–Ugh! Thanks for the great tips.



  13. Marta Laurent Veciana on September 7, 2012 at 8:24 pm

    Great post, Nathalie! But it's quite frustrating that everything cool on WP needs a plugin, but only 15-20 are recommended to have a fast site… I've got a few more than that, and I don't know which ones to get rid of… BTW, do they also slow down the site when they are deactivated, or only when they are active? Thank you again!



  14. Marta Laurent Veciana on September 7, 2012 at 8:33 pm

    Oh, one more question! Do you have any blogpost or recommended tutorial on how to run W3 Total Cache? I installed it but I'm not sure I did it well, it's quite confusing… : (



  15. Michelle Pierson on September 11, 2012 at 8:20 am

    Natalie, the plugin tips were super helpful and I took action right away by installing them. Thanks so much! It's unclear to me what you mean by #4 though. I'm a visual learner so having a bit of trouble wrapping my head around this one. Can you help clarify please? :)



  16. Fit Missy on March 11, 2013 at 6:23 am

    too funny. I was just doing a google search on this. Thanks!



  17. Jessica @ Jessiker Bakes on April 25, 2014 at 1:18 pm

    Thank you so much! Especially with the scripts option.



  18. Javier López Díaz on November 11, 2014 at 4:10 am

    Awesome tips, specially moving the scripts to footer. I think this is a great idea I am going to implement in my website right now.

    Thanks.



  19. Maria on December 11, 2014 at 11:18 am

    Great tips. Thanks in advance because it happens to me many times.
    Nathalie, you are amazing!



  20. Mariana on July 23, 2016 at 4:36 pm

    Great tips, Nathalie! I’m going to try these tips right now. Thank you!