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How to improve the loading speed of WordPress

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How to improve the speed of your WordPress Blog

With increasingly faster internet connections every year, many bloggers end up believing that there is no point in optimizing (to improve) The loading speed of their sites (Blog) WordPress. But this is not the case.

If your site doesn't load in seconds, most people will simply lose interest in going there. For an ecommerce blog this can mean a lost sale and subsequently a big chunk of your income. For a blog, this can mean the loss of a loyal reader who might have shared your blog.

Search Engines have put great pressure on websites and blogs to be lighter in recent years. Google has gone so far as to classify these. A high rank corresponds to sites that load quickly and a lower rank corresponds to those that load slower. This has put website and blog optimization back in the limelight.

In this article, I want to show you five ways you can reduce the page size of your site and speed up the loading time to bring a unique experience to your visitors.

Before applying any of the suggestions detailed in this article, I recommend that you test the speed of your blog using a benchmarking service like GTMetrix, Pingdom tools ou Google PageSpeed.

Start by noting the current load time of your site as well as the size of your images. You will be able to compare this data after the modifications below. You will better understand the importance of the loading speed of your blog.

1. Delete any unnecessary plugins

Plugins are the reason that WordPress is so flexible. Unfortunately, the plugins are also a major cause of slow WordPress blogs. Each plugin adds slows you turn your blog. Even basic plugins with few features can significantly slow down your site if they are badly coded. This has led many WordPress hosts to ban certain plugins.

There are a number of ways a plugin can slow down your site:

  • Increase the size of your database - The extra data that plugins store takes up a lot of space in your database. Some types of plugins, such as statistics plugins, are known to add hundreds or even thousands of new rows to your database. Thus, your pages take longer to load.
  • Repeated requests to your database and server - Constant requests to your database can put a lot of strain on your server CPU. It can also increase the risk limitation of the CPU and adversely affect its performance.
  • The calls to external services  it is difficult to optimize a web page that makes excessive calls to external services. Social networks share buttons, for example, they can slow down your web page by half a second or more.

It is therefore imperative that you deactivate and remove WordPress plugins that are not essential to the success of your blog. Do not fall into the trap of leaving plugins enabled because you could use them later. If a plugin is important, keep it activated. If not, uninstall the plugin. You can always reinstall this plugin at a later date.

deactivate-plugins-1024x302

If you want a better idea on which plugins increase your page load time, I recommend using the P3 (Plugin Performance Profiler) by GoDaddy. This plugin will look at each plugin you have activated and how much time it added to your page load time.

2. Reduce the weight of your images

Modern blog design is generally faster today designers now use CSS to style their designs instead of tables and images.

While the design of blogs has been improved, the number of images that are used within the content area has increased significantly. It's not uncommon for articles these days to include dozens of photographs.

As each image increases the file size of the web page, the loading of your web page also increases.

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ewww-image optimizer
ewww-image optimizer

There are a number of ways you can reduce the added weight of images:

  • Divide long posts with lots of pictures on multiple pages using the nextpage option.
  • Decrease the file size of your images by optimizing your images before uploading. Graphics editing programs incorporate this feature, but there are many stand-alone image optimization applications. ImageOptim et RIOT.
  • Only load images once they become visible on the visitor's screen using Lazy Load. This will dramatically reduce the size of the initial one page file.

Reducing the size of your images also has the benefit of reducing the amount of disk space your images use on your server.

3. Optimize your database

The default WordPress configuration is not effective. Because it keeps a lot of unnecessary information which unnecessarily inflates the size of your database by keeping spam, comments, junk items and excessive post revisions.

One of the main reasons for increasing the size of the WordPress database is post revision. In addition to storing an auto-save, WordPress will keep a copy of every project you never saved for your posts and pages. This is one of my favorite features because it protects you against lost internet connections and allows you to refer to older versions.

post-revisions

Unfortunately, beyond a few drafts, revisions to posts may be unnecessary because WordPress does not limit the number of revisions that are saved by default. Therefore, if you have registered your article fifty times, there will be fifty projects saved in your blog database.

Fortunately, WordPress also allows you to limit the number of post revisions that are saved. All you have to do is add a line of code to your file. wp-config.php.

define ('WP_POST_REVISIONS', 3);

Note that any additional post revisions will automatically replace old versions.

I personally think that three revisions are sufficient; however many blog owners reduce this to just one. You can also turn off review of posts entirely by changing the value in the code above to "0" or "False". If you are not used to editing your file wp-config.php, I recommend you to use a plugin like Simple Revision Control.

Another thing you might want:

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Reduce the duration of items that are kept in the recycle bin. Whenever you delete an entry through your WordPress admin area, a post, page, or comment; WordPress will move the item to the trash. It is a built-in security system that allows you to restore all items that have been accidentally deleted.

By default, WordPress automatically deletes objects that have been trashed after 30 days. This number can be reduced by adding the following line to your wp-config.php file:

define ('EMPTY_TRASH_DAYS', 7);

A plugin to optimize your database is at Optimize Database after Deleting Revisions. It allows you to delete post revisions, spam, comments, unused tags and more.

Another plugin to use is Plugins Garbage Collector. The plugin will scan your database and remove any disabled plugins you forgot to remove.

The response time of the server can be greatly improved by keeping the size of your database small, so I encourage you to take action and optimize your database.

4. Check the blog caching

 Caching plugins allow you to generate static HTML files of your pages and display them to visitors. By using caching you will be able to have a major improvement on your page such as the loading time or the number of requests on your server.

There are a lot of caching plugins available for WordPress. From far the most popular are W3 Total Cache et WP Super Cache.

w3-total cache

Besides generating static HTML files, plugin caching also helps improve your blog speed in several ways. They support optimization methods like Gzipping, Browser Caching, CSS and JavaScript Compression, and more. Several caching plugins integrate the Content Delivery Network as well.

5. Use a "Content Delivery Network" (CDN)

 Every time you visit a blog, your computer should download the files hosted on the server. The time it takes to get this information is known as the response time; and it can be one of the biggest reasons for a blog to load slowly.

Response times can be half a second. But when you add in the total file size of a web page, the overall time a page takes to load that time may increase by several seconds.

The further away you are from where your files are located (server), the higher your response time will be. For example, if your data center is located in Paris, a visitor to Brussels gets a better response time than someone who is in Quebec. The best way to resolve this situation is to take advantage of a Content Delivery Network.

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Le Content Delivery Networks takes a copy of your files and stores it in one of their many data centers around the world. Instead of downloading a copy of your files directly from your server, the visitor will automatically download a copy from a data center that is close to them. This ensures that all visitors will get fast load times while viewing your blog.

maxcdn

There are several major players in the CDN market. Personally, I recommend MaxCDN. MaxCDN is used by huge sites such as Nissan and StumbleUpon.

If you start using MaxCDN, they will host files that take a long time to download. This includes images, CSS files, and JavaScript files. These files whose sizes will then be delivered to visitors via a data center that is closer. As a result, page load times will be significantly reduced. This is because of their average response time as it is only 39 milliseconds.

The  Content Delivery Networks are not free, however please keep in mind that your hosting costs will be significantly reduced by a Content Delivery Network as they handle the majority of your bandwidth. What is good about MaxCDN is their price and the quality of their service.

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