At scale, WordPress is a resource hog. Read further for some useful tips to speed up WordPress!
WordPress is a powerful platform from which to serve up your website. Whether you are running an online store, landing pages, or a general company page with some words about you and a contact form, you need that page to perform as fast as is possible. In this article, we will lay out some best practices that should be done with every WordPress site.
The answer to that is no, and here is why: While the default install of wordpress with the default themes and plugins will rank high on PageSpeed, GTMetrix and other such platforms, that does not take into account any customizations you may make to WordPress prior to launching your site.
Due to the vast array of possible customizations available to WordPress, from themes to plugins, there is a lot that you have to take into account while you are designing the site. We are going to break those functional domains out into separate sections so you can pick and choose your use case and what works best for your site.
The very first thing, before you even start customizing, is to sit down and come up with exactly what you want your website to do straight out of the gate.
Whether you are designing this site for someone else, or this is your project, ask yourself these questions:
Those are very important questions to answer. While those are not the only things to consider when starting a new WordPress project, it is wise to consider those questions as a good starting point.
As you answer those questions, you should keep this question in mind:
There are a lot of themes, plugins and other addons available in the WordPress ecosystem that will come with lots of features, many of which you dont need – that if implemented improperly, will cause all kinds of overhead that will slow your site down, give you an awful SEO score, and can lead to problems like high TTFB times. Visual simplicity is best
You should start by choosing a theme or starting point that is as visually simple as is possible, taking into account your branding and other visual elements that you want to express.
Choose a design that meets this criteria:
These are helpful tips and a good starting point, not absolute gospel when it comes to planning out how you are going to see everything together. Again, keeping things as simple as possible will be the key.
There are thousands of hosting companies out there that will host your wordpress site for you. It is also a race to the bottom. The vast majority, about 75% of them, don’t care about your data or uptime, they just want your money, and in exchange will give you the bare minimum that you need to get your site up and online. They will also crowd you onto one of their shared plans that puts your security and speed at the mercy of other sites on that same server. If one of those sites gets hacked, there is a huge performance penalty, and you could also leak customer data, which in some jurisdictions comes with legal consequences.
This site is hosted on DigitalOcean. They are one of our solutions partners. We host this site in the most resource efficient way possible, while providing high availability and scalability. We are also a technical first organization, so we have the headcount required to service our site at the ‘console level’ – depending on your organization, and your individual technical prowess, this might not be an option. Here are some things to look for when you are using commodity hosting, or engaging a managed hosting company:
Hosting companies that have good speed to cost ratio are:
Just because your site is not expected to take 1,000’s of hits every couple of hours doesn’t mean that you don’t need to set up caching. Our caching stack for this and all other wordpress sites we handle are:
Google has a great article on font optimizing and caching here.
Here’s an article on local font caching.
By caching these components locally to your site, you will improve PageRank and perhaps TTFB.
These tips are not really gospel, and your use case may be different, but these are the things we do for the sites that we develop and host, and the every day performance of all these sites ranks 90 or better PageRank, and B or better scores on GTMetrix. In turn, those performance advantages contribute to higher conversions, and more sales for our clients.