One of the most common tasks I’m plagued with when starting out with a new client coincidentally happens to be decreasing the overall page load times for their websites.
Of course, starting out with fixing pagespeed is assuming all of the backend requirements are met and the website is functional with minimal errors – from there the reason I focus on page speeds is for the following reason: 1. SEO 2. Usability 3. Conversions.
We all love WordPress for its simplicity but, some of us know all too well that even though WordPress is simplistic there’s still room for user-created errors. Yes, believe it or not the reason(s) your WordPress website is running slow is most likely a result of something you’ve done.
Don’t panic; as you’ll find out in this article we can easily troubleshoot slow WordPress websites in a few ways that will hopefully not only eliminate the problem but highlight what was causing the slowdown – helping us to avoid it in the future.
Although this article has no numbered points you should feel free to choose which methods of troubleshooting will work best for yourself – however, I strongly recommend attempting the below in the order they’re in. Not only is it effective – but it’ll also help pinpoint the cause in the first place.
- Disable all Plugins – If you’ve been using WordPress for a little while you’ve most likely ran into a problem that lead you to the WordPress support forums – in which case you’ve probably heard of this before. Disabling all plugins is should be first step anyone takes before heading over to the support forums or calling in any other form of support. Plugins are great however, (keeping this as simple as possible) they’re code: code sometimes doesn’t like to play nicely with other code. Hence why this is suggested first – so, after disabling all plugins I ask that you re-enable them one at a time with the hope of soloing out the problematic plugin(s).
- Get Rid of Redirect Heaven – I know a lot of people have this problem, hell even I did at one point. As you begin your journey into the depths of WordPress you’ll most likely dabble a bit (if not a lot) with search engine optimization techniques that’ll promise to increase your ranking and overall website performance. One of the most common beginner tips – which also happens to be a mistake when used too frequently is the 301 Redirect. A useful tool that allows webmasters to notify search engines like Google that a webpage has permanently moved. These redirects are processed before each page load – so, please use them sparingly.
Reduction of Server Load
- Leverage Caching Methods - Caching is more of what I would consider an intermediate troubleshooting activity as there are various caching methods that can be implemented on any site; however, each caching method will act uniquely with each site. Caching can be implemented on any WordPress website by simply stalling either the WP Super Cache plugin or W3TC both plugins take care of the necessities. However to get the optimal usage out of caching your websites static content you’ll want to change the backend settings (EX: expires headers) to ensure the caching is working in unison with your website set up.
- Enable CDN Support – Content delivery networks are a beautiful thing. Essentially they’re secondary servers (yes plural) that will serve your websites visitors your websites static content. Besides clearly reducing your servers load by serving static content through the CDN – the CDN also provides quicker download times for visitors because of the CDN server location. For example my blog uses Amazon’s CloudFront CDN with all EDGE locations selected what that means is that instead of solely serving my websites files via my GoDaddy shared server (located in Texas) visitors will be served files from the CDN server located closest to them inevitably decreasing download speeds in turn speeding your website as a whole.