There are so many articles online talking about how to improve a WordPress website speed. It is a fact that the speed of a website has become an important factor for your SEO since 2019. The loading speed is something that, although usually overlooked and considered to be something insignificant, plays a very important role in the site performance.
What is WordPress?
WordPress is one of the most used CMS (Content management system) amongst developers and website creators. Free, simple and open source, it allows you to create, structure and manage your site by taking advantage of the themes, plugins and extensions it gives you access to, without any prior technical knowledge.
On the other hand, the installation of WordPress is very easy. You must first have a domain name (.ma domain name), choose your web hosting plan and then install WordPress in 1 click from your cPanel interface.
Finally, WordPress has a good SEO. This means that using this software for site creation could help you occupy a good ranking among search engine results.
However, there are still several criteria to consider in order to improve your position, including the topic of this article: The loading speed of a WordPress site.
Why is the speed of a WordPress site so important?
The loading speed of a WordPress site greatly impacts the user experience: A slow website can cause a high bounce rate.
This means that as soon as a site takes several seconds to load, the user no longer pays attention to it, and does not take the time to check the other pages. This way, you lose your chance to convince him and you lose a potential customer.
On the other hand, Google and other search engines do not like slow sites and even tend to penalize them in some cases by misclassifying them in search results. This result causes an even lower flow for slow sites.
There are several techniques you can use and implement to improve the speed of your site designed with WordPress. But before you do that, make sure you measure the performance of your site first and calculate exactly how long it takes to load the pages.
In order to have a more accurate and correct measurement and results, it is recommended that you use several tools at once.(Examples of tools you can use: PageSpeed insights, WebPageTest, gtmetrix)
You can also measure the loading speed of your site on mobile.
Once you have your results, here are 7 good techniques that will help you optimize the speed of your website.
Techniques to improve the loading speed of a wordpress website
1- A lightweight template
It is important to consider the weight of the template you want to use when creating a website with WordPress.
Although the aesthetics and the multiplicity of features are the first thing to consider when making your choice, one should make sure that it is not heavy. As a matter of fact, a heavy template is more likely to cause a slowdown in site loading.
With that said, when you make your theme choice, choose a recent, optimized one that contains only the features and assets you will need for the creation of your website.
On the other hand, there are free themes and other paying ones. This does not mean that paid themes are necessarily better or lighter: free themes should be taken into consideration as well.
It is enough that the template is adapted to your vision of the site and that it does not contain many images. A minimalist one hat you can model in your own way will do the trick.
You can measure the performance, the heaviness of a template and its impact on the loading speed of the site by downloading it in demo version and performing the tests using the tools mentioned above. (Tools: PageSpeed insights, WebPageTest, gtmetrix)
If you have already created your website, that your template is already well installed, that you can not go back on your decisions at this point and that your website is slow, the techniques cited below will be more interesting and more useful for you.
2- The right web hosting plan
Contrary to what many people may think, the formula chosen for hosting your website can seriously influence the speed of its loading.
Cap Connect offers 4 formulas:
Shared Hosting: You share the resources of the server where your site is hosted with other clients.
This type of hosting is less expensive but is very risky. With that said, the overconsumption of resources shared by other sites can lead to the slowdown of yours, or even its malfunction and complete shutdown.
SSD Cloud Server: is a web hosting solution, designed for high traffic sites.
This hosting is based on the use of multiple cloud machines connected to each other and acting for the same site. If one of the machines breaks down, there are always others to replace it at any time, allowing you a high loading speed for your pages.
VPS Server: This type of hosting uses a virtual private server that is a physical server containing several independent compartments that can be used by various clients at once.
You can therefore rent or buy one of these compartments and have access to enough resources to host your site and guarantee its operation without compromising the quality of other sites hosted on the same server.
We can say that this type of hosting is the perfect combination between dedicated hosting and mutualized.
Dedicated Server: Unlike a VPS that is a server that can be used by multiple clients, this type of hosting relies on a physical server dedicated to a single client.
Cloud SSD hosting is highly recommended for the various features it gives you access to.
You can also read the article on how to choose between a Cloud SSD server, a VPS SSD and a dedicated server.
3- Removal of the unnecessary plugins and extensions
One of the reasons WordPress is the most popular CMS around the world is the easy access to several extensions and plugins, which can be very necessary and useful for you to build your website, on your own, even if you lack experience in this area.
However, it is possible in many cases for these extensions and plugins, even the ones supposed to make it easy for you to create your site and optimize it, to be one of the reasons why your site is slow.
As a matter of fact, you may have plugins that you do not need, that come with your template, or you may install extensions that you never use.
That said, it is important to monitor the installed extensions and remove the ones you don’t need. The only plugins that must be kept are those essential and beneficial for the operation of your site.
On the other hand, the plugins you will keep must be up to date. In fact, the use of extensions that are not up-to-date can lead to several malfunctions on your website, including slowing down the loading speed of your pages.
Another problem that may arise due to the use of outdated plugins has to do with the security of your website. With that said, these extensions can be a great hacking threat to your website.
Thus, your extensions as well as your template must always be up to date.
4- Updating the PHP version
PHP is an open-source scripting and programming language, widely used for web development, and is the language used for WordPress.
One of the most used and beneficial tricks to speed up the loading of a WordPress site has to do with the setting of the PHP version. Thus, you just need to change the version used for your WordPress site and activate the most recent PHP version.
This small change, although it may seem insignificant to you, can make your site twice as fast and greatly optimize its performance.
You can change the PHP version on your cPanel interface.
PS: Make sure the new version is compatible with all the extensions you use for your website.
The cache technique is one of the most used methods to optimize the loading speed of a WordPress site. It saves a lot of time and significantly reduces and limits the length of time pages take to be fully loaded.
That said, the cache allows you to automatically create a copy of each of your pages from their first load.
You do not need to load all the resources of the page in question every time you go there, since a copy is automatically created in the cache.
When a visitor comes to a page on your site for the first time, it may take 5 to 6 seconds for the page to load, but the second visit will only need one second to load.
The more regularly the visitor comes to the site, the less time it takes for the pages to load and appear.
If the content of the page changes, it will take some time to load the first time, until a copy of the new page is saved in the cache.
If you still do not have one, it is absolutely important to install a cache plugin. You can easily install W3 Total cache, WP Rocket or WP-optimize on WordPress.
6- Image optimization
The use of images is very necessary to have aesthetic and relevant stimulating content and to attract the attention of your visitors. Thus, these images tend to occupy a lot of space on your site.
However, misuse of these images can affect the loading speed of your pages negatively. With that said, optimizing your images may be necessary for a fast and functional website.
This does not necessarily mean that the quality of your images should decrease.
In order to reduce the weight of your images, and thus limit the time required for their display, you can simply compress them, using “Optimizilla”, a very useful online solution for PNG or JPEG images of the same original quality but less weight.
This optimization can reduce up to 70% of the initial weight of your images.
On the other hand, some image formats are heavier than others. For example, the PNG format, although often more used is heavier than the JPEG.
This high usage is due to the transparent funds of the PNG format. So if you don’t need a transparent background, the JPEG format is better.
Finally, note that the smaller the size of an image, the shorter the load time is.
However, these files occupy a lot of space and require a lot of time to load thus requiring a reduction in size.
You can use the plugin W3 Total Cache which is useful for creating as well as for compression of these files.
8- Lazy loading
Lazy loading or “delayed loading” is a technique that contributes enormously to the acceleration of the loading speed of your pages. It allows you to load images, one of the heaviest media resources, only when the user scrolls through the page.
This means that the presented site is considered a dynamic site that only loads images and displays them when the user needs them. This technique is especially useful on pages containing many images.
To benefit from it, you can install the plugin: lazyloader.
You are now aware of the problems that could negatively influence the loading speed of your site, namely the heaviness of the theme, the multiplicity of unnecessary extensions, the heavyweight of your media.
You also have the means to solve the loading speed issues you might encounter. All you have to do is put in place the necessary techniques and appreciate the results obtained.
If you encounter any problems, you can call on our support team.