25 Actionable Tips to Increase Your Website Speed (2019 GUIDE)

• March 15, 2020 •

Do you want to increase your website speed? Then you’re in the right place.

A fast loading WordPress site not only enhances your website user experience but it also helps you rank your blog posts higher in Google and increase your website traffic.

Today I’m going to show you the exact WordPress speed optimization technique that I used to make my website load under 1 second.

It can be a great moment for any webmaster when his/her site loads under 1 second.

Bloggingnova website speed

So, are you ready to speed up your site? Let’s get started…


Why you should care about Website speed?

Your website loading speed matters a lot for two main reasons:

  1. SEO
  2. Your site user’s experience

Google uses site speed as an official ranking signal, So site speed is an important factor that determines where your site ranks in Google’s search results.

Site speed as ranking factor

If your site’s speed isn’t up to par with the other pages appearing in the top 10 search results, you won’t rank on the first page of Google Search results.

And I don’t think I need to tell you that more than 90% of web traffic only comes from First page of search result.

Recently, Brian Dean from Backlinko also conducted a study where he analyzed 1 million Google search results.

His main purpose behind this study was to figure out what are the most common things among the sites that rank in the top 10 results of Google.

Surprisingly, he also found a strong correlation between site speed and Google rankings:

Average page load time
Research conducted by Backlinko

According to his study “Pages On Fast-Loading Websites Rank Significantly Higher than Pages On Slow-Loading Websites

That means as far as SEO is concerned if your website loading speed is not at least medium (under 3 seconds) then forget about ranking in the top 10 positions of Google and getting free organic traffic.

Now when it comes to user experience, past research clearly shows that the websites which are loading very fast lead to happier users, increased productivity, as well as users spend more time on page.

A research conducted by Kissmetrics shows that 40% of people bounce back from a site if it takes longer than 2-3 seconds to load.

And If peoples are continuously leaving your site immediately after landing, then even if your site ranks in No #1 position of Google – Google will take note and downvote your site since they consider this behavior a sign of a low-quality site.

To sum it all up, if you want more traffic, sales, email subscribers, and more money from your site, then no matter what you must have to make your website FAST!

How To Increase Website Speed & Performance

There are plenty of factors that determine how much time each page on your site takes to load. Below I am sharing everything I’ve learned around how to increase website speed in past 6 years of my blogging journey.

I guarantee that using even a few will help speed up your site. So, without further ado let’s get started…

1. Invest in a High-Performance WordPress Hosting

One of the major factors that influence the speed of a WordPress website is the hosting you use to host your site.

In fact, I would say more than 65% of your website speed completely depends upon the hosting you use for your site.

When it comes to web hosting, there are more than ten types of hosting available in the market but two of them are most popular and used by most of the websites.

  1. Shared Hosting
  2. Managed WordPress Hosting

Shared Hosting:

The First and most popular type of web hosting is Shared Hosting. These include the EIG companies like Bluehost and HostGator as well as providers like Siteground, A2 hosting, and InMotion Hosting.

They basically host multiple sites on a single large server. While many users utilize the resources on a single server, it makes them the most economical way to host a WordPress site. An average customer has to usually pay anywhere from $3.95 per month to $9.95 per month to host their site on shared hosting.

The downside of a shared hosting:

As mentioned earlier, on shared hosting you share the server resources with many other customers. This means if your neighboring site gets a lot of traffic, then it can impact the entire server performance which in turn will slow down your website too.

Managed WordPress Hosting:

While shared hosting is the most economical choice for many small blogs and businesses, it is not the perfect solution for everyone. Larger websites (With good amount of traffic) may need to look into a Managed WordPress hosting or VPS hosting.

Managed WordPress hosting services are typically fine-tuned to work with WordPress. These types of hosts handle all the back-end server related tasks for you, along with providing support whenever you need it.

These hosts also offer WordPress specific features like automatic backups, automatic WordPress updates, and advanced security configurations to protect your site from getting hacked.

Which Web host gives the best performance?

Well frankly speaking hosting is one of those areas where you get what you pay for. Here I mean to say if a shard hosting will cost you around ($3-$9/mo) which will give you average performance while a managed WordPress hosting will cost you around ($25-50/mo) which will give you high level of performance.

But still don’t get emotional here, Go for Managed WordPress hosting only if you have a site with a high level of traffic. Otherwise, a high quality shared hosting will work well for you.

But now one more question you might have Which is the best-managed WordPress hosting and Shared hosting among hundreds of different providers.

Best Shared hosting provider

siteground host

Siteground

Best Managed WordPress Hosting

wpx hosting

WPX Hosting

Editor’s note: If you are planning to get a shared hosting then please never ever get hosting services from EIG hosting companies like Bluehost, Hostgator, iPage or Hostmonster.

These companies manipulate website owners with their cheap marketing tactics like providing unlimited disk space, unlimited domains, unlimited bandwidth, and basically unlimited everything. But when it comes to performance, they sucks. You can know more about their cheap tactics in my WordPress hosting guide.

I have been personally used Bluehost and Hostgator for my blogs in the past but believe me, I was struggling to maintain my site speed even under 3 seconds.

Currently, I am using Siteground (GoGeek plan) from the past one year and even after my site is hosted on a shared server, it still loads under 1 second.

Siteground
Bloggingnova hosted on Siteground

I am not the only one who got a huge improvement in site speed after migrating to Sitegorund, there are thousands of other users who noticed immense improvement in their website loading time.

You don’t need to trust my words, you can just go to Twitter or Hosting specific Facebook groups where real users share their experience with their hosting service and check yourself what Siteground users tell about their service.

To sum it up, If you are using a slow hosting like Bluehost, Hostgator, iPage, Godaddy then you should first change your host to increase your website speed and performance.


2. Upgrade to PHP 7 or Higher for the Best Performance

WordPress along with Plugins and themes is mainly written in the PHP server-side scripting and programming language.

All good WordPress hosting companies use the most stable PHP version on their server.

However in some cases, After a new release of PHP version, your hosting company may not automatically upgrade you to the latest version of PHP.

And If your site is running on the older version of PHP then upgrading it to the latest version will immediately give you a huge performance boost.

According to Kinsta’s recent PHP benchmarks, Latest PHP 7.3 can handle 3x as many requests per second compared to old PHP 5.6! As well as the latest version of PHP is three times faster than the old PHP 5.6

php speed benchmark-min

Now the question is – How to check the current version of PHP using on your site?

It is very simple, Just install Display PHP Version plugin and it will automatically show the current version of PHP in your dashboard area.

PHP

If your site is running on the old PHP version (Latest 7.3) then her’s how to upgrade it?

Step 1 – First of all Run the PHP Compatibility Checker to make sure that all of your Plugins and themes are compatible with the latest version of PHP.

PHP compatibilty

Step 2: Open you Hosting Cpanel and click on PHP Version Manager (most probably appears under software section)

PHP mnager

Step 3: Finally select the latest available PHP version and click save button.

Latest PHP

If you are using a host like Siteground which provides good support to their customers, then you can also ask your hosting provider to upgrade your site to the latest PHP version and they’ll easily do it for you.


3. Pick a Host That Uses NGINX

I don’t know if you know it or not but behind the scene, every hosting provider uses a web server to power your WordPress sites. 

The most common webservers are Apache, IIS from Microsoft and Nginx.

I’ll strongly recommend you to go with a web host that uses Nginx.

Why?

Because Nginx excels at providing faster content to a much higher volume of connections than Apache or other webservers.

According to the W3 Tech report, Apache powers 44.0% of all websites on the internet making it the most widely used option.

But at the same time if you look at the most popular web server among high traffic websites (Top 10,000 websites on the internet), NGINX powers 41.9% of them while Apache powers only 18.1% site.

In fact, NGINX is used by some of the most resources intensive sites like Netflix, NASA, and even WordPress.com.

While most of the hosting company says “Sure we support Nginx,” but in reality, most of them have certain restrictions like some host only uses NGINX on their higher plan.

If you are using Siteground hosting then you don’t have to worry about this as they use NGINX on all of their plans.


4. Choose a Server Closest to your Visitors

The very first thing you should do while hosting your website is to determine where the majority of your website visitors are coming from.

Why?

Because the server location of your website plays a significant role in determining your overall network latency and TTFB.

Network Latency

It refers to the round trip time that is involved in the data transmission from the user’s web browser to the server over a network.

TTFB

It stands for Time to the first byte. It is a measurement time browser has to wait before receiving its first byte of data from the server. 

I don’t want to bore you with all the technical details in this post.

The only thing you need to keep in mind is that your network latency and TTFB should be as low as possible in order to load your site faster.

And one of the easiest ways to accomplish this is to choose a server closest to your maximum website visitors.

Here is how you can determine the best location for your hosting server:

See as mentioned earlier, you should try to host your site on a server closest to your maximum visitor location.

An easy way to find insights about the geolocation of your website’s visitors is to check on your Google Analytics account.

And to find your maximum visitor’s location you need to login into your Google Analytics account and then go to Audience >> Geo >> Location

Website traffic geo location

In our above example, you can see that over 58% of the visitors are coming from the United States. So in this case, you would want to place your site on a server located in the United States.

However if you are targetting a global audience (means large number of peoples are visiting from different countries), then you can utilize a CDN. Lets’s talk about how CDN can speed up your site.


4. Use a (CDN) Content Delivery Network

By now you should have known that peoples visit your blog from the different locations around the world may experience different loading times on your site.

That’s because the location of your hosting server will have an impact on your site loading speed.

For example – If your website is hosted on a server located in United State then users visiting your website from India will get very slow loading speed compared to the people visiting from the USA.

why?

Because the data has to travel a further distance. This is what is known as latency (discussed above). 

This is where a CDN (Content delivery network) can help to speed up loading times for all of your visitors.

What is CDN?

CDN stands for the content delivery network. These are a network of servers located around the globe. They are designed to store and deliver your site’s static (and sometimes dynamic) content such as images, CSS, and JavaScript,

So that when someone visits your site from any location, Your CDN can serve the webpage from the server closest to them.

CDN
This example presents the connection without the CDN – the user from different countries (location) has to connect all the way to the central location of the server.
CDN speed
The next example has a CDN enabled – the connection distance for the users from the different locations has shortened as now they only need to connect to the nearest CDN server

Which CDN service is best for WordPress Users?

Well if you are looking for a free option then go with Cloudflare but if you can invest in a premium CDN service for high quality performance then I’ll recommend you to use Stackpath (Previously known as MAXCDN)

Stackpath works very well with the WordPress website and compliments different WordPress cache plugin for even faster website speed.

Speeding Up WordPress in Easy Steps (No Coding Required)

We have already talked about the importance of a good performance-centric web hosting and CDN for better website speed. If you have hosted your site on a good quality host like Siteground, Kinsta or WPX and using a CDN service like Stack path then congrats, Your 50% of website speed optimization is already completed.

Now Below I am going to talk about few other things that have a huge impact on your site speed.

So let’s talk about them one by one.

5. Your WordPress Theme Matters

Everyone loves brand new WordPress theme, but be careful before you go and grab a shiny looking theme for your WordPress site.

Not every impressive-looking themes are actually good for your site, few of them are very poorly coded and can slow your site way down.

While there are thousands of free and premium options available when it comes to WordPress theme, How to know which one to choose?

I’ll recommend going with one of the following two options:

  1. A lightweight theme that is built with only the features you need, nothing more.
  2. Or a feature-rich WordPress theme, but you can disable features that aren’t in use.

But What if I tell you that there are few themes which complement both the options!

Here are two of the lightweight fastest theme you’ll ever find in the WordPress industry.

2. Studiopress (Genesis)

Studiopress Themes

Which theme I use for Bloggingnova?

Well, I personally use Generatepress premium for two of the main reason.

First It is super lightweight In fact, default WordPress install with Gneratepress theme is less than 30kb. Whereas most of the other popular default theme size will be around 250-500kb.

Generatepress premium theme
Only 16.8 kb size and 7 requests

Secondly, this is one of the few themes which has endless customization option still it does not make your site slow compared to its features.

Why?

Because Generatepress premium allows you to disable all the features that you are not using on your site.

For example, if you are not using the mega menu, then you can disable it from your site or maybe if you are not using Font awesome icon then you can disable that from your site and so on.

This is why I personally love using the Gneratepress premium on my blog. You can know more about them in my Generatepress review.


6. Optimize Image for Speed

We all know that Images bring life to our content and boost user engagement. In fact, researchers have found that articles with images get 94% more total views.

However, if your images aren’t optimized then they can start hurting your site more than helping.

How?

See, Images make up on average 54% of a web page’s overall weight. That’s natural since they need more space than text or CSS.

Even take a look at Bloggingnova’s own numbers:

Image size

Therefore, it is crucial that you learn how to tackle your website images.

Here are couple of things you can do in order to optimize your images in the best possible manner to get significant improvements in your website speeds:


(a) Use only JPG & PNG Formats:

If you want to reduce the size of an image then saving your image in the appropriate file type is important.

For some people, this seems like a minor concern, but you have to understand the fact that the file type you use will directly affect the file size of the image.

In the original format, your photo can have a large size, but converting them into the two common image file type JPG & PNG will dramatically reduce the size of the image.

JPG is always considered as the best option for photos. It uses loosely compression which means when you save an image in JPG format it slightly reduces image quality, but it’s significantly smaller in size.

So, if you are uploading lots of photos in your content then make sure that they all are in the JPG format.

jpg , png, gif
JPG VS PNG VS GIF – Credit: Bannersnack

On the other hand, the PNG image format is uncompressed which uses lossless compression. This means when you save an image in PNG format, you don’t lose any details, and the resulting file size is larger than a JPG file.

You should use PNG format only for the logos, screenshots, line art, and other detailed graphics.

For detail information on this topic you can check Adam’s article – The Blogger’s Guide To Optimizing Images For The Web


(b) Upload images of the right size

If your image is too small, then the browser will scale it up (make it bigger) but it’ll look blurry to your site visitors. Likewise, if an image is too big, the browser will shrink it to the right size.

When an image shrinks, it will not affect the quality of your image, but it’ll add to the file size of your webpage, and cause it to load slow.

Thus you should resize your image to the right size so that the browser doesn’t have to download and resize images.

In fact, Gtmetrix also recommends you to scale your image to the right size to load it faster.

Serve scaled

First, you’ll need to find the maximum image size of your theme, so that you can resize your every image accordingly.

You can follow this tutorial to find out your perfect image size.

Once you know your maximum image size, now you need to use an online tool like Photoresizer or a desktop software like Photoshop to resize your images.


(c) Compress Your Image to reduce its size

Once you have saved your image in the appropriate format and size, now its time to make the image size much smaller by compressing it.

There are various tools you can use to compress your images.

If you want to compress your image even before uploading it to WordPress then you can use the TinyPNG tool. But if you are looking for something that will automatically compress your image after uploading to WordPress without losing its quality then you should use Shortpixel plugin.


7. Lazy load your images

As you all know a webpage consists primarily of images, videos, stylesheet, scripts, and fonts.

However, typically images and videos take up over 60% size of a web page.

So whenever a user visits your site the user’s web browser has to downloads all the available resources before rendering a page completely. 

For example: Let’s say you wrote a 2500 word content and included 20 photos. Now typically when someone visits that particular content, their browser needs to download all those images, text, font and other elements before displaying anything on the page.

This is where we can take the help of lazy load functionality.

Once you enable lazy loading on your blog, Instead of loading all your images and videos at once, lazy loading downloads only those that will be visible on the user’s screen.

This way users will be able to see your content very fast on their screen and images will be visible to them as they scroll down to the page.

Enabling Lazy load for your blog post is pretty easy, there are plenty of plugins available for this simple task.

You can download a simple plugin like Lazy Load or BJ Lazy Load that uses jQuery.sonar to implement lazy loading on your website.

Lazy load

However, if you are using WP Rocket (A caching plugin) then you don’t have to download an additional plugin as WP Rocket has an inbuilt option for enabling lazy load not just for images but videos too.

You just need to go to WP Rocket settings >> “Media” tab >> from the LazyLoad section, check the box next to “Enable for images.”

Lazy load wp rocket

8. Use a WordPress Caching Plugin

Caching is by far one of the most important and easiest ways to speed up WordPress Performance.

But before I show you how to enable caching on your website, it’s important to first understand how it works.

What is Caching?

WordPress pages are “dynamic.” So whenever a user visits your site, WordPress has to run a process to find the required information, put it all together, and then display it to your user’s phone or computer screen.

Since the whole process of getting required information involves lots of steps, it can really slow down your site especially when multiple people are visiting your blog.

That’s where WordPress Caching plugin comes into play!

Once caching is enabled on your website, Instead of going through the whole page generation process every time, Your WordPress caching plugin makes a duplicate copy of the same page after the first load, and then serves that cached version to every subsequent user.

Therefore it reduces the amount of work required to generate a page view for your users.

As a result now your webpage load much faster, directly from cache.

Although there are many Free Caching plugins like – W3 Total Cache, WP Super Cache, Autoptimize and many others available for WordPress website.

Still, I recommend my readers to invest in a Premium Caching Plugin like WP Rocket.

Why?

Because WP Rocket comes with many more features than any other cache plugins. If you were to use another caching plugin that didn’t have these features, you would need to install 5-6 extra plugins, while WP Rocket has all these features built-in.

WP-Rocket-Features

You can also check my WP rocket review to see how It cut My Page Load Times By 46%.

So, if you are like me who wants to use only one plugin then definitely invest in WP rocket otherwise you always have the option to install a Free Cache plugin and then download other additional plugins to fully utilize the power of caching.

WordPress Performance Optimization Best Practices

After optimizing your images and using a caching plugin, you’ll notice your site will start loading a lot faster than before.

But there are lots of other things that still need to be done to make your site as fastest as possible.

Below I am going to list some of the best WordPress Performance Optimization Practices that will prevent some common problems that slow down your website.

9 Use the Latest Versions of WordPress and Its Components

As a well maintained open source project, WordPress CMS gets updated frequently. Each update comes with new features, bug fixes and much more. They make your website run more smoothly and prevent it from slowing down.

Keeping your WordPress CMS up to date is not only necessary for speed but also for security reasons.

With the latest version of WordPress along with your all themes and plugins, you also make sure all known vulnerabilities are fixed.

So, as a website owner, It’s your responsibility to keep your WordPress CMS and all other plugin and themes up to date to the latest version.

Not doing so will not only make your site slow and unreliable but also make your site vulnerable to security threats.

Read also – The Definitive Guide To WordPress SEO In 2020


10. Split Comments into Pages

Getting lots of comments on your blog post is a good thing because it means your blog readers are engaged with your content.

In fact, it is always seen that the most commented blog post are usually the most popular blog posts on anyone’s blog.

However, have you ever noticed that the blog post with lots of comments loads slower than the blog post with fewer comments?

That’s because loading so many comments increases server load which eventually increases average page loading time.

So, how to solve this issue?

Well, in this scenario you can use the “comment pagination.”

Comment pagination basically means breaking the huge number of comments into multiple pages.

Although there are many plugins available for splitting comments but you don’t need to download any additional plugin for this simple task.

That’s because WordPress comes with a built-in solution, you just need to go to Settings » Discussion and check the box next to the “Break comments into pages” option.

Wordpress comment pagination

For more detailed instructions, you can check this article – how to paginate comments in WordPress.


11. Don’t Upload Audio/Video Files Directly to WordPress

Adding multimedia to your content certainly adds more value to your content and increase user engagement.

However, if you are directly uploading audio and video files to your WordPress website then you are making a big mistake.

If you are directly uploading videos to your site it will cost you more bandwidth.

If your site is hosted on a shared server, then sometimes just because of your this single mistake your hosting provider will suspend or temporarily shut down your site.

This is why it is always recommended to embed a Video rather than Uploading or Hosting on your own site.

Embedding a video means that you upload your video on any third-party video sharing site like Youtuber or Viemo and then get the embedding code from there and finally embed it in your own site.

If you are using Gutenberg editor then WordPress has given a special block to embed a video. You just need to select that block and paste your video URL and the video will be embedded automatically to your content.

Embed block gutenberg

12. Turn off pingbacks and trackbacks in WordPress

In the early days of WordPress, Pingbacks and trackbacks were introduced as a way for blogs to alert each about links.

Let’s suppose your friend write an article on his blog and added a link to a post of your blog in his/her content.

Then you will automatically receive a ping from your friend’s blog about the link.

This WordPress feature might be useful at that time but today this is commonly used by spammers to send thousands of fake trackbacks and pings.

Additionally in case a real person link to your content, you always have the option to check those links from your Google search console.

There can also be self-pingbacks that are created when you link your own article with each other.

I’ll recommend you to simply disable them as they generate worthless queries and additional spam on your site. 

Step 1 – Disable Pingbacks From Other Blogs

From your WordPress dashboard, Just go to Settings >> Discussion page and then uncheck the box next to ‘Allow link notifications from other blogs”. 

Disable pingbacks

Step 2 – Disable Self-Pingbacks

Disabling self pingback is also pretty easy, you just need to download a FREE plugin called No Self Pings plugin.

Disable self ping back

13. The Lowdown on WordPress Plugins

With a WordPress website plugins are also one of the biggest culprits for a slow site. If you are using too many plugins on your blog then it is obvious that your site will load very slow.

So, It is always recommended to use only few plugins that are actually good and necessary for your website.

Let me help you out in reducing the number of waste plugins on your blog.

See, firstly you have to understand that when it comes to plugins, it’s not just a matter of the number of plugins.

You can have 50 plugins installed on your site and still have a faster website than someone who has installed only 10 plugins on their site.

Confused?

See, the number of plugins is not always important, but there’s something in their quality as well. 

There are many poorly coded WordPress plugin that loads too much bloat whether your site needs it or not.

List of Some Popular slow loading WordPress Plugins:

Contact Form 7
AdSense Click Fraud Monitoring
Better WordPress Google XML Sitemaps
Broken link checker
Constant Contact for WordPress
Contextual Related Posts
Digi Auto Links
Disqus Comment System
Divi builder
Essential Grid
Fuzzy SEO Booster
Google XML Sitemaps
Jetpack
NextGEN Gallery
NewStatPress
Reveal IDs
Revolution Slider
S2 member
SEO Auto Links & Related Posts
Slimstat Analytics
Similar Posts
SumoMe
VaultPress
Visual Composer
WooCommerce
WordPress Facebook
WordPress Related Posts
WordPress Popular Posts
WP Statistics
WP Power Stats
wpCloaker
WPML
Yet Another Related Post Plugin
Yuzo Related Posts

If you are using any of the plugins from the above list, then consider uninstalling it from your site,.

Next thing you can do to minimize the number of plugins is finding the alternate way to add the plugin features into your website without installing that specific Plugin.

Example 1: If you are using Yoast or Rank Math SEO plugin then you can generate your website sitemap without installing the Google XML Sitemaps plugin. Which means now you don’t need an extra plugin just to generate the sitemap.

Example 2: Instead of installing a separate Google analytics plugin you can insert the tracking code directly in the footer or header of your site and check your site analytics directly on Google analytics official site.

Example 3: Instead of installing a social sharing button plugin for social share, Social Follow plugin for adding Social follow widget, Click to tweet plugin to add Click to Tweet boxes in your blog, you can simply use a one and only social snap plugin for the all these uses.


14. Optimize your homepage to load quickly

Your homepage is one of the most important page on your website because people will be landing there the most often.

That means you need to pay more attention to your homepage to ensure it loads quickly.

Here are few easy things you do to optimize your homepage to load it quickly.

(a) Use Excerpts on Homepage

By default, WordPress displays the full content of each blog post on your homepage and archives pages.

This means your homepage and other archive pages like categories and tags will take more time to load as your site will need to make too many requests to load full content.

Apart from slow website speed, another main downside of showing full content on your homepage is that users don’t feel the need to visit the actual article.

This will reduce your overall page views and the time your users spend on your site.

So, in order to increase WordPress speed and performance, you can set your site to display excerpts instead of the full content.

To do that navigate to the Settings >> Reading and select “For each article in a feed, show: Summary” instead of “Full Text.”

Blog post summary vs full

(b) Limit Posts on Your Homepage Feed

Whether you have set your blog feed as your homepage or a separate page, you don’t need to load 50 posts at the same time on the same page.

The fewer requests and media your homepage will load, the faster it’ll load.

Also, this precisely why pagination was invented. Pagination is what you see at the end of blog feeds that allow you to browse to the next page to see more pots.

Typically these are numbers or some website might have “next/previous” posts as pagination. Your WordPress theme will most likely already have a customized pagination design.

To control your blog posts counts, you can go to “Settings >> Reading” and from here you can change the value for “Blog pages show at most.”

Blog post count

I’ll recommend you keep it somewhere around 4-5 posts per page for better performance…


(c) Get rid of Sidebar from your website

Sidebar is the one of the most valuable space on your website. You can use it to showcase related content your users like Popular posts of your site, advertisements, email list signup forms, social media profiles, etc.

But frankly speaking, sidebar isn’t helpful for every website. It’ll not only slow down your website but also can distract visitors from your main page content.

In my case, I ditched sidebar from my blog more than a year ago.

Why?

Because they were not of any use on my site. The average conversion I was getting from my opt-in form in the sidebar was very low. On top of that after using heat map on my site, I noticed only few people are actually clicking on the link of my appearing in my sidebar.

And after removing the sidebar from my site, my bounce rate and average user duration have also increased these days. (however, there are many reasons for this better result but removing sidebar is one of them)

So, you have to also decide whether the sidebar on your site is actually helpful or not. If not then it’s better to get rid of them.

If you are using a good theme like Generatepress then you’ll already have a built-in option to control sidebar on your blog.

generatepress sidebar controling

Otherwise, you can use a free plugin like Widget Disable to get rid of of sidebar from your website.


Fine Tune WordPress For ven Better performance

If you have applied all the WordPress speed optimization techniques listed above, then by now you should see a big improvement in your site’s loading times.

But as I said in the beginning of this post, here my motive is to share everything you need to know to improve your website loading speed.

Now I am going to share some more speed optimization techniques that are little more technical, with some requiring you to modify your site files or have a basic understanding of PHP.

15. Clean up your database

After using WordPress for a while, your database will have a tremendous amount of unnecessary files that you probably don’t need anymore.

So, It is necessary to delete spam comments, trackbacks, database tables, pingbacks, transients, and hundreds of post revision and old drafts of your content that have accumulated over time which WordPress stores automatically.

If you are using WP Rocket (Cache plugin) then deleting unwanted data from your database is very easy just go to the Database section and from there you can delete all the unwanted junks.

WP-Rocket-Database-Tab

For those who are not using WP rocket Plugin, they can use the free WP-Optimize plugin to clean their database.

Clean-Database

16. Limit Post Revisions

Whenever you save a post in WordPress it creates an automatic revision. This occurs both in the case of drafts and published contents that are updated.

Revision can be useful if you want to revert back to a previous version of your content, On the other hand, it can also affect the performance of your WordPress site.

If you are updating your blogpost frequently then this can add up unnecessary thousands of rows in your database.

So, it is always recommended to limit the post revision for your WordPress post and pages.

You can easily limit the number of revision WordPress keeps for your site by adding the following code to your wp-config.php file.

define( 'WP_POST_REVISIONS', 5 );

Note: Don’t forget to replace the number 5 with the number of revision you want to keep for your site.


17. Disable hotlinking of images

Hotlinking basically means using an image in your content that is not hosted on your own site.

Instead of uploading an image on your own server and then including it from your own media library, you just provide a link to another site and serve your images directly from their URLs on your website.

hotlinking
Image credit – keycdn

If your content gets popular then this might start happening with you too. Now people who are using your image that’s hosted on your server for their own websites are stealing your website bandwidth and slowing your site down.

To prevent other sites from hogging your bandwidth, simply add the following code into your .htaccess file.

#disable hotlinking of images with forbidden or custom image option
RewriteEngine on
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^$
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^http(s)?://(www\.)?bloggingnova.com [NC]
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^http(s)?://(www\.)?google.com [NC]
RewriteRule \.(jpg|jpeg|png|gif)$ – [NC,F,L] 

Detailed Guide on Hotlinking – How to Prevent Image Hotlinking in WordPress


18. Fix Broken Links

Broken links in your content may not slow down your site, but it will always affect your website user experience, therefore it is necessary to pay close attention to them.

However, if broken link found in your CSS, JavaScript and image URLs can negatively affect your website speed too.

That’s why it is always suggested by the professionals that you should Scan your links on a regular basis and fix broken ones as soon as you find them.

Broken link are commonly found in image source files, which happens when the image links are wrong.

When there is a broken link present in your image, 404 error appears and because of the error, it sends a wasted HTTP request to your server which makes your website slower.

Just like image, broken links can also found in the CSS link tags and JavaScript source URL.

Just like images, if your CSS file is not where you have linked to, an unnecessary HTTP request will be generated and it will return with a 404 code. 

Although there are many free broken link checker tools like brokenlinkcheck.com & .deadlinkchecker.com are available.

Still, sometimes these Free tools are not able to catch all the broken links, so the best way to check for them is to use SEMRush tool.

Recommended Reading – 10 ways SEMrush can drive more traffic to your site


19. Compress your website with gzip

If you have ever compressed a file into Zip file on your computer then you must be aware of how much that method can reduce the size of files.

You might be surprised to know that you can apply the same with your website too after all a WordPress website is nothing but a number of files. 

Enabling compression with Gzip is considered as the best and most effective practice to minimize HTTP requests and reduce response time.

After enabling Gzip compression your website, all the files on your website will be automatically compressed in a Zip File.

This will significantly reduce the total size of your file and the bandwidth usage which helps in boosting your website speed.

These days many hosting companies are implementing Gzip server-side, so if your host has implemented Gzip on their server then congrats you don’t need to do any additional configurations.

But how to know if Gzip is enabled on your site or not?

Well, there is a free online tool called “Varvy”, this tool can easily help you know whether GZIP is enabled on your site or not.

You just need to enter your website URL and if gzip is enabled you’ll see the result something like this.

Gzip compression

But if the result is negative, don’t worry it’s pretty easy to enable Gzip compression on your site.

Note: If you are using WP rocket Plugin, then you don’t need to worry about GZIP compression because it is completely automated in WP Rocket.

However, if you are not using a cache plugin then you can simply add the following piece of code to the .htaccess file in your root directory.

<IfModule mod_deflate.c>
# Compress HTML, CSS, JavaScript, Text, XML and fonts
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/javascript
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/rss+xml
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/vnd.ms-fontobject
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/x-font
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/x-font-opentype
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/x-font-otf
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/x-font-truetype
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/x-font-ttf
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/x-javascript
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/xhtml+xml
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/xml
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE font/opentype
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE font/otf
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE font/ttf
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE image/svg+xml
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE image/x-icon
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE text/css
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE text/html
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE text/javascript
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE text/plain
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE text/xml

# Remove browser bugs (only needed for really old browsers)
BrowserMatch ^Mozilla/4 gzip-only-text/html
BrowserMatch ^Mozilla/4\.0[678] no-gzip
BrowserMatch \bMSIE !no-gzip !gzip-only-text/html
Header append Vary User-Agent
</IfModule>

20. Disable everything that you don’t use

It is always recommended to disable all the unnecessary features & settings in WordPress that consume CPU and slow down your site.

WP Disable is a very good plugin for this task that allows you to disable everything that you don’t use and it still takes lots of resources.

WP-Disable-Requests
WP-Disable-Tags-Settings
WP-Disable-SEO
WP-Disable-Others

21. Enable Expires Headers

Expires headers basically tell the browser whether they should request a specific file from the server or whether they should get a copy of the web page from the user’s browser’s cache.

Of course, it will only help those users who already have a copy of your web page stored in their browser’s cache. Which means it will only speed up your site for the users who have already visited your site in the past.

Expire headers decrease the page loading time in two ways.

Firstly it reduces the number of the same files they need to download twice. Secondly, it decreases the HTTP request that needs to made, further reduces the time it takes for the server to communicate with the browser.

How to add expire header?

Most of the cache plugins have an inbuilt option to add expire headers for your site.

Like if you are using WP Rocket or W3 total cache then you just need to enable the “Add Expire Header” option and you are all set…

Expire header
Expire header option in W3 Total cache

However in case if your cache plugin does not have an option to add expire header then you can simply add the following code into your .htaccess file.

<IfModule mod_expires.c>
ExpiresActive on
ExpiresByType text/css "access plus 60 days"
ExpiresByType text/javascript "access plus 60 days"
ExpiresByType image/ico "access plus 60 days"
ExpiresByType image/jpg "access plus 60 days"
ExpiresByType image/jpeg "access plus 60 days"
ExpiresByType image/gif "access plus 60 days"
ExpiresByType image/png "access plus 60 days"
ExpiresByType text/css "access plus 60 days"
ExpiresByType text/html "access plus 60 days"
</IfModule>

Recommended Reading: 15 Things I Wish I Had Known Before I Started Blogging


22. Take Advantage of File Minification

Minification sounds very fancy na? but it is a pretty simple and genius concept.

See, if you have ever looked at a code file such as a CSS stylesheet, you might have noticed that all the codes are usually neatly formatted and organized to make it readable.

For example:


 /* nova code styling
----------------------------------*/
#nova {
  font-size: 1em;
  color: red;
}

Now as you can notice in our above example, here we have used Comments and formatting to make our code easier to read & understand for humans. 

But unfortunately, the computers and browser that process the code don’t need it to look that way. 

For them, all of it can go in one shot and they will still be able to execute the code flawlessly.

So, if we were to minify this code, it would appear more like this:

#nova{font-size:1em;color:red;}

That means that unnecessary whitespace, comments, long functions, and variable names make the file larger than they actually need to be. And as we have already learned, larger files are equal to longer download time and it takes longer time to load.

Now the question is how to minify all the codes of your site?

Well, there are several ways to minify your files but if you are using WP Rocket plugin then the whole process is fairly simple.

You just need to go to the “File optimization” tab and tick mark the files you want to minify and combine.

 WP rocket

23. Load Google Font from Local

Most of the website owners use Google fonts on their website because it is free and has many choices.

However, if you are using Google Font then you might have noticed that page speed testing tools like Gtmetrix or Pingdom showing Google Font errors on your site.

Google-Fonts-GTmetrix copy

but why?

Well, because you can’t control some external resources like “Google fonts”, which makes them impossible to compress, minify, or optimize.  Since they are hosted on a third-party server which blocks page loading and slows the website down.

This is where loading Google Fonts locally comes into play. 

Once your Google font is hosted on your own server, you’ll have full control over them and your site will not have to make the additional external requests.

Here is how you can host your Google Font Locally:

Step 1: Visit the Google Fonts website and select the type of fonts you want to use on your site.

Google font
  • Don’t use too many fonts (fewer fonts = fewer requests).
  • The number of font weights also affects load times, so select only necessary font-weight.

Step 2: Now download the selected font.

Google font download

Step 3: Now you’ll need to go to Transfonter to convert your font files (.ttf) to web font files.

Transfronter

Step 4: Once your file is converted download your file.

Transfronter

Step 5:  Now you have to upload Font Files to your Server.

From your cPanel, Go to the wp-content/uploads folder and create a “fonts” folder and upload them there.

Step 6: Now go to Appearance -> Customizer -> Additional CSS. Add the following font face based on your web fonts.

@font-face {
  font-family: "Muli";
  src: url("http://www.bloggingnova.com/wp-content/uploads/fonts/Muli-Regular.woff2")
      format("woff2"),
    url("http://www.bloggingnova.com/wp-content/uploads/fonts/Muli-Regular.woff")
      format("woff");
  font-weight: 400;
  font-style: normal;
}

@font-face {
  font-family: "Muli";
  src: url("http://www.bloggingnova.com/wp-content/uploads/fonts/Muli-Bold.woff2")
      format("woff2"),
    url("http://www.bloggingnova.com/wp-content/uploads/fonts/Muli-Bold.woff")
      format("woff");
  font-weight: 700;
  font-style: normal;
}

Note: Don’t paste the exact code this is an example of font hosted on my server. You’ll need to add code according to your font name, weight, and destination URL.

Step 7: Finally add the following CSS to define where you want to use which font on your site.

body
{
    font-family: "Muli", Arial, sans-serif;
    font-weight: 400;
    font-style: normal;
}

h1, h2, h3, h4, h4, h6 {
    font-family: "Muli", Arial, sans-serif;
    font-weight: 700;
font-style: normal;
}

Detailed tutorial How To Load Google Fonts Locally In WordPress


24. Use DNS Level Website Firewall

A normal Firewall plugin helps you block brute force attacks, malware, and other hacking attempts to keep your website safe and secure.

But unfortunately, all these normal firewall plugins are not much effective as they work as a filter for traffic once they’ve touched down on your site.

This type of firewall can be effective for security purposes but not optimal for the performance of your site.

That’s where you can apply the DNS level firewall on your website that routes traffic through a cloud proxy server.

firewall

Because the DNS level firewall works outside your server, it can actually help improve website performance.

You can use a complete security solution like Sucuri for applying the DNS level firewall on your website.

Once you use their service your all website traffic goes through their network and they will block all the malicious requests even before reaching your web server.

For more information on WordPress firewall check this guide by WP Buffs.


25. Minimize Redirects

First of all, let me explain how redirect affects your page speed.

Suppose you are in a restaurant and you want to go to the bathroom. You asked a restaurant staff about the location of the bathroom, he told you to go to XYZ place.

But when you reached there you are told that this bathroom is closed or moved to another place and you have to go to some other bathroom.

This is the same in the case of web redirection. Redirect makes your page speed slow because it is completely a waste of time to go to one place just to be redirected to another.

However, there are many good and legit reasons to have multiple redirects on a site but you have to always keep in mind that every unnecessary single redirect hurts your page speed.

So every single redirect you remove from your site will make your site faster.

How to check redirects?

You can check all the 301 and 302 redirects implemented on your site by using the redirect mapper tool.

Go through all the redirects and check where they are present on your site and make sure that they serve a necessary purpose.

Try to remove all the unnecessary redirects found on your site.


26. {Bonus} Use AMP (Accelerated Mobile page)

If you are getting poor website speed on the mobile device then you should definitely consider using AMP.

AMP stands for Accelerated Mobile Pages, It is Google’s very own project to help webmasters in boosting their website speed on mobile devices.

How it works?

The way it works is stripping away tons of unnecessary elements from your site and making your mobile page load faster…

It gives your site users a more streamlined experience on mobile devices without any unnecessary features that don’t look good on mobile.

How to implement AMP on your Website?

Well, AMp can be implemented on any WordPress site very easily with the help of a free plugin likeAMP for WordPress.

You may check this detailed guide on How to implement AMP on WordPress site.


How to Check Your WordPress Website Speed?

Some people often think that their website speed is great just because it loads fast on their computer.

But sorry to say this is a huge mistake.

The reason why your computer loads your site very fast because you spend lots of time on your site.

Confused?

See, since you frequently visit your blog, Your browser stores your website data in the cache and whenever you visit your site it automatically prefetches it and loads your site instantly.

However, For someone who doesn’t have the same data on their computer, they may not get the same experience.

Plus as we already discussed above, users visiting your site from different locations might also get different loading speeds.

That’s why I recommend you test your website loading speed with some excellent tools out there, specially made for this task.

1. GTMetrix

GTMetrix is a popular tool for measuring website page load time. It shows Yslow score to grade your site’s performance.

It displays your site performance summary at the top of the page, listing your page load time, page size, and the number of requests.

It also displays request details in the waterfall chart so you can identify all the problem and resolve with ease. 


2. Pingdom

Pingdom is a market-leading free website speed testing tool. 

It lets you test your site speed from the five different locations including Melbourne, San Jose, Texas, Sweden, and New York.

This tool displays an excellent summary of the test result including Performance grade, response code, content size and more insights to identifying potential improvements


3. Google PageSpeed Insights

Google page speed insight is Google’s very own speed testing tool that helps you measure the performance of a website for mobile devices and desktop devices.

It displays page speed score ranging from “0 to 100.” A higher score is always better and a score of 80 or 80+ indicates that your site is performing well.


4. Webpage Test

Webpage Test is also a similar Free online tool that allows you to test your website loading time.

However, this tool is little different from those previous tools as it lets you test your website performance from multiple locations worldwide, as well as from one or multiple browsers like Chrome, Opera and Firefox.

It shows you time taken to load your site on first view as well as time taken to load on repeat view.

All these advanced features make this tool a little more useful.


Are Your Ready to Speed Up WordPress?

The biggest advantage of speeding up your site is that it’ll help tremendously in delighting your blog visitors with lightning-fast user experience.

Furthermore, Google also gives the first preference to a site that loads very fast. So if your site loading time is good then your website will also perform better in Google search results.

I hope this article helped you learn how to increase Website speed and performance.

Go ahead and try out all the above-shared website speed optimization techniques.

Don’t forget to test your website before and after implementing these techniques. You are going to be surprised after seeing your site performance result.

What other’s are reading on Bloggingnova – Top 10 website hpsting comparision of 2020 (Surprising result!)

DO I miss anything in this guide?

If so, I’d love to hear it from you. Let us know your favorite ways to speed up WordPress website.

My name is Shivam Choudhary, and I’m the founder of Bloggingnova. A blog that helps people start and grow their blog through high-quality actionable content and resources. You can join our Facebook Community to stay connected with other like-minded bloggers.

Follow Shivam on Twitter

7 thoughts on “25 Actionable Tips to Increase Your Website Speed (2019 GUIDE)”

  1. Thank you for this awesome post, you touched every part of speed aspect one could ever think of. i will work on my blog speed with these tips.
    Thank for sharing such an amazing post!

    Reply
  2. Hi Shivam,

    I agree with you that we should invest in a good web hosting company to improve our site speed. Few days back, I migrated my site to WPX hosting and then I noticed that without using any caching plugin, my site speed improved by 90%.

    And after installing WPRocket, my site speed improved a lot. Now it’s under 1.5 second (in GTMetrix) and under 1 second (in Pingdom Result).

    That’s why I highly recommend everyone to invest in a good web hosting company like SiteGround or WPX and install a cache plugin like WPRocket.

    BTW, which web hosting company are you using Shivam?

    Regards,
    Sumit Sao

    Reply
    • Thanks Sumit for checking out our blog post.

      I totally agree with you that hosting and Caching plugin plays a very important role in Website speed.

      And yes you asked about my hosting, As of now, my blog is hosted on Siteground…

      Reply
  3. Let us see the usual services offered by most of the SEO companies. They are effective link building,keyword research, content development etc but actually do they see the speed of the particular web page. The speed of the website is the most desirable factor as per the Google ranking. There are lots of Companies that actually ignore hits important and fail to generate traffic and ranking as well. Let us see what are different ways to optimize website page speed.

    Reply
  4. Hello Shivam,

    That’s an awesome tutorial on how to increase the page speed of a blog. In this fastest technology world, nobody likes to visit a blog that loads very slowly. Even Google also consider it as a ranking factor. Using a CDN with reliable web hosting solutions can help you to speed up your website. Excellent post buddy.

    Regards,
    Vishwajeet

    Reply
  5. Hey Shivam,
    This is the most informative blog post I have found on the internet about increasing website speed.
    Even if I have my own blog, I know nothing about WordPress or coding but, with your guidelines, I could add some necessary codes to my .htaccess file and improve the performance of my blog.
    However, “Disable hotlinking of images” didn’t work for me. When I added that code to my .htaccess file, all my blog images were hidden.
    Hope you’ll have a fix for that too.
    Thanks again for sharing this great post, and I will definitely share this with my followers.

    Reply

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