You get them sometimes: those web pages that do not want to load, while a blank screen looks at you and you click on the Back button to watch in frustration to check if it is better elsewhere. Slow websites are a true neck breaker for website owners. People are in a hurry and will leave quickly rather than having to wait a minute to load a page. Google’s search engine also pays more importance to web pages that load quickly than slow loading pages, making that if webpages are slow your online visibility (SEO) may worsen.
But what do you do when your WordPress website loads slow? How do you let it run fast again? Below are a few good tricks but there are many more out there. If you really start hammering on your website you can improve it by at least 50% or more.
Ensure good web hosting.
One of the key ingredients for a quick website is a good hosting provider. The usual place where your website is stored is a shared server computer (unless you pay more and get your own server). That means there are many more websites running on the server, all of which get visitors. The more visitors, the more the server load there is and the slower the website can be. A good hosting provider ensures stable, fast servers which are regularly maintained. But besides the maintenance you have to make sure you choose a hosting package that is tailored to your needs. If your website pulls hundreds of thousands of visitors each month, then you need a package with more reserves than if you get a few visitors a day.
Be cautious with ‘heavy’ content.
Do you have many large images or other content on your website? Then it takes longer for pages with such content to load. Large images have a longer charge time than small images. So make sure that small images on your website are really very small (eg 300 pixels). You can automatically scale images by setting the width and height in CSS or HTML, but this doesn’t work. For a good performance, they must actually be scaled smaller. Use a photo-editing program or free programs like GIMP or IrfanView.
Enable caching of web pages.
Every time someone visits your website, they need to get the PHP source code of your website on the server abd load all the code and files on their harddisk. This conversion takes time – time you save if you already have HTML pages. The WordPress plugin WP Super Cache ensures that the pages are all ready – ready as in the so-called ‘cache’ ready, so they no longer need to be converted. This makes your site a lot faster and your visitors a lot happier.