For website visitors, there is little worse than a page that won’t load. After all, it can be hard to evaluate the quality of a business if you can’t even reach their website.
According to Google, website visitors expect a page to load in two seconds or less. Failure to meet this standard will result in visitors leaving your website at a higher than normal bounce rate. Even worse, engines like Google consider page performance as a key component of where your page ranks on a results page. Therefore, the slower your site load, the less likely it will rank at the top of the page.
Unfortunately, achieving a fast load time with WordPress hosting does require a few steps. We list these in further detail in this blog post.
Set The Performance Baseline
For those that already have a website up and running, it becomes crucial to determine how their content is currently performing to understand how to improve site load speed. Consider that performance varies by visitor’s geographic region, internet connection strength, and whether their browser caches your site, among other factors. Not to mention, page speed will vary depending on the amount and type of content on your site’s pages.
Website owners are encouraged to use an online tool to analyze the load time of their homepage. The value will then give users an idea of where improvements are necessary.
Select The Best Hosting Plan
A WordPress host is what stores all of the information on your website. After you sign up for a plan, all of your photographs, content, videos and other files exist on a server in the host’s data centre.
There are three distinct types of WordPress hosts that website owners encounter on the internet. Meaning, that it is up to the onus of each user to select a hosting provider and a plan that fits their bandwidth and performance needs. Shared hosting, dedicated hosting, virtual private server (VPS) hosting, and managed WordPress hosting options are all available from most WordPress hosts.
When it comes to WordPress hosting, you get what you pay for most of the time. These options let you host your website alongside several other websites on the same server. Because shared hosting prices are unbeatable, first-time WordPress users may choose this option to acquire traction online before upgrading. However, If your website receives a lot of traffic, hosting it on a dedicated server, where server resources are not shared.
A shared server could be problematic when uptime is critical. While shared hosting is inexpensive, sharing a server with others might cause CPU and RAM clogs. If another site consumes all of the server’s bandwidth, you’ll have a slow-running site/server with the possibility of downtime.
It’s worth investing in a hosting plan that gives you access to all of a single server’s resources to ensure your site has the best possible uptime and fastest load times.
Choose The Optimal Theme
WordPress themes aren’t all made equal; some designs operate much better than others. Therefore, even if your website user interface (UI) looks cool to the end-user, your efforts will be worth little if it takes too long to load.
Therefore, rather than selecting a beautifully designed theme (which has lots of code that must be loaded when someone visits your website), users should go for a minimalist approach and use a theme that provides the fundamental essentials.
Of course, you want the theme to be visually appealing too. For this reason, WP Engine’s premium WordPress themes, which are available to clients at no additional cost, can come in handy.
Manage Your Extensions
When it comes to WordPress plugins, quality trumps quantity. Too many plugins operating at once can slow down your website’s load times because each one is like a piece of mini-software. Even if you’re not utilizing a plugin, it may be using resources and doing unneeded work in the background, decreasing your load time.
Website owners can start by deactivating any plugins they know they won’t use again to address these concerns. After each deactivation, test your site, then delete these plugins after you’re sure everything is still working. Then, one by one, deactivate the plugins to check which ones affect page performance. Website owners can browse alternatives to their existing plugins that aren’t as time-intensive to load in a more hands-on approach.
Decrease Image Size
Another typical cause of slow WordPress sites is large graphics. Therefore, website owners can greatly improve the speed of their website by decreasing the size of their image files to the greatest extent possible without compromising quality. The idea is to save space while preventing people from squinting to see your graphics.
Photoshop or any other image-altering software can compress image files. Website owners may also use Smush or EWWW Image Optimizer, which are WordPress image optimization plugins that can further improve load time.