5 quick changes to speed up your WordPress website

Speed up your WordPress website

Have you taken the time to speed up your website?

Have you considered the impact the speed of your website has?

If your website is slow, you will have annoyed any new visitors before you even get going!

They won’t see your beautiful design, and they certainly won’t read your brilliant content because they would have left your site before it’s even on the screen.

By speeding up your website, you will not only retain new visitors for longer, but you will actually increase the rate in which you gain new traffic.

This is because search engines rank your website for the quality and relevancy of your content, AND for how quick it loads.

That means that the faster your pages load, the more Google will like you, and the higher up the rankings you will find yourself.

How to test your website speed?

The quickest way to test your websites speed is to use Pingdom.

Pingdom allows you to enter any web address and it will give the page a rating based on it’s download speed and general performance.

It goes on to tell you areas that could be improved, e.g. here on StuffedWeb, I could make better use of browser caching.

Pingdom Page Speed Performance

How to speed up your website

#1. Delete your spam comments

This one is fairly obvious but very easily over looked.

A few comments won’t really make a difference to your website, but if you let the spam comments build up to thousands, then things will have a different story.

To remove your spam, just click the ‘spam’ link from the dashboard, then click the ‘Empty spam’ button at the top.

WordPress emptry spam buttons

#2. Delete your post revisions

This is a little less obvious, but every time you edit a post, WordPress will save the old version.

This means that each post is likely to have between 10 and 20 revisions each – especially if you edit within the WordPress admin!

Removing these will speed up your website considerably!

The easiest way to do this is to install the plugin ‘Better Delete Revision’ – This plugin hasn’t been updated for the past two years, but everything is in working order.

Once you have installed the plugin, go to ‘Settings’ > ‘Better Delete Revision’, then click the button ‘Check Revision Posts’ and delete them.

Better Delete Revision

#3. Clean up your plugins

Adding plugins to your website is one of the most detrimental things you can do.

However in almost all cases, this is unavoidable.

Instead, you need to keep the number of plugins you have installed on your website to a minimum.

Uninstall those that aren’t activated and consider removing any that don’t get used very often.

The fewer plugins you have, the better.

#4. Clean up your database

We have already made a start on this by removing spam comments and post revisions, however there is still more we can do to help the database.

The first thing you need to do is install WP-DBManager (I know… another plugin).

This will take care of pretty much all the cleaning for you.

Before we make any changes, you must take a backup of your database – this really is a must!

Go to Database > Backup DB in the left menu and click the ‘Backup’ button.

WPDBManager Backup screen

When your backup is complete, go into the ‘Optimize DB’ section, make sure everything has ‘Yes’ selected, then click ‘Optimize’ at the bottom.

Do the same for ‘Repair DB’.

Finally go to ‘Empty/Drop Tables’. In this section you all of your tables again. You need to go through each of those Table names and drop anything that relates to a plugin you have previously deactivated.

Unfortunately, deactivating a plugin doesn’t always mean it will clean up after itself, so go ahead and drop those extra tables from your database.

#5. Add caching to your website

Caching allows your website to save a static version of each of your pages onto your server, this file then get’s used when displaying your pages.

This means that the database won’t have to be accessed to display the content every time a new visitor arrives at your website; which in turn decreases the load time of your site dramatically.

To add caching to your website, you do need to install another plugin (last one – promise).

That plugin is called WP Super Cache.

Simply install the plugin, then go to Settings > WP Super Cache, make sure your on the ‘Easy’ tab then just turn caching on. Done.

WP Super Cache easy options settings

If you are more technically minded, then give W3 Total Cache a try as that does have better advanced features, but for now, WP Super Cache will do the job just fine.

Now it’s your turn

Speeding up your web pages doesn’t have to be a daunting task, you just have to stay on top of things by deleting spam, old post revisions and plugins.

Once you have the database and caching plugins installed, they can be set up to take care of themselves so no need to worry about them in the future.

Once you have made those changes, take a look back at Pingdom and see how much you have improved.

  • #6: Change out any plugins that rely on the timthumb.php image resizing file. Reason being, it’s a favorite hack attempt, and WordPress has image resizing built in now.

    #3a: Review your plugins to see if any can be changed out to others built by the same developer. Especially if you use a framework like Genesis (i.e. get Genesis-optimized plugins). Reason: they’ll be optimized to work together and have fewer call-ups to scripting and font libraries.

    #7: Install your own fonts and script libraries, don’t rely on CDN’s. Some people will disagree with me, but (combined with caching) it will improve your load speed tremendously when these are called up locally.

    • Great points Stephan! I completely agree with your points about the plugins. By keeping your plugin developers inline with your theme developers, theoretically you should have a much smoother installation.

      Your point 7 is very controversial, there are good arguments both for and against having a CDN, I think I would fall down the same side as you though. I find there are more issues with connecting to third party resources than connecting to your own.

      Thank you for your additions 🙂

      • re: CDN, definitely a double-edged sword, especially when you have plugins that are regularly updated and rely on the latest versions of jQuery, etc. And for the average DIY WordPress site owner, they just don’t have the know-how to evaluate their themes, plugins and other assets as they’re being updated so see where you can be more efficient. So having that third-party reliance is definitely helpful in those cases. Still, I prefer local storage (for our custom framework, that’s what we use)

  • I got another one for you: get good hosting! Especially for those of you using some of the more heavy-duty frameworks that run on top of WordPress, like Headway. Cool framework, it has a visual editor built in, but it’s resource-intense, so if you’re on a cheap, lousy hosting plan, it will slow up your site big-time.

    • Yes very good point! I was actually considering adding hosting into this list, but opted for hoping that some very smart person would add it into the comments 🙂 I was amazed at the difference not only in speed, but in service when you pay a little extra for your hosting package – It’s more than worth the costs.

      Good job Stephan, and sorry for the slow reply!

    • Suzanne Hazelton

      Thanks for the tip – I recently installed Headway and thought that the slowness of the site might be related to the installation.

  • Oh my god THANK YOU!!!!! Yes yes yes. Awesome article. I bookmarked this, and uh THANKS YOU’RE AWESOME.

  • really nice info

    i have some more info on this topic http://www.shouthard.com/speed-up-wordpress-website/ go to this link n see

  • Josh

    Hey Sam

    I lol’ed at suggestion 3 to reduce plugins, then suggestions 2,4 and 5 to add plugins. Makes sense though

    I ran the pingdom test on two sites I have, and both have 3 second load times because of the following request. I have no idea what it is, I’m not very technically proficient, do you have any idea why this is slowing my sites down?

    The culprit is: admin-ajax.php

    Thanks for your help

    • Haha I know, as I was writing it I was thinking exactly the same!

      Can you send me a link to your website? I’d happily run it through the Pingdom tool and take a look to see if I can get a little more detail on the culprit file.

      (it’s probably a case of it not connecting to a javascript file)

      Sam

      • Josh

        braziliangringo.com and reallifebh.com/pt are my two sites that I want to speed up. They’re on the same hosting account, does that effect the speed very much?

        • Hi Josh,

          Nope being on the same hosting account won’t be the problem. admin-ajax.php is a file that’s normally called within a plugin. It looks as if you either have a plugin that’s out of date, or just broken. I’d suggest you try turning off some plugins and running the pingdom test again to see if you can identify the culprit.

          I hope that helps!
          Sam

          • Josh,

            Any update on which plugin was the culprit? I am having the same problems.

          • Hey Jeremy,
            Try downloading the P3 plugin, that will let you know the load times of all your plugins – Make sure you remove it after you’ve found the culprit as the plugin reduces load time itself!

            – Sam

        • Mine was being caused by the wordpress popular posts plugin, I removed that and the load time dropped.

      • I’m also suffering from the same problem, site is http://www.doctorofcredit.com

  • Thanks for this. I was really able to speed up my website – some great tips!

    • That’s great news Bea! Thank you for letting me know – Sam

  • Suzanne Hazelton

    Really great tips. Thank you

  • Andrew Hewerdine

    I’ve been searching for a way to speed up my sites, and this is the first post I’ve seen out of about 30 or so that mentions cleaning up your post revisions. Everyone else talks about caching and advanced caching and minfiying javascript etc, but this is the only place I have found unique answers that have really helped me out. Thanks!

    • Andrew Hewerdine

      Such a simple thing, but I had 5000 revisions!

    • I’m very glad to hear that Andrew, thank you :). I’m surprised more people haven’t mentioned the post revisions, it makes a surprisingly huge difference!

      Another quick tip I picked up, you can actually limit the number of revisions WordPress keeps for each post, so you don’t need to run that plugin too much. Just add: define (‘WP_POST_REVISIONS’, 3); into your wp-config.php file – the 3 is how many revisions to keep, so you can increase or decrease that number as required.

      Hope that helps, and thanks for your comment!
      – Sam

  • DIGCMS

    For speed up your site you need choose right social button plugin, social share button will slow down your site.. I found nice article about this.
    http://wordpressapi.com/2013/06/05/social-button-slow-wordpress-site/

  • Brian

    First of all, awesome post. I found (I know…) a good plug-in for cleaning up plug-ins. It’s called P3 (Plugin Performance Profiler). I was able to find the culprit plug-in (WP Maintenance Mode) and get rid of it. It was making my site take an extra 30 seconds to load!

    P3 (Plugin Performance Profiler)
    P3 (Plugin Performance Profiler)
    P3 (Plugin Performance Profiler)

    • Brian

      Sorry for spamming the bottom of the comment block there! Feel free to delete it since it looks like I’m advertising…

      • Hi Brian,

        Very sorry for my delayed response. But I won’t be deleting your comment as that plugin is very useful! I would typically install it, use it, then remove it as it’s not the quickest of plugins out there. But still VERY useful for identifying that one plugin that can be adding seconds onto your load time.

        Thanks for the comments!
        Sam

    • This one helped me so much. Instantly knew which two plug-in’s where practically killing my site. I had a friend (who knows nothing about websites say to me your blog is slow..is that normal)…so I freaked out!

  • Flystewie

    Thanks this helped so much :D. Im a new blog so anything to help in the beginning is a must !!

    • Glad it helped Flystewie! And good luck with your blog! 🙂

  • Hi Sam,

    I have been a latest fan of your blog and from yesterday i am following your posts.

    I would like to recommend optimize db plugin instead of db manager if someone is looking to only optimize database.

    I would also recommend checking google page speed test as well apart from pingdom tools as google page speed also lets you know if your hosting is lagging and how you can minify other css.

    W3 Total cache is more recommended because it has minify tools, expire header and many other technical stuff which make it quite superior.

    Lastly i would not recommend Godaddy shared hosting for wordpress. Many of our clients have faced slowness problems on Godaddy even though our code was quite good and clean. Its better to go with justhost,hostmonster,bluehost, hostgator and the likes.

  • Excellent post bro.
    http://technodesh.com

  • Arun

    Thank you so much… i used all these things in my website http://www.indiageeks.in and now its super fast. Thanks a lot….

    • Great to hear Arun! Thanks for letting me know.
      – Sam

  • Josh

    Deleting revisions has no effect on your site’s performance whatsoever.

    • Hey Josh. The revisions all count as database entries. Some websites that have been running for a while and regularly update their content can have tens of thousands of additional database entries. When it gets to this size, it can delay the time it takes to return the content. For a new website, or one that isn’t updated that regularly it won’t be an issue, but older ones it can make a difference.

      • Josh

        We’ll have to agree to disagree. Modern relational databases like mySQL and MSSQL use very efficient B-tree indexes with O(log N) performance in order to avoid “table scans” which would be O(N). They can scale to millions of rows in a table before revisions made a noticeable impact on the performance of your site.

  • Nice information on there. Worth a read for anyone looking on a few more ways to speed up websites.
    Good job! And thanks for the comment.
    – Sam

  • Enzo Testa

    Comment spam can slow your site down tremendously. These 5 tips you mentioned here are good pointers.

  • Thank you!

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  • Hidayat

    I’ve done it, but the speed test results are not much like change.
    What should I do?
    http://manggale.com

  • Ahaa, seu agradável conversa sobre este artigo neste lugar neste página da web ,
    eu li tudo isso, então neste momento me também comentando aqui .

  • Namio Kay

    I personally use WP Optimize (https://wordpress.org/plugins/wp-optimize/ )for cleaning my database, which is a great plugin to check out as well. Also, try removing plugins and unused Javascript files, a tip I found here: http://www.giftofspeed.com/speed-up-wordpress/