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10 Simple Ways to Make Your WordPress Site Faster


  1. Vinny O'Hare says:

    Great stuff!

    One of the biggest slowdowns I am seeing is people embedding social media buttons using the Javascript code from the social networks. One one of my new sites I put the latest Tweets and the Facebook embed in the sidebar that shows a few post and how many likes the site has and it took about 13 seconds longer to load. In milliseconds this is a nightmare.

    While having the social proof is important for this site it isn’t worth that. They were replaced with a text link.

    • Yep – the social plugins were definitely one of the ones I had in mind when I said to test the performance and find a better performing one if it’s causing slow load time. They’re typically also guilty of adding “new” features when they get popular that increase page load. I’ve been in search for a better solution for those overall. It would help some if the native network buttons weren’t so ugly – causing the need for a style sheet to make them less ugly. :)

  2. Using a static site generator will give a huge performance boost.

    Another option is to use better hosting. It won’t fix your friend with 175 requests. But Varnish is amazing!

    • I hadn’t heard much about static sites.I looked it up and don’t think it would be for this site, but can definitely see where it would have its uses.

      For anyone curious, I read this piece on static sites and found it very informing. :)

      Also, I agree on better hosting. Though, I will say there are different considerations for everyone there. But if you’re using a basic $4 a month package, yeah, in almost all cases, upgrading your package or changing will help. For me, I also have to look at control and support with hosting as well. WP Engine is fast, but it’s managed and for control freaks like me, that’s not an option. Haha. My main host I’ve been with for over a decade. They’re pretty fast, but I’m sure I could still gain some milliseconds elsewhere, but their support is second to none and I could never see leaving them or not using them for my most important sites. But, I’m also not using their $4 plan. :)

  3. Brian Johnson says:

    Rae, always great to your your Saturday email. My two recommendations would be Dyn DNS for those who can afford the service it will speed the delivery of your domain request and the initial domain request. Lots of milliseconds to be gained. Varnish. find a hoster that uses varnish for cache. Server side Varnish caching will put a blower motor on your hosting server, faster pages and less server resources per page load. When I went to Varnish with w3total cache in WordPress we saw page load times in the browser cut in half. And we can double the connections to the database because of the resource savings.

    • Thanks Brian – glad you find them helpful. :)

      Re Dyn DNS, I just want to make sure you meant this service. I was expecting a heavy price tag due to your disclaimer, so I wanted to double check after seeing that their smallest plan is only $5 a month. However, looking at the plans, it would seem most would probably fall into their $30 per month level, which, then yeah, makes it a somewhat hefty cost for individual bloggers and small business owners. I’ll wait for your confirmation that it’s the service you were referring to, but I’m totally willing to give it a try and see what the results are.

      Re Vanish – it’s on my list to check out because I see something in the admin of every caching plugin about hooking it up. For those following along, this was a great article for me in understanding what Vanish is. Now to find time to test it out. :)

  4. Meg Geddes says:

    We’ve had pretty good results shoving everything we possibly can into Google Tag Manager and serving it from there. CSS, Javascript, Analytics stuff, Remarketing stuff, Google fonts, AdSense and other ad network async javascript, commenting systems – you name it. Every little bit helps.

    • I admit I haven’t done much with Google Tag Manager… always thought of it as purely a PPC thing… Guess I better ask Sean what can be shoved into it :D

  5. Jonathan Hochman says:

    Two huge tips:

    1. Reduce the number of http requests. If you have a rack of icons or images next to each other, merge them into one image. Ten small images take longer to load than one image that’s ten times as big.

    2. Get rid of all the mystery JavaScript that’s loaded with social sharing widgets. Facebook is a prime offender. Instead, code your own widgets that use URL parameters instead of JavaScript. Look for “social sharing buttons without JavaScript”.

    • Re #1 – very nice. Re #2 – I like Vinny’s earlier idea above of simple styling standard text links for that. Am putting that on my list of things to test out.

  6. Thanks a bunch.
    I only used a couple of your suggestions – limit post revisions, remove query strings and emojicons and went from 3.6s to 2.0s with GMetrix.
    Love your posts – always super useful.

    • Glad to hear it Bo! This all started for me with my cousin’s site, which is a local small business. He needed to be fast on mobile since the large majority of his traffic is mobile. I’ve got him down to a 300ms’ish load time. :)

  7. Jason Diller says:

    Hey there. Good post. I’m from Jersey, and I haven’t been on your site in a while. It looks awesome. Anyway…

    I’m a big fan of http://www.webpagetest.org/ and our agency, http://www.thedsmgroup.com/ uses https://wpengine.com/ for hosting.

    And this guy, http://www.markdescande.com/ , randomly from South Africa, has amazing content on his site on speeding up WordPress websites. All actionable stuff.

    • I know WP Engine is a good company, but I can’t get past the managed part personally. I’m too much of a control freak. :)

      • Jason Diller says:

        My developer thought the same thing. He wasn’t happy I explored moving us over, along with all of our clients… but I think with their recent round of funding, they’re going to be in a good place. We’ve been happy, and we’re total control freaks as well. My developer uses cloudflare for some stuff as well… but we’ve found the hosting to be worth the price. It’s expensive, but fast… and their support is very “texas”, not “new jersey” – ie: they’re nice :)

        • Yeah – I just can’t get past not being able to decide what files I can touch, or what plugins I run. However, I’ve always heard good things and I know their VP of Web Strategy and he’s always saying he loves it there and they’re good people. :) I’ve been with my main host, Netwisp, for over a decade and I just can’t give up their support staff. I know other hosts have great support staffs, but my host goes above and beyond the call of duty. It’s one of the few things I’ll sacrifice some milliseconds for (IF I even do LOL). They respond quick as hell (like, seriously) and are so damn helpful. I also can’t count the number of times they’ve saved my ass on things. ;-)

  8. Susan Handes says:

    Thanks for this Rae – it’s prompted me to do an audit of the sites I manage.

    I looked at Better Delete Revision plugin and it hasn’t been updated for a year and is untested with the current version of WordPress. I am usually reluctant to install a plugin that is not updated regularly for security concerns. I get that it’s a free plugin and authors have competing priorities but I’ll try out a couple of the other plugins that appeared when I searched for Better Delete Revision, just to be on the safe side.

    • I haven’t had any issues with it and it’s not an ongoing plugin. You install, delete the currently stored revisions and then deactivate and delete it as you’ll be controlling future revisions via the WP-config file. :) but I’d imagine any plugin that does the same thing (deletes the old revisions) will work. :)

    • Not all plugins need updates. Better Delete Revision is incredibly simple. It’s only one file (and a pretty short one). Sometimes there’s just flat out nothing to update because the plugin is so simple and still works perfectly.

  9. Susan Handes says:

    I hadn’t understood that part of the process – I have yet to take the leap to revise WP-config files which is probably why I’m undecided too. I have had a look at the link from this article, it still seems daunting. Which a lot of things did a couple of years ago when I first started with WordPress!

    Thanks for the quick reply too.

    • No problem. I’ve edited the post above to include a screenshot of where to put it. It’s super easy:

      1. Save a backup copy of your wp-config file
      2. Open the wp-config file you’ll be editing
      3. Copy the code in the code section above
      4. Paste it where the picture shows
      5. Save and upload

      If anything goes wrong, just upload the backup, overwrite the edited file and everything goes back to normal. Hope this (and the addition of the photo) helps! :)

  10. Dave @ Ultimate Azon Theme says:

    Awesome Tips Rae! I personally use the WP Smush plugin, LazyLoad XT, combine my CSS and Javascript files with the autoptimize plugin, use a CDN, and caching.

    I’m usually able to get most pages loading in under 1 second.

    Thanks so much for some new tips!!

    • Matty Pantaloons says:

      I’ve been considering checking out Autoptimize to see how it does at concatenating CSS and JS. I know Autoptimize has deferral options for JS, but that I already take care of in functions.php. It also moves inline CSS into one file, but I often do that manually too. I haven’t had a lot of success using WP Rocket for concatenating CSS or JS files though, so I might try it out.

  11. Wow, really nice article. Thanks a lot for the functions provided : gonna test them right away. As it’s been said in previous comments, scripts provided by social networks are a nightmare. It’s a pity really that customers want them so bad… I use addthis to keep it to one script only located in the footer secton but if anyone has a better way to make a site faster, please share it. PHP7 is also supposed to make WordPress sites twice as fast, but I didn’t dare to implement it yet.

  12. Terri Voltz says:

    Thanks for the tips. I appreciate the instructions on Removing query strings from static resources…I am definitely going to give this a try.

    I use WP Optimize to clean up old post revisions. I keep it disabled when I am not using it.

  13. Hi again,

    I just updated WordPress to the latest version (4.5) and it appears that removing the query string from static resources somehow made my sites back-office not working (no drop-down menus, no hhover effects, etc.). I don’t know if you guys experieced this as well but thought I ought to share this with you

  14. Chelsea says:

    Hi Rae,
    I just wanted to hop on and mention that The Blogger Network is moving away from waterfall ads for this very reason. Since you posted this, we have released new tech that not only increases revenue for bloggers, but also significantly decreases load time. Just wanted to give you a heads up that we have addressed this issue! :)

  15. Is Remove query strings from static resources not affect to adsense code and my adsense account?

    • No, it won’t affect AdSense or Analytics for that matter. It only removes the query strings from files you host. It’s never affected my AdSense or Analytics data. :)

  16. I used the Blogger Network (now known as Monumetrics) for a month or so. It’s a complete joke. No where near the cpms they promised. And I agree, their code sucks. I was getting slow page loads and blank ads from them. Quickly ditched them.

  17. Matty Pantaloons says:

    I can’t believe I’ve never tried Pingdom. Just signed up for an account – pretty sweet interface

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