Improving WordPress Performance
Created On: 23 Jun, 2018: 09:25:36 - Tags : content management systems | website testing
IntroductionRecently I had the opportunity of working on improving the performance of a WordPress website for a customer. I will describe my experience in this blog post. Slow website loading times can distract your website visitors and discourage them from visiting your website again. If the website takes too long to load it can give the impression of a web site that is not well designed. It can also create a bad impression of the company. It is best to conduct a thorough performance tuning of your website before it is launched to the public. You can create a development version of your website and test it for performance. After it has been tested you can make the website live.
The popularity of WordPressWordPress is a very popular platform for hosting different types of websites. According to the article, What Code You Should Learn, over 19% of all websites are based on WordPress. WordPress has over 25,000 plugins and themes that perform just about any task you can expect of a website. 14 Surprising Statistics About WordPress Usage has some interesting statistics about WordPress.
Improving WordPress performanceThere are many factors that can slow down your WordPress website. Knowing exactly what is slowing down your website can be difficult. Fortunately there are several free on-line tools that can help you troubleshoot website performance problems. The level of information provided by these tools is amazing.
Process for tuning WordPress performanceThe process I used for tuning the performance of a WordPress website is very simple and can be described as follows. You need to run one or more on-line tools that analyse the performance of your website. These tools provide recommendations on how to improve your website. Implement these recommendations and run the tools again. Then implement the recommendations of these tools again. Continue doing this until the tool gives a good performance figure for your website. These tools can be used to analyse the performance of any website in general including WordPress based websites.
Tools for performance tuningSome of the tools used for performance tuning are:
- "Get Ready For Google's New Mobile Ranking Signal"
- Google Page Speed and YSlow tools. You can also export the performance report as PDF.
Common recommendations given by the toolsSome of the recommendations given by these tools are:
Minimize redirectsThis involves reducing the use of redirect Urls. Redirect urls are those urls that redirect to other urls. This increases page load times.
Minimize DNS lookupsThis implies reducing the number of host names that need to be looked up by the browser. This can be implemented by hosting all your web resources under a single host name.
Choose over @importThis implies linking your CSS files using links tags instead off CSS @import statements. Using link tags is preferable because certain web browsers load css files that are linked using @import statement at the bottom of the page.
Gzip and compress componentsThis implies compressing web page content before it is sent by the browser. Content that is compressed takes less time to be transmitted and also reduces the network bandwidth usage. This can be implemented in WordPress using plugins such as W3 Total Cache. In Apache server it can be achieved using the mod_gzip module. Once this module has been activated it can be configured using htaccess file.
Optimize and correctly display imagesThis implies ensuring that your images are compressed and are not larger than the required size. Images tend to be large in size and are one of the main bottlenecks of website performance. It is important to compress an image and resize it before serving it on your website. In WordPress this can be achieved using plugins such as EWWW Image Optimizer or Smush.it. Both these are excellent plugins that can resize and compress the files in WordPress media library. Alternately you can use a free online image compression tool
Use CSS SpritesA CSS Sprite is one large image that contains smaller images. CSS code is used to display images within a CSS sprite. CSS Sprites are specially useful for combining background images into a single image. The benefit of this is that it reduces the number of requests for individual images. The Spriteme website provides a useful on-line tool for creating CSS Sprites.
Monitor plugin performanceRemove the plugins you dont need. Having too many plugins on your site greatly reduces performance. You can also use the P3 performance profiler plugin to check which plugins are slowing down your website. This tip was suggested in a useful blog post titled "Speeding up WordPress load from 4.23s to 1.33s [Case Study]".
Use online validation toolsThe World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) is an organization that manages HTML standards. It has an excellent on-line tool that can be used to validate html documents. In WordPress you can validate each page and post of your website using the validated plugin. WordPress also has a useful plugin called Broken Link Checker, that can be used to check your website for broken page links.
Performance Unleashed: How To Speed Up WordPress Load Times is a useful article that describes how to improve WordPress load times. The optimization tips given in the article can also be applied to Non WordPress based websites. Best WordPress Hosting: Top 10 Comparison & Reviews is another useful article which reviews the best WordPress Hosting services.
ConclusionEnsuring good performance of your website is very important, especially if your website is the public image of a company and is visited by many visitors. Ensuring good performance of a website requires thorough research into tools and techniques of website development. Website Development is a useful skill to learn that is well worth the effort.
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- Developing WordPress plugins using Pak Php framework - Part 2
- Developing WordPress plugins using Pak Php framework - Part 1
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- WordPress Deployment with Jenkins and Redmine
- Tuning WordPress performance using Varnish
- Creating your own WordPress themes and plugins
- WordPress for small and medium businesses
- Some excellant Wordpress Plugins