July 26, 2022

22 Effective Ways To Speed Up Your WordPress Website

Are you looking for ways to speed up your WordPress site? Whether you’re experiencing loading time issues or just want to improve the overall user experience, there are many things you can do. In this post, we’ll show you 22 effective ways to speed up your WordPress site. We’ll also provide tips on how to measure your site’s loading speed and track improvements. Let’s get started!

Why WordPress Speed Optimization?

According to recent reports, WordPress has 40% of all website market share. More than 500 WordPress websites are created every day. If you’ve used WordPress, you know it has plenty of helpful features. However, if your site loads slowly, you could lose customers. It can also directly affect your site’s bounce rate, user experience, and conversion rate. Because of this, it is essential to be proactive about optimizing your website’s speed.

How to Measure WordPress Site Speed


pingdom website speed test The best way to measure your WordPress site’s speed is to use a website speed test tool. You enter your site’s URL into the tool, which provides you with your WordPress Site performance, including load speed. Some tools will require you to set up a free account with an email address. Some good free site speed tools include:

  • GTmetrix – see what is slowing down your site and get optimization tips.
  • Pingdom – check your site loading speed and learn how to make it faster.
  • Google PageSpeed Insights  – enter your site and see how it performs on mobile and desktop devices.
  • Fast or Slow – if you have a global audience, Fast or Slow is a good choice since it tests from multiple locations around the world.

These are three key metrics to consider:

  • Test Location – run a test from a location closest to your customers. If your customers are all over the world, try testing from multiple locations.
  • Device – you’ll want to test both desktop and mobile devices. More than 50% of people today browse the internet on a mobile device, and some surveys show that as many as 80% of mobile users make purchases on their mobile device.
  • Connection speed – keep in mind that a visitor’s connection speed can affect how quickly the site loads. So choose a speed that you think your site visitors may use.

As a rule, a page load time under three seconds is decent for desktop and mobile devices. However, it is better to aim for a time under two seconds if you want to maximize your chances of keeping visitors on your site.

How To Improve WordPress Site Speed

Now that you know how to measure your site’s website speed, here are 22 steps to improve your WordPress site’s loading time.

1. Use Fast WordPress Hosting

If your web hosting is slow, there is a high risk that any other front-end WordPress performance optimization steps you take to boost your website’s speed will be a waste of time. Using WordPress-optimized hosting will give your site a better performance. While shared hosting has plenty of benefits (“unlimited” bandwidth, email hosting, domains, etc.), it can slow your site down since you would be “sharing” a server with other people’s websites. For speeding up your site, we recommend managed WordPress hosting such as Flywheel, Kinsta, and WPEngine. They’re more costly than other hosting options, but the benefits are worth it. However, if you are on a budget, A2 Hosting or SiteGround may be favorable options. If you choose a different WordPress host, try to find one that offers a server in the exact location of your target audience.

2. Update WordPress Plugins, Themes & Core

Your WordPress plugins, themes, and core must be updated frequently. Updates remedy security issues or bugs and often come with new features. Make sure that you run the latest components of each to improve speed and overall website performance. Additionally, developers usually fix vulnerabilities that will better protect your site from being hacked. The only thing worse than a slow WordPress website is a site that is down because of hackers.

3. Use a WordPress Theme Optimized For Speed

When you choose a WordPress theme, do not make appearance your top priority. Some of the most attention-grabbing themes may be poorly coded and can slow down your site considerably. Most of the default WordPress Themes are light weight but lack functionality. If you want to add some attractive features, you can do that with the right plugins later. Try and pick a WordPress theme that is optimized to speed up your website. Elementor is a website builder with speed in mind. The Hello theme, is a performance-friendly theme and is totally free!

hello elementor theme Other well-optimized WordPress themes can be bought from ThemeForest, Themify, and StudioPress.

4. Delete Unused Plugins and Themes

Unused plugins do more than cluttering your site. They are also vulnerable to malware and can negatively affect your WordPress site’s performance. Additionally, they increase the size of your backup file and create unnecessary server load. To delete a WordPress plugin, you must first deactivate the plugin you want to get rid of. You can then go to the inactive plugins and delete them. To delete a theme, go to your WordPress Admin Dashboard, go to Appearances, select Themes, and delete the theme you don’t need. If you use any automatic social media posting tools, look for third-party services. Zapier and IFTTT are a couple of automation services that can reduce the strain on your web server.

5. Clean Up Your WordPress Media Library

Media files drain servers and negatively affect WordPress site speed. This is why it’s crucial to optimize files you need and remove ones you don’t. We recommend using The Media Cleaner plugin to help remove files from your WordPress Media library. To remove files, go to your WordPress dashboard, select Add Media >> Media Library >>> Unattached and delete unwanted files. If you use a lot of media files and want to reduce server strain, use a content delivery network or CDN. It does not eliminate stress completely. However, it will pull the server’s images into its cache and then serve them. Another way to reduce server strain is to offload your media to the cloud via DigitalOcean, Amazon S3, or Google Cloud. The CDN will then pull images from the cloud instead of your server. Delicious Brains’ WP Offload Media plugin can help with this.

6. Don’t Upload Audio/Video Files to WordPress

Directly uploading video or audio files to your WordPress site will use a lot of bandwidth and significantly increase your backup size. Some hosting providers may even charge overage fees or shut down your site. Instead, use YouTube, Vimeo, or another hosting service with ample bandwidth for hosting your videos. You can then use WordPress’s embed feature to add the video to your post. If you host a podcast, we recommend PodBean for all your hosting needs.

7. Use the Latest PHP Version

WordPress is coded in a programming language called PHP. Although most WordPress hosting providers use a stable version of PHP, some may be running older versions. Look for a hosting company that runs PHP 7, which is twice as fast as previous versions. If you’re running an older version of PHP, WordPress should notify you once you log in. To update your PHP reach out to your hosting provider about backing up your site and installing the latest version.

8. Use WordPress Caching Plugin

WP Rocket WordPress Caching Plugin Page caching greatly speeds up WordPress pages and can cut load times by half. Whenever someone visits your web page, your server assembles the HTML and delivers the finished product to the user. Caching builds all your site’s HTML pages with PHP and saves them to use for future visitors. Page caching essentially skips the complex building process with each visit. Without page caching, individual visits take longer. Also, each visit requires more resources and slows down your site more.

We recommend the following WordPress caching plugins:

9. Use a Content Delivery Network (CDN)

Physical distance can also be a performance factor. When devices trying to access your site are far away from your server’s location, your web pages will load slower. If you have users in remote areas or an international audience, this factor will significantly affect you. A content delivery network, or CDN, can help with WordPress speed optimization. A Content Delivery Network is a network of connected servers around the world. A CDN stores your site’s images, CSS and JavaScript and then serves them to your visitors by accessing the servers closest to them. Many hosting providers today offer CDNs in their hosting plans.

before and after CDN Source: The Stack

Some popular CDNs are:

10. Optimize Images for Speed

shortpixel image optimization Images significantly impact web page size and can slow down your WordPress website. When you reduce the sizes of images, you can speed up your WordPress site. However, it’s essential to reduce your image’s file size without reducing the quality of the image. Photoshop and other top image editing programs can optimize images before you use them. However, using these programs can be time-consuming. Instead, you can find WordPress plugins that speed up image optimization.

A few of the top image optimization plugins include:

11. Lazy Load Images

wp-rocket-lazy-load-image-tool If your WordPress website has many images, you will need to set up lazy loading. When you lazy load images, your site only shows users the images in the page section they are currently viewing. The rest of the images will appear as the user scrolls down. You can also use lazy loading for videos, comments, and text. The Lazy Load by WP Rocket is an excellent plugin for iframes, videos, and images.

12. Optimize Comments / Split Comment Pages

If you receive a lot of comments, you will notice it takes a long time to load them, which slows down your site’s speed considerably. If comments are not a vital part of a page on your site, you can opt to remove them. To disable comments, go to Settings in your WordPress menu and click on Discussion. Then uncheck the box for permitting users to add comments. In some cases, comments are essential to help keep conversations going and your audience engaged. If this applies to you, another option is to split comment pages. To do this, go to Discussion and check the box for “break comments into pages.” Set the per-page comment limit to 10 to help increase WordPress website speed.

13. Reduce Redirects

You may not be able to avoid redirects completely. Although redirects have some usefulness, it is better to minimize them. Every redirect adds extra loading time to your site. If you have redirects that send site visitors to other redirects, that slows down your site even more. When building a new site, ensure its architecture is sound in the beginning for good WordPress speed optimization in the future.

14. Use Excerpts on Homepage and Archives

The default design of WordPress is to show all the articles on your homepage and archives. As a result, your homepage, categories, tags, and archive pages will load slower. Also, when you show an entire article on a page, you lose additional page views and reduce the amount of time people spend on your site. So instead, you should show excerpts of articles to improve speed and other metrics. To set this up, go to Settings, then Reading, and select Excerpt next to “For each article in a feed, show.”

15. Disable or Limit Post Revisions

Post revisions lead to a messy WordPress database that can increase your site’s page speed. When you save a draft, WordPress automatically stores all your revisions. This can mean dozens of versions of a post. You can either limit or disable revisions with the WP Revisions Control plugin.

16. Disable Pingbacks and Trackbacks

Many people are unfamiliar with pingbacks or trackbacks. They can slow down your site when enabled, and they are a legacy feature of WordPress. You can quickly prevent them from slowing down your site by going into the Settings section and clicking on Discussion. Look for the “allow link notifications from other blogs” option. Uncheck it.

WordPress pingbacks and trackbacks

17. Disable Hotlinking

Hotlinking happens when one site uses an image on its page hosted by another. When visitors load the image, the page uses the bandwidth of the image host. Some people do this with images from popular sites, and you may notice that it happens to you as your site grows. However, it does not benefit your site in any way. If you use Cloudflare, Scrapeshield will help you disable hotlinking. You can avoid having others slow down your server this way by adding the following to your .htaccess file: RewriteEngine on RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^$ RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^http(s)?://(www.)?EXAMPLE.com [NC] RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^http(s)?://(www.)?google.com [NC] RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^http(s)?://(www.)?feeds2.feedburner.com/EXAMPLE [NC] RewriteRule .(jpg|jpeg|png|gif)$ – [NC,F,L]

18. Minify CSS, HTML, and JavaScript Files

When HTML, CSS, and other types of code files build up over time, they slow down your site drastically. Minifying your site’s code will help speed up WordPress pages. In minification, you can optimize the backend by reducing file sizes and removing unnecessary characters, which results in quicker loading times for visitors on a slow connection or mobile device! Several plugins, such as WP Rocket and Autoptimize, are available today that do this beautifully. To simplify CSS files, CSS Compression is a practical option. It simplifies stylesheets too, so they load faster than ever before.


19. Limit External Scripts

External scripts are a problem for site performance because they slow it down. However, your server does not store them. They’re familiar with plugins and analytic tools from third-party sites, which can slow it down or even cause issues for visitors due to heavy traffic loads generated by these extra resources being requested at once. Social media embeds are considered external scripts. Some WordPress themes will use external scripts for loading media files. While you will need to use some external scripts, you can minimize their presence by carefully choosing WordPress plugins or tools that use them. Always consider the benefits of any tool with external scripts versus how it may affect your site’s future performance. For example, instead of using a Google Analytics plugin we recommend placing your Google Analytics tracking code in Google Tag Manager.

20. Enable GZIP Compression

Today, many people use GZIP compression to reduce file sizes by as much as 70%. In addition, since you use less bandwidth with GZIP compression, users receive files faster. You can find this feature on several WordPress speed optimization plugins.

21. Optimize WordPress Database


Your WordPress database accumulates data from revisions, plugins, and other sources. When you have a more extensive database, your WordPress page speed is slower since queries take longer. Since a cluttered database wastes server space, be sure to clean it regularly. WP Optimize and WP Sweep are good tools for minimizing and removing database clutter. Be sure to pair this step with limiting or disabling revisions, which was covered in point 15. 

22. Paginate Long-Form Content

Another way to speed up WordPress pages is to paginate content with a higher word count. You already learned how and why to paginate or split up comment pages. The same reasoning applies here. With long-form content split into several pages, each one will load quicker. Also, this makes content easier to read. You can find pagination options in most WordPress themes, which is great because it’s an easy way of speeding up your site!


WordPress optimization is an ongoing process that requires time and effort. These are just a few of the many ways to improve WordPress performance. However, by following the best practices and tips in this post, you can boost WordPress speed while maintaining its performance. Always test different strategies and see which works best for your specific website. Regularly monitoring your site’s speed will ensure that it continues to be as fast as possible for your visitors. If you’ve struggled to speed up your WordPress site give our consultants at The Kaanen Group a call and we’ll be glad to help!

Have you tried any of these techniques? What has been most successful for you? Let us know in the comments below!


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Joel Casarez

Joel Casarez | SEO Consultant

Joel is an SEO consultant with over 14 years of experience. He utilizes his experience as a search marketing expert to share tips, tactics, and best practices on SEO and PPC. When not assisting businesses in growing online, he loves to travel, listen to podcasts, and watch stand-up comedy.

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