Jan 102014
 

You might say, why should I care if my WordPress site is fast or not? One reason is because of the impatience of visitors. If I click a link in Google and it takes more than a couple of seconds to load, then I will probably cancel that page and click another faster loading page. Another reason is because Google now uses site speed as a metric to determine where your site appears in it’s web search rankings.

wordpress speed

I knew that my WordPress site was turtle slow, but I didn’t really know what to do about it. So, I dove in head first (as usual), researched the topic to death, and then implemented my findings.

  • The first thing that I learned was that I needed a caching plugin. The two most popular are WP Super Cache and W3 Total Cache. I chose the later and turned on the Page, Database, Object, and Browser Caches. Doing this alone significantly sped up my site.
  • The next thing that I learned was that I needed a Content Delivery Network (CDN). I was unaware but I was already using a CDN, JetPack‘s Photon CDN for my images. BTW, if you’re not using JetPack, you are missing out on many wonderful features.

The two most popular full blown CDN’s are CloudFlare and Incapsula. I chose the former. Initially, I set it up through my hosting provider’s Control Panel.  I later found out that because I wanted to advertise garyleemillner.com instead of www.garyleemillner.com that it would be better to use CloudFlare’s DNS servers. So, I deleted my initial Control Panel setup and set it up directly from CloudFlare.com.

  • The third thing that I found out was that, other than the aforementioned plugins above, there are certain other plugins that are must-have’s when it comes to site speed. They are as follows:

Use Google Libraries – Allows your site to use common javascript libraries from Google’s AJAX Libraries CDN, rather than from WordPress’s own copies. | By Jason Penney | Visit plugin site

WP-Optimize – This plugin helps you to keep your database clean by removing post revisions and spams in a blaze. Additionally it allows you to run optimize command on your WordPress core tables (use with caution). | By Ruhani Rabin | Visit plugin site

WP Smush.it – Reduce image file sizes and improve performance using the Smush.it API within WordPress. | By WPMU DEV | Visit plugin site [Note: There are other plugins similar to WP Smush.it that may work just as well.]

  • The next thing that you should do is test your site’s speed with one or more of the following online tools and correct the findings where possible:

Pingdom

GTmetrix

WebPageTest

Google PageSpeed Insights

If you follow the above recommendations you should be well on your way to a very speedy WordPress site.

P.S. I would love to hear from you. Please comment below and tell me what you have done to speed up your WordPress site.

His son,

Gary Lee Millner

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