Is your WordPress website slow? If you answered yes, then you’re probably causing some frustration for yourself and for your readers.
You hate slow sites and I do too.
According to a study by Kissmetrics on page load times, if it takes more than 4 seconds for a page to load on your website, 25% of your visitors will leave. That’s a significant amount of traffic loss and it really shows that every second of wait time does matter.
Website speed is also important when it comes to SEO. If your site loads faster, search engines will rank you higher. Search engines also HATE slow websites because their purpose is to serve the best search results and keep searchers happy, and if they’re serving slow sites, they’re doing the complete opposite. Site speed could be the difference between your pages being on the first page, vs page two and beyond.
How to test your website speed
There are many online tools you can use to test your website speed. Below are some popular ones:
- Google Page Speed – I like using this tool the most because if Google’s own tools recognize your site as slow, then it’s probably going to affect your ranking.
- Pingdom Speed Test
These tools will give you a page speed score and tell you your page load times. The higher your score and the lower your page load times, the faster your site is.
Once you know your site speed stats, here are some common causes and solutions to fix your slow loading website.
1. You’re using an outdated version of PHP
WordPress runs on a programming language called PHP.
At the time this article was written, PHP 8.0 was the most recent
PHP 8.0 is the most recent version that was introduced in November, so the chances are if you created a blog before December 2015, you could still be on an older version.
According to an article by WP Engine, PHP 7.0 is 2-3x faster, has a 30-50% improvement in memory consumption, and is able to serve up 3x as many requests per second than it’s predecessor, PHP 5.6.
Don’t know what version of PHP you’re using? Contacting your web host support team and ask them. They can also help you switch to the latest version of PHP if they determine you’re using an older version.
2. You’re not using Cloudflare
Cloudflare is a content delivery network (CDN) which takes your site content and distributes it to different servers around the world.
Without a CDN, your website’s files are stored in one location which is the location of your web server. If your server is located in New York and someone in London, England is accessing your site, then it would take a long time for the data to travel to the person. However, with a CDN your site’s content would be delivered by a server that’s closest to the person visiting your website, speeding up the loading process of your site.
Siteground has a quick and easy integration process for Cloudflare to make the process easy.
If you’re not with Siteground, use Cloudflare’s tutorial to integrate Cloudflare into your WordPress site.
3. You’re not using a caching plugin
Cache is a temporary storage space used to help a user access files quicker.
When you install a caching plugin on your site, your visitors will be able to load your pages from your site’s cache instead of downloading from your web host’s servers. This speeds up the past loading process and makes accessing your site faster.
Siteground has a plugin called SG Optimizer that lets you integrate its SuperCacher feature. In my opinion, it’s the best cache tool for WordPress. It’s available for all of its users and you can integrate it with the click of a button.
Otherwise, an amazing caching plugin I recommend is W3 Total Cache which will work on any web host! Based on my experience, it also works super effectively for caching my websites so I’m sure it will on yours as well.
4. You’re Using Full-Size Images In Your Posts
The bigger the file sizes of the images in your posts, the longer it will take to download them. That’s why you should try to add medium to large size images in your posts but never full size.
It could be the difference between your visitors downloading a 500Mb file or downloading a 3Mb file, which is a massive difference for one image, let alone many.
You can change the size of the image by clicking on it, going into image settings (pencil icon) and changing image size in the “size” drop-down menu.
5. You’re Not Compressing Your Images
Your images can actually be compressed beyond their original file sizes using an image compression plugin. These plugins won’t reduce the quality of your images, just the size.
I like Smush Image Compression and Optimization plugin because it does the job, does it well, and it’s free to use.
During the installation, make sure you don’t check off the option that asks you if you want to compress images upon upload, otherwise you’ll have to long periods of time to upload images onto your site. Instead, you can compress your images by going to Media > WP Smush in your WordPress dashboard.
6. You’re Using Too Many Plugins
Plugins are great and all for adding cool features to your WordPress site and that’s what WordPress is known for. However, having too many can actually slow down your website a lot.
Some plugins are very resource-heavy so it’s good to limit the number of plugins you’re using on your site.
Take a good look at your list of plugins and find out which ones aren’t making a big impact on your site and get rid of them. Also, check and see if you can find a way to get the job done without using a plugin.
7. You’re Using an Outdated Version of WordPress
Every now and then, you’ve probably seen a notification telling you that there’s a new version of WordPress available for update. When you see this, always update your WordPress site so that you get the latest features and updates. Some of these updates will include performance updates which will actually speed up your site load times.
Let me know what you think of these tips in the comments down below and don’t forget to pin the image down below to help others with their slow websites!
8. You’re using a slow web host
If you feel like you tried just about everything to make your site fast (including the things on this list) but it’s still slow, your web host is probably the problem.
From my experience, web hosts make the biggest impact on a site’s speed. No matter what, if you’re using a web host with slow server speeds, you’re going to experience slow loading times because you’re limited by the speeds of the server.
I’ve used 6 different web hosts during my last 5 years of blogging which include Bluehost, Dreamhost, Digital Ocean, WP Engine, and Siteground and I determined Siteground to be the best web host for new bloggers and WP Engine to be the best web host for professional bloggers.
If you’re a new blogger and currently not using Siteground, I would recommend making the switch for the following reasons:
- Exceptional Server Speeds
- 24/7 Live Chat Customer Support
- Low $3.95/month cost for the first 1 – 3 years
- Excellent affiliate marketing program
As for WP Engine, it’s also great but it’s significantly more pricey at a starting price of $30/month for their hosting services. If you’re making enough on your site to back up the cost of this web host, then I would definitely recommend it! With WP Engine, you get what you pay, which is a super fast, functional website.