WordPress website speed. There is nothing that will loose you readers and customers more quickly than a slow website! The chances are good that a person will click away when a website takes more than 6 seconds to open.
Google’s PageSpeed Insights, of course, wants a website to open quicker than that, preferably in milliseconds to get a good SEO [Search Engine Optimization] score. The other two main website performance [speed] testers are GTmetrix and Pingdom.
There are quite a lot of things to look at to get your website to a good speed score all around. It is a little disorientating in the beginning, though, when you don’t even know where to begin. But here is a good starting point to get you there!
You need to install the following plugins first:
Autoptimize makes optimizing your site really easy. It can aggregate, minify and cache scripts and styles, injects CSS in the page head by default (but can also defer), moves and defers scripts to the footer and minifies HTML.
HTTP/2 Server Push
HTTP/2 is the new generation of the venerable HTTP protocol that powers the web. Among its most powerful features is server push, a way for web servers to send resources to the browser before it even realizes it needs them. This avoids the usual HTTP request/response cycle which happened for every script or stylesheet on a page.
Remove Query Strings From Static Resources
This plugin will remove query strings from static resources like CSS & JS files inside the HTML
<head> element to improve your speed scores in services like Pingdom, GTmetrix, PageSpeed and YSlow.
WP Super Cache
This plugin generates static html files from your dynamic WordPress blog. After a html file is generated your webserver will serve that file instead of processing the comparatively heavier and more expensive WordPress PHP scripts. You can, of course, test different combinations of Super Cache settings to see what works for you.
You will, along the line, hear about a CDN – Content Delivery Network – and how important it is to your website performance [speed]. It is.
‘A CDN service speeds up your website speed by serving cached static content from servers located near your user’s geographic location.’
But a CDN is not your headache for now. You will get by perfectly well without it for the moment. As a matter of fact, when the time comes, Super Cache offers you an alternative way of crossing this bridge. Just check out CDN on the Super Cache settings. You can use a subdomain – cdn.yourwebsite.com – to get a CDN working.
And here are the speed tweaks to copy and paste into the .htaccess file in your root directory:
Images are important in your website speed factor. Use .jpg pictures instead of .png – they load faster. And WP Smush automatically compress them when uploaded.
Another thing that can slow down your website really badly is too many plugins. You can imagine what 60 or 70 plugins will do to your website performance when they all have to start up in the background everytime that a page opens on your website.
A good number of plugins is more or less 40 – preferably less. Your system will be able to breathe with such a number of plugins.
Outdated and poorly coded plugins can also affect the performance [and security]. Do the footwork and check if freshly installed plugins affect the performance and always check when a plugin was last updated on the ‘details’ link.