9 tips to speed up WordPress for better performance

We are sure this has happened to you as well.

You’re looking up information on the Internet and a site doesn’t load as quickly as it should, so you instantly press the “back” button and go to another website.

Well, that’s exactly what happens when your potential clients go to your website and it takes longer than 3 seconds to load.

They leave without thinking twice.

Have you ever thought about the number of customers you could be losing because of your site taking ages to load?

Amazon confirms a 1% drop in sales (about 6 million euros per day) every time the website takes an extra 100 milliseconds to load.

What’s more, a slow website has a negative impact on the user experience and the positioning of your e-commerce.

Want to prevent all this?

Then read on, because today we’ve brought you a few tips to speed up WordPress and improve overall site performance.

Ready? Set? Go! 😉

👉 Guide to speeding up your online shop on WordPress

Before getting started, we recommend measuring your site’s loading speed first (if you haven’t already). This will give you a reference to compare your future results to as you keep measuring.

For this, we also recommend checking out this post to learn more about website loading speed and how to measure it.

Now let’s see how to rev up your website.

✅ 1. Use a high-quality hosting service

High-quality hosting can make a huge difference in terms of performance.

As it turns out, the hosting quality does have an impact on your site’s loading speed. So, to make sure it loads fast, check that your server meets these requirements:

  • SSD hard disk: Although it’s not usually the case, there are still servers that work with HHD hard disks (which are slower than SSD ones), so be sure your host has the right ones.
  • Over 2-3 RAM gigabytes: The more RAM your server has, the better WordPress will perform.

Lastly, choose a server with your clients’ location in mind.

What does that mean?

If your server’s located in England, but most of your customers are American, your site’s data will take longer to reach the U.S. from the U.K.

It’s much better if your store’s server is based in the same country as the majority of your customers.

You can check your shoppers’ locations on Google Analytics. This tool tells you where your visitors come from.

Easy, right?

If you’re still unsure what hosting you should go for, take a look at this post on hosting providers and how to choose the best one for you.

✅ 2. Compress your site’s files

A website comprises different kinds of files (HTML, CSS, JavaScript, etc.).

When users land on your site, they download those files. So, if they’re not compressed, the files will be heavier and take longer to load, slowing down your website as a result. Therefore, the first thing you need to do is check if your files are compressed. For this, we recommend using a tool like Page Speed Insights.

And what happens if your files aren’t compressed?

Fear not! Now you know you have to compress them, and you just need to install a plugin like Fast Velocity Minify, which allows you to do it yourself.

✅ 3. Choose an appealing theme – but also a “light” one

When it comes to picking a theme for your e‑commerce site, people usually pay attention to what it looks like and the functionality it has.

And that’s fine.

Of course, the template has to meet all your expectations in terms of design and functionality, but you also have to consider what may not be so immediately apparent.

Because a too heavy theme will most likely overload your website and slow it down.

What can you do to prevent that?

Pay close attention to functionality.

Pick a theme that includes only the functions you need. At very least, if you choose a more comprehensive template, make sure it allows you to disable the functionality you’re not going to use.

For example, if you’re not going to use the “share on social media” buttons, what’s the use of keeping them?

Turn them off to save resources and your theme will load faster as a result.

Tools like GTmetrix or Pingdom allow you to check template speeds.

✅ 4. Activate your cache

Running your content through the cache is one of the best ways to speed up WordPress.

The cache is a copy of your website that gets stored in the visitor’s browser. It’s like a photo of your site.

So whenever the user visits your site again, their browser “remembers” what your site looked like. In other words, because the browser had stored the different elements of your site, they don’t need to be loaded again. It’s as if the photo was retrieved.  

In doing this, you neutralize lots of energy-consuming processes that would otherwise contribute to slowing down your page.

There are different free plugins for this, and one of the most popular and top-rated options is WP Super Cache.

consejos-para-acelerar-wordpress

✅ 5. Keep your database clean

Everything little bit counts.

Over time, your website’s database will normally fill up with unnecessary data that takes up space and overloads the system.

While there are more examples, here are some of the common items that get stored:

  • Old draft versions
  • Spam comments on your blog
  • Residual and temporary information from uninstalled plugins

You’ll need a specific plugin to do away with all this.

The most used, top-rated plugins to optimize your database are WP Rocket and WP Optimize (the first one’s paid, the second free).

✅ 6. Avoid having too many plugins

We tend to install a lot of plugins because they help us (big time) to manage our stores. Mind you, an excess of them can result in weaker WordPress performance.

So here’s our advice: go plugin by plugin and ask yourself if your store really needs it to function well.

If the answer is “no”, don’t be afraid to uninstall it and leave only those your shop truly needs. And, of course, keep those that help you optimize WordPress in terms of speed. 😉

✅ 7. Optimize images

Uploading images with the highest resolution is another common mistake.

Large images are heavy and, as you can imagine, this has a negative impact on your site’s loading speed, as pages with heavy pictures take longer to load.

That’s why it’s so important to optimize them before they’re uploaded.

What does it mean to optimize images?

  • Resizing: Change the size of your pictures and adjust them to the maximum size they’ll have on your site. If a product image is displayed with a 600×300-pixel resolution, what’s the point of uploading it with 1200×600 pixels?
  • Compressing: Make your pictures lighter. An image’s weight is shown in kB. Pay close attention to this, because if you don’t want your images to hinder your site’s speed, they shouldn’t exceed 150kB.

You have a wide repertoire of image optimization tools online. We recommend lloveimg, as it allows you to do both things.

On top of that, here’s an in-depth, step-by-step tutorial on how to optimize images.

consejos para acelerar tu wordpress

If what you want is to optimize the images that are already on your site – all in one go – you can do so with a free plugin like WP Smush. Besides, as long as this plugin is enabled, it’ll reoptimize all the images you upload going forward. That said, even with this plugin installed, you should still optimize your pictures before uploading them to guarantee the best results. 😉

✅ 8. Use alternative servers to store videos

Uploading videos on your own server isn’t usually a good idea.

Considering images over 150kB can slow down a page, what do you think could happen if you uploaded a video? 

An ordinary 3-minute video can weigh up to 500 MB (500,000 kB). Imagine the amount of resources it’d take for the page to load just that one video.

Instead, try using external platforms, such as YouTube or Vimeo. Once they’re uploaded, you’ll just need to link them to your website.

✅ 9. Use a CDN (Content Delivery Network)

If you sell abroad, a CDN may come in handy.

CDNs function as server networks. The central server is where your site would be and the other servers act as signal boosters.

If you have international clients, you can keep a CDN in those places so people in other countries don’t have to connect to your local server, which would make everything much slower

CloudFlare and Photon are some of the most popular CDNs.

👉 Rev up WordPress and improve the performance of your e‑commerce

Well, we’ve gone through our tips on speeding up WordPress to help your website perform better.

So now what?

Well, don’t go crazy trying to implement everything at once.

Focus on a couple of things first, implement them into your website, and measure how fast it loads to see if there’s any improvement. Each time you make an adjustment, check if your site’s a bit faster than before.

As you’ll see, it’ll have a positive impact on your sales in the long run. 😉