How to Optimize WordPress Website’s speed and performance?

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By now, you should have a pretty good understanding of navigating your WordPress website and comfortable making changes to it. The next step, as you get comfortable with WordPress, is to figure out how to make your website faster and provide a better user experience.

In this post, we will explore how to optimize a WordPress website’s speed and security.

Speed and Performance

Having a website is not enough – today’s websites need to be faster and provide a better user experience than the competitor.

A slow website repels your audience, causing you to lose potential customers. In addition, slower websites seem less qualitative and perform poorly on Google & other search engines.

There are a few ways to improve the speed of a WordPress website which are listed below –

Get a Good Web Hosting Server

Web hosting is where the contents of your website are stored and hosted. And, it’s one of the important factors that website speed relies on.

Whenever a user visits your website – they request data from the server your files are located. Good hosting provides this data as quickly as possible and increases the user experience.

You should invest in a hosting plan from a good hosting company as per your website size, requirement, and budget as well. Look for the bandwidth, storage space, types, server’s physical location, etc. for your hosting server and plan.

Many companies offer well-suited plans specifically for WordPress websites. Some of our favorites are –

  • Hostinger – Shared business plan for beginners or Cloud hosting.
  • Kinsta – Managed WordPress hosting for medium and large-scale websites

Use a Fast WordPress Theme

Make sure the theme you choose for your website it’s optimized for speed.

Some themes claim to provide lots of design options and animations, what might look visually appealing might also be slowing down your website. It is a balance of design and performance.

So, go for the theme with a lightweight build and only the bare minimum required features.

Our top recommended WordPress themes are –

  • Blocksy
  • Kadence
  • Astra

We have compiled a list of the best Free WordPress themes that cover their popularity as well as user reviews. Check it out and choose for yourself.

Optimize Images

Images make your website visually appealing and help with explaining the content on the webpage. However, images take up a big chunk of the server space and make your web pages heavy.

Thus, the images on your website need to be compressed – doesn’t matter before or after uploading. Compressing helps reduce the image sizes without reducing the quality (preferably).

Before uploading, you can compress the images with online tools like ShortPixel, EWWW image optimizer, TinyPNG, etc.

shortpixel image compression wordpress optimization
Shortpixel Image Compression to Optimize WordPress website

Even if you have uploaded the images without optimizing, ShortPixel has a plugin for optimizing images on the WordPress backend.

Remove Unnecessary Plugins

To make your website fast, you should try to minimize your website’s size as low as possible. On that note, you should remove any plugins if they are not useful to your website anymore.

Also, try to minimize the use of plugins. There are plenty of plugins available that do the task of multiple ones.

For example, SEOPress is an SEO Plugin. Moreover, it is feature-rich and already features to and removes the need for a sitemap generator plugin, header/footer scripting plugin, redirection plugin, schema plugin, and lots of others.

Remove Unused Themes

By default, WordPress websites have 3 WordPress themes installed during the WordPress installation. After you get the theme of your choice, you should delete all the others.

Having them on your website does not notably affect the speed. But, it reduces the website’s size, takes up server space, and also increases vulnerability to being hacked.

Use Caching Plugin

To load a web page, the website server has to go through and compile each line of code before displaying it on the users’ browser. Due to the lots of steps involved, it takes some time to load.

Now, with caching, you can create a static copy of the web page so it loads on the users’ devices without processing the codes from scratch. Thus, it loads faster.

Some web-hosting providers already come with great server-side caching or built-in caching. In this case, your website should be okay.

Otherwise, there are lots of caching plugins available. Some of the best ones are –

  • Swift Performance
  • W3 Total Cache
  • WP Super Cache

Use speed Testing Tools

An important task for improving the website’s speed is constantly monitoring it.

There are a handful of tools that let you check the speed of your website. Along with that, they also collect performance-related data about websites and give a report on what’s slowing down your website and how to improve it.

Some of the popular speed testing tools are –

  • Google PageSpeed Insights
  • Pingdom Website Speed Test
  • GTMetrix

Security

Website security is a concern for every website owner. After your website is live on the internet, it’s at a constant threat of getting hacked.

So, the best thing you can do is enforce robust security measures to save your website from common internet threats.

Here are some measures for securing your WordPress website.

Enable SSL Certificate

An SSL is a protocol that adds a layer of security to ensure safe data transmission between the web server and the browser. It authenticates your website’s identity and enables an encrypted connection so no data is visible to others.

A website secured with an SSL certificate is trusted by users. Also, it gives Google a positive signal for improving search appearances.

Usually, you will get the SSL certificate along with the web hosting plan you purchase. If not, then you buy from different domain and hosting services as well.

To find out if your website already has SSL, check for a lock icon near your website’s URL at the URL address bar. Also, the website starts with the prefix ‘HTTPS’.

ssl certificate enabled website wordpress optimization
ssl certificate enabled

If there’s no SSL, then it will show ‘Not secure’ there. And, the website starts with the prefix ‘HTTP’.

unsecured website without ssl wordpress optimization
unsecured website without ssl

Check the Themes and Plugins before Installing

The most common vulnerability for a WordPress website comes from the themes and plugins.

Sometimes, wicked developers create themes and plugins with malicious codes in them, with the intention of hacking your website.

So, make sure to check the rating, reviews, last updated date, etc. before installing a theme or plugin on your website.

check plugin reviews and updates wordpress optimization
check plugin reviews and updates

Have Strong Password Ethics and Rules

Weak passwords are easily breakable and it could lead hackers to your website’s backend. So, having a strong password for your WordPress login account is mandatory.

You should use these tips for creating strong passwords –

  • Create longer passwords over 12 characters.
  • Mix uppercases lowercases, numbers, and special characters.
  • Don’t include common words found in the dictionary as your password.
  • Avoid using your personal information like name, date of birth, email address, etc.

Furthermore, it’s recommended to change passwords regularly – in about the interval of 3 months.

Also, WordPress admins should send password reset links to co-workers and website backend users.

Backup website

A backup is a complete copy of a website in a secured location. The website backup works as a replacement if the original data gets lost.

A website may lose data due to various reasons like hacks, website errors, incompatibility issues, website crashes, etc. Thus, backing up a website is extremely important.

In WordPress, you can find lots of plugins for backing up your website. Some of our favorites are –

Also, read how to back up a WordPress website from our blog.

Update WordPress Regularly

WordPress constantly works on improving the core with lots of major and minor updates.

The update comes with security and bug fixes. Thus, you should look out for updates and install when available.

Install WordPress security plugins

One of the important ways to enforce website security is using security plugins. They offer different functions to strengthen the security of WordPress websites.

Some common tasks of security plugins include setting up firewalls, website scanning, activities monitoring, etc.

Also, depending on the security plugin you use, they offer important features like

  • Limit forceful login attempts
  • Enable 2-factor authentication
  • Add security questions
  • Ban suspicious IP addresses
  • Spam prevention, etc.

Some of the best available WordPress security plugins are Wordfence, iThemes, Sucuri, etc.

With all the points covered and implemented – you should be off to a great start.

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Ankit S J B Rana

Ankit is the founder of Marketing With WP and wants to help those who want to pursue a career in digital marketing.

From Co-Founding a successful boutique travel brand, Nepal101 to setting up Mbrella Films, Southeast Asia's #1 Film Production Company, online leads funnel to generate hundreds of B2B leads, he has done it all.

With Marketing With WP, Ankit wants to help marketers like yourselves utilize WordPress and other online tools to turn your website into a 24 hour marketing machine.

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