Speed Up WordPress Websites

There are many factors, slowing or speeding up your WordPress sites. They can be classified in the following categories, although in reality all they are related and need to be considered or thought through in concert.

Themes

Like you shop for clothing, you want something simple but elegant. Your target audience will help you decide what style of theme you will use. There are many free and paying themes.

Several things to consider in choosing a theme.

  • Paying vs free – the old adage “you get what pay for” in most cases are true, but you could find some very nice free themes. Juts be prepared to put extra efforts in hacking the theme to get what you want.
  • Layout – if you plan to run ads on your site, you will need find spots for 728×90 and 300×250 ads, generally two highst paying ads.
  • Platform – some themes are very fancy with tons of bells and whsitles, they are built on their own platform/system. If you plan to run a busy site, try to avoid them.
  • Thumbnail – timthumb has been over-used by many theme developers. Again, if you plan for a very busy site, avoid it. If you have already used a theme with timthumb, you could speed up your page loading time by using a content delivery network (CDN) (see a separate TIP on timthumb and CDN)

Plugins

Try to minimize the use of plugins, the less the better. Some plugins are nice to have but offer no real benefit, they should be removed to speed up your site.

Cache

WordPress content is generated “dynamically” from database. Every visitor page request will require a troun-trip to your MySQL database. Without a cache system/plugin, your server system resource can be quickly used up and your site will become very slow. See TIP on selecting a cache system.

If you plan to use a CDN, then the better choice is W3 Total Cache, as it has a built-in CDN implementation. But be sure to compare the results from all the cache systems you are considering and select the best one for your purpose.

CDN

As your site grows, so does the size of your graphic folder. The GIF’s, JPGs, and PNG’s are the performance bottleneck. By using a “pull” CDN, you can speed up your dramatically by uploading your images to the redundant CDN servers.

MaxCDN is by far the best one in terms of affordability and performance. And it can be easily implemented with W3 Total Cache.

Host

Without a reliable and fast server, all your previous efforts will be wasted. Choosing a reliable hosting company is very important. The downtime associated with your moving sites from a host to another, could severely and negatively impacted your page ranking.

Do not be attempted alone by the surface offerings, such as RAMs, GIGs, Processors, do a thorough research on your target host. Check reviews and feedback from previous and current users. They are readily available through web search.

We may have missed important issues to be considered; your TIPs and feedback are welcome, so we can all have a “super fast” web site.