How to Fix a Slow WordPress Site

As speed links to how Google ranks millions of websites on the internet, webmasters have been trying their best to make their website’s speed the fastest.

On the other side, for site visitors, experiencing a slow website is infuriating. The expected page load speed is below 3 seconds. Therefore, if your website needs 5 seconds to load, you voluntarily give your traffic to your competitors.

This article will cover common problems causing a slow WordPress site and how to fix them.

Problem #1: You’re not using caching

Caching is crucial if you want your WordPress website to load more quickly. This technology allows your site to store your page’s information. Therefore, every time your website receives a request, it can use the cache for faster retrieving.

Fix: Install a caching plugin

Not caching your website will result in your server being overloaded. Handle this situation by installing a cache plugin, such as  W3TotalCache. This plugin helps your website improve its speed and performance by featuring the Content Delivery Network (CDN) Integration.

W3 Total Cache

CDN Integration is a globally distributed data center network. This feature allows users worldwide to fetch your website faster, as your data are integrated into the environment.

Problem #2: Poorly performing hosting provider

A reliable hosting provider with light speed load time can make your site stand out from the competition. On the other hand, a defective hosting may lead your site to a crash. Therefore, the problem with a sluggish WordPress is sometimes server-side.

Fix: How to choose a fast and reliable hosting provider

Before making a purchase, you should never skip your research. Compare one hosting provider to another, even if it takes ages. Make sure you purchase the best hosting service, which has at least 99.5% server uptime, under 200ms server response time, and abundant bandwidth.

Problem #3: Too many large, unoptimized images

Images play a significant role in making your articles more engaging. However, you need to remember that high-resolution images cause heavy loads for your website. Uploading your pictures without compressing it is one of the critical problems to your website being slow.

The common desktop screen resolution is 1920×1080, and the mobile phone’ is mostly 720×1280. Therefore, the images you upload on your website shouldn’t overkill both of the screen resolutions.

Fix: How to optimize your images on WordPress

Check your image size before uploading it to your page. Then, compress if it’s larger than 2 MB. Using a lossless compression tool, such as TinyPNG, is the best way to do it. The tool helps reduce the image size without bringing down its quality.

Alternatively, you can use SmushIt – the WordPress plugin that automatically optimizes image sizes as you upload them.

wp smush

Problem #4: Your site delivers uncompressed files

The next problem comes from unnecessary line breaks, spaces, and other structuring elements in your code. All those extras result in thousands of lines in your code and make for larger file sizes, that are harder for your website to handle.

Fix: Enable gzip compression

Gzip compression can help reduce your webpage’s file size before delivering them to the clients. Activate gzip compression by installing a plugin, such as WP Fastest Cache, or adding code lines to your .htaccess file.

gzip compression

Problem #5: WordPress is outdated

WordPress is an open-source platform; users can expect updates even for the tiniest errors any developers can find. Apart from fixing errors, the updates also cover speed and security improvements.

Fix: Update (and auto-update) WordPress

Punch the Update button every time it pops up, or opt for enabling automatic updates. However, before updating WordPress, you need to ensure your plugins and theme are compatible with the new version. Also, make sure that you get all your data backed up.

Problem #6: Someone is leeching your images

Leaching or hotlinking happens when someone uses your images for their websites by directly linking them to your website. This situation is harmful, as it can reduce your bandwidth. And as more traffic is directed to your website, hotlinking will also result in the lagging website.

Fix: Disable hotlinking

Similar to enabling the gzip compression, access your .htaccess file to disable hotlinking. Give a little edit to the code, and that’s how you block websites to directly link your content.

Problem #7: Too many, poorly coded plugins

We’ve seen how ineffective coding may harm your site’s performance. This can happen with the plugin’s code too. While adding many plugins adds load to your website already, having poorly coded ones can double the load.

Fix: Keep only useful, highly-rated plugins

It’s tempting to add more plugins to keep stacking features on your site. On the other hand, five to ten plugins are enough for a WordPress website. Therefore, tidy up your plugins frequently. You can use Query Monitor to help you eliminate plugins that perform poorly.

Problem #8: Too many HTTP and database requests

Plugins and themes often hold information from other websites. As a result, they contribute to external HTTP requests. Typically, the theme’s codes contain thousands of lines, resulting in heavier loads for your website.

Fix: Use a trusted, lightweight theme

Free themes are often targets for malware and virus threats. Therefore, avoid using one, especially from unfamiliar developers. Also, you ought to always make sure you use the latest version of it.

Written by Arnaud Gilbert
Arnaud Gilbert is a technical writer and spent most of his time researching and writing about technical stuff. Its a hobby for Arnaud to write about the technological arena. He starts from basic and ends up giving you full knowledge about what he is writing. He writes well and his writings are also full of information and can clear the concept of any reader.