The faster your WordPress site loads, the less likely are visitors to immediately leave your website. While your site’s content and design are important, so is its loading speed. According to statistics, more than 60% of users will abandon a site if it fails to load within 3 seconds. Some site owners provide amazing content but have disappointing traffic statistics solely because it takes longer than a couple of seconds for the site to load. The reality is that the majority of users have very little patience for site loading.

How to Speed Up a WordPress Website 2022

Furthermore, your site’s speed also has a lot to do with how high your content ranks in search engines like Google. It’s not only your site’s content that needs to be optimized, it’s the whole site itself. So if you notice that your site is not doing as well as you expected, loading speed may be the reason. Speeding up your WordPress website could improve your site’s overall performance.

Why your WordPress website may be slow

When tackling the issue of a WordPress site being slow, it’s important to first measure the site’s speed. As long as you employ the correct tools, it’s not difficult to do. We recommend using a speed test tool. All you need to do is put in your site’s URL and you’ll get loads of data about your site’s performance. Some tools allow you to check the site’s performance on different devices (mobile, desktop, etc.), choose a location, browser, etc. There are many free tools that provide valuable data but they may be limited.

Here are some of the best free speed test tools to test your WordPress website:

If results have shown that your site’s performance is indeed poor, you need to determine what exactly is causing the slowdown. Doing that isn’t necessarily easy because there are many factors you need to take into account.

Factors that can cause your WordPress site to be slow:

  • Hosting issues.

Slow hosting is one of the biggest reasons why a site may load slow. When setting up a website, you can choose from several types of WordPress hosting plans, including shared hosting, dedicated hosting, virtual private server (VPS) hosting, and managed WordPress hosting. The type of hosting you choose can have a significant impact on your site’s performance. For example, if you choose shared hosting, your site will be hosted on the same server as several other websites. This is generally the cheapest option but also the one that causes issues. If a site on the same server got a lot of traffic, your site’s performance may suffer because both sites are using the same resources. Shared hosting is often the start option, and once sites start getting more traffic, they’re migrated to different hosting plans.

  • Poor WordPress plugins.

WordPress plugins are great tools to add features to your site, improve its optimization, etc. However, incorrectly using WordPress plugins or using poor-quality ones can cause issues. Furthermore, using a lot of plugins can result in a slow website. The golden rule when it comes to WordPress plugins is quality before quantity.

  • Large images.

Large images can significantly increase your WordPress site’s loading time. Without going into technicalities, if your site has a lot of large-size images, it may be the reason why it’s loading so slow.

  • Unoptimized JavaScript and CSS.

JavaScript and CSS are essential parts of your website. The files are sent from your web server to a web browser every single time a visitor loads your page. If the file sizes are large, this could impact your site’s loading speed.

  • Non-cached website.

Every time a user visits a non-cached website, the WordPress site’s server essentially needs to assemble each page from zero. The WordPress server’s PHP needs to retrieve content from your WordPress database, put it into an HTML file, and send the file to the visitor’s browser. This is a time and resource-consuming task, which is why non-cached websites load significantly slower. This can be especially problematic if a site has a lot of traffic.

  • Too much content.

This is a very obvious reason why a website may have a long loading time. The more content a site has, the longer it will take to load. While content is not likely to noticeably impact a site’s loading time when on a good hosting plan, it would be a problem on a shared hosting plan.

How to speed up your WordPress website

There are certain steps you can take to improve your site’s loading time, consequently boosting your site’s overall performance.

  • Choose a better hosting plan.

If you’re on a shared hosting plan, that could very well be the reason for your site’s slow performance. Choosing a different type of hosting could significantly improve the situation. If your site is getting a lot of traffic and has quite a lot of content, it may be a good idea to look into dedicated, VPS, or managed hosting plans. Choosing the correct hosting provider is also very important so make sure to do your research.

  • Use a WordPress caching plugin.

You can use a WordPress plugin to cache your site. Page caching stores a finished page HTML file in a cache, which means that instead of a page needing to be assembled from scratch, the already-finished HTML file would be sent to visitors’ browsers when they visit the site. Because assembling pages is a resource-consuming task, bypassing this step can significantly improve the loading speed of your WordPress site.

Some WordPress hosts use page caching automatically but if your host does not, there are many reliable WordPress plugins that do this.

  • Delete unused/poor-quality plugins.

Regularly go through your active plugins and if you find one(s) you don’t use or need, consider removing it(them). Every plugin you install adds “weight” to your WordPress websites and having too many of them can result in your site loading slowly. The same applies to poor-quality plugins. Research which plugins are coded to only consume resources when they need them instead of always, and you’ll be surprised at how much of an impact this can have on a site’s loading speed. Switching to more lightweight plugins is also a good idea. There are many great resources to help decide which plugins are best suited for your website.

  • Install updates.

It may seem tedious but installing updates is essential to run a site smoothly. That includes installing updates for themes, plugins, etc. You can also enable automatic updates in some cases.

  • Optimize your images.

While certainly not the main solution, optimizing your images can quite substantially decrease your site’s loading time. Try reducing your image file sizes to the smallest size possible without sacrificing the quality of the image. This can be done using various programs and tools, but image optimization WordPress plugins are also an option.

  • Reduce CSS and JavaScript file sizes.

Try reducing your CSS and JavaScript files as much as possible without it having an impact on your site’s appearance and functionality. The smaller the size, the faster the site load. You can use WordPress plugins for this.

  • Reduce content and simplify the design.

If you’re on a shared hosting plan, reducing content and simplifying your site’s design can have a significant impact on loading time. Play around with your site’s design and you may come to like a more minimalistic approach. It would not only make a site load faster but also make the site itself feel less cluttered. Users do not like feeling overwhelmed when visiting sites so a more minimalistic design may also improve the user experience.

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