How to Make Your WordPress Site Run Faster

February 25, 2013

use gtmetrix to load wordpress site faster
(Got my site load time from 10-14seconds to around 2.56s!)

Ok, I had been contemplating this for a while & finally figured it out yesterday with the help of bluehost (aff) customer chat.

Sidenote: (sorry bluehost, I was upset in the beginning w/ your rep because he didn’t really listen to my question but just copied & pasted a LONG post, probably from your faq. I felt like he wasn’t listening to my needs. I ended up figuring out the solutions thru one of his links though, took a little bit of digging).

Things I was already doing:

1. Install & use WT3C Total Cache: it’s free. A slight learning curve but you’re smart enough to figure it out.

b. Use amazon aws (or a cdn of your choice) to host all the essential wordpress files + images + media, etc. This is one of the options in Total Cache plugin.

CDNs (content delivery networks) spread out our files over different data centers so that files load faster for a visitor. It will use the closest data center to the visitor automatically. Otherwise, the files are just being accessed from your hosting account’s datacenter, which is just in one place.

CDNs of course cost money but amazon aws is so low cost that it’s ridiculous. There is no signup or monthly fees. Pay as you go. Usually comes out to a few dollars a month (I don’t have high traffic, for now ; )

2. WP Smush.it plugin: This was rec by my brother. I don’t really know all the technicals but it optimizes all of our images & reduces the size. Somehow works in conjunction with yahoo. Anyways, this is pretty easy to use. Install, click all & press smushit – for all older images. All newer ones should be automatically smushed!

NOTE: I thought all of this would be enough to make site faster but no. Things were running slower than ever.

Last optimization method that worked:

3. GTmetrix – go to the site, enter your domain & follow instructions.

This site tells you what’s high priority, what’s being neglected & how to fix.

Some of the highlights:

a. I was using large images (sometimes 1mb), then just using html to scale them down to 600×400. I didn’t realize that slowed things down.

So now, I just resize the image using default paint program to the size I want, then upload to wordpress. Then use smushit plugin on top of that. Really works!

Also, for some unknown reason, I used to manually erase all of the styling code that wordpress puts on images automatically. Things like height, width & other stuff. I don’t know why! But I learned providing height & width on images is really important so that the user’s browser doesn’t need to take that time to figure it out.

b. I reduced the number of posts showing on homepage from 6 to 4. Less posts being shown means less data to process. This was just my idea, not rec by gtmetrix. But they also mention that having too many objects (images, videos) on homepage really drags the speed down.

c. I enabled “browser cache” on the total cache plugin. Didn’t realize it wasn’t before, rec by gtmetrix. Added “expires” code to my htaccess file, fully provided by gtmetrix.

d. Removed random scripts I had forgotten about. Like quantcast, aweber and another one re facebook, etc. Facebook scripts are a huge drain on site speed, I’ve noticed. That’s why I removed the social plugins a while back, the one that lets you tweet or like a post. It’s unnecessary & ruins the speed.

e. The rest you can figure out. But the above is pretty much all I did and got my site running blazing fast.