Sooner or later every WordPress blog or website owner wants to know how to speed up WordPress. A well performing website is good for users and for search engine rankings. So lets look at what you can do about it.
The more you post on your WordPress website the bigger your database grows. And the more plugins you install and uninstall your database gets bloated with uncleared settings from previous plugins. What can you do about that and what other measures can you take to get that initial install speed back into your site?
Initial Actions to Speed Up WordPress
First of all you need to take three actions on your files and database:
- and BACKUP
Why this emphasis on creating a backup of your website and especially the database? Because you are going to work on that database. Don’t worry, you don’t need to learn MySql statements and queries (although some basic knowledge can help). You can do most of the work with plugins.
So, did you create a good backup and test it or at least check that it is done? You can create a backup via your providers CPanel or request it via a ticket if you don’t know how to do it yourself.
After your backup verification you need to make sure you get a good baseline to measure improvements. First run a page check on http://tools.pingdom.com/fpt/. Your final goal should be to reach a score of at least 90/100.
Two Easy Plugins to Start
With the latest versions of WordPress you are filling your WordPress database with many revisions of your posts and pages if you go back into them and edit the content. These revisions are rarely used and you can clean them out and prevent them from being created in the future and thereby reduce the number of revisions stored.
Revision Control is the first plugin you can install and you can change the settings to suit your needs.
Now that you have revisions under control you need to clean out the old revisions and with the next plugin you can do several things in one click.
WP-Optimize gives you the options to clean:
- all post revisions
- all auto draft posts
- marked spam comments
- unapproved comments
- and optimize your database tables
Just select your choices and click PROCESS to clean and optimize. In the configuration screen you will have a large overview of the tables in your database and it shows you if they need optimization or not.
Getting Closer to Your Turbo Options
There is a great plugin called Clean Options that can help you to find and eliminate old entries left by plugins you no longer use. This looks pretty easy but you must have some knowledge of which plugins you used before and which plugins you removed.
If you follow the instructions of this plugins documentation you will see a large list of fields that might be no longer in use, but please be careful and if you are unsure about one or more of them, don’t clean them out.
What you can look for are descriptions that are clearly related to old plugins. In my case these were entries like wp_insert and whydowork_.You might recognize others from plugins you stopped using.
Cleaning your images and reducing their size with Smush It.
Smush It is a plugin that reduces image file sizes and improves performance. It is simple to use and is easy to configure. .
Do I use it myself? Sometimes I do, especially if I am working on websites other than my own. I prepare all my images before hand by optimizing and, if necessary, resizing them via Irfanview.
Using a WordPress Cache Plugin
I have tried several caching plugins on my WordPress websites and the one that out performs the others for me is W3 Total Cache, but it requires the right configuration.
For your understanding, a cache plugin takes the result of a post request and stores it on a disc as static HTML. If the next visitor to your website requests the same page this cached version is shown. W3 Total Cache uses a mechanism for the temporary storage of your web documents to increase performance and ultimately speed up WordPress. The cache itself is cleared after some time (you can set that time in the configuration).
Installing W3 Cache is easy. Just install it like any other plugin by searching for the W3 Cache plugin from the back end.
The next steps are to configure it. If you get any warnings on these settings start by checking if your .htaccess file is writable during this configuration session.
The first action is to disable the preview option.
Next is to enable the settings for:
- Page Cache
- Database Cache
- Browser Cache
- Under Miscellaneous only check “Verify rewrite rules” and save all settings.
Click on the menu option titled Browser Cache and activate the options as shown below. This is not the standard setting and has a great effect on your site’s speed.
Save everything, exit out of this screen and then go back into it.
You will see some error messages in the top part of the screen.
Click the option auto-install and you will be fine.
Speed Up WordPress Final Check
Ready? Now go and check again on http://tools.pingdom.com/fpt/ to see if your scores have improved. Note: Run the test twice because your cache may need to kick in.
If this has no effect, you either already had a good score or you need to look at your theme and plugins, but you will see that on the Pingdom tools page. The final option if nothing else helps is to look for a new hosting provider.
Below is the ultimate score of 100/100, but you should take that with a big grain of salt as this is a new installation with nothing posted yet, but with all the plugins active I mentioned above.
So what about your site, did you get better scores or do you have extra options and information that you can share that will speed up WordPress?