Speed Up WordPress – Step By Step Ultimate Speed Guide (2021)

How to Speed up WordPress

As a WordPress Website owner, you already know what you can do to speed up WordPress, make your site better and more interactive.

Speed up WordPress Today

However, you may not be paying enough attention to this component because you might b focus on sales, getting leads, or traffic to your website.

If you want to make the most of your site, then you must speed up WordPress.

Table of Contents

CHAPTER 1 - Why You Should Speed Up WordPress

If you want to make the most of your site, then you must speed up WordPress.

Fortunately, there are plenty of methods and tools at your disposal that can boost your site’s performance, which means that you (and your visitors) don’t have to suffer any longer.

Why You Should Speed Up WordPress

You should already be familiar with your site’s “bounce rate,” which determines how many people stick around when visiting your site.

You should also be concerned with improving it by any means possible.

Speed is a critical factor when trying to lower your bounce rate, as it can cause people to leave long before they have seen or done anything worthwhile.

Back in the old days, if a page loaded in ten seconds or so then it wasn’t seen as a big deal.

Now, however, with such fast internet speeds, ten seconds can feel like ten minutes.

Why You Should Speed Up WordPress

Slower Speed Less Money

If you are trying to monetize your site for financial gain, then it’s crucial to get your page speed as quickly as possible.

According to research, even a one-second delay can cause huge ramifications, as you will have 7% fewer conversions and 11% fewer page views.

So, What’s the Problem?

Well, too often when people are building their sites they are not taking into consideration how their viewers will see their content on various devices.

If you have fiber optics, then you don’t know what it will be like to visit your page on another computer with a slower connection.

In the end, you are not optimizing your site to be as fast as possible.

What Can You Do?

Fortunately, there are a ton of various tips and tricks that you can follow to make sure that you’re delivering an ideal WordPress experience for your visitors.

You can start with a hosting company that gives you the pieces you need to have a fast website.

SiteGround and BlueHost are the two best options for this.  We did a comparison between these two hosts as well.

Cleaning up your page’s programming, optimizing images, and utilizing various plugins can all contribute to a better, faster site for your audience.

We’re going to look at most of these tools in detail so that you can determine which one is best for your needs.  Overall, don’t be afraid to combine as many of these tricks as possible.

In the end, there is no such thing as a site that is “too fast.”

If anything, you can only impress your visitors with your incredible speed.

CHAPTER 2 - Tools to Check Your Website Speed

My Favorite Tools to Check Your Website Speed

Before you can start to use different methods to speed up WordPress, it’s imperative that you understand where you’re already at so that you can make sure that you’re doing enough.

If you don’t have a starting point, then you won’t know if your actions are having any effect.

One of the best ways to check your page speed is to use a third-party website to do it for you.   There are plenty from which to choose, but when it comes to speeding up WordPress, these are our top picks.

This is a fantastic free tool that lets you check the speed of any site within seconds.  Just input the URL, and you’ll get a comprehensive and easy breakdown of how fast it is, with both data and ratings to help you understand it all.

We’ll discuss the benefits of hosting your site on WP Engine later on, but even if you use a different hosting service, you can still utilize this speed testing tool to your advantage.

It doesn’t provide as much information as GTMetrix, but it will give you a good idea of how your site loads as is.

This internet giant has all kinds of tools you can use to your advantage, and PageSpeed is a fantastic way to determine your site’s load times.

Best of all, because it’s from Google, it can inform you if your speed rating will affect your standing on search engine results.

If you use tools like AdWords, this can be crucial information.

What makes this testing tool so helpful is that it will save performance tests, meaning that you can see how your site improves over time.

This can be a critical component since it will show you what is working and what isn’t.  Overall, feel free to use any or all of these testing services to your advantage.

Also, be sure to check in with your page speeds on a regular basis so that you can stay on top of any problems that show up in the future.

Ideally, any time you make a significant change to your site you’ll want to check the speed to see if it affected the results.

CHAPTER 3 - Understanding the Importance of Hosting

Understanding the Importance of Hosting

One critical aspect of optimizing your page speed and speeding up WordPress, in general, is the host you use.  But there are tons of different hosting services out there that can work with WordPress sites.

What’s important to note here is that your host can have a huge impact on your page speed as you are dependent on their network to deliver your results promptly.

Simply put, no matter what you do to optimize your pages, if you have a slow host, then your site will not be as fast as it should be.  Here are my top picks to get you started.

Here are my top picks to get you started:

Bluehost Vs siteGround Quick Overview

Bluehost Review

General Comparison

Storage Comparison - How much space do you really need?

WordPress - BlueHost Vs SiteGround

Price Comparison

If you’re somewhat new to WordPress and you want a managed host that can help you figure out how to use all of the tools at your disposal, BlueHost and SiteGround are a perfect beginner’s host to help you get started.

both give you the option to choose from various themes and plugins and get assistance in building your site as well as optimizing it.

Although BlueHost specializes in shared web hosting, it does offer some fantastic options for WordPress users. It also has a vast network that delivers high-speed results.

SiteGround is by far the most expensive host on this list, but if you are a hardcore WordPress user, this is a fit for you as well.

While you could technically host your WordPress site yourself, there are plenty of reasons to go through a service rather than trying to do it on your own.

  • Better network connectivity. If you want to reach people around the world, you need data centers to optimize speeds in different parts of the globe. You can’t do that with your single computer.
  • Enhanced security. Although we’re sure that your data is encrypted, it can usually be better if it’s stored on a more secure server.
  • More streamlined programming options. Unless you really know what you’re doing, a managed service can help you get the most from your limited expertise.

Overall, if you want to make WordPress faster, then a managed hosting service is the best way to go.

What makes this testing tool so helpful is that it will save performance tests, meaning that you can see how your site improves over time.

This can be a critical component since it will show you what is working and what isn’t.  Overall, feel free to use any or all of these testing services to your advantage.

Also, be sure to check in with your page speeds on a regular basis so that you can stay on top of any problems that show up in the future.

Ideally, any time you make a significant change to your site you’ll want to check the speed to see if it affected the results.

CHAPTER 4 - How to Speed up WordPress for Maximum Results

How Speed up WordPress for Maximum Results

Once you’ve gotten the right host for your site and you’ve determined your current speed, now is the time to make some changes to improve your overall performance.

Fortunately, WordPress is famous for its plugins that can help you achieve almost any goal, which means that there are plenty of options from which to choose.  Here are our top picks for speed up WordPress site plugins.

One of the main contributors to a slower load time can be that your site has a lot of old data clogging up its processes. 

This WordPress site speed optimization plugin helps you out by cleaning out all of that unnecessary information so that your pages are streamlined.  It may not lead to significant gains overall, but every millisecond counts.

Another primary problem with your site can be that it has to load all of your images and files each time that someone visits it.

However, you can speed up this process by caching the data on your server so that it’s more readily available.

W3 Total Cache speeds up WordPress up to ten times (according to the creator) using this method.

While we could discuss the importance of using images and video to increase your brand awareness online and engage your visitors, that is an article for another time.

When it comes to site speed, images can be one of the main sources of drag.  WP Smush.it is a WordPress site plugin that ensures all of your media content is compressed enough so that it won’t inhibit your page speed.

In an ironic twist, by adding more plugins to speed up your WordPress site, you may be invariably slowing it down with so many different programs running in the background.

This plugin alleviates this problem by analyzing the software you’re using and telling you which is slowing you down the most.  This way you can determine the best WordPress speed plugin and remove those that are holding you back.

If you’re not overly familiar with utilizing WordPress plugins, then you may be tentative to install so many of them on your site.  However, while you could try to do all of this work on your own, plugins make your job so much easier by automating the process.

In the end, as long as a program is not slowing you down substantially, we strongly advise that you use plugins whenever necessary.

CHAPTER 5 - How Updating and Removing Themes and Plugins Gets Better Results

Updating and Removing Themes and Plugins

While plugins are one of the main reasons for WordPress’ success, the other critical factor is the use of themes.

Assuming that you are not a web designer who can make a ton of beautiful assets to create a better appearance for your site, themes are an easy way to improve the aesthetic without having to spend a lot of time doing it.

Unfortunately, as with all software and programming, it can be prone to problems and bugs if you’re not careful.

When figuring out how to speed up a WordPress theme, one of the best methods is through updating.

Why Update?

As technology progresses, programs and software have to adapt so that they can keep up.

That means that if you continue to use an outdated plugin or theme, it could cause all kinds of issues, not the least of which is slowing down your site and making it vulnerable to attack.

Most plugins and themes get updates on a regular basis, and you need to stay on top of things so that your site doesn’t fall behind.

How Can You Update Your WordPress Installs?

Fortunately, WordPress makes it super easy to upgrade your current themes and plugins as you simply go to the Updates tab of your page, scroll through to find the ones that affect your site, and click “update.

It’s that easy!

Considering how often these upgrades come out, though, it’s imperative that you pay attention to them on a near-daily basis.  Sometimes new updates are built on old ones, so if you miss one, then you might have to uninstall and reinstall your theme or plugin from scratch to get the upgraded version.

Checking for Updates

One thing to keep in mind is that WordPress does not manage all of the themes and plugins that are out there.

Update WordPress

This means that if you are using a program that isn’t on the main WordPress site, you will have to update it manually. 

Also, you will have to search for yourself to see when these programs have upgrades available as they won’t show up on the WordPress updates page.

CHAPTER 6 - What Cache Plugins Should You Include for Your Site?

Cache Plugins Should You Include for Your Site

We’ve already talked a little bit about why caching your information on the server is a much better way to improve your site’s speed, but the fact is that there are several different plugins that you can use to optimize your caching capabilities. Here are our top picks.

What makes this plugin so desirable is that it works not only to make your site faster but it also improves SEO and user experience.  You can optimize your WordPress speed with a CDN (content delivery network), such as the one that is used for this plugin.

This plugin adapts to your user’s needs by either providing a static HTML file (rather than uploading all of the PHP programming installed on your page) or by delivering a cached version of your site.
Most visitors will get a static page, however, which loads infinitely faster.

Much like Fastest Cache, this plugin is a decent, if somewhat simple program that will help make your site faster by creating static and gzip files when a visitor comes to your site.  You also have the ability to remove cached files at your discretion and optimize it with other programs such as Optimus.

What Cache Plugins Should You Include for Your Site?

Simply put, yes you do.

If you don’t cache your pages, then it will take much longer for your site to load, and as we’ve already discussed, even a few seconds can have a huge impact on your bounce and conversion rates.
Overall, if you aren’t caching, then you are limiting your chances of success.

CHAPTER 7 - Use Image Optimization for a Better Visitor Experience

Image Optimization

If you aren’t using pictures and graphics to help make your website pop, then you are doing a lot more to increase your bounce rate than having a slower load time. 

The fact is that people respond to images much better than text alone, which means that you need to add a lot of different graphics to your site.

Unfortunately, the more you add, the slower it can get, which is why you have to make sure that your images are optimized for speed.

Does Optimization Matter?

If you only have a couple of pictures on your site, then it might not make much of a difference.
However, considering that your goal is to create a better experience for your users, we hope that you will use lots of images to convey all of your pertinent information.

As a result, optimization will ensure that your site doesn’t get bogged down trying to render all of your image files.

Use WordPress Plugins to Your Advantage

As we’ve seen throughout this book, WordPress has no shortage of plugins that can be used to help make your site faster.  One of the ways that they can provide assistance is to optimize your images. Here are our top picks for optimization plugins for pictures.

This award-winning plugin allows you to compress all of your image files to fit your needs.  Whether you need to resize the picture or make it a smaller file size, this plugin can help you do it all.

If you want to create an automated process for compressing your picture files as you upload them to your site, then this is the plugin for you.

It will optimize all images as soon as they are on your page so that you don’t have to worry about anything.

Plus, it won’t cause any loss of quality for your pictures.

If you want to create an automated process for compressing your picture files as you upload them to your site, then this is the plugin for you.

It will optimize all images as soon as they are on your page so that you don’t have to worry about anything.

Plus, it won’t cause any loss of quality for your pictures.

Lazy loading is the process when your site doesn’t load an image in its full quality until the user is about to see it.  This can save a lot of data and bandwidth and make your site run a lot faster.  This plugin allows you to lazy load your images for better speed.

This site works like Bulk Resize by letting you take any picture and optimize it as a png file for your site.
In the end, try out these different plugins and tools to see which ones work for you.

Again, don’t be afraid to mix and match to get better results.

CHAPTER 8 - What Content Delivery Network is Right for You?

Best Content Delivery Network

If you want to make sure that users around the globe get the best experience when visiting your site, one of the best ways to do that is with a content delivery network (CDN). 

This system works by caching your sites programming files to various servers around the world and then sending that data to the visitors who are closest to the server.
This means that there are much fewer delays since the data doesn’t have to travel as far.

Considering the massive network that Amazon currently has, piggybacking on it for your own needs can offer a huge advantage in helping you speed up WordPress.

If you need help getting set up with a CDN, then this one offers a ton of support features to help you get started. Plus, it has a bunch of servers in many key regions of the globe.

This is a simple and effective network that can help you improve your page speed without a ton of overhead.  Also, it automatically optimizes your content for you.

CHAPTER 9 - Optimizing Your WordPress Database for Effective Speeds

Optimizing Your WordPress Database

Over time, your site’s database will collect a ton of information as you update and make changes to it.
This includes blog posts, images, and any other assets that you put onto your site, which means that it can fill up remarkably fast.

What happens with this information is that it can start to affect your site’s performance since there will inevitably be old data that is clogging up the database.

As such, it’s imperative that you optimize it on a regular basis to ensure that you don’t get bogged down with obsolete information.

Speed Up WordPress Optimization: Plugins or Not?

It’s always best to take the time to clean out your old files and delete unnecessary things like outdated plugins or images that you are no longer using.

However, if you don’t have a ton of time to devote to this, then you will want to use plugins to do the heavy lifting for you.  Here are our top picks for such plugins.

This basic plugin will clean your database by removing old files and defragmenting the rest.
You can have total control of what to keep and what to remove as well, making it a great option for all kinds of users.

Your database can be full of a lot of data, including things like page updates or unpublished comments.
This information can add up quickly, which is why this plugin removes all of it automatically for you.

CHAPTER 10 - Disable Hotlinking and Doing Post Revisions

Doing Post Revisions

Disable Hotlinking and Leeching to Prevent Slow Downloads

When it comes to hosting your website, one of the most important things to manage is your bandwidth.
This is the amount of information that you use to transfer data across the internet, and it can be expensive if you use more than you’re supposed to.

Hotlinking uses up your bandwidth, which means that if you don’t protect yourself against it, you could be looking at some expensive fees or throttling of your service, which means slower page speed.

What is Hotlinking?

Simply put, this is when someone links to something on your site without your permission.
When this happens, part of your bandwidth is used up every time someone visits the page that has hotlinked your information, meaning that you could potentially be looking at a lot of data theft.

The more hotlinks that attach to your site, the worse the effect is.

Can I Prevent Hotlinking?

Yes, there are plenty of ways to keep your site safe from this practice, and, as always, plugins are here to the rescue.

Not only will this plugin help prevent people from hotlinking to your account, but it will also enable you to secure your site in a myriad of different ways.

Overall, this is a valuable security tool that can keep your WordPress page safe from various threats.

This is another all-purpose safety plugin that will help keep your site secure from all kinds of problems, including hotlinking.

Overall, the best way to monitor against hotlinking is to check your site on a regular basis and, if necessary, make changes to your coding to prevent other sites from doing anything.

These plugins will simplify the process, though, to make your life so much easier.

Doing Post Revisions: How Will This Help Your Site?

Every time you update something on your site, WordPress saves it for you. This is so that you can go back to reverse any changes you made rather than having to start over.

Unfortunately, the side effect of this is that you can get a ton of revisions clogging up your database in no time.

If you write a blog post, for example, you could have several hundred revisions as you create the post, as it saves every time you make a change, i.e. adding a new word.

Can I Delete Old Revisions?

Yes, it’s relatively simple to go back in and remove all of the older versions of your files so that they don’t clog your database.

However, considering that you could have hundreds or thousands of these revisions to go through, it might be better to let a plugin do it for you.
Here are the best ones to do it.

This is a generic optimization tool that will clean up your database and remove revisions.
You can control the parameters so that you don’t delete potentially important recent information, and you can set it up to automatically do this whenever you like.

As the name suggests, this particular plugin is specific to removing revisions from your database to make it faster and more streamlined.
It deletes all old posts, comments, and anything else that is unnecessary, and you can control the parameters as well.


As you can see, there are so many different tools at your disposal that you should have no problem making your WordPress site as fast and efficient as possible.

Best of all, these tools can be customized to fit your needs, meaning that whether you’re just starting out or have been doing it for a while, you can get better WordPress to minify in no time.

You have read the complete guide.  Now it’s time to take action.

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