In the world of websites, a few milliseconds can make a massive difference. Studies show that a one second delay in site speed, can cause a 20% drop in conversions. If you find yourself asking “why is my WordPress site slow?” keep reading to learn what causes slow sites and what you can do to fix it, and speed up WordPress.
Most Common Slow WordPress Causes
Your website’s speed has a direct impact on your business. A slow site can cause your listing to fall in search results. It can also impact conversions, as the user experience is reduced. Don’t be left asking “why is my WordPress site so slow?” here are the four most common things we see impacting the speed of WordPress websites.
1. Large Image & Video Files
One common mistake that site owners will do is that they upload large video and image files directly to the WordPress site without compressing them.
Image files can be made smaller without losing quality. You can do that by using a plugin or by using an image editing tool to make the image sizes smaller.
With video files, you don’t want to upload them directly to your WordPress site. Instead, upload them to YouTube or a similar service and embed them on to your site.
2. Poorly Written Themes
One of the best things about WordPress is the tremendous community of developers that support it. There are thousands of themes that you can use as a starting point for building your site.
There are some themes that are poorly written which makes them slow to load. In other cases, themes try to do everything and have every possible feature. That makes them very cumbersome to use on the backend and slow for users on the front end.
If this is the reason why your site is slow, you’ll want to consider a website redesign.
3. Too Many Plugins Can Slow WordPress
WordPress plugins are wonderful to have because you can perform almost any function without having to understand programming. You can install Google Analytics, keep your site secure, optimise your site, and make it faster.
That being said, there is such a thing as too much of a good thing. Too many plugins can slow down your site. You only want to limit the number of plugins that you use. If you have plugins that you don’t use or need, you should delete them.
4. Slow WordPress Website Host
There are reasons for a slow WordPress site that is out of your control. One of those reasons is because you have an unreliable website host, or you have the wrong hosting plan.
Sometimes, it makes sense to use a content delivery network (CDN) if your site is very slow. This makes the most sense if your audience is global. A CDN stores a copy of your site on servers around the world and serves your site to users from the server that’s closest to them.
Top Tips To Speed Up WordPress
Follow these vital top tips to help speed up WordPress websites, that have been written by our team of WordPress experts; and stop wondering why is your WordPress site slow?
1. Remove Any Unused Plugins From Slow WordPress
Disable and delete any inactive plugins that you are not using on your website. Old or out dated plugins can clutter up your WordPress install, use up your valuable web space and potentially cause security risks as well.
2. Remove Any Unused Themes From Slow WordPress
Delete any theme files that you are not actively using on your website, although it can be useful to keep the latest default WordPress Theme for troubleshooting purposes.
3. Optimise Database On Slow WordPress Site
Use a plugin or third party tool to keep your PHP database optimised, clean and stable. This will ensure faster access to the data that is contained in your website.
4. Optimise Images To Speed Up WordPress
Use images that are the correct size for when they are displayed. There are a few plugins that can help with an existing website that already has oversized images uploaded.
5. Optimise Videos To Speed Up WordPress
Use video optimisation and compression to enable you to upload a video that retains all the quality but doesn’t clog up the users browser as it downloads.
6. Use Optimised WordPress Theme
Choose your WordPress website theme carefully, from the recommended themes in the WordPress theme Directory. These themes have been confirmed compatible with WordPress and are most likely to have well optimised code and future support.
7. Use Latest WordPress Core For Speed Benefits
WordPress core updates can often include speed optimisation tweaks and changes. Beside the usual security updates and new feature releases.
8. Update Your Optimised WordPress Theme
Once you have selected a well optimised WordPress theme, you will need to keep it up to date. Spin up a Child Theme, to avoid any visual tweaks in the original theme, from effecting your live website.
9. Update WordPress Plugins On Slow WordPress
Keeping all your active WordPress plugins up to date is also important for your WordPress speed and security. Why not set up a regular maintenance plan for your website updates, then you can sit back and relax, safe in the knowledge your WordPress plugin updates are taken care of.
10. Use Latest Stable PHP For Speed Benefits
At the time of writing this article, the current stable release of PHP is 7.4, although the most widely tested and supported version is 7.1; and this is what you should be looking to use if all your plugins support it, to speed up your WordPress site.
11. Enable CDN To Speed Up WordPress Site
Content Delivery Networks can present your website from a server closest to the website visitor’s location. Cutting down on any lag caused by network hops and geographic differences.
12. Enable Caching To Speed Up WordPress
Localised caching plugins or host / server side caching will help to speed up your website. Most good hosts provide or recommend a WordPress Cache Plugin that they know works well with their server set ups.
13. Activate File Compression On Slow WordPress Sites
File compression is also known as gzip compression can be easily enabled on most hosting services. If your current website host doesn’t offer this feature, you really should look at moving to a better web host.
14. Enable CSS Optimisation Carefully
There are a few optimisation plugins that offer CSS optimisation and minification as an option. Go carefully when setting up CSS optimisation as this can seriously effect the visual display of how your website looks. Test your WordPress site thoroughly after enabling any form of css optimisation or minification settings.
15. Enable JS Optimisation With Caution
Similar to css optimisation above, JS optimisation can really mess with your website if done incorrectly. This side of things can mess with the functionality of your WordPress website and sometime the look of things too. Again test thing well after each aspect of JS optimisation is enabled.
16. Minimise Redirects On Slow WordPress Site
If the internal links on your website are not the exact URL of the destination page (including the trailing slash), they can significantly hinder a site visitor’s experience. Multiple redirects to get to a page can cause a lot of server lag; as the user’s browser and your server try to work out the convoluted route to your page. The destination page should be the first point after the user clicks and doesn’t have any redirects at all if possible.
17. Get Faster WordPress Website Hosting
Use web hosting that is optimised for WordPress and your needs; many include their own caching and optimisation tools that will help to speed up your WordPress site.
So… “Why is My WordPress Site Slow?”
If you find yourself asking, “why is my WordPress site slow?” it’s time to put a stop to it. You are losing business because of it.
There are many reasons why a site slows down. It could be due to a hosting issue, poor website and theme development, or you could be using too many plugins.
The best thing to do is to have your site audited for these and other issues that could cause your WordPress site to slow down. We can thoroughly analyse your website, find out what are the snagging points and help you get them fixed. Speed up your site and make sure you’re getting the most user friendly experience for your visitors.
Let us use our expertise to help get your WordPress website running as fast as it can. Contact us today for a consultation.
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