10 Best Ways to Speed up WordPress in 2020

10 Best Ways to Speed up WordPress in 2020

Whatever website you’re running now, whether it is a personal, portfolio, or ecommerce website, improving page speed should always be on your mind. Your page loading time determines your visitor’s first impression, has a huge impact on keeping them staying on your website, and SEO. In this article, you’ll learn the best ways to speed up your WordPress website. The best part is, most improvements can be made in a few clicks and don’t require any coding skills.

Let’s check them out.

Why You Need to Speed up WordPress

Before learning how to speed up your WordPress, let’s get to know why page speed matters a lot to your website:

  • Boost Page Ranking. Google page speed into account in its search ranking algorithms. Thus, it impacts your site ranking on SERPs.
  • Decrease Bounce Rate. Loading time significantly affects how likely visitors are to further browse your site. A slow website gets a higher bounce rate.
  • Affect User Experience. Slow loading time can drive visitors away. Users expect your website to load in two seconds or less, and nearly half of them leave after three seconds of loading time.
  • Get More Revenue. Speeding up a website can boost sales. Some brands like Mobify and AutoAnything have successfully increased revenue after decreasing their site’s loading time.

How to Test Your Site Speed

Now, let’s check out your website’s speed using GTmetrix.

  1. Type in your site’s URL and press Test Your Site.
  2. Once the analyzing process is done, scroll down to the Performance Score and Page Details section. You’ll see your site’s page speed score, loading time, and total page size.
  3. Next, navigate to the PageSpeed tab and follow all the recommendations to improve your site’s speed.

Alternatively, you can test your website speed using the Pingdom Website Speed Test or Google’s PageSpeed Insights.

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How to Speed up Your WordPress Website

Here are the best ways to boost your WordPress website’s speed.

1. Pick the Right Web Hosting Service and Type

First things first, choose a fast web hosting provider for your website. Make sure that your hosting option offers these features:

  • Multiple Data Centers. You can host your site on the data center closest to your visitors. Keep in mind, your physical server location can significantly affect your website’s speed.
  • Bandwidth. Choose high bandwidth hosting to guarantee quicker data transfer on your website.
  • SSD Hosting. Pick a hosting provider that features SSD storage. SSD is a more stable drive and offers high-speed data access and transfer.

Choosing an appropriate hosting type for your website is also essential:

  • Shared hosting ‒ you’ll share your site’s server with other websites. It suited best for a website that doesn’t have high traffic, like a personal or small business website.
  • Dedicated hosting ‒ you’ll have a whole server and its resources to yourself. You can choose this hosting type if you have a large website or application with high traffic.
  • VPS hosting ‒ similar to shared hosting, you’ll share one server with multiple websites. However, virtualization technology offers you dedicated server space and resources within a single server. This hosting type is suitable for a website with medium traffic.
  • Cloud hosting ‒ while other hosting types rely on a single server, cloud hosting offers multiple virtual servers to store your website’s data. Due to its nature, cloud hosting offers great redundancy and reliability features. This hosting type is another great option for a high-traffic website.
  • Managed WordPress Hosting ‒ this hosting type is designed and optimized specifically for WordPress. Your hosting service will take care of many technical aspects, including updates, backup, and security.

2. Keep WordPress Up to Date

Keeping WordPress updated is crucial for speeding up your website. The latest WordPress versions provide new features and functionalities to optimize your site speed and performance.

Additionally, a new WordPress release comes with security solutions to handle bugs and vulnerability issues on your website. It also ensures compatibility with the newest themes, plugins, and web technologies.

Other than that, you also need to update your WordPress plugins and themes to improve your site’s performance and prevent any security threats.

To do so, you can simply navigate to your WordPress Dashboard -> Updates, then install all available WordPress core, plugin, and theme updates in a few clicks.

3. Choose a Lightweight Theme

A feature-rich theme with tons of elements, widgets, sliders, social buttons, or animations might be appealing to your visitors. But, installing a bloated theme can increase your site’s size and slow down its loading time.

Therefore, the solution is, pick a lightweight theme for your site. You can use the default WordPress theme with basic built-in features like Twenty Twenty, or choose the fastest loading theme’s available out there. One of the popular options is GeneratePress, which has a small size (less than 30kb) and fast loading times.


4. Install a Cache Plugin

Installing a cache plugin is another method to speed up your website. The options may be overwhelming, but luckily there is a great list of the best WordPress cache plugins you can choose from, such as WP Rocket, W3 Total Cache, or WP Fastest Cache.

With cache plugins, whenever your visitors reaccess your site, your server will load the copy of static pages from the cache folder created on the client-side (browser.)

In short, a caching plugin cuts down several steps when pulling up your content. Without a caching plugin, your server takes more time to perform a lot of tasks when loading your web page, including transmitting all of your site’s files and elements from the database.

5. Get Rid of Unnecessary Plugins, Themes, and Widgets

Removing unnecessary plugins is another way to improve your WordPress website speed. The unused plugins will only take up your site’s space and may create security vulnerabilities. You can check out and delete inactive plugins from the Plugins menu on your WordPress dashboard.

You can also get rid of slow plugins. To start off, analyze your site using P3 (Plugin Performance Profiler) or Query Monitor, get the list of the slow plugins, delete them, and install the faster alternative options.

Additionally, pay attention to your theme too. If you don’t use all of your theme’s features, then tweak your theme editor and disable the unnecessary ones. You may also delete the unused themes from your Themes menu on the WordPress dashboard.


Last but not least, disable unwanted widgets from your web page. You can do it by tweaking your functions.php file or by using Widget Disable.

6. Optimize and Rescale Images on Your Website

An image is an integral part of every website. It plays a major role in increasing your content’s engagement and traffic.

Using large images can slow down your website. For this reason, you need to compress all the pictures by using an image optimization tool (e.g., ImageResizer.com) or image editing application on your desktop (e.g., Adobe Photoshop). You can also decrease your image size automatically with an image optimization plugin, such as TinyPNG, Smush, or ShortPixel.

Another issue can also happen when you upload an image with the wrong scale. For instance, you need a 25X25 thumbnail. But rather than picking a picture with the exact scale, you upload a 250X250 image. As a result, the browser takes more time to rescale that picture down before displaying it on the visitor’s browser.

To prevent this issue from happening, you can use a picture resizing tool like PicResize and then replace the oversized images on your website.

7. Use GZIP Compression

Basically, GZIP Compression has a similar concept as ZIP archives on your desktop. It reduces your site’s file size and bandwidth usage. In the end, your visitors can load your content faster.

Some web hosting companies may provide GZIP Compression. You can contact your hosting service to get further information about this feature. Several caching plugins like W3 Total Cache provide this feature too.

To make sure whether or not GZIP Compression is enabled on your site, you can use an online tool like Small SEO Tools.


If you don’t have gzip enabled on your site, you can activate it manually by adding the code below to your .htaccess file.

<ifModule mod_gzip.c>
mod_gzip_on Yes
mod_gzip_dechunk Yes
mod_gzip_item_include file .(html?|txt|css|js|php|pl)$
mod_gzip_item_include handler ^cgi-script$
mod_gzip_item_include mime ^text/.*
mod_gzip_item_include mime ^application/x-javascript.*
mod_gzip_item_exclude mime ^image/.*
mod_gzip_item_exclude rspheader ^Content-Encoding:.*gzip.*


8. Minify Your HTML, Javascript, and CSS Resources

Minifying HTML, Javascript, and CSS resources is another way to reduce your site’a size and bandwidth usage. This process will remove unnecessary characters or spaces from your files, including line breaks, block delimiters, whitespaces, and comments.

Thankfully, plenty of online tools and WordPress plugins are available for a more straightforward minification process. Minify Code is a great example. You’ll only need to input the code, hit the Minify button, and replace your code with the minified version.


If you prefer using a plugin, Autoptimize can be another effective solution. Otherwise, utilize a caching plugin that offers this functionality too, like WP Fastest Cache. Alternatively, you can minify your HTML, Javascript, and CSS files manually by removing unnecessary characters and spaces directly from your code.

9. Utilize a Content Delivery Network (CDN)

If your site’s visitors come from different regions, then using a content delivery network is a necessity. Simply put, a CDN provides multiple data centers across the globe, where a copy of static content will be saved.

If you rely on a single physical server from your hosting company, your site will only load fast to the visitors near the data center. For instance, if the physical server is located in Singapore, your website may load quickly to visitors from Asia, but it will have longer loading times for American users.

Here, a CDN overcomes the network latency issue by cutting down the distance between your site’s physical server and users. As a result, visitors can quickly load your web page from the closest CDN server.

There are lots of free and paid CDN services you can choose, such as Cloudflare or Akamai Edge.

10. Set up Hotlink Protection

Hotlinking can also slow down your website. This term refers to an action when someone links to a file on your website. For example, your site’s picture is used by someone else. But instead of downloading your picture, they add your image using its URL.

The problem is, every time your picture is accessed from their website, it uses your bandwidth, memory, and server. So, the more people link to a file on your website, the more resources are taken from you.

Fortunately, you can easily set up hotlink protection from your hosting control panel. Otherwise, you can manually add the code snippet below to your .htaccess file after changing yoursitename.com with your domain name.

RewriteEngine on
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^$
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^http://(www\.)yoursitename.com/.*$ [NC]
RewriteRule \.(gif|jpg|jpeg|bmp|zip|rar|mp3|flv|swf|xml|php|png|css|pdf)$ - [F]


Wrapping Up

Site speed is a key factor for your website to thrive. It plays a major role when boosting your site’s ranking on search engine result pages, improving its conversion rate and engagement, and increasing your company’s sales.

There are several things you can do to speed up your WordPress website. Here is the recap:

  1. Find the fastest web hosting service and pick a hosting plan that suits your site.
  2. Regularly update your WordPress core, plugins, and theme.
  3. Select a lightweight theme equipped with the features you need.
  4. Let a cache plugin create a static HTML version of your web pages.
  5. Remove unused or slow plugins, themes, and widgets from your site.
  6. Optimize and resize images for your content.
  7. Enable GZIP compression to decrease your file size.
  8. Minify your HTML, Javascript, and CSS files to free up storage space.
  9. Get your site closer to your visitors by using a Content Delivery Network (CDN).
  10. Save your site’s resources by setting up hotlinking protection.

So, are you ready to improve your site? Give them a try, and good luck.

angelo frisina sunlight media

Author Bio

Angelo has been involved in the creative IT world for over 20 years. He built his first website back in 1998 using Dreamweaver, Flash and Photoshop. He expanded his knowledge and expertise by learning a wider range of programming skills, such as HTML/CSS, Flash ActionScript and XML.

Angelo completed formal training with the CIW (Certified Internet Webmasters) program in Sydney Australia, learning the core fundamentals of computer networking and how it relates to the infrastructure of the world wide web.

Apart from running Sunlight Media, Angelo enjoys writing informative content related to web & app development, digital marketing and other tech related topics.