How to Optimize Your WordPress Website for Free

In today’s fast-movingworld, patience is becoming rare by the day. This means the speed of your WordPress site can influence your site’s visitors. Nobody likes waiting. The faster, your website is, the better it serves your audience or visitors. Everybody enjoys a faster website. A site that lags is often a turn off to visitors. Aside from being user-friendly, faster websites rank better on search engines. Thus, the performance of your WordPress is essential.

How to test the performance of your WordPress

You do not need to hire any WordPress support and maintenance service to check your site’s speed. It is simple you need to subject your site to a free website performance test online. You should start by testing the load time.

The load time test measures the speed of your WordPress. Test this by entering the URL of the website in your browsers’ address bar. Check how long it takes to load. The speed is probably fast due to cached information on the browser. The test only tests the behavior of your site on your browser. It does not depict how the site behaves on your visitors.The internet has several free tools for this purpose. They include Pingdon, GTmatrix,andPageSpeed. This article will discuss some ways to optimize your WordPress.

1. Limit plugins

The amount of plugins has a significant impact on the speed of a WordPress website. More plugins cause performance issues. To avoid this, limit the number of plugins on your site.

Remove unnecessary plugins

Determine the plugins you find necessary for your site and remove. You can also deactivate some plugins to minimize the amount of code the site needs to load. Remove all unused plugins as they not only affect performance they also increase security vulnerabilities. Just install plugins that you see necessary for your website.

The number of plugins is not the only factor that contributes to plugin related performance issues. Some plugins fame for slowing websites. Such plugins interfere with performance due to one or more of these reasons:

  • Bad coding
  • Persistent calls and updates to the WordPress database.
  • Calls to external servers

Monitor closely the number of CPU resources the plugins utilize. Plugins with persistent processes can choke your CPU and can consequently bring your server down. Proper research on a plugin is essential to avoid lagging problems. Go for plugins that offer multiple features or plugins that will aid speed up your blog. The rating can also tell about a plugin.

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2. Optimize your images

Images are an important part of a website. However, if you do not optimize images before uploading them, your site will encounter performance problems. For you to optimize your images, you need a clear understanding of the various image formats for use on the website. The standardformats include PNG, JPEG,and GIF.

The PNG format is the uncompressed version. Thus, it will not reduce the quality of the image,but the image will retain its large size. JPEG (.jpg) is the most compressed version because it allows files to reduce. However, this reduction will decrease the quality of the image. The GIF format supports animation. It reduces the quality but retains the file size. Websites prefer this format for showing very short animations.

How to optimize images

  • Include images with the right size. Avoid scaling down large images using HTML. Prefer to upload picturesin the right size you want to display them.
  • Smush images. Smushing images entail removing additional data from pictures. Such extras includethe dateof creation, the camera that captured the photo, etc. You can use WP Smush. it or Imagify plugins to optimize images on your website. The plugins will go ahead to optimize new images when uploading.
  • You can also image editing software (such as Photoshop) to optimize your images.

3. Minify your JavaScript and CSS files

Minifying CSS and JS files entail combining multiple files into a single file. Consequently, the server does not have to make calls from external script files.This helps reduce the load time.Minificationremoves unnecessary data such as empty new lines, double spaces,and comments from the file. This improves the website load faster. The internet has numerous free online tools that you can use to minify your files. You can also use the W3 Total Cache plugin to minify themes as well JS and CSS files on your WordPress site automatically.

4. Clean your repository

As the site grows older, the database will start to accumulate clutter. The clutter can include plugins, overheads, MySQL queries, old versions, images and themes that the site no longer uses. Probably you upgraded to a better plugin and left the idle one in the repository. These can fill up your server space causing your site to run slow. You can use phpMyAdmin to remove the clutter manually. This process requires some level of expertise. Otherwise, you can damage your website. Several plugins can help clean your database automatically. Examples include Advanced Database Cleaner and WP-Sweet. These plugins make the cleaning safe for your site.

5. Choose a Fast WordPress Theme

A theme with poor coding or one that uses images in the entire design will cause web pages to load slowly. Themes that take up more space could also slow loading time. Go for a theme whose design features optimization for various devices (Desktop, mobile devices,and tablets). Search engines also favor responsive designs.

6. Split long comment pages

If your site engages youraudience, you probably receive many comments. Loading all the comments at once can cause slow the page. WordPress has an inbuilt feature that can you can use to split the comments into multiple pages. The split function allows you to decide the number of comments you want per page.

7. Use a CDN

CDN (Content Delivery Networks) refer to server networks cached copies of your WordPress on each of their location nodes. When a visitor requests your website, the nearest website to the visitor will deliver a cache of your site to them. The request does not have to go all the way to the primarydatacenter of your host.