14 Ways to Reduce WordPress Load Time and Boost Site Speed

In the online world, speed is everything. A slow site can turn away visitors and affect your search engine rankings. But don't worry, we've got you covered.

Let's dive into how you can reduce WordPress load time and boost your site speed:
  • Your hosting provider is the foundation of your site. A good host ensures your site is always available and responsive. So, choose wisely!
  • Themes with lots of features can slow down your site. Go for a lightweight theme and only use the features you need. Remember, less is more.
  • Large images can slow down your site. Use an image optimizer to reduce their size without losing quality. Your visitors and your site will thank you.
  • Every plugin adds to your site's load time. Only use the ones you really need and delete the rest. Your site's speed will thank you.
  • Caching plugins store a static version of your site, reducing load time for your visitors. There are plenty of free and premium options available.
Remember, a fast site is a successful site. So, follow these tips and watch your site speed soar! You've got this!
Reduce WordPress Load Time and Boost Site Speed: Speed up your WordPress site for a seamless experience! Learn tips to optimize loading times, enhancing user satisfaction and boosting your website's performance. Achieve a faster, more efficient WordPress site now.
Reduce WordPress Load Time and Boost Site Speed: Speed up your WordPress site for a seamless experience! Learn tips to optimize loading times, enhancing user satisfaction and boosting your website's performance. Achieve a faster, more efficient WordPress site now.

Factors Affecting Website Load Time

Website load time is a crucial factor often overlooked by bloggers and webmasters. Slow loading times not only drive visitors away but also impact search engine rankings. To reduce load time, several factors need consideration.

Firstly, server response time should be minimized. Opting for a reliable hosting provider helps achieve response times under 200ms. Secondly, reducing HTTP requests is vital. Each element on a webpage generates an HTTP request, so optimizing themes and plugins minimizes requests and improves load time.
  1. Compression can significantly reduce page size. Gzip compression is widely supported by modern browsers, enhancing download speed. Browser caching creates a cache of the webpage on the user's device, reducing server requests and improving load times for subsequent visits.
  2. Minification of CSS and JavaScript removes unnecessary data, such as spaces and comments, optimizing code. Prioritizing "Above The Fold" content and keeping its size under 14.6Kb compressed ensures quick visibility while other scripts load.
  3. Optimizing CSS delivery is crucial. Inline CSS improves load speed, but complex codes should remain external to avoid affecting "Above The Fold" rendering. Asynchronous scripts allow background downloading while other scripts execute, reducing load times.
  4. Image optimization is key. Unless high-resolution images are necessary, using lower-resolution images or employing compression tools minimizes load times. Lastly, landing page redirects trigger additional HTTP requests, so minimizing and avoiding them is recommended.
Addressing these factors can significantly enhance website load time, improving user experience, search engine rankings, and overall website performance.

How To Reduce Page Load Time For WordPress

Reducing page load time for a WordPress website is achievable, even for those with basic knowledge of WordPress. Though understanding the factors involved may seem challenging, implementing strategies to improve load time is not overly complicated. Consider the following factors to effectively reduce your website's load time. Factors affecting loading time of a website:

1. Selecting Quality Hosting Server

Choosing the right hosting company is crucial. It's like picking a home for your website, so consider it carefully. Remember, it's not just about finding a host that fits your needs, it's about finding one that aligns with your values and speaks to your audience.

So, take a moment, think about what you need, and make a choice that will inspire and motivate you. After all, your website deserves a host that's as unique and remarkable as you are.

Following are the main points you should keep in mind while selecting your hosting company.

1.1 Type Of Hosting Server

Depending upon the traffic your website is getting, you could either go for shared servers, VPS, Dedicated Server or cloud servers.
  • Shared hosting is generally suitable for basic websites getting less than 30k monthly visitors. Some shared hosting can handle up to 100k visitors per month on shared hosting.

    However, shared hosting can considerably slow down your website if other websites hosted on the server too are getting lots of traffic. So for Ecommerce websites and other time critical websites, you must either go with a VPS or a Cloud Server.

  • Dedicated servers are recommended in case of very heavy traffic websites. Though, I would still prefer cloud servers over dedicated servers as they provide better uptime than dedicated servers. Also, cloud servers are scalable, which means you can quickly upgrade and downgrade your server resources without any downtime.

2. Location Of Hosting

Think of your hosting servers as the heart of your website. Ideally, they should be located where you anticipate the most traffic. It is generally recommended that your hosting servers are based at locations from where you are expecting maximum traffic. This strategy minimizes latency and supercharges your site's speed. But what if there aren't any high-quality servers in your region, or your audience is worldwide?

Don't worry! A Content Delivery Network (CDN), whether free or paid, can turbocharge your website.

And here's a bonus: most hosting companies let you activate a CDN straight from your CPanel. So, you're always in control and ready to deliver a fast, seamless experience to your visitors. Remember, your website's speed reflects your brand's efficiency and commitment to user satisfaction. So, choose wisely and stay ahead!

3. Features Provided By Hosting Company

Imagine your website on an SSD server. It's like a sports car compared to a regular HDD server, which is more like a bicycle. SSD servers are faster, more efficient, and they make your website run smoothly. So, it's a smart move to choose a hosting company that offers SSD servers.

But there's more! Check if your hosting panel includes GZIP compression and CDN configurations. While they're not critical (you can always deploy them externally), having these features at your fingertips is like having a built-in turbo boost for your website. So, why not give your site the best? After all, your website deserves a hosting environment that's as dynamic and high-performing as it is.

4. Overall Reputation Of The Hosting Company

In the bustling marketplace of web hosting, many providers will entice you with affordable rates and grand promises. But here’s the catch: not all deliver on their word. Some cut corners by overloading their servers, especially in shared hosting, which can leave your website crawling at a snail’s pace.

So, what’s the solution? Choose wisely. Opt for a hosting company that’s stood the test of time, one that’s earned a solid reputation. After all, your website is a reflection of you. It deserves a host that’s reliable, efficient, and true to its word. So, take a step forward, make an informed decision, and let your website shine! Remember, it’s not just about hosting; it’s about hosting right.

You must read: 5 Factors Choosing Best Web Hosting For Your Website/Blog | Hosting Guide

Based upon above parameters, for shared hosting, I always recommend my readers to buy servers from any of the below hosting companies

4.1. Dreamhost

Dreamhost is one of the best and fastest hosts with great uptime and awesome customer support. They provide 100% Uptime guarantee with SLA. So you can claim compensation for any downtime. It also provides industry best 97-day money back guarantee with their annual hosting plan.

They just have one plan that will cost you $9.95 per month. However, ProBlogBooster users get a special discount of $50 with its annual hosting plan which brings down the monthly hosting charges to $5.78 per month through the link below.

Dreamhost also offers unmanaged Cloud VPS servers starting just $4.5 per month. So if you are familiar with Linux commands and can set up and manage your own servers, this is the cheapest and the best option.

Get DreamHost Shared Hosting With $50 Discount: SIGN UP TO GET $50 OFF

4.2. SiteGround

Site Ground is known for in the hosting industry for providing fastest servers with great uptime and near perfect customer support. The basic “Startup plan” will cost you $3.95/month irrespective of the duration of hosting. However, there is a non-refundable set-up fee of $14.95 for the monthly plan. You also get a free domain name and free Let’s Encrypt SSL along with the hosting.

SiteGround is highly recommended for hosting a single website. For hosting multiple websites, it turns out to be more costly than DreamHost at $7.95 per month.

4.3. A2 Hosting

A2 hosting claims to be 300% than other hosting services. While it may not be 300% faster, but it is definitely quicker than most other hosts. They provide 99.9% Uptime guarantee

The basic plan starts at $8.95 per month for Annual billing and $7.99 per month for 2 years billing. It, however, offers a one-time discount of 51% discount to all its new users irrespective of the duration of hosting. So you can get it’s annual hosting for just $4.4 per month and 2 years plan for $3.92 per month.

4.4. Hostgator

Hostgator is one of the most well-known companies in the hosting industries. It provides quick servers with good customer support, 99.9% uptime guarantee, and 45 days money back guarantee.

The basic plan called the Hatchling Plan starts at $8.95 per month for annual billing. However, Hostgator offers discounts ranging from 25% to 60% which changes daily. So you can buy their hosting for much cheaper rates.

Hostgator also offers Managed Cloud Hosting with Cpanel with more resources than their shared hosting plan. The Cloud Hatching Plan will cost you $10.95 per month. However, as in the case of shared hosting, the discounts for shared hosting too, varies on a daily basis.

Check: HostGator.com Review + Hosting Coupons Upto 90% OFF | Best Web Hosting

5. Using Well Coded Themes And Plugins

Often times bloggers choose free or cheap themes and plugins that are rich in features. However, they fail to check if the themes and plugins they are using are well coded and fast to load.

Most free themes coded by new developers use redundant scripts that generate unnecessary requests which increase your website load time. Same applies to plugins. So you must make sure to get the right theme and plugin

Below are the top sources for free and paid themes and plugins:

5.1. WordPress Repository

WordPress has certain guidelines that a theme or plugin author has to follow before his theme or plugin is approved to be listed in the WordPress Repository. Though the themes at WordPress Repository are usually well-coded, you must check the user ratings and comments before using a theme.

After installing and activating the free WordPress theme, you should also check if it causes your blog to slow down or if it interferes with any plugins on your blog.

5.2. Genesis Themes By StudiPress

Themes based on Genesis Framework are often considered to be the best as the developers behind them have years of experience with WordPress Themes. Hence, all the themes by them are well coded and SEO friendly.

You can either buy the basic Genesis framework for $59.95 and build your own child theme or you can buy a child theme of your choice for $99.95.

Each theme comes with a lifetime support for unlimited websites. Since there is no developer license, you can use the theme on your client’s website too.

5.3. MyThemeShop

MyThemeShop provides over 100 free and paid WordPress themes. You can buy any paid theme for $59. However, if you need to get access to all the themes and plugins by MyThemeShop, you can get MyThemeShop membership by paying a one-time signup fee of $87 and $9 per month recurring charges.

You also need to check; MyThemeShop Review 2023 | FLAT 65% OFF Coupon Codes

The single theme comes with lifetime updates and supports. However, in the case of MyThemeShop membership, if you cancel your membership, you can use any theme and plugin you downloaded but you will not receive any updates or support for the same after canceling the membership.

Get MyThemeShop Themes And Plugins [Apply Mythemeshop Discount Coupon code "19USDFORALL"]:
Activate Mythemeshop Discount Coupon

For WP Plugins, you can check my list of Top 10 Best WordPress SEO Plugins & Tools which are well coded and quick to load

6. Use Cache Plugins

There are many free as well as paid cache management plugins available for WordPress.

Below are the top 3 cache plugins for WordPress:

6.1 W3 Total Cache

I prefer W3 Total Cache over other plugins as it provides you a lot of advanced configurations to speed up your website. The number of configurations it provides can also be considered a drawback as most bloggers may find it difficult to set up the same.

Configuring W3 Total Cache which will help you tweak the necessary configurations to reduce your page load time. However, if you do not want to get into hassles of configuring the plugin, the developers do offer professional plugin configuration for $100.

6.2 WP Super Cache

WP Super cache is the most popular caching plugin and has been downloaded over 10 million times. It is a free plugin and requires little to no configuration. This makes it ideal for people who do not want to play with the settings.

However, for the professionals, it does not provide as many configuration options as W3 Total Cache. The lack of advanced options also makes it unsuitable if you want to fine tune your caching settings.

6.3 WP Rocket

Though WP Rocket comes with very limited advanced options, it is the fastest caching plugin out of the three. However, unlike the other two, it is not free and it’s price varies between $39 to $199 depending on the number of sites you want to use it on.

The main downside of the plugin is that, though you can use the plugin for the lifetime, you receive updates and support only for the first year from the date of purchase of the license. To continue receiving support and updates for the plugin, you have to renew the license every year.

7. Use Content Delivery Network (CDN)

If your hosting server is not located in the same region as your target readers or if you are targeting the global audience, use of CDN becomes imperative. A CDN backs up and delivers the content of your website through servers located as close as possible to the visitor which reduces latency and speeds up the website loading time.

I generally prefer and recommend using Cloudflare CDN which is freemium CDN service provider with most of its necessary functions available for free. Apart from serving files to your viewers from nearest location, Cloudflare also adds a security cover to protect your website from DDOS attacks.

Apart from serving files to your viewers from nearest location, Cloudflare also adds a security cover to protect your website from DDOS attacks. Add to it, CloudFlare also provides cache, minify and other settings to optimize your website to make it load faster.

Check CloudFlare CDN

8. Optimize Images

Images can increase your page size considerably. This, in turn, will drastically increase your page load time especially for users with slower internet connectivity. It is, therefore, necessary that you optimize your images to reduce its size.

There are various free and paid desktop software as well as WordPress plugins that help you to reduce your image size through lossless compression. While the latest version of WordPress does compress the image, I generally prefer using WP Smush, which is a free Image optimization plugin.

Read more: Top 15 SEO Image Optimization Tips for Search Engine Traffic

9. Delay Loading Of Images

If you use a lot of images on your blog, no matter how well you optimize it, it will take a lot of time to load as all the images will be loading simultaneously.

However, you can use free plugins like Lazy Load, to delay the loading of images until the user scrolls down. If you are using WP Rocket caching plugin, you get Lazy Load feature with the same.

Know more on Lazy Load script: Enable Lazy-Loading To Speed up Loading By 2X

10. Use Excerpts For Blog Page And Archives

Using full post for blog page and archives can significantly increase your page size as each post may contain lots of images and data. This will result in increased page load time.

By using excerpts, you can thus reduce your website load time. Additionally, unless you are running a magazine style blog, it is recommended to keep the number of post on blog page as less as possible. I prefer keeping it to 5 posts per page.

You can easily limit the number of posts per page by navigating to Setting >> Reading on your WordPress Dashboard. On the same page, you also have the option to switch from “Full Text” to “Summary” view. However, some themes may require you to change the settings to show “Excerpts” in their theme control panel as well.

11. Deactivate Unused Plugins

Often times we install plugins only to realize that they do not add any value to the blog. Also, the default WordPress installation comes with a couple of plugins which most people may not need. You must make sure to uninstall unused plugins as they may affect your website load time.

12. Cleanup WordPress Database

Larger WordPress database can slow down your website. Therefore you must clean your WordPress Database regularly to remove spam comments, post revisions, auto-draft posts and posts in trash.
  • WP-Optimize is a free plugin that allows you to automatically optimize your WordPress database at specified duration.
  • Reduce Database Size With WP Optimize

13. Disable Pingbacks And Trackbacks

Pingbacks and trackbacks are used by WordPress to notify you whenever someone links to your blog post. This can put unnecessary strain on the servers. Since there are other ways like Google Search Console to find out who is linking back to you, it is recommended to disable it.

To disable Pingbacks and Trackbacks, navigate to Setting > Discussion on your WordPress Dashboard and uncheck the option “Allow link notifications from other blogs (pingbacks and trackbacks) on new articles” as shown in screenshot below

14. Block Crawler Spam

Crawler Spam is a black hat technique used by some SEO’s to increase traffic to their website. It sends unsolicited visitors to your server using fake referrer and the same is recorded in your Google Analytics thus also spoiling your data. The idea is, most webmasters will visit the link trying to figure out the source of traffic.

Crawler spam can put unnecessary load on your server by using your server bandwidth and other resources causing it to slow down. Hence, you must block them all.

If you are using CloudFlare CDN, it blocks most of the referral spam. For the rest, you can modify your .htaccess file to block them.

Reduction Of Website Load Time on ProBlogBooster

Using the above mentioned points, I managed to keep website load time of ProBlogBooster close to 1 second. While I had already configured most of the above points for my blog, I decided to disable W3 Total Cache and Cloudflare CDN to see what difference it makes to my blog. Below are the results from this mini test.

With W3 Total Cache and Cloudflare disabled, according to GTMetrix, ProBlogBooster generated whopping 99 requests with a Page load time of 4.7 seconds which is more than double of recommended 2 seconds.

According to Pingdom Test, ProBlogBooster generated 113 requests with a Page Load time of 4.06 seconds.

Soon after capturing above results, I activated and configured W3 Total cache and Cloudflare CDN and checked website load time using above 2 tools. The results were much better than what I expected it to be.

The number of requests generated by ProBlogBooster came down from 99 to just 31. The page load time reduced from 4.7 seconds to just 0.8 second which is a reduction of 82%.

Pingdom Test too showed similar results. The number of requests reduced from 113 to just 77. While the website load time reduced by 80% to just 0.8 seconds.

This show how important it is to use a caching plugin as well as CDN.

Bottom Line
Website Load Time is certainly a critical factor both from user experience as well as SEO point of view. While bringing down your website load time may seem very complicated, if you follow the above points, it is not going to be very difficult.

Also, from the above tests carried on ProBlogBooster, we can safely say that caching plugin and CDN has the greatest effect on your page load time. Having said that, it is also important for you to choose the right host, themes, and plugins and also optimize your images.

Are you following all the points suggested in this article? If yes, do let us know its effect on your website load time.

If you enjoyed this article, please share it with your friends and help us spread the word.

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