The Ultimate Guide To WordPress Speed Optimization and Performance

Performance Optimizer Plugin for WordPress

Are you looking to boost your WordPress site Speed? Is your website slow? If you have such questions in mind then don’t worry, this guide is exclusively written for you. In this guide, we will improve your website speed from scratch with the industry’s best WordPress Speed Optimization and Performance Tips and tricks.

There is a famous expression that you have no doubt heard – “Time is money”. The biggest cliches are often the most valid, and we are not looking at an exception to that rule here. When it comes to websites and page load speed, time truly is money.

Once you have your WordPress blog up and running, you will need to maintain it. This involves keeping the site’s databases optimized and keeping the blog’s theme and plugins up to date with theme maintenance and plugin security patches.

If you have tried all the optimizations, but are still not satisfied with the performance of your site, there are a few troubleshooting techniques you can use to identify the bottleneck.

With WordPress, undoubtedly, becoming the most sought-after content management system preferred by bloggers worldwide, users find it usually very slow especially when they receive tons of traffic every day. The reason could be because of the sluggish server, inept coding or collection of unwanted themes. But there’s nothing as bad as a website that tests the patience of your visitors by responding in a ragtag manner. The speed of your website matters a lot as it helps you to retain your visitors and improve SEO.

Every website owner wants to speed-up their website loading times. Even the search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing love the website load time when considering for indexing and page ranking means Web search ranking also depends on site speed. As well as, all Internet users, like fast loading website and spend more time on surfing. On top of that Site owners can reduce operating costs, increasing and improving the performance of the site, means increasing revenue while driving down operating costs. (video,slides).

Table of Contents

Basics of WordPress Performance

Speeding Up WordPress with Plugins

WordPress Performance Optimization Tips

  • Keep Your WordPress Site Updated
  • Use Excerpts on Homepage and Archives
  • Split Comments into Pages
  • Use a Content Delivery Network (CDN)
  • Don’t Upload Videos Directly to WordPress
  • Use a Theme Optimized For Speed
  • Use a Faster Slider Plugin
  • Use a Faster Gallery Plugin

Fine-Tuning WordPress for Speed (Advanced)

  • Split Long Posts into Pages
  • Reduce External HTTP Requests
  • Reduce Database Calls
  • Optimize WordPress Database
  • Limit Post Revisions
  • Disable Hotlinking and Leeching of Your Content

Why Do You Need To Speed Up Your Website?


Is your blog or website a big clunky mess that always seems to load slowly? It’s not just you, the load time on your blog can destroy your “curb appeal” and bring down your blog’s value. After experiencing outages here at, I’ve decided to switch web hosts. However, there are plenty of tricks you can apply to get some oil back in your site’s gears and start seeing more traffic.

As per the survey, 40% of the people navigate off from the website which takes more than 3 seconds to load. When a person lands on your site’s page, it’s the speed that helps in capturing the attention of your visitors and persuades them to explore it further. But if your page responds slowly, you could end up losing your visitors, which is a great loss for your business. Google also considers page speed one of the major factors in taking your website at the top of the searches.

Thus, having a fast website is important to keep yourself ahead of the competition, as a slow site can kill your revenue and decrease the satisfaction level of your customers.

How To Make WordPress Powered Website Faster?

Website speed has been a great concern for me since the start of this blog. I can’t remember exactly when but at some point Google said that website speed is now a ranking factor and ever since now, I would get some ranking decrease I would often believe it was my site’s slow loading speed that was the reason. But I improved a lot over time. WordPress blogs usually start at a disadvantage on this compared to normal HTML blogs or websites that simply have fewer lines for a web browser to load.

Speeding up your WordPress blog is one of the most important steps in getting on Google’s good side…it’s also one of the most frustrating. You can spend hours and hours researching and performing step after step to get the sought after green rating from PageSpeed Insights and GTMetrix.

We are going to look up how to optimize a WordPress website and before taking steps, you should analyze your site speed, to obtain a better picture of your WordPress site speed issues. So, first, we look at Online Tools for Website speed testing for all kind of website then there are tips and tricks to improve the site load time along with a list of WordPress Plugins to speed up a WordPress site.

Hopefully, this WordPress Speed Optimization guide will put an end to some of that frustration and be your one stop source to better improving your website’s speed.

Factors Determining Speed of Site

The load speed of your site is essential; you need a fast site because slow sites annoy users, meaning fewer visitors to your site. Secondly, search engines also consider the speed of your site when generating their rankings. Some factors are influencing the load speed of a WordPress site. Here we list the most important ones.

Factor #1. Select a Reliable Hosting Plan

Your choice of web hosting company or server plan has a huge impact on the speed of your web pages, along with several other performance related issues. Don’t fall into the trap of cheap or sub-standard hosting plans as it could left you with a situation where you’ll have to deal with a slow working website as long as you are on that particular server.

Your hosting plan is not an area to be stingy with. So, it’s recommended to be wise and go for the plan like WP Engine or WordPress Hosting that can yield you better results.

Factor #2. Choose the Right Theme

You can’t overstate the fact that not all WordPress themes are equal. Some of them are created with extreme precision, while some contain a lot of fluff and codes written in a disoriented manner. So, when it comes to selecting the right theme for you, it’s recommended to have the one, which is simple and light. Because being simple is always a way to go for a speedy website.

Factor #3. Always Optimize Your Images

You might have heard it quite often that “Picture speaks a thousand words”. And, it’s always best to use images on your website as they have the ability to explain the things better. But overburdening your website with loads of images can be an obstacle and negatively impact the loading speed of your website.

So, before uploading any image on your website make sure it is properly compressed and then you save it in the web format. For this, you can use tools like WP Smush it, Tiny PNG, etc. The plugins help you to speed up your website by automatically compressing the images as soon as you upload them to the media library.

Factor #4. Use an Eloquent Caching Plugin

If you’ve built your website with static images, CSS or Javascript that make alterations difficult for you, then a useful caching plugin is all you need.

Caching helps you to save the parts of your website and allows users download them in one go as soon as they visit your site. Caching is a great help for your recurring visitors, and to those who visit multiple pages of your website. Plugins like W3 Total Cache has impressed many of the site owners. The plugin has all the features you’d expect and is incredibly simple to use.

Now let’s have a look on WordPress Site speed testing tools below.

Online Tools for Website Speed Testing

There are lots of sources which help to determine the speed of a website relative to other sites and webmasters and authors can take proper measure to making your site faster. Following are the Free Tools to evaluate the speed of any website:

Tool #1. Page Speed Online

Page Speed Online

An open source Firefox/Firebug add-on that evaluates the performance of web pages and gives suggestions for improvement. An open source Firefox/Firebug add-on that evaluates the performance of web pages and gives suggestions for improvement.

Tool #2. Pingdom Tools

Pingdom tools

Pingdom has an unyielding and narrow focus. That focus lies on covering the uptime monitoring needs of 90% of the companies in the world. Instead of branching out into other areas, we will instead place all our efforts into maintaining the best uptime monitoring service available.

Tool #3. Free Website Performance Test

Free Website Performance Test

Try free instant website performance test. Test your site from around the globe. See how fast your pages load from San Francisco to Ireland; from Singapore.

Tool #4. Which loads faster?

Which loads faster

This can be a simple tool for comparing whether your website performs better or worse than competing sites. This open source tool (view the source on GitHub) was originally created to promote the importance of web performance.

Tool #5. WebPagetest


WebPagetest is an open source project that is primarily being developed and supported by Google as part of our efforts to make the web faster.

WebPagetest is a tool that was originally developed by AOL for use internally and was open-sourced in 2008 under a BSD license. The platform is under active development on Google code and is also packaged up periodically and available for download if you would like to run your own instance.

Tool #6. Web Page Analyzer

Web Page Analyzer

WSO employs experts in most aspects of website optimization, including front-end speed optimization using the latest web standards and techniques, back-end optimization using server tuning, SQL query optimization, refactoring, and middleware tuning, search engine marketing, web design, and optimized marketing campaigns.

Tool #7. Show Slow

Show Slow

Show Slow is an open source tool that helps monitor various website performance metrics over time. It captures the results of YSlow, Page Speed, WebPageTest and dynaTrace AJAX Edition rankings and graphs them, to help you understand how various changes to your site affect its performance.

Tool #8. Site-Perf


With, you get an accurate, realistic, and helpful estimation of your site’s loading speed. The script fully emulates natural browser behavior downloading your page with all the images, CSS, JS and other files – just like a regular user. Spot bottlenecks, reach perfect performance and balance your site load with, a smart and flexible testing tool. Focus on important things while delivers the speed facts straight to your screen.

Tool #9. Load Impact


This online web performance evaluation tool has the ability to show graphed data such as user load time (simulated by an automated virtual machine) and requests per second (helpful for seeing how durable your web server is and how fast it can handle web page requests).

Tool #10. OctaGate SiteTimer

OctaGate SiteTimer

Web Monitor allows you to monitor how long it takes for a user to download one or more of your website pages. It visits the page that your request and downloads all content that’s directly linked from that page;

  • Images
  • Frames
  • Iframes
  • Script files
  • It follows redirects

Tool #11. YSlow

A free tool from Yahoo! that suggests different ways to improve the website speed.

Tool #12. Google Webmaster Tools

Site Performance shows the speed of your website as experienced by users around the world as in the chart below. We’ve also blogged about site performance.

Tool #13. Web Site Performance Test

Dynatrace, a real-time site performance tool displaying information on things such as DNS lookup time and connection time.

Tool #14. Webslug

This web tool will compare the site performance of two websites.

Tool #15. WebWait

A basic website speed timer with options for specifying the number of requests to make and the interval between requests (e.g. 5 requests in 10 seconds).

Tool #16. Website Speed Test

Provides plenty of data on page speed, including estimated load times for various types of Internet connections.

Tool #17. GTmetrix

An online tool that uses YSlow and PageSpeed to evaluate your website’s front-end performance, giving you easy-to-understand information.

Tool #18. Website Speed Test

A rather basic online tool that provides data such as page size, load time, download speed and average speed in a tabular format.

WordPress Plugins to Speed Up WordPress Site

One of the most important factors of a website, it’s site speed. The loading speed of a website affects a lot to the user experience and Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Therefore, the first task has to be done after deploying a website is optimize the speed. In the WP system, we use the power of plugins to improve WordPress site speed. The plugin is an essential part. You can imagine that in WordPress, theme is the face to show the beauty and then plugin is the backbone which brings features and power to the website. WP plugins provide features in all different fields.

Fast websites are less irritating to your visitors which increases the chance that they would click your ads, purchase a product or just stay longer at your site enjoying great content that you’ve featured there. Also, fast websites use less bandwidth and according to SEO specialists, major search engines count sites’ speed while creating rankings for them. The beauty of WordPress is its extensibility with plugins. Here is a great list of WordPress plugins that will optimize your blog loading times to the next level.

Image Optimization Plugins

Most of the bloggers use images to improve the search engine optimization and to enhance the website content. And this is the fact that photos and graphics bring more organic traffic to their site, especially if we are thinking about Google Image Search.

Loading time of website directly impact users and ranking position. As compare to text, images take longer to load and search engines indexed those web pages which have less load time and user spend time that gives a good impression to search engines.

Loading images/media is one of the heaviest tasks of a WP site, so reduction of the size is required. By manipulating image sizes, we can further enhance Page Speed score and improve WordPress Performance. This will also help in Search Engine Optimization of images. Here is the list of best image optimization plugins below.

1. WP Smush

Improve WordPress site speed - WP Smush plugin


This plugin is a product of WPMUDEV, and as they said: “Heavy image files may be slowing down your site without you even knowing it. WP Smush meticulously scans every image you upload – or have already added to your site – and cuts all the unnecessary data for you.”, this plugin is helpful to improve your WordPress site speed.

Yahoo’s excellent Exceptional Performance series recommends optimizing images in several lossless ways:

  • stripping meta data from JPEGs
  • optimizing JPEG compression
  • converting certain GIFs to indexed PNGs
  • stripping the unused colors from indexed images offers an API that performs these optimizations (except for stripping JPEG meta data) automatically, and this plugin seamlessly integrates with WordPress.

EWWW Image Optimizer

speed up WordPress site - EWWW Image Optimizer

Another option which brings the same effective compressing image feature for you is EWW Image Optimizer. This plugin allows you to compress the images right after you upload or scan for current images in your site and reduce its size.

Caching plugins

To start optimizing a WordPress website speed, we first have to catch the site. Caching means that the web server will generate all static HTML, CSS files from your dynamic PHP scripts so that the site won’t have to re-process all the heavy and complicated PHP code and save a lot of time displaying the site. Caching is really effective to speed up your site. Two popular plugins I bring here is WP Super Cache and W3 Total Cache.

1. WP Super Cache

Optimize WordPress site speed - WP Super Cache plugins

With over one million of users active installed, WP Super Cache is one of the most popular plugins for WordPress. Because caching handled by WP Super Cache is very efficient and straightforward to set up which makes this plugin is the first choice to optimize a WordPress site speed.

2. W3 Total Cache

This plugin does not only cache your static files as what caching does, but also contains the option to minify your CSS and Javascript files that come with one more step to light up your WP site.

W3 Total Cache improves the user experience of your site by improving your server performance, caching every aspect of your site, reducing the download times and providing transparent content delivery network (CDN) integration.

This plugin allows you to do the following: 1. Change the order that your plugins are loaded. 2. Selectively disable plugins by any post type or WordPress managed URL. 3. Adds grouping to the plugin admin age.

Optimization Plugins

Last but not least, the job that was used to require a web admin to handle manually now can be automatically solved with plugins. WP-Optimize is the one I want to mention.

WP Optimize

optimize speed of WP site - WP Optimize

For some People running WordPress, the use of phpMyAdmin appears to be a risky thing. There’s just too many options. This plugin lets you do just one simple task: optimize the tables of your database, to reduce their overhead.

WP-Optimize provides a list of features that will help you clean the trash from your WordPress databases such as unpublished posts, unapproved comments, spams, trackbacks, pingbacks and many other things that you might not notice.

3. WP Avoid Slow

Web pages are becoming increasingly complex with more scripts, stylesheets, images, and Flash on them. A first-time visit to a page may require several HTTP requests to load all the components. By using Expires headers, these components become cacheable, which avoids unnecessary HTTP requests on subsequent page views. Expires headers are most often associated with images, but they can and should be used on all page components including scripts, stylesheets, and Flash.

4. JS & CSS Script Optimizer

Minify is a PHP 5 app that “combines multiple CSS or Javascript files, removes unnecessary whitespace and comments, and serves them with gzip encoding and optimal client-side cache headers.” The WP Minify plugin makes it easy to integrate Minify into your WordPress/BuddyPress site and in most cases will work right out of the box without any adjustments.


  • Combine several scripts into the single file (to minimize HTTP requests)
  • Pack scripts using Dean Edwards’s JavaScript Packer
  • You can move all JavaScripts to the bottom
  • Combine all CSS scripts into the single files (with grouping by “media”)
  • Pack CSS files (remove comments, tabs, spaces, newlines)
  • Ability to include JavaScript and CSS files (new)
  • If any script fails and shows error you can add it to exclude list

5. Clean Options

Clean Options finds orphaned options (unused options) and allows you to remove them from the wp_options table. This can save you several KBs or MBs, helping to speed up your site load time.

7. Digg Protector

The Digg Protector will protect your blog from suffering from the Digg effect. When writing a post, give the HTML image tags a “protect” attribute to protect them. This means that when visitors from Digg come, they will be shown the image in the “protect” attribute. Otherwise, if they are not from Digg, they will be shown the image given in the “src” attribute. A basic HTML knowledge is recommended to use this plugin.

8. WP HTTP Compression

This plugin allows your WordPress blog to output pages compressed in gzip format if a browser supports compression.

9. Lazy Load Widgets

If you are using WordPress as your blog platform and want to increase its performance, The Lazy Widget Loader plugin provides lazy loading for widgets to improve page loading. Use it on slow widgets, especially those where external data is loaded, like widgets from Facebook, Twitter, Adsense, and others.

WordPress Caching and Speed Optimization for Advanced Cloud Setup

WordPress Caching and Speed Optimization for Advanced Cloud Setup is hard as most Cloud providers keep combination hidden. Here is the master guide to the rules. This article on WordPress Caching and Speed Optimization for Advanced Cloud Setup is not for WordPress users using a single Cloud Server or VPS or dedicated server or the worst – a shared server.


The mentioned above plugins and guides to optimize WordPress performance will help you in achieving the desired results.

WordPress is one of the most widely used blogging platforms in which some plugins and themes exist to create highly accurate websites for users. Are you suffered or permanently suffering from the slow down page load in your WordPress blog? There are as many as reasons to slow down of your blog load time like broken themes, broken plugins, Previous Versions of WordPress, Themes, Plugins, Large images files, etc. and this ultimate guide addresses almost all the crucial issues for WordPress Optimization.

The speed factor of your website matters a lot and should be dealt with utmost care. Without taking the useful measure, you end up having a drastically slow site with lost customers and subscribers. So, just get rid of unwanted elements and take out the right tools that aid in the growth of your website. Speeding up websites is important — not just to site owners, but to all Internet users. Faster sites create happy users and we’ve seen in our internal studies that when a site responds slowly, visitors spend less time there.

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