Jon Fletcher 2020-07-09

How to speed up WordPress sites

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As a publisher or blogger, you'd think that the quality of your content is the biggest factor in your success. But, content quality is so subjective, Google finds it easier to rank on measurable factors. Factors like page speed.

Increasing the speed of your website is one of the most important changes you can make to improve the overall results of your website. Readers hate slow pages. They even engage more with fast ones. Speed ​​up your WordPress site and your bounce rate will improve, it boosts your SEO results, encourages readers to click more pages, and just makes your experience more pleasing to use. Yet, even global, popular online brands still struggle to achieve ultra-fast pages on mobile. 

Here you can see Mashable.com gets a 'Slow' rating from Google for taking just over 4 seconds to load on a 3G connection. The need for speed is real. In this blog post, we're giving you five proven and easy to use methods to speed up your WordPress site. 


1. Activate a CDN


Data takes time to travel. The further away your users are, the longer it takes your content reach them A content delivery network (CDN) cuts this time by storing your content on a distributed group of servers that work together to provide fast delivery, from the server closest to the user.

Without a CDN, your site's speed will change depending on where someone accesses your site. The further Activating a CDN improves the speed at which your page loads as the content is served from the nearest data center, localized to the user's location. Compared to using a Single Centralized Server, multiple distributed servers are able to cut load time because they reduce bandwidth consumption. Activating a CDN lets you cache and invalidate dynamic content with a mean purge time of 150 milliseconds.

Having multiple servers also prevents downtime caused by spikes in traffic. Multiple servers allow your website's traffic to be distributed across multiple caching edge servers. And, if your host server goes down, your CDN will make your content available though the copies across your multiple data centers. For publishers with a worldwide audience, and the need to update and refresh their content, a CDN package is essential. 


2. Enable browser caching


When a user visits your site for the first time, they have to download every component, element, and style to be able to use your page. This has a major impact on page speed and loading time. But once a page has been loaded, these components can be stored in the user's cache, reducing the load required for further visits.

For caching, a CDN will reduce the load on an application origin and improve the experience of the requestor by delivering a local copy of the content from a nearby cache edge, or Point of Presence (PoP). The application origin is off the hook for opening the connection and delivering the content directly as the CDN takes care of the heavy lifting. The end result is that the application origins don't need to scale to meet demands for static content. 


3. Lazy Load unused resources


Some managers will tell you it's better to hire a lazy person because they will find a way to get a job done with less work. Lazy loading uses the same principle. Rather than downloading every component as soon as a page is requested, lazy loading delays all non-essential components until they are about to enter the viewport.

By cutting down on loading heavy files such as images, the browser no longer has to parse resources until the instant they are requested by the user scrolling down to that point in the page. Your CDN has to download far less data, the number of HTTP requests reduces, and the amount of user data and bandwidth falls dramatically. The result is a major improvement in the real loading time for your pages and also how your reader perceives the page loading time. 


4. Use WebP formats 


In addition to lazy loading heavy files such as images, you can also use formats that use smaller file sizes with almost zero degradation in quality. Minimizing resources in this way reduces the number of round trips to the server, cutting load time. WebP formats are 26% smaller than PNGs and 34% smaller than JPEGs while providing lossless compression for images on the web. 



This eliminates layout thrashing and scroll jank to keep the viewing experience as seamless and smooth as possible. WebP works by using the values ​​in blocks of pixels to predict the values ​​in the next block and then only encodes the difference, cutting the file size needed to render the image. 

A Yottaa study showed that compressing 22MB of images down to 300KB resulted in a 70% reduction in time to interact, or the amount of time a user needs to wait before they can interact with a site. 


5. Apply Server-side device detection 


The fifth and final technique to speed up WordPress sites is all about knowing what screen your content is going to be displayed on. Rather than sending both desktop and mobile resources and then loading the assets that match, server-side device detection cuts loading time by detecting the device before assets are sent and only sending the required version. 

It works by using the User-Agent string to identify the client device type, matching it against a database of device capabilities. This means the server can then send a tailored response for the device. Moving this activation logic from JavaScript to the server avoids sending unnecessary and unoptimized assets meant for desktop. This removes an entire DNS resolution and means your mobile website can make the only resolution needed in only 50ms

These are the five most impactful tactics you can use to speed up WordPress websites. These and many more mobile optimizations are all contained within the MarfeelPress WordPress plugin.

Discover how to get a seamless mobile experience with one plugin and how MarfeelPress can monetize your website, here.  

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