It’s widely held that when you add too many plugins, WordPress gets slow. But what if you need these plugins? Fortunately, you can speed up WordPress on your website, regardless of plugin count.
The fact of the matter is, speed of WordPress sites is almost never a problem with PHP or MySQL, or even Apache. While these can all play their part in slowing a website down, it is generally not the performance killer. The real performance killer? Render-blocking scripts. If you want to speed up WordPress, this is possibly the most important area to tackle.
Check out your Google Page Speed to see what’s happening here. If you’re running a standard WordPress install and have tried plugins that promise faster page speeds with things like concatenation and minification, you’re probably not going to see much difference. That’s because while it will take the browser less time to read these files, and it doesn’t have to read whitespace, it still has to read a lot of the same lines. 50% of a big file, is still a big file.
#1: Asynchronous scripts to the rescue!
There are a few good asynchronous/defer script plugins out there. The two that I’ve used are:
- Fast Velocity Minify – Another great option for plugin developers, this also caches, minifies, and concatenates your files if you so desire. The concatenation is a bit overkill here, but the fact that it has minification makes it a good option to take care of another common Google Page speed gripe.
#2 Leverage Browser Caching
Another great way to speed up WordPress is to utilize browser caching. This is something I’m frequently guilty of skipping, but can help you speed up WordPress on your site, because your server isn’t hit when your browser notices that a file it needs is already stored locally. If you have control over your server and you have more than one website, you can do this universally or in your Virtual Host configuration.
Otherwise, put it in your
mod_expires on, so type in:
service apache2 reload
Many servers will have this enabled by default. If not, hopefully they have headers enabled by default.
You can test your cache results using this tool.
There are few more advanced features, like gzip compression, and more advanced server setups, like Varnish/Apache, or Nginx/PHP-FPM. that you may want to implement. However, while these will speed up your site, they don’t offer you nearly the same bang for your buck in terms of obvious performance increase compared to time spent.