How to Speed up a WordPress Site Using Plugins

While WordPress is an amazing platform on its own, it lacks speed and optimization right out of the box. This can be remedied via the use of powerful plugins that introduce caching, image compression and database optimization. It is very important that you dedicate your time to creating a website that loads quickly because a slow website will draw users away.

Aside from this speed has recently become a very important SEO factor and search engines such as Google may penalize your website for being too slow. In this article we will talk about a lot of interesting plugins that can help you speed up your WordPress website without too much work as the process is quite automated.

speeding up wordpress

Caching Content via W3 Total Cache and SuperCache Plugins

Whenever someone opens a page on your WP website this sends a query to the database to retrieve the needed content. This is what causes the website to load slowly, especially if you have a large website with a lot of articles and pages. However, with caching this content will be stored as a static page so that the next time a new user requests that resource they will get the static page immediately instead of querying the database. The cached resources are regularly updated of course.

The most recommended plugin for this is usually W3 Total Cache, but a lot of people prefer to use WP SuperCache instead. You only need one so we recommend that you try them both for a week before choosing which one you will use on your website.

Optimizing and Compressing Images

Images and scripts are usually what forces most websites to open slowly. Out of the two, it is much easier to optimize images than it is to optimize code. There quite a few interesting plugins for this (and they are free) so, let us have a look at them:

  • WP Lazy Load is a plugin with a very simple concept – it only loads an image once the user can actually see it. This means that when a page is opened, the images that the user doesn’t see yet will not be loaded, which decreases the initial load time. This is a great plugin for websites that have a lot of images (for example, galleries).
  • WP Smush.it is a plugin which optimizes images with JPEG compression and strips un-used colors from indexed images. This is done automatically once a new image is uploaded thanks to the included API. You can also choose to strip meta data from JPEGs in order to decrease their file size without affecting quality.
  • EWWW Image Optimizer works in a similar way as Smush.it but it also offers image compression for PNG images. The majority of what this plugin can accomplish is possible thanks to third party libraries and programs. It is up to you to choose which of these two is best suited for you as you don’t really require both.

Optimizing the WordPress Database

Over time your WordPress database can get filled with a lot of junk that no longer serves and real purpose and only drains your resources and reduces the speed of your website. While database-related plugins are usually used by tech-savvy people who know quite a bit about SQL, there are a lot of plugins with automated tools that can optimize the database for you even if you don’t have lot of knowledge in this field.

A good example of this is WP DB Manager, a plugin that provides the basic tools for beginners as well as advanced access for experts. Using this plugin you can easily schedule database backups or run automated optimization and repair scripts. Advanced users can manager tables and run their own queries. Another good plugin that is worth mentioning is WP-Optimize which is much easier to use, but lacks features that advanced users might need. In its core this plugin allows you to clean-up and optimize the database via automated scripts and tools.

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Author: Karlo

Karlo is a 24 year old guy who loves everything related to WordPress. He is by profession electrical engineer but currently he is working as web design & web development freelancer.

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