In this article I cover the biggest reasons why your WordPress website is slow. Take WordPress speed seriously and don’t underestimate the impact of a slow site on your business.
The longer a site takes to load the more users have jumped ship. These are potential customers or regular users! Also Google uses loading time as a ranking metric which is another huge reason to get your load time as good as possible.
1. Massive images
I see this so much, images that are 5mbs or bigger! A website’s total size shouldn’t be half this. A one page site is going to be a little larger though. Then I see there are several of these which makes the site ridiculously slow on a non fibre connection and on a mobile connection? Ouch!
2. Too many images and other assets
Chrome will only download 6 number of items simultaneously so if you have a lot of assets then they will start to queue. Combine this with no.1 and you have a recipe for disaster.
3. No WordPress caching Plugin
Many users don’t use a caching plugin, with the exception of dynamic pages, you really should be caching your pages. With the small amount of work it takes to set it up even a small benefit is worth the effort, but a lot of the time it actually makes a massive difference; I’ve seen it cut several seconds of the page load time. I regularly find caching the database query give the biggest benefit.
4. Not using a CDN
I’ve seen articles that have tested this and decided it slowed down their site, or didn’t make much difference. I think this is because the main reason it’s used is for cross domain loading and the person only tested in their own country and people often have hosts in their own country. I wonder if they know what their sites load like in countries further away from their host.
My host is in america and loading the site in america is really fast but when loading it in Europe, it’s much slower.
Using a CDN like amazon cloud means that the content is loading from a server nearer the that user meaning that your users from all over the world get just as good an experience when you load the site.
5. Using a bad host
It actually surprises me that so many people don’t take using a good host seriously. A dedicated host is great but often freelances and small companies can’t afford these, but that doesn’t mean that you have to stick with a host that sucks.
Not too long ago I switched from a hosting company I had been with for years, as they grew in popularity they didn’t scale their servers, quite often my site wouldn’t load at all and when it did it wasn’t satisfactory. So if you’ve done everything else on this list and your speeds still aren’t good, then consider comparing with a known good host like a small orange or wpengine to see if it helps. I cut a second off my loading time just by switching hosts.
Look out for up coming posts where I cover in more detail how to optimise your WordPress site.
- Optimise your images for the web ( reducing size )
- Don’t load too many images on one page and combine your files.
- Cache your pages and database calls with a good caching plugin
- Consider using a CDN
- Test out your site on a known good host to see how it compares