For WordPress Speed Optimization your site needs a good foundation. If you’re on a cheap shared hosting plan it probably won’t perform. You share the same resources with hundreds of other sites. Some providers rather spend money on promoting their crappy hosting plans instead of investing in solid, modern server techniques. So, be wise and invest in a quality hosting provider. If you have a site or online store in The Netherlands my recommendation would be Vimexx. Excellent quality in speed and service. If you are looking for a ‘managed’ hosting solution I recommend Kinsta. Modern hosters will provide server cache solutions like Redis, Varnish or Memcached. If none of those are available at your current host you’de better leave. Always check the PHP version in your hosting account. Always set it to the highest, reliable version.
If you are interested in checking the speed of your current hosting provider use the dotcom-tools monitor.
A CDN (Content Delivery Network) stores copies of your assets (images, CSS and JS files) on several servers around the globe. It also caches these assets, which makes your website faster. So your website will load fast in Australia and Moscou as well.
Do you need a CDN? It depends. If your audience is worldwide it’s wise to invest in a hoster with a CDN option. Siteground for example provides a free CDN. If your targetting a more local audience, forget about getting a CDN and choose a hoster with a server in the region.
There are several things to consider when choosing a WordPress theme, but in terms of speed optimization go for the one which is not bloated with all kind of functions. Go for a light-weighted WordPress theme. I recommend GeneratePress, Astra or the Hello theme (if your building with Elementor). They are all small in size and are a good base to start with. And don’t upload extra theme’s you won’t use. Keep it strict to one theme and a child theme if your planning to change files in the process of building your site.
Be aware of the specific function you need in a plugin. Most plugins can do a lot and are bloated with code. Sometimes badly written. Most functions you probably won’t need or use. Go for the plugin which performs just one single thing very good and is well maintained and trusted. Inspect the list of plugins you use and decide if they still needed. Clean your website house on a regular basis.
I see a lot of online agencies selling WordPress services while their own site is not optimized for images. Optimizing your images will effect your website performance BIG time. It is of course desirable to have as few KiloBytes as possible while retaining quality. A JPG (or JPEG or jpeg2000) file is compressed (compression = “lossy”) and smaller than a PNG file (compression = “lossless”). Use PNG if you need the transparency. There is also a Webp format which you cannot directly use in a WordPress installation. You need to use an extra plugin like Shortpixel or Imagify to convert your jpg upload to the Webp format. A Webp format is 25-30% smaller than a JPEG.
Finally, we have the SVG, which stands for Scalable Vector Graphic. The name says it all. A vector (not pixels) file that you can scale without loss of quality. To be used in particular for icons on your website. To use SVG images you have to install an extra plugin, the Safe SVG plugin ensures that the SVG files are “sanitized” of possible XML sensitivities. SVGs are also recommended for an always-sharp site logo.
Enable SVG uploads and sanitize them to stop XML/SVG vulnerabilities in your WordPress website
If you know the format you need to use, then you decide at what width you need it to be inserted in the layout. After resizing the image you complete the process by compressing the image with the amazing online tool compressor.io
Now your good to go!
I use the free Simple Cache plugin and get extremely good results. There are no real settings to tweak the plugin. It’s just plug & play. So, you won’t get frustrated by understanding 50+ settings you might get with other caching plugins. It just does the job. Results are on parr with WP Rocket which is a premium plugin. This plugin is a bit of a hidden gem in the world of speed optimization.
WordPress loads a lot of stuff itself. Perfmatters helps to disable some of this auto load and reduces the overall number of HTTP requests and your page size. It also has an inbuild script manager, so you can disable not needed scripts on particular pages.
Perfmatters has a lot of features so I invite you to go to their site and explore it all. Using the plugin Perfmatters will certainly hammer down your loading times.
If you want ultimate performance you need to stick with Gutenberg blocks. It will always give a faster load speed. Read more about Gutenberg extensions in our blog post.
Page builders are bloated with too much DOM elements and scripts. The problem with Gutenberg blocks is the challenge to create beautiful designs. At this moment it’s just too hard and in no way as flexible as a page builder like Elementor or Brizy.
But it is surely possible to achieve fast loading times using page builders. Just focus on the steps above and do the work. Results will come.
Don’t forget to capture the before and after page speed. Go to GTMetrix.com. If you sign up for a free account you can select a different server location. But don’t get obsessed by numbers. It’s not about achieving the highest score. It’s about your audience experiencing a faster loading website.
Specific websites have specific needs. If you take loading speed serious and need assistance, let’s talk!