A Bristol Geek

No trees were harmed in the creation of this blog; however, a significant number of electrons were slightly inconvenienced.

Speed up WordPress

Having just reinstalled by blog on a new host I had to go through all my optimisations again on the new server. I thought that it would be a good idea to write out the steps that I go through; both for my own memory and for anyone who googles their way to this page.

WordPress is a great blogging system; it is easy to configure and easy to publish with. It has two pitfalls security and speed; the first is not the topic of this article (but isn’t to much to worry about as long as you are sensible). A slow loading blog is one sure way to lose readers (and advert views!). So in this article I will quickly go through the speed up routines that I have used, so that you to can speed up wordpress!

Why is it important?

UK National Speed Limit Sign

Whats your blogs speed limit?

The first impression a potential reader/customer of your site gets is when they access a page for the first time (be it the home page directly, or an article/post via a search or link). If that first page view takes more than a few seconds they are unlikely to visit to many more times. They may even leave before they have even begun, I know that if a site takes too long to load I often just move onto the next google result!

On the subject of google results; the super secret page rank algorithm is known to use page speed as one of it’s variables. Google have previously posted about their wish to “make the whole web fast“. Even more recently Google made it clear that being ‘mobile un-friendly’ will harm your search rankings; read more about that here. Considering the limited bandwidth of most mobile carriers; and the time it takes to perform a round trip from device to server (via transmitter) page load speed is even more important.

So what can you do?

Get the basics right

1. Choose the right web-host. You can optimize as much as you want, but if your host is not up-to scratch you will still have sporadic and slow page loads. You may also find that some of the tweaks in this article may not even work with lesser hosts.

So keep to a well known host (this site is hosted by TsoHost, and so far they seam great, use code ‘abg10’ to get a discount!). The less you pay the less you are likely to get!

If you are planning on posting some amazing ground breaking articles (and who isn’t!) don’t use shared hosting; you will regret it. But perhaps it’s safe to start with, it depends on how epic your content is going to be!

2. Keep it simple stupid. K.I.S.S is an old one but it stands true; the less complicated your site is the faster it will load. Period.

If you fill your site with high-end graphics and fancy transitions it will take longer to load; equally if you just have a plain text site people will get bored! Its a careful balance between the sensible and the outlandish.

Some things to think about:

  • Your theme – The more complicated it is the slower it is likely to load. Look for responsive themes that will work on multiple devices. CSS backgrounds rather than images are also a good sign.
  • Your images – You are almost certainly going to be posting photographs or other types of images. Size them down using an image editor (such as Irfanview or Paint.Net). WordPress can re-size images, but you are better off prepping your image to your needs.

Sever Side changes

Continue on to the second part in this series “Speed-up WordPress – Part 2


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