Having a lot of issues with the blog, especially with the page load time got me thinking that I need to do a change. There are several articles on the internet on how to speed up your WordPress blog. Here is my take on it.
STEP 1: Find a good host.
Very important to have a good host provider with good connection and responsive support.
Being a privileged Internet user that lives in a country where Internet is very fast and cheap (check out in the Internet the articles about Romanian Internet connections and cry 🙂 ) this is an easy one.
I host my own WordPress instance on a local server in my home datacenter with a 500Mbps downlink and 25Mbps uplink Internet connection. The administrator (me) is very fast to respond to any issue.
STEP 2: Test the blog load time
The best tool to do that is from Pingdom who offers a free tool to asses your web site responsiveness.
You can choose several test servers from across the globe to test your site
STEP 3: Choose a lightweight theme
Is important not to have a heavy theme that has a lot of “brizz, brizz” but loads a lot of crap you do not use.
My choise is Iconic One Theme a very lightweight and responsive theme.
STEP 4: Install JetPack.
I like JetPack plugin because of several reasons:
– it is made by the same developers that made WordPress
– has all the features you need in one plugin: adds management, image caching, video hosting, back-up, security protection, anti-spam comment system, site stats etc.
I even went for the professional version to get all the above features and get rid of other plugins.
STEP 5: Use image cashing or cut image size
Try to cut image size as much as possible but also use image caching.
I activate the JetPack “Photon” feature that is caching the images on the JetPack(WordPress) servers. This will save your bandwidth and will serve images faster that you can to your readers. There are several other alternatives but you got the idea. Caching is gold.
STEP 6: Use video caching
Similar to the image caching video caching is a must. You can host your videos to YouTube (if you do not mind them inserting ads every 10 seconds into your video) or other video hosting providers. JetPack has VideoPress that will host your videos on the WordPress servers:
The easiest way to upload ad-free and unbranded videos to your site. You get stats on video playback and shares and the player is lightweight and responsive.
STEP 7: Do not use overlapping plugins
Avoid installing unnecessary plugins and plugins that have overlapping functions. Installing JetPack professional allowed me to get read of a backup plugin, a security scan plugin and a comment system plugin. I got a huge decrease in load time.
You cannot believe how much dead code or “E. T. call home” code lurks in the WordPress plugins. By running a simple network sniffer I saw my WordPress contacting and loading “pixels” from several IPs as each plugin was calling home and logging my traffic to several adds brokers and trackers. I security and load time nightmare.
STEP 8: Try to keep everything clean.
Do not load the posts with unnecessary images or blah. Keep things short and direct.