Many do not ask themselves until it is far too late why their website is too slow. You need to understand the basics presented here to be able to optimize WordPress effectively. A slow WordPress can have fatal consequences for your online business. Fast websites are generally more popular, generate better interaction and ultimately higher conversions and sales.
But why do WordPress websites become slow in the first place? What are the causes of high load time and how can they be combated?
What makes WordPress slow
A manually written website is based on HTML. It is built once and is then "surfable". WordPress, on the other hand, dynamically assembles websites each time they are dialed up. This has many advantages, especially if your website is updated frequently, but comes at the expense of performance. Because the website must be constantly recalculated.
Therefore, the load time for WordPress is particularly important: Too many plugins or a bad theme can lead to massive drops in performance. In principle, you can counter this problem in two ways: By increasing the performance potential of your own website, i.e. by upgrading your server and choosing the right host , and by optimizing your website. In the best case, of course, these two steps go hand in hand.
Too many server requests with too large requested files make WordPress slow
But how does the mechanism that makes WordPress slow work? The decisive factor is the communication between browser and server.
If a website is to be built, the browser sends a request to the server. This in turn takes the necessary information, among other things, from the PHP files of WordPress. The web server translates these PHP files into browser-readable HTML codes with the help of the so-called PHP interpreter. The request of the browser to the server is also called HTTP request. Besides the HTML code, each image, animation, etc. also generates an HTTP request. The more of these requests have to be made and the larger the data packets transferred, the longer the website takes to load.
This means that WordPress optimization relies broadly on two processes: reducing requests and compressing the data to be transported.
Plugins, the theme, pictures and animations drive the inquiries upwards
So what increases the number of such "harmful" HTTP requests? Basically, a missing website concept and uncompressed data. Because if you are not clear about which functionalities and which design your website really needs to function, you run the risk of overloading your website with functions and content.
Functions of your website are either part of the theme or integrated via plugins. Both increase the number of HTTP requests significantly and make WordPress slow. A clear functional concept of your website and constant cleaning up in the backend as well as updating plugins and theme help to keep your website lean and therefore fast.
Images and animations also produce an HTTP request every time. Therefore, it is also important to reduce their number and use them as sparingly as possible.
Many, uncompressed files make WordPress slow
Now, in addition to the number of HTTP requests, the size of the data transferred is also important. Media files take up the most space. Normally, these are images and graphics. But texts, comments and other content can also increase the size of the data packets to be transmitted.
Here, too, radical cleaning out and compression of data can help. Or you can use an intermediate storage, a so-called cache.
WordPress slow? A cache always helps!
A cache can be understood as a kind of short-term memory. If a browser cache is activated, for example, the browser can remember websites that have already been visited for a certain period of time. In other words, it remembers what content and functionalities are displayed on the website and in what form. If you have visited the website once and call it up again a short time later, the browser does not have to send an HTTP request to the server, but can build the website completely "from memory".
Yet caching is not a very simple topic. There are umpteen different types of caches that can be installed and activated in many different places. The fastest caching solution you usually get via plugins like W3 Total Cache, WP Super Cache or the paid WP Rocket.
Conclusion: Reducing server requests is a good remedy for slow WordPress - but only half the battle.
The entire process of WordPress optimization is based on reducing HTTP requests and compressing the data packets to be transmitted. However, the best way to do this is to completely disable this process and activate a cache.
Therefore, the WordPress optimization can be very costly. And besides, it's only half the battle. Because without the appropriate server power and the right hosting plan you can optimize your website as much as you want - WordPress will simply remain slow.
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