We clarify what can be the reason that your WordPress website is too slow despite fast hardware and special hosting and present the 5 most common causes for low WordPress speed.
We experience it almost every day: We are contacted in the support chat because a website just doesn't want to get faster. Despite server optimization, appropriate plugins and sufficient computing power. Other customers, on the other hand, are happy about their websites being as fast as an arrow. We asked ourselves, "How can that be?" and compiled the five factors that make WordPress particularly slow in our experience.
Let's keep it short, you can find details in the corresponding sections if you're interested. These are the five biggest WordPress speed killers:
- Missing caching
- Too many and not compressed images
- Uncompressed and non-summarised code
- Lack of Above the Fold Optimization
- Far too large websites
WordPress Speed Killer 1: Missing Caching
Caching is a fast and highly effective way to make your website faster. A cache can be understood as a kind of short-term memory: For example, if the browser remembers what a website looks like, it doesn't need to ask the server for the necessary data first; instead, the browser can load the website directly from the cache. This speeds up the page loading time for repeated visits immensely.
Now caching is not a simple topic. There are many different types of caches that can be included and activated in many different places. To quickly get an effective caching solution, one should rely on widely used and proven caching plugins, such as WP Super Cache or W3 Total Cache. Also, you should ask your host which caches it has enabled. You have a solid foundation if at least a browser cache and server cache are enabled.
A cache has the disadvantage that it is usually only used when the website has already been visited at least once. In many cases, however, it is important that the website builds up quickly and smoothly the first time. If you want to achieve this, you have to get to the page fat.
WordPress Speed Killer 2: Images and graphics
Another killer for your WordPress speed are images and graphics. Optimizing them is an art in itself, because you have to consider a lot of factors: file format, scaling, compression and much more.
Mostly, however, very simple behaviours, such as a plethora of unnecessary images or an unsuitable file format, lead to long loading times. Here, too, plug-ins provide a remedy. These compress and optimise images during and after upload and significantly increase your WordPress speed. Examples of this are Optimus and WP Smush.
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WordPress Speed Killer 3: Unordered and uncompressed code
Such loading bottlenecks or blockades make WordPress significantly slower. Therefore, it is common practice to combine code into as few files as possible, compress them and put them in as good a loading order as possible.
WordPress Speed Killer 4: Missing Above the Fold Optimization
All optimization is of little use if you are not presented with a perceived faster website in the end. Because this perceived speed ultimately determines whether a website benefits from performance optimization.
In practice, therefore, a so-called Above the Fold optimization is often carried out. Above the Fold describes the area of a website that is visible without scrolling, i.e. the first impression of a website. The goal of the optimization is that this area is built up as quickly and smoothly as possible. For this purpose, the loading order of the visible elements is adjusted accordingly. All elements that do not belong in this area are placed at the back, since they are not visible at first and therefore not relevant for the first page impression.
The core of this type of optimization is therefore conceptual considerations: You have to be clear about what content needs to be displayed in order to complete the desired conversion. There is no quick and easy solution for this.
WordPress Speed Killer 5: Too fat websites
This brings us to our last performance killer: page size. Many slow websites are simply too big, have too many plugins installed, an unnecessarily large theme, or are overloaded with images and graphics. This is good news! Because it means that WordPress performance can be increased very easily in many cases. If you regularly clean up your website, you can usually keep your page load time at a good level.
Conclusion: Summarize and compress
So basically it all boils down to summarizing and compressing content. This is the only way to get the most out of your WordPress. The places where this works especially well are the images, the code and the overall concept of the website. If you then also use caches and regularly muck out, you have created good conditions for an optimal use of the available server power.
Thus, while host and servers determine the basic performance potential of your website, what you make of it is entirely up to you.
In many other articles, we address the question of how to identify bottlenecks in your WordPress performance and how to solve them.
Of course, there are more WordPress speed killers than the ones listed here. Can you think of any particularly important ones? Feel free to leave a comment and help the community to optimize their websites even better.