(Image by Phil Oakley, www.flickr.com)
A website that runs slowly is one of the most frustrating problems that WordPress users encounter. In this digital age, people crave instant gratification. If your website is not loading quickly enough, visitors may not want to stick around and wait. A site that runs slowly can also create internal issues for you, the webmaster. There are several ways to increase the speed of your WordPress website.
Fast WordPress Hosting
First of all, you need to select the correct website hosting company for your needs. A website hosting company will let you rent space on their server to host your website, which makes it accessible to others via the World Wide Web. The company that hosts your WordPress website can determine whether your site runs quickly or slowly. This is why it is important to make an informed choice when selecting a hosting company. Before you even consider a hosting company, you should make sure that they support the requirements to install WordPress. Make sure they have the following:
- The mod_rewrite Apache module
- MySQL 5.0 or greater
- PHP 5.2.4 or greater
Most hosting companies will state that they can meet these requirements, but it never hurts to ask! After you've determined that the hosting company is compliant with these requirements, you should decide what type of hosting you require: free, shared, dedicated, or managed. If speed is your priority, you should avoid free hosting and upgrade to one of the other three options. After all, you get what you pay for! Shared hosting is typically used by most WordPress users because it's affordable and easy to maintain. Dedicated and managed servers will grant you a faster website, but are more expensive. Typically only websites with very high traffic would need either of these two options. With this in mind, you'll be able to choose the best hosting company for your website. If you are already using a company, you may want to reevaluate them to make sure you have picked the right choice for your website needs. While fast WordPress hosting is not the only factor in making your website run quickly, it is still very important.
Other Ways to Make Your WordPress Website Run Faster
There are several other ways to make your WordPress website run more quickly. For instance, your website's theme may impact its loading speed. The truth is that a finely-made custom theme will perform better than any of the pre-made themes available from WordPress, even the premium ones. If a custom theme is not within your budget, you can still make your pre-made theme work to the best of its ability. You can use a caching plugin to make your website load faster. Pre-made themes use a lot of resources, which slows down the loading time of your website. A caching plugin creates a "copy" of your website to show to visitors, so that the website only actually has to load once. This will greatly improve the performance of your website. Many caching plugins are available, so you may want to browse commentary from people who use these plugins for their own websites to help make your decision. Some of the most prominent caching plugins available are W3 Total Cache, WP-Cache, and WP Super Cache. To install these plugins, all you have to do is follow the instructions on their websites. Most options have an FAQ as well.
Another way to ensure your website is loading as quickly as possible is to optimize all of the images you post, as images with large file sizes are one of the biggest reasons why your website may be running slowly. When you post an image, you should make sure your image is at 30% quality and/or no more than 30kb in size. You can resize your images with basic image editing software or use one of the many websites that will resize your images for you.
Once you have addressed hosting, your theme, and your images, you should also make sure that you are only using reliable, functional plugins that you actually need. While WordPress can handle 40+ plugins, even one that is not functional can drastically slow your website down. Make sure the creator of these plugins actively supports them and addresses any concerns or bugs. While it may be tempting to install any plugin that sounds like it would be useful, you should do your research and only use plugins that are proven to make your website better. When it comes to plugins, quality, not quantity, is the rule.
Fast WordPress hosting, choosing a reliable theme, using caching plugins, optimizing images, and only using solid plugins you actually need are the best ways to ensure that your WordPress website runs as quickly as possible. In this day and age, it is imperative that your site does not take very long to load. After all, many visitors will grow impatient with your website if they have to continuously wait for your pages to load. If you explore the options in this article, you will be able to increase the loading speed of your website, which will make both you and your visitors happy.
You can add us to your circle on Google+, follow us on Twitter, join the photo community on Pinterest, or like our Facebook page to keep updated on all the latest news.