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How to optimize WordPress for better performance

WordPress is one of the most popular content management systems in the world, and it powers millions of websites. However, out of the box, WordPress isn’t always optimized for speed, performance, or search engine rankings. In this article, we’ll discuss several techniques for optimizing WordPress to ensure that your website runs smoothly and efficiently.

Use a caching plugin

Caching is an effective way to improve the performance and speed of your WordPress website. Enabling caching involves a few simple steps that can be completed by installing and configuring a caching plugin.

To get started, choose a caching plugin that fits your needs and install it on your website. Once the plugin is installed, go to the plugin settings and activate caching. This usually involves checking a box or clicking a button to enable caching.

After you’ve activated caching, you can configure the settings of the plugin to optimize caching for your website. This includes settings such as browser caching, page caching, object caching, and database caching. It’s important to stick to the plugin’s documentation for guidance on how to configure these settings. Else, there are changes for you to break your site.

Once caching is enabled and configured, test your website to ensure that it’s working correctly. Check the website’s page speed and load times to see if there’s an improvement. It’s also important to clear the cache regularly to ensure that the latest version of your website is being served to visitors. Most caching plugins have the option to clear the cache manually or automatically at regular intervals.

Optimize images

Optimizing images is an essential step in improving the speed and performance of your WordPress website. Here are some steps you can follow to optimize images on your site:

Firstly, resizing images to the appropriate size can help to reduce their file size and, in turn, improve the loading speed of your website. You can use image editing tools such as Adobe Photoshop or free online tools like Canva to resize images.

Compressing images is another effective way to reduce their file size while maintaining their quality. You can use image compression tools like TinyPNG or Smush to compress images before uploading them to your website.

Choosing the correct file type can also impact the load time of your website. JPEG is best suited for photographs, while PNG is ideal for graphics with transparency. Using the appropriate file type can significantly reduce the file size of your images.

Optimizing alt tags for your images can improve accessibility and SEO. Alt tags provide alternative text descriptions for images, which can be read by screen readers for visually impaired users. Ensure that your alt tags accurately describe the image and include relevant keywords.

Lazy loading is another effective technique to improve your website’s loading speed. This method involves delaying the loading of images until the user scrolls down the page. This can be done using plugins such as Lazy Load or WP Smush.

Use a lightweight theme

Avoid using bloated themes, which are often packed with features and functionalities, making them heavy and slow to load. Such themes can significantly impact your website’s performance. Using a lightweight theme is an effective way to improve the performance of your WordPress website. A lightweight theme is designed with a minimal codebase, which means it requires fewer resources to load and run.

Start by researching and selecting a lightweight theme that suits your website’s needs. If you need a quick tip, start with GeneratePress, Astra, or MTS Schema. Make sure the theme you choose has all the necessary features you need for your website. Some lightweight themes may lack certain functionalities, so it’s important to check if the theme has all the features you require.

Minimize HTTP requests

Minimizing HTTP requests is an important aspect of optimizing the performance of your WordPress website. One way to do this is by using a content delivery network (CDN) to cache your website’s static assets and deliver them to users from a server closest to their location. This can help to reduce the number of HTTP requests your website makes, speed up your website, and reduce the load on your server.

Another way to minimize HTTP requests is by carefully selecting the plugins you install on your website. Each plugin you add can potentially make additional HTTP requests, which can slow down your website. Therefore, it is recommended that you only install the plugins you absolutely need and regularly review and remove any plugins you no longer use.

You can also minimize HTTP requests by optimizing your website’s code and content. For example, you can combine and minify your CSS and JavaScript files to reduce the number of requests your website makes. Additionally, you can use lazy loading to only load images and other media when they come into view on a user’s screen, and optimize your images to reduce their file size. By following these steps and regularly monitoring your website’s performance, you can significantly minimize HTTP requests and improve the overall speed and performance of your WordPress website.

Use a Content Delivery Network (CDN)

Using a content delivery network (CDN) can significantly improve the performance of your WordPress website in several ways.

Firstly, a CDN can help to reduce the distance between your website’s server and its visitors by caching your website’s static assets, such as images, videos, and CSS files, on servers located around the world. When a user requests content from your website, the CDN delivers the content from the server that is closest to the user’s location, reducing the distance the content needs to travel and improving the speed at which it is delivered.

Secondly, a CDN can help to reduce the load on your website’s server by serving cached content to users instead of making multiple requests to your server for the same content. This can help to prevent your website from becoming overloaded and slow to respond during periods of high traffic.

Finally, a CDN can help to improve the reliability and availability of your website by providing additional redundancy and failover capabilities. In the event of a server outage or other issue, the CDN can automatically redirect traffic to another server, ensuring that your website remains available to users.

Use a good web hosting platform

Using a good web hosting platform is crucial for optimizing the performance of your WordPress website. A good web hosting platform uses advanced server technologies, such as solid-state drives (SSDs), content caching, and optimized server configurations, to improve website speed and reduce page load times. By providing a fast website experience, a good web hosting platform can improve user experience, increase engagement, and improve search engine rankings.

Another benefit of using a good web hosting platform is increased reliability. A reliable hosting environment minimizes downtime and ensures that your website is always available to users. This is especially important for businesses and e-commerce websites that rely on their online presence for revenue. With a good web hosting platform, you can have peace of mind knowing that your website will always be up and running for your customers.

A good web hosting platform also provides enhanced security measures to protect your website from cyber threats and hacking attempts. Advanced security measures, such as firewalls, malware scanning, and regular security updates, can help to safeguard your website’s data and reputation. In addition, a good web hosting platform provides expert support from trained technicians who can help you troubleshoot technical issues and provide advice on optimizing your website’s performance. This can save you time and effort and ensure that your website is running at its best.

Update WordPress and plugins regularly

Updating WordPress, plugins, and themes is critical for improving the performance of your WordPress website. The updates not only bring new features and functionalities but also include important bug fixes, security patches, and performance improvements. By keeping your WordPress core, plugins, and themes up-to-date, you can ensure that your website is running on the latest stable versions and is optimized for performance.

One of the main benefits of updating WordPress, plugins, and themes is improved website speed. The updates often include performance improvements, such as code optimizations, database optimization, and enhanced caching, which can help to reduce page load times and improve overall website speed. This can lead to better user experience, higher engagement, and improved search engine rankings.

Optimize database

Optimizing the WordPress database is a crucial step in improving the performance of your WordPress website. The database stores all the content, settings, and configurations of your website, and over time, it can become bloated with unnecessary data, slowing down your website’s performance.

One way to optimize the WordPress database is to delete unused data, such as spam comments, post revisions, and trashed posts. These types of data take up space in your database, slowing down your website’s performance. By deleting them, you can reduce the size of your database, making it faster and more efficient.

Another way to optimize the database is to remove unused tables and data left behind by deactivated plugins. When you deactivate a plugin, it may leave behind unused database tables and data, which can slow down your website’s performance. By removing these tables and data, you can reduce the size of your database and improve your website’s speed.

You can also optimize the database by repairing and optimizing the tables. Over time, the database tables can become fragmented, leading to slower performance. Repairing and optimizing the tables can help to improve the database’s performance and reduce page load times. By taking these steps, you can ensure that your database is running at peak performance, leading to a faster and more responsive website for your users.


In conclusion, optimizing your WordPress website can greatly improve its performance and speed, resulting in a better user experience and increased traffic.

It’s important to note that website optimization is an ongoing process and requires regular maintenance and updates. By staying up-to-date with the latest optimization techniques and regularly monitoring your website’s performance, you can continue to improve its speed and user experience over time.

Remember, a fast and responsive website is key to keeping your visitors engaged and coming back for more. So, take the time to optimize your WordPress website today and reap the benefits of a faster, more efficient site.

Also Read: How to make WordPress site HackProof

9 thoughts on “How to optimize WordPress for better performance”

  1. Hey. Nice guide you wrote here. I would add two other recommendations for image optimization. I used with good results ShortPixel, and Kraken.

    • Howdy,

      Thanks for the recommendations Andy. I’ve tried ShortPixel earlier and found Imagify to offer better compression rates than ShortPixel. Haven’t tried Kraken Image Optimizer yet. Will give it a try and maybe I’ll post the results in a separate blog post.

  2. Hey, love your posts man! Good content. But I was wondering if you, or anyone reading this, could expand on Cloudflare’s HSTS function and expand a little on it’s “Preload” & “Include Subdomains” Rules.

    I had a 7-Day long ticket support ticket with SiteGround over this because apparently the the “www” that you’re required to have with Cloudflare through SiteGround screws up the redirect that’s required for this function. So I was just wondering if anyone knew more about it.


  3. Good to know your recommendation that Imagify works better than ShortPixel which is what I’ve been using. Thanks for sharing at The Blogger’s Pit Stop! Roseann from

    • Hey Roseann, it’s not that Imagify is better than ShortPixel or something. Both are good and nearly offer the same levels of compression. You can also checkout WP Smush image compression and optimization plugin by WPMU Dev.

    • You’re welcome Linda. Oh yes, this post is still relevant in 2018 and the advice is still as good as it was in 2017. Should I rename this post to ‘How To Optimize WordPress Site Performance In 2018’ to gain your trust? Just kidding. This post falls under the evergreen content category. That is, it will always remain relevant to the audience no matter what time it is.

    • Hey James, thank you for adding more value to this post with your WordPress image compression plugin recommendation.

      UPDATE: This plugin was closed on November 22, 2018 and is no longer available for download.


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