10 Ways to Speed Up Your WordPress Sites

By Nathan Segal

1.      Hosting. According to the WordPress.org site, "There are hundreds of thousands of web hosts out there, the vast majority of which meet the WordPress minimum requirements, and choosing one from the crowd can be a chore."

To make things easier for you, WordPress recommends three sites above all others, which are: Bluehost, DreamHost and Laughing Squid. I'd like to add a fourth site: Hostgator, which is the one I use and which has been recommended to me by many bloggers.

2.      Type of Hosting. On many sites, you can get hosting for low rates but that’s almost certainly shared hosting. While the price is low, the tradeoff is speed. If you want your site to perform faster, consider a service like Turnkey Internet. Among other things, they offer bulletproof reliability and a 100% Network Up-time Guarantee.

3.      Test the speed of your site. Here are two services you can use:

Once you know the speed of your site, you can use it as a benchmark. After you make the various changes listed here, test your site again to see what happens to your site speed.

4.      Browser Caching. Another way to speed up a WordPress site is through browser caching. One such plugin that will help you is W3 Total Cache. It’s also recommended by several Hosting companies, including HostGator.

5.      Reduce Image Size. This one issue can slow your blog down to a crawl, especially if you have a large number of images on a page. Generally, I recommend JPEG for photographic images and GIF or PNG-8 for text. Another option is the regular form of PNG, but you must take care when using it because it can bloat images by 5 to 10 times as compared to JPEG. Here, compression is really important, but there are tradeoffs. Too much compression will cause “artifacting,” where portions of the image begin to clump together.

The fastest way to find out what will happen is to use a program that offers several previews of your image at different compression levels. Move around the image to see how the compression affects it. You’ll quickly find out which setting works best for you.

If you have Photoshop or a similar program, resizing images is no problem. If not, here are some links to inexpensive or free programs: Paintshop Pro, Gimp or Image Compressor.

6.      Specify the Image Size: When loading images into WordPress it’s important to set the width and height of an image. If you don’t do that, the browser has to wait until the image is fully loaded. Setting the width and height allows the browser to allocate a box on the page for an image.

7.      Keep Your WordPress Installation Updated. Keeping WordPress current is important for several reasons. Updates fix bugs from previous versions and can also include performance enhancements, too.

8.      Reduce the Number of Plugins. One of the great things about WordPress is the number of plugins it supports, but if you have a large number installed that can create software conflicts and even cause the blog to crash. The solution is simple. Only use what’s absolutely necessary and delete the rest. Also, make sure you keep your plugins up to date.

9.    Choose a Simple and Clean Theme. WordPress abounds with theme options, both free and paid. To ensure that you have a theme that performs well, make sure that it’s not heavily dependent on images. While images look great, they also slow down loading. Another thing to look for is a theme with a CSS based design. Finally, use Pingdom or Webpage Test to see how well the themes perform.

10.  Adjust Your Front Page. Many people leave WordPress with the default setting for the front page, with the result that all your posts load on one, endlessly scrolling page.


  • Here’s how to clean that up. Go to Settings: Reading and set the maximum number of posts to 10.
  • Next in the editor, make use of the <!--more--> tag. This will create an excerpt on your front page.
  • Here’s an example of what excerpts will look like on you front page.


There are many things you can do to improve the performance of WordPress, using code tweaks, plugins, themes and more. Here are few reference sites which will give you additional options:



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