WordPress makes it easy for a non-technical person to create a website, but when it comes to technical aspects of performance you may find yourself lost. You’re not alone – even technical people get tripped up on performance issues. If you have no experience with WordPress and think your site is running slowly, here are a few suggestions for non-technical people to speed up their site.
Set up VPS or Dedicated Server Hosting
Shared hosting is cheap, and it’s tempting to keep hosting costs low by paying for a year’s shared hosting service. Shared hosting is viable for small blogs and sites where low traffic is expected, but you are at the mercy of other site owners on the same server. Hosting providers sometimes put thousands of other sites on the same server, and any of these sites can affect your own site’s performance.
Virtual private servers (VPS) or dedicated hosts give you more control over resources and configurations. With VPS, you share physical resources, but your VM is separated from others on the same server. VPS and dedicated services give you more control, and you can host several sites on one server instance.
Add a CDN to Your Architecture
When you sign up for hosting, you get a server located at a specific origin server. Some providers have data centers, but most have only a few locations. With a CDN, you get point of presence (POP) locations across the globe. These POPs are strategically located in regions where users access Internet servers and routers.
CDNs integrate well with any site, but they are especially useful for WordPress site owners that need to increase speed but don’t have the revenue for expensive server equipment. If your host only has one server location, users located across the globe will have a slower experience. With a CDN, any user located at any region will have a cached, fast user experience.
Use Caching Plugins
Caching plugins use the WordPress API to store values and pages for future use. By not querying the database server with every refresh and loading static pages from cache, you can greatly speed up your site.
W3 Total Cache works well with CDN.net, so you can incorporate this plugin in your WordPress site without worry of bugs or issues. CDNs have their own caching mechanisms as well, so incorporating both a CDN and caching plugins are optimal for WordPress speed.
Optimize Home Page Content
Millions of users still have slow Internet connections. Some even use dialup, so your site should take these users into consideration when you load pages. After you install a theme, your home page can get “heavy” with too much content and large images that take too long to load.
You can optimize the front page using a couple WordPress configurations (usually through your theme settings):
- Show post excerpts and not the entire content
- Fill the front page with only the latest 5-10 posts
- Delete plugins that you no longer use and deactivate
- Deactivate or remove any unused widgets
- Limit number of widgets and plugins that you need
- Test plugins for speed before you upload them to your production site
These four suggestions speed up your site, and you need no technical skills to administer them. Just a CDN alone will speed up your site, but once you’ve signed up and configured it, adding extra plugins and optimization will make even a small WordPress site compete with some of the large, fast sites on the Internet.