If you are looking for a website builder that is both easy to use and affordable, then WordPress is categorically the best choice for you.

But wait, here’s the catch!

You need to optimize your website correctly. Otherwise, its slow loading time will be a pain for users.

A delayed load time of a webpage directly impacts factors such as high bounce rates and reduced conversion rates.

Sadly, that translates into losing out on several potential sales and subscribers. As reported by Neil Patel, if a website takes more than 3 seconds to load, 40% of people abandon it right away.

So, do you want to know the secret of a high-speed WordPress site?

Read on to know how I have broken down the process in detail with advance steps for improving the speed of a WordPress website. Follow these steps to witness an instant boost in the WordPress site speed.

Why is the WordPress Website Speed Such a Significant Factor?

Google’s speed algorithms, also known as “Speed update,” were announced in July 2018. The algorithm causes a sharp decline in rankings of slow loading websites, and they are pushed far down the search engine result pages.

Globally recognized internet company, Akamai Technologies conducted a study on online retail performance whose findings were eye-opening. They claimed that just a second of delay in page loading could result in a 7% loss in conversions, 11% fewer page views, and a 16% decrease in satisfaction of customers.

One second of delay in page loading could result in a 7% loss in conversions

That simply means that you have a maximum of 5 seconds to display the contents of your webpage.

Advanced Ways to Accelerate a WordPress Site

Let’s dive into the practical steps of speeding up your WordPress site instantaneously. I urge you to ask a WordPress developer to execute these advanced techniques, especially if you are unskilled in technical know-how of web development.

Correct Procedure of Connecting Your SSL Certificate

Have you been noticing a mixed content error on your WordPress site recently? The reason could be the installation of an SSL certificate when your site switches from HTTP to HTTPS.

How to spot this error? Follow the steps below:

  1. Go to the Chrome browser.
  2. Visit your website from the browser.
  3. Press Ctrl+Shift+I or right-click.
  4. Click “Inspect tool”.
  5. Click “Console”.
Connect your SSL Certificate.

What SSL certificates do is that they negatively impact the performance and speed of a website, without affecting the look. Facing mixed content errors is unavoidable when you move your site from a non-SSL version to an SSL one. And the setback of the increased loading time of the website comes as part and parcel with this change.

But you can fix that!

Just install the Really Simple SSL plugin. The plugin is a blessing when it comes to SSL related issues, and is a breeze to install. With a few clicks, you will be able to solve all your SSL issues very efficiently.

Optimize the Size of Images to Improve Performance

According to research by Webdam, posts that include visual content have the ability to procure 650% more engagement than text-only posts.  It also makes the audience more likely to read your content.

At the same time, another report by the HTTP Archive concludes that images make up 34% of the web page weight after videos.

It suggests how important it is to optimize images if you don’t want your website performance to get affected.

It is important to optimize images.

If you refer to the graph, you can clearly understand how optimization of image size is of utmost importance than Fonts, JavaScripts, CSS, and HTML that take up less page weight.

Optimization of the image should preferably be done before uploading, but there is a possibility to do it afterward as well.

Steps to take if you are optimizing the image size before uploading on site:

  1.  Lessen the image size manually by using Photoshop or these free Photoshop alternatives.
  2. Use kraken.io, an image optimizer tool that can be used for image size reduction. It is available online for free. (Note: That this too is a time-consuming process and not automated.)

Steps to take if you are optimizing the image size after uploading on site:

Several plugins can serve the purpose of reducing image size automatically. Some of them are:

Imagify is a plugin that I would highly recommend as I use it personally. The results are very satisfactory as the plugin automatically reduces image size once you upload it.

All these images optimizing plugins give three options for image optimization. These options are called Normal, Aggressive, and Ultra.

I would advise you to use the option for aggressive optimization. This option allows the reduction of image size by up to 90%, yet maintains the image quality.

Imagify is a plugin that automatically reduces image size once you upload it.

Take Advantage of the WordPress Lazy Load for Your Images

If you have a lot of high-resolution visual content on your webpages, then WordPress’s lazy load features will be an absolute blessing for you.

These plugins have a very extensive impact on your WordPress site speed as it delays downloading and rendering of images and videos below the fold until the user scrolls down. It only downloads the displayed content on the screen of the user.

The delay in image downloading allows a faster loading time, which is not the case when all the images of a blog post are downloaded while the page is loading.

Some amazing Lazy Load plugins are:

  1. Lazy Load by WP Rocket
  2. Smush
  3. A3 Lazyload

Disable the Full Content Display on Your Homepage and Archive Page

One common feature that you might have seen on WordPress websites is that they display the full content of all the blog posts that have been published on it. It is not only the case with the Homepage but also for the Archived pages like Categories, Tags, etc.

One can easily imagine why such sites load at a sluggish speed. The full content, images, and videos all are on the same page, severely affecting the load time.

One more negative aspect of this feature is that viewers never go to the actual blog post page. Why would they when they have access to the full content on the homepage? As a result, the bounce rate is affected, and there are very few page views.

You never want such an impact on your site as well, do you?

Therefore, avoid the same by doing as follows:

  1. Go to the Dashboard.
  2. Navigate to Settings.
  3. Move on to Reading.
  4. You will see an option of “for each post in a feed, include
  5. Check the option “summary” instead of “full text.”
Disable the full content display on your homepage and archive page

Save Space by Limiting Post Revisions

Accidents happen all the time. Your computer could crash while writing a post, or your battery may die suddenly, due to which you might lose your work.

Thankfully, WordPress has a built-in feature that saves the earlier version of your post as revision in its database.

If any such thing happens, you can easily retrieve the previous post from the revisions.

But what if I tell you that all of these revisions are taking up a lot of space in your WordPress database, causing it to load slowly?

Don’t worry, simply add the following code to the wp-congfing.php file:

define( 'WP_POST_REVISIONS', 3 );

Adding the code will set a limit for saving up to the last three revisions. Older versions will be automatically discarded. Consequently, your WordPress site speed will be improved.

Make Sure Hotlinking and Leaching is Disabled for your Website

The evitable truth is that your quality content with appealing graphics can probably get stolen!

What’s even worse is that the person not only steals the content but uploads it directly on their website, instead of uploading it on his web hosting server. As a result, your database bandwidth is used, and the images will load on your server. Sadly, you don’t even get any traffic even by showing it from your server!

Annoying, isn’t it?

The good news, though is, that this issue can be resolved upfront by disabling hotlinking on your WordPress site.

The disable hotlinking code that follows should simply be added to the .htaccess file of your site servers.

#disable hotlinking of images with forbidden or custom image option

RewriteEngine on RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^$ 

RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^http(s)?://(www\.)?example.com [NC] 

RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^http(s)?://(www\.)?google.com [NC] 

RewriteRule \.(jpg|jpeg|png|gif)$ – [NC,F,L]

At this point, keep in mind to substitute your domain name with example.com.

Break Down Long Posts into Pages

It is a no brainer how much readers love to read long-form blogs that are well-researched as well as in-depth. Such posts even give the benefit by ranking higher in the search engine results.

A downside to long-form posts is that they harm the load time of the website as they usually contain lots of images and sometimes videos as well.

An easy solution to keep the post long but avoid the effect on load time is to split it into many pages. You can easily do that by availing the built-in feature of WordPress.

Simply add this one line code on the part where you want the post to break into the next page.


Disable the Pingbacks

Do you know what pingbacks are?

Although they look like comments, they are just useless scripts by WordPress. They do so to remind you to link any mentions of your posts.

Sounds quite useful? But the fact is that this service is also provided by many third-party tools like Google Alert that monitor brands.

Unnecessary pingback would do more harm than good. Not only will they slow down your website’s speed, but it also increases the risk of a DDoS attack.

Turn these pingbacks off by:

  1. Go to the Dashboard.
  2. Navigate to Settings.
  3. Under Discussion, see the Default Post Settings.
  4. Look for the option “Allow link notifications from other blogs (pingbacks & trackbacks). Uncheck it for new posts.
Disable Pingbacks.

Unchecking this option will disable pingbacks only for any new posts that you publish.

For older posts, you would need to turn off the option by:

  1. Go to the Dashboard.
  2. Select Posts.
  3. Select all posts.
  4. From Bulk Actions, select Edit.
  5. You will see the Apply Bulk Editor.
  6. Select “Do not Allow” for Pings.
Boost your WordPress site speed - For older posts, you would need to turn off the option manually.

Split Comments into Pages

Split comments into pages.

Getting lots of comments under your posts is undoubtedly proof of how successful you are at engaging your audience. They love what you write for sure!

However, you might have noticed how an increasing number of comments drastically impact your WordPress site speed.

I know that you might be thinking whether it is possible to delete comments?

No, you can’t. But you can do one thing is that split the comments into several pages.

Use this feature of WordPress by:

  1. Go to Dashboard.
  2. Navigate to the Settings.
  3. Under Discussion, See the Other Comment Settings.
  4. Check “Break Comments into Pages.”
Boost your WordPress site speed - Change the comment settings in the dashboard.

Pro tip: Prohibit the robots.txt file comments as that will clear up your search console.

Ensure Using a Content Delivery Network

When you have a functional website, users come from different locations across the world. Naturally, all of them will face a different loading speed of your website.

The reason behind this is the distance between your hosting server and the users. It is different for everyone. If the distance is longer, the website will load slower. Likewise, a shorter distance from the hosting server will benefit the user by lesser loading time.

Let me explain it via an example. Your server may be located somewhere in the UK. Any user from the UK is near to the hosting server; hence the website will load quickly for him. The same cannot be true for users residing in Australia or China, as they are far away from the hosting location.

One remarkable thing that resolves this issue is the Content Delivery Network, simply known as CDN.

CDN is a network of servers across the globe. What it does is that it stores static files of each type of content like the videos, images, CSS, and JavaScripts.

Using a CDN doesn’t let geographical distance hinder the loading speed of your website. Any user that visits your website will receive the static file of your website’s content from the CDN near to them, resulting in much faster page loading.

An additional benefit of CDN is that it takes the bandwidth burden allowing the web hosting to run faster.

Boost your WordPress site speed - CDN is a network of servers across the globe.

The CDN which I use and recommend is the Cloudflare CDN. It’s an excellent match for WordPress sites. It also manages to work well alongside your WordPress cache plugin, improving the site performance manifold.

Final Thoughts

All the techniques that I have mentioned in the blog are tried and tested. You will experience it by yourself when you put them to use. A little tip to testify the difference is to check your WordPress site speed before and after practicing these steps. 

I tried my best to compile a comprehensive guide on improving the WordPress site speed. Hoping you found it useful; I would love it if you further share the blog with any website owner who needs to work on speed optimization.


Zara Humaid is the founder of Inflatic.com and ZaraHumaid.com. He is a passionate blogger by heart. He helps other bloggers and small business owners grow their business online.

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