Top 5 Tips to Make WordPress Lightning Fast

According to a study by Microsoft Bing search, a delay of just 2 seconds in page load can lead to a 4.3% reduction in clicks and revenue per user. Another statistic from Kissmetrics shows that with every 2 seconds delay in load time, the page abandonment rate of each user increases by 5%.

For this reason, WordPress webmasters are in constant search of techniques that can maximize performance from their WordPress site by making it faster and minimizing the load time.

Here are five things you can do in order to make your WordPress site lightning fast.

1. Use Cloudflare CDN to auto minify HTML, javascript, CSS, and enable rocket loader


A CDN or a Content Delivery Network is a cluster of servers that are spread across the globe. CDNs improve performance and reliability by hosting static files such as CSS, javascript and image files and delivers them to users from the server which is closest to their location. CloudFlare is a widely used free CDN and available as a plugin for WordPress.

Rocket Loader is a feature of CloudFlare that is specifically used for javascript files. If your page contains javascript, turning on CloudFlare’s Rocket Loader will decrease the site’s window.onload time, thereby increasing its performance.

2. Install server side caching with Nginx, Varnish, and Memcached

Memcached stores data in RAM reducing the hits to your server, thereby decreasing the number of times databases or APIs are read.

Varnish and Nginx are two popular accelerators used to cache HTTP in reverse proxy. Utilizing Nginx, Varnish, and Memcached can reduce server load time considerably. According to data on Varnish’s website, the delivery factor increases by 300-1000x when Varnish is used to deliver content.

Caching will also allow you to serve more visitors simultaneously. In a recent load test with 500 concurrent users over 5 minutes to a plain WordPress install on IO Zoom’s optimized WordPress VPS with 2GB RAM, the site loaded in just over 2.5 seconds.

load test results

3. Install cache plugins such as W3 Total Cache or a premium paid plugin, WP Rocket 

Cache plugins such as W3 Total Cache and WP Rocket can boost the performance of your WordPress site. WP Rocket can be installed easily with minimal configurations and it contributes to the reduction of site load time through its various features such as cache preloading, images on request, and page caching. While W3 Total Cache is available free, WP Rocket is a paid plugin but is worth its price.

4. Optimize images using TinyPNG or EWWW image optimizer plugins

Image compressors such as TinyPNG and EWWW are plugins that optimize the images on your site by performing a lossless compression, i.e, they reduce the size of the images while preserving their quality.

TinyPNG works for both JPEG and PNG image files. EWWW is by far, the most popular of the image compressors and is available in both standard and ‘Cloud’ versions.

5. Optimize htaccess by enabling GZIP compression and browser caching

Leveraging the browser cache of your website can considerably reduce the site’s load time due to its caching activity. The .htaccess file in the root of your domain can be accessed through FTP and browser cache can be leveraged by adding the following to the top of the file.

<IfModule mod_expires.c>
ExpiresActive On
ExpiresByType image/jpg “access 1 month”
ExpiresByType image/jpeg “access 1 month”
ExpiresByType image/gif “access 1 month”
ExpiresByType image/png “access 1 month”
ExpiresByType text/css “access 1 month”
ExpiresByType text/html “access 1 day”
ExpiresByType application/pdf “access 1 month”
ExpiresByType audio/x-wav “access 1 month”
ExpiresByType audio/mpeg “access 1 month”
ExpiresByType video/mpeg “access 1 month”
ExpiresByType video/mp4 “access 1 month”
ExpiresByType video/quicktime “access 1 month”
ExpiresByType video/x-ms-wmv “access 1 month
ExpiresByType text/x-javascript “access 1 month”
ExpiresByType application/x-shockwave-flash “access 1 month”
ExpiresByType image/x-icon “access 1 month”
ExpiresDefault “access 1 month”

Gzip compressed files are files that are compressed and stored on the web server. When a user attempts to access your website, it is the compressed files that get loaded, resulting in a faster website loading experience. Gzip compression with mod_deflate can be enabled using .htaccess by adding the following lines.

# compress text, html, javascript, css, xml:
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE text/plain
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE text/html
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE text/xml
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE text/css
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/xml
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/xhtml+xml
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/rss+xml
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/javascript
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/x-javascript

Optimizing WordPress with the various optimizing techniques in this guide will help boost your site speed resulting in a better user experience.

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