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You must know that your website load speed is directly proportional to the organic traffic, user engagement

, and conversions of your site. No one likes to visit a site loading slower than a snail crossing the road. A slow site can be very frustrating for visitors. Researches and studies show that customers generally have a tendency of leaving a slow-loading site and go to the competitor’s website in turn.

oogle also mentioned the use of page load speed as one of the !""# factors they use while ranking webpages in the $%R&s. 'herefore, your site’s speed is going to affect your site’s $%( too. $o, in this article )’ve written a very comprehensive and practical guide to improve the speed of your *ord&ress site. 'hese are the techni+ues that )’ve implemented on many of my *ord&ress sites and have worked like a charm, and there’s no reason they wont work for you too. $o go ahead. )t’s time to say goodbye to your slow-loading site.

,uick &eek. . . . . . $erver (ptimi/ation 'heme (ptimi/ation )mage (ptimi/ation 0aching 1atabase (ptimi/ation 2iscellaneous (ptimi/ation

$erver (ptimi/ation
'his is one of the most important aspects to consider while speeding up your *ord&ress site. %very other tweak you perform, will all go into vain if your server is not fast enough. You should treat your server 3ust like your second home, where your entire website resides.

45 0hoosing the Right *eb 6ost 7&riority- 6igh5 'he first consideration is our web host. 0hoosing a shared host with 8unlimited bandwidth, unlimited storage9 and so on at a cheap price is not unusual, but they are probably not the ones for you, if you are a speed addict. $tarting out with a $hared hosting is not a problem, but as your traffic grows, you may have to consider moving on to something much better : a ;&$ or a 1edicated server. As we are talking about optimi/ing *ord&ress sites for speed, then it is a wise choice to go for a hosting that speciali/es in *ord&ress, like *&*eb6ost and *& %ngine. (ther hosts like 6ost ator or <lue6ost are also great choice.

!5 =sing a 0ontent 1elivery Network 701N5 7&riority- 6igh5 'he name may sound something too technical and not for amateur users, but it’s actually not. You don’t need to know the deep science behind 01N, but obviously need to get it rightfully configured for your blog. $till for the sake of knowing, 01N is a network of servers strategically placed throughout the world to server content to the visitors from the closest possible server. 01N does a marvelous 3ob in speeding up your blog drastically by taking a snapshot of your entire website and distributing it to all servers throughout the *orld. $ome of the most well-known 01N’s you can use, are 2a>01N, 0loud?lare 7a big fan of it5, and Net1NA.

'heme (ptimi/ation
Nothing can replace the advantage of having a framework which is clean, simple and optimi/ed for speed. 'here are various other techni+ues that you can implement in your theme structure to improve speed drastically.

@5 0hoose a &remium 'heme or ?ramework 7&riority- 2edium5 Avoid free themes for your *ord&ress site, unless it’s from the *ord&ress 'heme Repository. ?ree themes are generally not designed keeping speed optimi/ation in mind. Always consider spending at least a few bucks in buying a premium theme developed by a well-reputed developer. Remember, the themes 8'wenty 'en9, or 8'wenty %leven9A 'hat is, the default themes in *ord&ress. 'hey are bla/ing fast because of their simplicity. 1on’t 3ust choose a theme, but try to go for a framework like the 'hesis ?ramework, enesis ?ramework because of their added benefits. )f you take full advantage of these frameworks, then they are capable of saving several hours of precious time and money for you. You can easily communicate and interact with other fellow developers through tweets and forums. Another advantage of these frameworks that appeals to me a lot, is that they are regularly updated with time. You can also use some of their built-in features like better SEO and security that makes the development process even more fun. Book for how often the framework is updated, what people are saying about it and how seriously they take speed and security optimi/ation into account.

C5 2inify 0$$, 6'2B and D$ 7&riority- Bow5 *e all love to write code in well-structured format with tabs, white space and line breaks. <ut the server doesn’t care about how readable your code is. )f it e>ecutes properly, then it’s good to go. )n large files, these white spaces and line breaks can take a good amount of space and slow down the loading of your site. $o consider installing a plugin to do this 3ob of minification for you in runtime so there’s no need to edit these files yourself. Bike you can use *& 2inify, or <etter *& 2inify for this purpose.

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F)& 0ompression 7&riority- 6igh5

(ne of the most crucial yet neglected speed optimi/ation techni+ue. You can use F)& compression to compress your files at the server level itself and serve compress files to the visitors thereby drastically speeding up your *ordpress performance. You can enable &6& F)& by editing the php.ini file by using any te>t editor and locating the following line and making it (n. /lib.outputGcompression H (n

You can also use a &6& directive to control the level of compression. 'he default value is I but you can change it to anything between 4 to J. /lib.outputGcompressionGlevel H I 'he only problem with F)& compression via &6& is that only webpages that are generated by &6& scripts can be compressed by this method. <ut if you do not have access to the php.ini file, then there is an alternative way to enable GZIP using the htaccess file too. 6ere is the code for you :

#Enabling GZIP using the .htaccess file to compress HTML, C $ML

, !a"a cript an#

%ifmo#ule mo#&#eflate.c' (##)utput*ilter+,T,pe -E*L(TE te.t/te.t te.t/html te.t/plain te.t/.ml te.t/css application/.01a"ascript application/1a"ascript te.t/1a"ascript %/ifmo#ule' #En# GZIP

'his code can be placed anywhere in the .htaccess file to enable F)& compression. 'he 8)f9 statement is only included because you maybe unsure whether your host supports F)& or not.

I5 0$$ $prites 7&riority- Bow5 0$$ $prites are another great and innovative techni+ue to reduce page load time. )t’s combining multiple images into a single image so only that image needs to be loaded rather than multiple images. 'he techni+ue of 0$$ $prites ensures a descent increment in the speed of your site and also saves a good amount of bandwidth too. 'here are some awesome articles throughout the web teaching you the mechanics of 0$$ $prites. You can also try the online tool $prite2e to generate the code for your sprite.

)mage (ptimi/ation
You probably have heard of the saying, 8A picture is worth a thousand words9. 'ruly it is. )mages are something that you can use to impress your visitors, but at the same time can get the entire performance of your blog down to the ground, if not optimi/ed properly.

K5 &erfecting )mage $i/e and ?ormat 7&riority- 2edium5 1on’t use unnecessary si/ed high +uality images where you don’t need them. 'ry to maintain a si/e of E""-I""p>, or whatever fits with your theme’s design.

Also try to develop the habit of optimi/ing your images before uploading to *ord&ress. You can use &hotoshop or other free software like &aint.Net, or )2& to bring your images down to a descent file si/e. Remember the importance of choosing the correct image format while saving, like D& for photographs with rich colors, &N for small-si/ed images with te>ts.

L5 Ba/y Boading )mages 7&riority- Bow5 Another very effective techni+ue to speed up your site is by Ba/y Boading. As the name suggests, Ba/y Boading is where only the visible images are loaded, the rest are loaded as the user scrolls through content. Ba/y loading is e>tremely effective for sites which use many images in their posts, like on showcase or resource based articles containing E" or 4""# images. )t also saves a lot of bandwidth. 2any times, visitors don’t go to the end of the article and so the last few images never gets a scope to come before the eyes of the visitor, so what’s the point of loading it and wasting your bandwidthA

J5 &revent 6otlinking of )mages 7&riority- Bow5 6otlinking, or leeching of images, is nothing but pure bandwidth theft. 2any a times, spammers directly link to some of the images of your posts from their website. *hen a single spammer is doing this, then it won’t bother you much. <ut if hundreds start doing it, then you’ll surely start losing huge among of bandwidth unnecessarily and will see reduction in the page load time of your site. <ut fortunately you can prevent this from happening, by adding a few lines of code in the .htaccess file in *ord&ress.

Mdisable hotlinking or direct leeching of images Rewrite%ngine on Rewrite0ond NO6''&GR%?%R%RP QRS Rewrite0ond NO6''&GR%?%R%RP QRhttp7s5A-TT7wwwU.5Ayoursite.com VN0W Rewrite0ond NO6''&GR%?%R%RP QRhttp7s5A-TT7wwwU.5Agoogle.com VN0W Rewrite0ond NO6''&GR%?%R%RP QRhttp7s5A-TT7wwwU.5Afeeds!.feedburner.comTyoursite VN0W

RewriteRule U.73pgX3pegXpngXgif5S : VN0,?,BW

1o not forget to allow the feed =RB 7from ?eed<urner5, otherwise the images will not appear properly in the feeds.

0aching
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=sing 0ache &lugins to <oost $peed 7&riority- 6igh5

You can implement any number of tweaks to optimi/e speed, but 80aching9 is simply unparalleled to anything else. ) saw a sharp increase in the oogle &age$peed score of my blog, the moment after ) implemented caching in my blog. *ord&ress is a &6& script, so the webpages it generates are completely dynamic, which simply means that they will e>ecute the +ueries every time they get loaded thereby slowing down the server. A sudden server crash is also nothing uncommon considering the fact of sudden traffic spikes. 'here are various methods of caching, such as dynamic pages converted to 6'2B, and browser caching, which reduces server load by decreasing the &6& that would otherwise need to run, and by telling the browser what to cache and for how long. *@ 'otal 0ache and *& $uper 0ache are the two plugins of my choice, when it comes to caching 7but ) prefer the former over the latter5.

1atabase (ptimi/ation
*ord&ress stores everything in the database. *henever a page is loaded, the database is read, so if the database is too large, it will take longer the page to get loaded.

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0ontrol the &ost Revisions 7&riority- 2edium5

) have been writing this post for ! days and ) have saved this post as draft for more than 4" times for sure. <ut after this post gets published, will these drafts or revisions be necessary anymoreA A single post with 4" revisions won’t bother you much, but suppose your blog has over !"" posts and each of them at an average have around five post revisions, then you will be having over 4""" post revisions in your database that are not re+uired in any way.

$o, it’s a 3udicious decision to clean up these unnecessary post revisions. You can use a Revision 0ontrol plugin to set the no. of revisions to !-@, so that you can get back your draft if something goes out of order.

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0ut down the $pam 0omments, 'rackbacks and &ingbacks 7&riority- Bow5

'hese are sometimes considered to be unnecessary. )f spammers are loading your blog with lots and lots of spam comments, remove them immediately. 'oo many spam comments in the posts will surely deteriorate your page load speed 7and user e>perience too5. $econdly, *ord&ress uses trackbacks and pingbacks to interact with other blogs that have the same enabled. *henever you get mentioned in any blog, *ord&ress notifies you and tries to update the post. 'urning it off can be a good choice as you are not going to lose your backlink.

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(ptimi/ing 1atabases 7&riority- 2edium5

(ptimi/ing the database tables is pretty important. You can do this in two ways : either using php2yAdmin to do it manually, or by using plugins to take care of it automatically. You can log in to your c&anel and go to php2yAdmin and then hit the 8(ptimi/e 'ables9 button to do the rest, or can install a simple plugin, like *&-1< 2anager, to optimi/e databases right from your admin area with ease. You can also enable automatic scheduling to look after this 3ob automatically so that you can keep yourself busy doing the other tasks.

2iscellaneous (ptimi/ation
'hese are some of the miscellaneous tweaks that you can perform to optimi/e your *ord&ress site for ma>imum speed. 'hese are some very simple techni+ues that we often forget to take care of.

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?ront &age (ptimi/ation of your <log 7&riority- 2edium5

1on’t show too many posts on the front page. 0onsider limiting it to E-K and not more than that, remembering the *ord&ress default is 4". ) have seen many people making the mistake of showing more than even 4" posts in the front page which does no good other than unnecessarily increasing the si/e of the main page.

Avoid showing full posts instead of showing e>cerpts. )f you have lengthy articles, then the front page would tend to become too large : pretty bad for the user e>perience and even worse with respect to the page load time.

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Avoid 'oo 2any %>ternal $cripts 7&riority- 2edium5

Avoid having too many e>ternal scripts like ?acebook, 'witter and Ale>a widgets in *ord&ress site directly or through various e>ternal plugins. )t’s never a good idea to rely on these e>ternal scripts, as their slow loading speed can be the reason for your website not loading properly. 'he server of an e>ternal script being down can deteriorate the performance of the entire website. $o try avoiding as much as possible.

$till readingA Now it’s time to go and use oogle &age$peed, Y$low or '2etri> to check the speed of your site and compare what it was before and after implementing the tips, tricks and techni+ues. )f you have still any +ueries, feel free to en+uire below in the comments section.

!bout the author" #Aritra Roy, is a <logger, ?reelance *riter, 1esigner and (nline %ntrepreneur who believes in the power of written words to educate, influence and inspire people.