7 Ways to Quickly Increase WordPress Speed

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Everybody seems to be in a hurry these days, and online loading times matter. Studies show that speedy WordPress websites perform better in terms of:

  • Conversions
  • Usability
  • SEO (search engines really appreciate speed)
  • Likeability
  • Time People Spend Browsing

Now, let’s take a look at how to quickly increase the speed of your WordPress website!

1. Update Everything. Now!

note: Before hitting that update button, create a backup. Updating your WordPress installation, WordPress theme, and plugins should be painless if you use WordPress products created with WordPress best practices in mind. A theme should only take care of the visuals, nothing more.

Updating your WordPress installation, theme, and plugins will increase speed as every update brings performance, stability, and functionality improvements.

2. Use a Theme that’s Not Bloated

Sometimes, the reason a WordPress website loads slowly is because of the template. Maybe it has a lot of graphics or  a lot of bulky code and inefficient functions. Try choosing a simpler theme.

There are so many heavy, bloated WordPress themes right now, it’s likely that you’ll stumble upon one. A theme could, for example, have a built-in portfolio functionality. But what if the developer stops providing support and updates? What will happen to your portfolio? Keep in mind:

A theme should display and style your content. Plugin should be used to add functionality. 

Because majority of premium WordPress themes you find on market places such as ThemeForest and Mojo Themes never go through theme review guidelines, it’s better to start with the free default WordPress themes and add features and styles as you need them using plugins and CSS.

3. Limit Plugin Usage

  • Decide which plugins you need and regularly update them
  • Delete the ones you don’t use

Always delete plugins you don’t need, because every badly coded plugin (even a deactivated one) poses a security threat.

4. Use Cache Plugins

WordPress Website SpeedYou’ve probably heard this one before. While you could speed up WordPress using other ways, at least give cache plugins a chance. They work just fine if you spend some time figuring out what’s working and what’s not. Two of the most downloaded cache plugins for WordPress are:

Don’t enable everything, just the most basic stuff such as: page cache, browser cache, minify (may cause your website to look little weird), or try enabling the CDN option.

5. Optimize Images

Images can massively slow down websites, especially uncompressed and non-optimized ones. There are a couple of ways to avoid this:

  • Optimize images before you upload them & crop them to the correct resolution.
  • Install a plugin called Wp Smush.it. It compresses your images & deletes all meta data.

6. Use Text Advertisements

Ads Slow Down WordPressThere’s a chance your online business fuels itself using ads. Advertisements can be text, image, or java-script based and can be hosted on your server or somewhere else.

Solve slow loading ads by going with the text or link option. If you must use images, see if you can host them yourself.

7. Switch Hosting Company

Do a little research on different hosting companies. Send each hosting company an email and learn about their response time and customer support before you make your choice. Read this article on the performance of 7 Top WordPress hosting companies.

See if your hosting company uses Google’s mod_pagespeed and activate it. It will configure your server for speed.

You should compare how nimble your WordPress is before and after doing this speed optimization. Online tools like Pingdom and Webpagetest can help.

WordPress speed directly influences your website authority and may determine the future of your online business.  What other ways have you found to increase the speed and success of your WordPress powered sites?

Dragan Nikolic

Dragan Nikolic

Blogger for hire at Dragan Nikolic
I'm a co-founder of ThematoSoup and a blogger for hire. Get in touch with me if you want to secure and optimize your WordPress website.... Read Full Bio
Dragan Nikolic
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  • Daniel Heywood

    Hi Dragan, some good points. The theme is most important as lots of WP themes are heavy on images and JavaScript, a nice light theme is a good start. It’s also a good idea to use widgets in sidebars sparingly, the calendars, advertising and Flickr widgets etc. will add to increased page loading time so I always ditch them unless really necessary.

    • Dragan Nikolic


      Thanks and sorry for the late reply. Yes, the theme is one of the most important things to take care of. I’ve never considered widgets to be heavy on the page load time, but I guess they are. Thanks for sharing that with me.

  • Daniel Sanchez

    I was actually searching Google about this topic just as this came in, what a coincidence! Good info by the way.

    • Dragan Nikolic

      Thanks, Daniel.

  • Coroiu Alexandru

    I’ve encountered too many people to count that nuke their wordpress with too many plugins. Keeping it nice, simple and essential is the way to go, not just for increasing your speed but for making sure that nothing breaks. The more moving parts it has the higher the likelihood of something going awfully wrong.

    • Dragan Nikolic

      I agree, the “moving parts” comparison is a great one when it comes to plugins and themes.

      Thanks for your comment, Coroiu.

  • Anshulseo

    Hi Dragan,
    This is really nice and informative post….Helpful too…Themes really matters in the loading speed of website…Its necessary in wordpress to choose the templates with less graphics content….

    • Dragan Nikolic

      WordPress themes can be styled entirely with CSS, so it’s up to users to ask for these kind of themes and go easy when it comes to images on their posts and pages.

  • Sunil Chadha

    Yes, absolutely these days every person want to do any work in just and very early. So online loading times really matter. given seven point is helps to solve their problem.

    • Dragan Nikolic

      Thanks Sunil.

  • James

    W3 Total Cache was a real game changer for me. I did have to work a bit with the settings, test and re-test to get it where I wanted, but overall that plugin alone took my page speed 92/100 on http://tools.pingdom.com. Needless to say, I was pretty damn pleased with the results. The over-use of plugins seems to be one of the biggest culprits as well. Before I installed W3 Total Cache I got rid of almost half of the plugins that I had installed. Some of them were pretty cool, but not worth the cost in page speed. No point in having a sexy looking site with bells and whistles if the visitor leaves before the pages can even load.

    • Dragan Nikolic


      Glad to hear you got W3 Total Cache to work. Takes time and some testing before it starts speeding up your WordPress.

      Regarding the overuse of plugins, there’s a great tool that measures the load each plugin puts on your website. Check it out – http://wordpress.org/plugins/p3-profiler/

  • nasirkamal

    As user of wordpress cms,I ‘m facing some problem because its loadng speed is slow. It takes more time to be loaded. This article helps to resolve this boaring experience.

    • Dragan Nikolic


  • Jacobus

    Hi Dragan, wow, the “use text ads” sort of blew my mind. I had never thought of that as an option to make your blog faster. Learned something today!

    • Dragan Nikolic

      Hey, no problem.

      Common sense is the best 🙂

  • Daniel Sanchez

    You can also use JavaScript to footer and WP Smush it.

    • Dragan Nikolic

      Thanks for dropping by.

      What do you mean by “JavaScript to footer”?

      I think I mentioned WPSmushIt somewhere in the post.

  • alex

    Thank you for this article, learnt something today and solve my problems! how about a slider if the images are not optimised and YouTube videos? Will it slow down our page speed?

    • Dragan Nikolic

      Thanks for entering the discussion.

      Overuse of sliders is not uncommon in today’s website. You can find them everywhere, even where not needed and they do increase loading times.

      Embedded videos increase load times, but you can deal with this. Take a look at this plugin http://wordpress.org/plugins/lazy-load-for-videos/faq/

      • alex

        Beautiful! Will try this for sure