I need to improve my WordPress performance!

I’m starting to dig into improving my WordPress site performance, as it is not where I want to be. On average it takes 3 seconds before it starts rendering and up to 6 or 7 seconds to finish. So I need to improve my WordPress site, so where do I begin? You can start with throwing solutions, such as caching, at the problem, which may or may not help, or you can first diagnose the problem

Two tools to diagnose problems

  • Visit webpagetest.org and type in any URL and get back a breakdown of the files retrieved for that page and how long each took. I spent the most time in the waterfall view.

    Screenshot from webpagetest.org

    Screenshot from webpagetest.org

    What quickly jumped out at me, was the time the WP file monitor was taking. This plugin, periodically scans your WordPress installation for new or modified files and then notifies you about it. Since being hacked, I have had this installed so I have early warning of problems. However now I have it deactivated and am using another solution.

  • Plugins are often a source of performance problems. It might be that you just have too many installed, but often you will find that there are a couple of plugins that are worse than others. To get information on your plugin performance, install the P3 – Plugin Performance Profile Plugin and run a scan.

    P3 Plugin Performance Profiler

    As a result of this scan, two other plugins joined WP File Monitor on the deactivated/deleted list, these were WP Sales Letter and Pretty Link Lite. Now according to P3, my plugin load time is 1.03 seconds and my SQL queries are down to 59 a visit.

    Other things to try

    • Caching Plugins: WP Super Cache captures your WordPress pages into static html files which get served faster than having WordPress php retrieve the content from your database. This can really help your performance. Another similar highly recommended plugin is W3 Total Cache.
    • WP minify: This plugin will install the minify engine which combines and compresses your css and .js files, the less files to download, the faster your page loads.
    • WP Smush it: Compress your images with this plugin which will add a “Smush it” link to your media library. There is even a bulk smush it option. After “smushing” one of my images, the download time improved from 1151 ms to 762 ms.
    • Optimize DB : This plugin optimizes your database, I haven’t tried it yet but many recommend it.

About the Author Kathy Alice

Kathy Alice Brown is a traffic and conversion expert specializing in SEO, Copywriting and Facebook Ad Campaigns. In her spare time she loves to get outside.

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