Wordpress speed optimization and the most important basic rules to a fast website in 3 simple steps:
- Fast hosting
- Fast Theme
- Quality performance plugins
Step 1: Fast Hosting
Invest in fast hosting for your WordPress website, this is fundamental for your website speed. If you have a simple website I recommend Kinsta managed WordPress hosting. For a medium website or larger E-commerce website, I recommend using a server. You can use General Purpose (Premium Intel) Droplets on DigitalOcean. You can also try Linode – Akamai as they are reasonably priced and have fast servers.
Kinsta uses Google Cloud Platform and chooses out of over 35 data centers to host your website in the region closest to your customers for maximum speed. Kinsta Managed WordPress hosting offers integration with Cloudflare and Edge caching. You can count on awesome support and free website migrations.
Linode and Akamai recently fused and they have always offered reasonable priced and fast cloud services. I use their servers for years now, I used to be on Google Cloud Platform. GCP is in my opinion too expensive and too complicated for just WordPress hosting.
Step 2: Fast Theme
Use a fast theme for optimal performance and scores in online speed test tools like Google Pagespeed Insights & GTmetrix. There are a few fast WordPress Themes out there, check this article: 16 Fastest WordPress Themes
I recently discovered the fastest WordPress Theme and it scores 100%. If you want a fast website I recommend using GeneratePress Premium or converting your theme to the fastest WordPress Theme.
I have seen people investing in expensive servers, Cloudflare Pro services, premium plugins, CDN services and paying thousands of dollars to developers to make their websites faster. They could have used just a fraction of the money to pay a freelance developer to convert the website to GeneratePress & follow those 3 steps to a fast WordPress website.
Step 3: Quality performance plugins
I usually don’t use a lot of plugins to optimize a website, I can do it with just 3 plugins.
- Image optimization – EWWW Image Optimizer (free & paid)
- Optimize scripts – Perfmatters (paid)
- Cache plugin – Flying Press (paid)
Image optimization will give a performance boost to your website as the images will become smaller your website will load faster. You might want to resize some images to proper sizes, I have seen many full-size images of several megabytes big used as a small thumbnail.
There are many plugins you can use, my personal preference is EWWW Image Optimizer, it is free to use and you can choose a premium plan for better compression. It takes care of all important aspects of image optimization including compression, resizing, converting, and delivering WebP (Next-Gen formats) images.
To control the assets on the website and unload unnecessary scripts I use Perfmatters as my favourite performance optimization plugin.
Perfmatters will unload scripts and help you manage the loading of scripts on individual pages with the script manager. It has many features to improve pagespeed and performance scores. Some of the features I like and often use is defer & delay Java scripts, removing unused CSS, lazy loading and adding missing image dimensions, preload, preconnect, prefetch, Google font optimization, database optimization, and many more useful features.
The last step is to install a caching plugin, this will speed up the website the most after all basic optimizations are done. You can use one of the many free caching plugins or use a premium plugin like Flying Press.
Flying Press has some amazing features I did not see with any other caching plugins, especially the Lazy render elements feature that fixes the “Avoid an excessive DOM size” warnings in Google Pagespeed Insights.
Free caching plugins
The top 10 of the best free caching plugins I use are:
- Super Page Cache for Cloudflare
Easy to use cache plugin that uses Cloudflare free page rules for full page cache.
- WP Fastest Cache
Easy configuration and very good.
- WP Super Cache
Easy configuration & preload feature.
- Cache Enabler
Easy to use cache plugin for websites on Nginx.
- LiteSpeed Cache
Cache plugin for websites on Litespeed servers.
- W3 Total Cache
One of the most used cache plugins by experts and advanced users.
- WP-Optimize – Cache, Clean, Compress.
Easy to use cache plugin and database optimization tool.
- Breeze – WordPress Cache Plugin
Easy to use cache plugin by and for Cloudways.
- SiteGround Optimizer
Easy to use cache plugin for websites hosted on Siteground.
- Hummingbird – Optimize Speed, Enable Cache, Minify CSS & Defer Critical JS
Easy to use Cache plugin with some script optimization features.
Conclusion: 3 steps to a fast WordPress website
Use the 3 essential and basic rules for a fast WordPress website, for the best page speed and performance. There are 3 simple steps to follow and the foundation of your website speed optimization.
You can optimize some more and use free Cloudflare services or APO (Automattic Platform Optimization) for WordPress for $5,- per month. You can also use Cloudflare free page rules for full page cache or buy additional page rules to fully profit of this technology and speed up your WooCommerce website.
If you prefer hosting your own server, I recommend using DigitalOcean because I had the best web server performance using the General Purpose (Premium Intel) Droplets.
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