Tired of your visitors bouncing because of your slow site? Yeah, I feel you. Slow sites are the worst. That's why you need to know how to speed up WordPress.

Here's why a speedy site matters:

  • Happy visitors: No one likes waiting. Fast sites keep visitors engaged and coming back for more.
  • Google love: Search engines like speedy websites, too. Meaning better rankings for you!
  • More conversions: Whether it's sales or signups, a snappy site gets the job done.

Ready? Let's speed up your site!

Why is my WordPress site so slow?

Hear me out, WordPress users: A slow website actively hurts your success.

You don't want to lose customers because your pages won't load. Or, worse. Have Google penalize your site in the search results because it takes a long time to load!

At the end of the day, no one wants to sit around waiting for pages to load. And they're not going to.

Most people will leave if your page load time is more than a few (2-3) seconds. In a time when information is available instantly… “Ain't nobody got time for that.” Even if it's just a few seconds.

Here are some typical things that impact the speed of a WordPress site:

  • Unoptimized images: Large images take forever to load. Think of those high-resolution (5MB+) photos on your camera. They're stunning, but you need to shrink them down.
  • Heavy themes: Beautiful WordPress themes are great. But there's a chance they're loaded with features you don't use. And those slow down your site.
  • Too many plugins: Plugins are fantastic. But too many of them, especially outdated or poorly coded ones, create a traffic jam on your site.
  • Hosting limits: Shared hosting plans are usually more affordable. But, they also cram too many sites onto one web server. Sadly, that leaves you with fewer resources for speed.
  • Database buildup: Over time, your WordPress database accumulates old post revisions, spam comments, and other clutter. That impacts your WordPress memory limit. Also, slowing things down.

This list doesn't cover every single problem. But you'll see BIG improvements if you get a jump on these performance issues.

But don't stress. I'll show you how!

How to speed up your WordPress site

A graphic showing quick tips on how to speed up WordPress

How to speed up WordPress without coding

You don't have to be an expert to speed up your WordPress website.

Here are a few things you can do that don't require coding:

  1. Optimize images
  2. Try a caching plugin
  3. Cut heavy, irrelevant plugins
  4. Turn off pingbacks and trackbacks

I'll walk you through some ways to speed up your WordPress without touching a single bit of code.

Optimize your images

There’s nothing that slows your site's load time down more than large images. That's right, I see you, 10 MB photo of blueberry pancakes!

You need to reduce the file size of those huge images! I recommend keeping the image size around 50-100 KB to speed up WordPress.

Ultimately, the type of image plays a role in this too.

A simple logo compresses easily without losing much quality. But that high-res photo from your hike? It needs careful handling.

An image showing how your image gets messged up if you try optimizing it (compressing it) too much.

You want a small file size, but not at the expense of blurry trees or distorted colors.

So, here's what you can do.

Resize and compress your images before you upload them to WordPress. Or, cut out the extra step of pre-optimizing them! Use image optimization plugins like Imagify, or Smush.

Try a caching plugin

A caching plugin gives your site a major speed boost.

Here's how: The caching plugin creates static HTML pages (“snapshots”) of your website. And then, it saves them on your server.

This means your website doesn't have to generate everything from scratch every time someone visits. It just shows these snapshots.

And this makes a huge difference in page load time!

Want to make your WP website faster? WP Rocket is my top choice for a caching plugin.

WP Rocket banner

Here's why:

  • Removes unused code: Cleans up heavy code for faster loading times.
  • Cache preloading: Preloads your pages so they're ready to serve in a flash.
  • Lazy load: Images, videos, and other elements only load as the user scrolls down. This makes the initial page load feel much faster!
  • CDN integration: WP Rocket lets you integrate with a Content Delivery Network (CDN). This is for super-fast delivery of your site's files to visitors around the world.

Don't forget this Tasty tip: Check with your web host. Some hosts have their own caching solutions and CDN. (BigScoots, Bluehost, SiteGround)

If not, they might at least might have recommendations on the best WordPress caching plugins that work best with their setup.

Cut heavy, irrelevant plugins

Maybe you hear it often: adding WordPress plugins to your site slows it down. Well, this is partly true.

Here’s what to remember: plugins that change the front end of your site, will slow it down. However, plugins that only affect the admin dashboard will not.

Still a little confused? Let me break it down a little further:

  • Front-end plugins: These add features that visitors see and interact with (like fancy sliders or social sharing buttons). Too many can definitely affect load time.
  • Back-end plugins: These work behind the scenes. They organize your dashboard or compress images. They generally don't impact site speed as much.

So, adding a new search bar to your recipe page? That affects your site speed because you are adding more code to the front end of your site.

You can absolutely still have one of these, though! Pinch of Yum's is beautiful and convenient. Plus, the site is still extremely speedy!

An image showing Pinch of Yum's recipe search feature on her website

What about installing a plugin to organize your media library?

It shouldn’t make a difference! That's because this plugin isn’t loading images or code. However, a plugin on your homepage that pulls up social sharing buttons is.

So, now what? Time for a plugin review!

  1. Declutter: Deactivate or delete plugins you haven't used in ages.
  2. Consolidate: Do several plugins do the same thing? Keep the best one. Ditch the rest.
  3. Keep it light: The fewer plugins you have, the faster your site generally runs.

Turn off pingbacks and trackbacks

By default, every time another website mentions your blog, you're notified by something called pingbacks and trackbacks.

This sounds great in theory. But they're also widely used by spammers, which uses up a lot of your server’s resources and hurts your SEO.

Turning this WordPress setting off will not ruin any of your backlinks. But it will cut out the extra work it takes for your server to process these. Not sure how to turn them off?

An image showing how to uncheck the "allow link notifications from other blogs" box in WordPress

Go to your WordPress dashboard  > Settings  > Discussion Settings  > Uncheck the box that says, Allow link notifications from other blogs (pingbacks and trackbacks) on new posts.

How to speed up WordPress with hosting

When you first start blogging, a shared host is a nice affordable option.

But, cheap hosting comes with another cost: slow site speed and frequent downtime. That's because your website is sharing its resources with many others! As your website grows, so do these performance issues.

So, shared hosting is not ideal for the long haul. 

Instead, I recommend managed WordPress hosting. Here's why:

  • No resource sharing: Your website gets its own space with managed hosting. And that means a smooth experience for visitors.
  • Built for WordPress: Managed hosts fine-tune their setups just for WordPress.
  • Speed and security are taken care of: They take care of technical stuff like server updates and gzip compression. That lets you focus more on your content!

It's a bit more expensive. But, managed WordPress hosting is definitely worth it.

You don't have to worry about things like security, speed, and website uptime. It takes care of all the pesky, technical aspects of running a WordPress site for you.

BigScoots: the best web host for shared and managed hosting

BigScoots managed hosting is the easiest way to speed up your WordPress

There are lots of great WordPress web hosts out there, but BigScoots is my favorite.

BigScoots stands out for its speed, reliability, and amazing support. They're the perfect choice if you want a host that knows how to speed up WordPress and handles the technical stuff so you can focus on content!

Why you'll love BigScoots:

  • Made for WordPress: Their host servers are fine-tuned for WordPress performance. And that means fast websites.
  • Always watching: They monitor your site 24/7 to make sure it runs smoothly and stays protected.
  • Super helpful support: Their friendly support team is always ready to help, even with those tricky tech questions. And, double bonus, you're always talking to a human!
  • Extra speed boost: BigScoots has features like a built-in CDN, automatic image optimization, and more for supercharged sites.

Check out BigScoots' managed WordPress plans and try them risk-free with their money-back guarantee! Plus, get 99% off your first two months with our special code WPTASTY.

YouTube video

More ways to speed up WordPress

These other ways to speed up WordPress are a bit more technical. But the speed boost can be significant!

Here's what to consider:

  1. Theme matters, go lightweight
  2. Install fast plugins only
  3. Update WordPress on the reg
  4. Use a Content Delivery Network
  5. Minimize HTTP requests
  6. Put lazy loading to work

Theme matters, go lightweight

There are so many beautiful WordPress themes out there. But a lot of them have heavy elements that slow things down.

Here's what to look for in themes to speed up WordPress:

  • Lightweight code: Choose a theme with clean, efficient code. Avoid themes with tons of bells and whistles you won't use.
  • Made for speed: Some themes are specifically designed for speed. Astra is a popular one. Look for reviews and benchmarks that mention page speed.
  • Regular updates: Well-maintained themes stay secure and optimized for the latest WordPress versions.

Attention food bloggers! I recommend Foodie Pro or one of the other WordPress food blog themes from this list.

An image of the Foodie Pro WordPress theme

Install fast plugins only

Pick your WordPress plugins carefully! Some are poorly coded and can seriously drag your site down.

Look for plugins that:

  • Do one thing well: Avoid plugins that try to do everything under the sun. Try a few of the best WordPress plugins that own their craft!
  • Have good reviews: Check out the plugin's ratings and user comments.
  • Are up-to-date: This is a sign of good maintenance and compatibility.

So what plugins are right for you? Well, ultimately, that depends on you and your site. But I'll tell you some of my favorites.

WP Tasty's smart plugins for bloggers are a hit.

Tasty Recipes is the best WordPress recipe plugin. It's perfect for food bloggers. But Tasty Links, Tasty Pins, and Tasty Roundups take any niche to the next level. Watch the video below to find out how.

YouTube video

You can grab the plugins individually. Or, Get the whole WP Tasty suite (all four plugins) for one site for a year for $149.00. This is, without a doubt, the best plugin deal for a food bloggers.

AIOSEO, Formidable Forms, and MemberPress are other great plugins to add to that list!

Update WordPress on the reg

It's not just about new features! WordPress updates often include performance fixes and security patches.

Keeping your site updated means it's running at its best. And top security helps keep your site safe.

Luckily, WordPress makes it pretty easy for the most part. It lets you know on the Dashboard if something needs updating. If so, click Update.

An image showing a WordPress update notification in the WordPress dashboard.

But, remember: always back up your website before any major updates!

If you go with BigScoots, the hosts I mentioned earlier, you won't have to worry about this or the following tips.

They take care of whatever you need to speed up your site! As long as you grab the Performance & Security plan.

Use a Content Delivery Network

Image of CDN.

Source: DigitalOcean

Imagine your website is like a bakery with only one location. Customers from nearby can get their beloved baked goods quickly. But those far away face a long wait.

Well, a content delivery network (CDN) is like opening bakeries all over the world! Visitors get their content from the closest location. Basically, everyone enjoys a lightning-fast experience no matter where they are.

Cloudflare is a popular (and free!) way to get your CDN set up.

A CDN, like Cloudflare, takes all of the files on your site and delivers them to your visitors from the server closest to them. This cuts down the time it takes for your site to load.

Minimize HTTP requests

Every time a visitor loads your page, their browser sends requests for each element. Think: images, scripts, etc.

Well, the fewer requests, the faster it loads and the better the user experience.

Here's how to minimize them:

  • Combine files: Some plugins (like WP Rocket) help combine CSS and JavaScript files, reducing external HTTP requests.
  • Simplify your design: If possible, declutter your layout to use fewer elements overall. Limit the number of fonts and fancy images on each page.

Put lazy loading to work

To review from earlier, lazy loading means images below the part of the page people see only load as the visitor scrolls down.

This is an ideal feature for long blog posts with lots of photos.

It makes the initial page load feel much faster, which is great for user experience!

Many image optimization plugins like Smush have this feature built-in.

How to check your website speed

First things first, do you know what your website speed is? If not, GTmetrix is a great, free way to check.

You have to create an account, but it's easy. You just enter your name and email. And then create a password.

An image showing where you add and analyze your URL.

So, head to GTMetrix. Create an account. Paste in your website URL, and hit Analyze.

GTmetrix gives you an overall site performance score and a list of factors affecting your site's speed.

I analyzed a site and added the performance score as an example below. See its B average and performance score of 81%? That's a snapshot of your site's overall speed.

An example of at GTmextrix grade and performance score. This is showing a B grade.

This score is decent. But it also shows there's lots of room for improvement! Like an A with 90% performance!

Now, let's talk Web Vitals.

These are metrics Google uses to measure user experience on your website, especially on mobile devices.

They focus on things like:

  • How quickly the most important part of your page loads
  • Whether scripts slow down the initial loading
  • If your layout jumps around while things load

The example shows that the site needs to improve the loading time of its largest element!

An image showing the GTmetrix breakdown of speed or other performance issues on a website.

And what's great is that GTmetrix points you directly to those problems. Like these large images that need to be shrunken down.

It even gives you suggestions on how to compress your images! Thanks a lot, GTmetrix.

A final site testing tip: Test your site from several locations around the world using GTmetrix's settings. That way you know if visitors in different places have different experiences.

How will you speed up WordPress?

You now know how to speed up your WordPress to the max!

Faster load times mean happier visitors, better search engine rankings, and more potential for your site to succeed. Or at least end up with a score like this one!

An image showing an example of an A grade GTmetrix score.

But don't feel like you have to do everything at once to speed up WordPress. Pick one or two things to try first. Compress images or use a caching plugin. You'll see the improvement!

You might need more advanced techniques or a hosting upgrade as your site grows.

The key is to keep learning and finding ways to make things even faster. So, what will you do first? Let me know!

And before you go! Here are some more free resources to help you with your WordPress site: