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19 Above And Beyond Tips To Speed Up WordPress

Advanced Fine-Tuning of WordPress for Speed

The tips listed below are a bit more technical, some require you to modify your websites files or have a general understanding of PHP. Not so good or helpful for beginners!

Make sure to backup your site first just in case.

1. Break Long Posts into Pages

Readers tend to love more in-depth and longer blog posts. Longer posts are even more likely to rank top in search engines.

But if you tend to publish long articles with a lot of images, it could hurt your loading times.

Instead, you should consider breaking up your longer posts or articles into multiple pages.

Luckily, WordPress has an inbuilt functionality to do that. Just add the NextPage tag in your post where you need to break it into next page.

Repeat this to break the article into the next page too.

2. Reduce External HTTP Requests

Many WordPress themes and plugins load all types of files from other sites. These files may include images, scripts, and stylesheets from external resources such as Facebook, Google, and analytics services.

It is OK to use some of these. Most of these optimised files load as fast as possible, so it is quicker than hosting them on your personal website.

However, your website can be slowed down significantly if your plugins make lots of these requests.

Therefore, you should disable styles and scripts or simply merge them into one file to reduce all the external HTTP requests.

To minify and concatenate on-page plugin stylesheets and scripts you can use a plugin like Better WordPress Minify, increase the number of files to minify (20 should be sufficient for most) and ensure that everything is still working, if not you may need to tell it to ignore certain scripts or to load them in a different order.

3. Reduce Database Calls

This step is a bit more technical and will need a general knowledge of PHP and WordPress template files.

Unfortunately, there are many WordPress themes that are poorly coded out there. WordPress standard practices are ignored and the themes end up making a lot of unnecessary database requests, or direct database calls. This overworks your server making it really slow.

Even well-coded themes have code that makes database calls in order to get basic information from your blog.

Theme developers cannot be blamed for that. They have no other technique to identify what language your site uses.

But if you customise your website using a child theme, then you can replace all of these database calls using your specific information to reduce the amount.

Always review your “parent” theme for cases like this which can be simply replaced with “static” information.

4. Limit Post Revisions

Post revisions consume space in your database. Some users also believe that revisions can hurt some database queries controlled by plugins. Your site might slow down if the plugin does not specifically eliminate post revisions by unnecessarily searching through them.

You can easily reduce the number of revisions WordPress saves for each article. Just add this line of code within your WP-config.php file.

define( 'WP_POST_REVISIONS', 3 );

This code limits WordPress to only keep your last three revisions of each page or post, and automatically discard older revisions.

5. Disable Leaching and Hotlinking of your Content

If you’re posting quality content on your website, then the sad truth is that it will possibly be stolen sooner or later.

This usually happens when other sites serve your images or photos right from their URLs on your page, rather than uploading them to their personal servers. In effect, they are stealing your web-hosting bandwidth, and you get no traffic at all to show for it.

Just add this code to your .htaccess file to block images hotlinking from your WordPress page.

RewriteEngine on
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^$
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^http(s)?://(www\.)?YOURDOMAIN.COM [NC]
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^http(s)?://(www\.)?google.com [NC]
RewriteRule \.(jpg|jpeg|png|gif)$ – [NC,F,L]

Some content scraping sites automatically create posts after stealing your website content from your RSS feed.

Be extra cautious!

6. Add an Expires Header to Static Resources

An expires header specifies a future time so that users browsers do not have to re-fetch any “static” content such as images, javascript, and CSS files.

This technique can significantly reduce your load time for your regular users.

Simply copy and paste the code below into your .htaccess file located at your websites root directory:

ExpiresActive On
ExpiresByType image/gif A2592000
ExpiresByType image/png A2592000
ExpiresByType image/jpg A2592000
ExpiresByType image/jpeg A2592000

The above numbers can be changed as you wish.

Testing your #WordPress site for #speed and #performance is a MUST!Click To Tweet

Final Thoughts

Nothing beats a well managed WordPress website with a built-in caching solution and a custom theme from a good developer. If you are on a tight budget, don’t worry. There are several free online tools and software that you can use to speed up your site including WP SpamShield Anti-Spam, Lazy Load XT, Autoptimize, WP Sweep, and many more. You don’t need to spend a penny!

You can still try using a premium caching plugin to get the best results instead of using too many plugins for the same purpose. Anyway, using too many plugins does not necessarily hurt your site speed provided you use quality plugins.

Testing your site for speed and performance is a MUST!

While testing, use a different plugin every time to check the results. Each plugin may have a different effect on your site. Use the one that makes your WordPress website as fast as possible.

I hope you really learned a lot in this article. Now you are equipped with valuable tricks to boost performance and speed up your WordPress site.

Simply go ahead and try out some of these techniques. Make sure to test your page’s speed before and after – you will surely be surprised how effective these tips are!

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About Steven Watts

Steven WattsSteven is the founder of Newt Labs. He's a WordPress specialist with an interest in building the most effective websites possible. Since 2010, he's been helping businesses with their online goals.