Re:Post – How to improve loading speed of your WordPress / WooCommerce site

This is a Re:Post of an helpdesk article originally published on WooThemes.com from 2015.

Speed up?

Getting your site to load faster is something that you will eventually confront. Since we get asked a lot about speed optimization, here are some tips on how to tackle it.

Before thinking about optimization methods, you should first analyze your current website speed. When you say your site is slow, it might load fine for others for many reasons. Therefore the first step is to perform a speed test with a web-tool measuring the status quo. A number is needed as a starting point so we can set a goal independent of different client configurations (i.e., Slow vs. fast computers, different browsers and settings, etc.).

Measure up

There are many suitable speed test tools found online. For example: http://tools.pingdom.com/fpt/,

To perform a speed test on your site, visit the URL, open the settings and choose a server close to you. Or not, depending on what you want to know. Then execute.

It will give you an overview of items that get loaded, and four performance indicators.

  1. Perf. grade = A percentile created by pingdom. Everything above 75 is fine.
  2. Page size = Gives an idea of the content load
  3. Load time = Most important and more important than 1 and 2. Should under 3 seconds or less. Aspire to under 1.8 seconds.
  4. Requests = Gives an idea of content load.

Optimize on-site

Action items for site speed optimization:

  • Take a look at the hosting plan. Because it is a shop, you should not host your site on a cheap shared hosting plan. Even if you only recently switched to WooCommerce and your hosting plan has been sufficient, it is worth considering an upgrade. Good hosting is not expensive, and it is important to have a solid base for your online presence.
  • Take a look at site content, especially images. Are they uploaded in a web optimized format? If not and most images are MB size (over 500 KB is big), is there a plugin in place that helps with serving content (e.g., Lazy Loading or PNG Crusher)?
  • Take a look at plugin load. As most plugins load with each page, this might slow things down. You can use the Plugin Organizer to help: https://wordpress.org/plugins/plugin-organizer/. It lets you control the order in which plugins are loaded, and you can toggle plugins on a per-page/post basis and/or disable for mobile.
  • Are any optimization plugins in place? There are a number of caching plugins found in the WordPress repo that can dramatically speed up your WordPress site without tweaking for countless hours. Consider installing one if you haven’t already. Be careful though. Caching plugins also have potential to interfere with your site not loading correctly or not at all if configured in an incompatible or faulty manner. Check thoroughly after implementation to avoid undesired results.
  • Do we have a need for outsourcing content into a cloud for faster loading?

If you did all of the above-mentioned items, then you have covered most or all possible solutions. If that still does not suffice, it is time to turn to off-site resources such as CDNs. This is a complex topic so I will stop here.

I hope this helps everyone out there striving to optimize their site.

 

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