How to speed up your website

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Why site speed is important

When someone visits your website, you only have a few seconds to capture their attention. Bigger load times translate to a higher chance of a visitor abandoning your website - even before the page even loads. This can lead to loss of potential customers and revenue. Google also penalizes slow sites, while rewarding fast ones with better rankings. Having a faster website translates to better rankings, more revenue and an improved experience for your visitors.

How to measure your website's performance

Google has launched a web-based tool Page Speed Online which analyzes the performance of web pages and gives suggestions for making them faster. You can run this test from any browser, at any time, and get immediate access to Page Speed performance suggestions.

How to decrease page load times

  • Use a good web hosting provider: Wordpress needs to allocate specific resources on the server that hosts it. Many hosting providers might prove to be of low quality - not providing the necessary resources. This tends to be true on shared hosting accounts, which try to serve multiple wordpress sites on the same machine. It would be unrealistic for one to expect fast server response times while paying 50 cents per month on a low quality shared host. Upgrade to a better host as soon as you can afford it.

  • Disable inactive plugins: Using too many plugins can bloat your website and slow it down. An active plugin, might be using server resources even if it is not in use ( e.g A slider plugin that haven't created slides for ). Additionally, many plugins might prove to be of poor quality further hogging server resources.

  • Use a caching plugin: Caching can greatly reduce loading times. It converts your dynamically generated pages into static ones, directly served from the cache, without being generated from scratch with every single request. This greatly improves server response times, unloading your server from expensive computations at the same time. A popular and free plugin that can handle caching for you is W3 Total Cache.

  • Optimize images: Use few and optimized images in your pages. Each image leads to a separate server request, which in turn adds weight to your page and increases the loading time. In Photoshop or Fireworks use the 'Save for Web' option to reduce the image size.

  • Enable gzip compression: Serving compressed files can reduce the response weight-size about 70%. You can ask your host to enable gzip compression for your website. In order to quickly test if your website is already being served compressed, click here.

  • Minify css and javascripts: Lambda serves all it's necessary stylesheets and javascripts already minified and concatenated, in order to reduce the weight of your pages as well as the loading times. Consider doing the same for any third-party plugins that you develop or use. Furthermore, consider removing a plugin that enqueues too many css and javascript files - especially if it's not currently in use - or replacing it with a better one.