Website speed is very important for SEO (Search Engine Optimization). If your website takes more that 2 seconds to load, you should be worried. It might not only affect your search engine rankings but also your sales.
Even if you do not care for SEO and use paid marketing to bring traffic to your website, you should optimize your website for maximum speed. Let’s suppose you succeeded in bringing some visitors to your website who are interested in your product. Now, if your web page didn’t load in a few seconds, most of them will leave your website. You will lose a good number sales as some of your potential buyers have left your website without buying anything.
I also had a similar speed issue in my online shop https://jewish.shop/. Using these 13 steps I improved my website’s load speed by up to 50%. I have compiled all the changes I made to my WordPress based online shop to get a respectable Page speed.
- 1 Test loading time
- 1.1 Choose a Decent Hosting
- 1.2 Enable GZip Compression
- 1.3 Enable browser caching
- 1.4 Reduce Image Sizes
- 1.5 Lazy Load Images
- 1.6 Install A Cache Plugin
- 1.7 Get Rid of Unnecessary Plugins
- 1.8 Use a sleek WordPress theme
- 1.9 Combine & compress JS and CSS files
- 1.10 Update To Latest PHP Version
- 1.11 Use HTTP/2 Network Protocol
- 1.12 Disable Emojis
- 1.13 Like this:
Test loading time
To find out whether there is room for improvement on your WooCommerce shop you should always test your loading time.
I recommend Pingdom Tools for speed measurement . The speed test not only displays the load time for different locations around the world, but also the PageSpeed score with improvement tips, a list of all files loaded by your blog (including header information, size and impact on load time). as well as a waterfall diagram.
Loaded files can also be sorted by a variety of criteria, making it easier to find load-time killers.
In addition, I recommend using Google PageSpeed Insights to find optimization potential(please do not confuse PageSpeed with the absolute loading time!) And the performance measurement of Chrome DevTools that you can do locally in Google Chrome.
Choose a Decent Hosting
You can get a hosting package including a
The reason for the slow load times is because too many customers share a single server’s resources.
In general, I advise against mass hosts, such as Strato, 1 & 1, DomainFactory, One.com or HostEurope. Please get a reasonable hosting package! Even if it costs a few dollars more a month.
It is a good idea to get a dedicated server or a VPS but if you can’t afford those, you should look for a better-shared hosting. In the case of shared hosting, I suggest you use a local hosting. For my blog, I use a locally shared hosting. It is not a big web hosting company hence the server is shared by a few websites. The customer service is also great. I even get support via an SMS or a phone call.
Previously I have been using Godaddy hosting and there were a few things which made me leave Godaddy. The first thing was the files limit. While Godaddy’s Shared hosting promises unlimited storage, they limit the number of files to just 150,000. It is expensive compared to the local hosting that I have. The customer service is pure garbage.
For detailed hosting reviews and comparison, you should take a look at SayWebHosting to have good idea about which web host to go with depending on your needs.
Enable GZip Compression
The First thing I did was to enable GZip Compression on my WooCommerce shop. Enabling gzip compression is one of the most important optimization measures, which significantly increases the load time of your website.
You can enable gzip compression using the
In order to do that, all you have to do is log in to your FTP server (you should have the credentials sent to you when opening your hosting package), open your site’s .htaccess file with a plain text editor, and then add the following code to the beginning of the file:
For web servers based on an older version of Apache, the module
mod_deflatemay not work. In this case, you need to use the
mod_gzip module instead . Just add the following instead of the top code:
Enable browser caching
The next thing I did was to enable browser caching. If browser caching is not enabled, Chrome, Firefox, and other browsers will not store files (such as images or CSS files) locally in your browser and will need to load all files to your computer every time a visitor visits your website.
This prolongs the loading time enormously. That is why it is essential to allow browsers to save files for a longer period of time.
You can activate browser caching using your .htaccess file just like we compressed the files using mod_deflate. Simply add the following code, which keeps files of any kind for one year (31536000 seconds) in the browser-cache of your visitors:
Reduce Image Sizes
Most of the pictures taken with your own camera or created with Photoshop or GIMP itself are larger than they should be even if you have saved it on the PC in a lower quality level.
Even if you save a jpeg image in 8/12 quality in Photoshop and Progressive JPG (or GIMP quality level 85), you can still make it 5-40% smaller without loosing quality.
For PNG images, the savings are usually even greater and can be 50-80% depending on the image.
However, it is simpler to use the WordPress plugins EWWW Image Optimizer or Compress JPEG & PNG images for compression. These WordPress plugins make it possible to mass-compress already uploaded images and automatically compress all newly uploaded images.
The results obtained with Compress JPEG & PNG images are usually a little better and you save a few more KB than the EWWW Image Optimizer.
The number of images that can be optimized with Compress JPEG & PNG images is limited to 500 per month. In addition, for each optimized image, you have to pay a (very small) amount, while with EWWW you can optimize as many images as you like.
Also included in the 500 images are the various image sizes generated by WordPress and the theme, which are up to 10 per image uploaded on some themes. However, you can control which image sizes must be optimized to save credits. You can do that by going to Settings>Media and selecting the image size to be optimized.
EWWW Image Optimizer performs slightly better than Compress JPEG & PNG images in terms of speed of optimization. Especially when uploading individual images you have to expect a slightly longer waiting time.
Lazy Load Images
Compressing your pictures is an important step for better loading time. If your blog or individual blog articles are very picture-heavy, compressing images may not be enough
In that case, you should use a so-called lazy load plugin, which ensures that images below the fold
I’m using a3 lazy load, which in my experience works with most themes and setups. If it does not work for you, try Lazy Load or Crazy Lazy.
Install A Cache Plugin
A caching plugin should not be missed if you want to make WordPress faster. WordPress itself generates dynamic websites, that is, for every element on your page (eg menus, widgets, posts, etc.) a database query is made at each page request.
For some sites whose content changes quickly or want to see the content in real time, dynamic loading may be useful. For most blogs, online magazines or niche sites, it is more of a hindrance. Due to too many database queries, the loading time increases and the reader has no advantages due to the dynamic loading.
A caching plug-in can remedy this by generating static files from the dynamic content (so-called page caching), thus drastically reducing the number of database queries.
Note: Database queries must not be confused with server requests (that do not change through the caching plug-in).
These static files are then regenerated by the plugin after a defined interval (eg a day) and/or when the content (new post, new comment, etc.) is changed.
As a caching plugin, I recommend Cache Enabler:
The setup is very easy: install, activate and ready! You do not need to stop.
It’s the fastest free caching plugin I know. It beats some other plugins, such as W3 Total Cache to lengths. It also works with most themes, plugins and setups.
I also get good results with the WP Super Cache plugin:
It’s great for beginners due to its easy installation (just go to Settings> WP Super Cache, turn on caching and you’re done!) and its clear user interface. It also offers various settings for advanced users.
If you want a little more speed, I recommend that you switch to server-side page caching, such as Nginx FastCGI Cache. However, this requires a lot of configuration work and a corresponding server with root access. Alternatively, you can use a hosting service that has preconfigured this.
Get Rid of Unnecessary Plugins
Plugins often load unnecessary CSS or JS files or slow down WordPress through too many database queries. In addition, plugins are always a security risk, especially those that are not regularly maintained. That’s why the less plugins, the better!
Check your installed plugins regularly and ask yourself: Do I really need that? If not, then get rid of it! If you need it, but use it only sporadically, I recommend you to activate it only if you use it and then instantly disable it.
Some of the biggest the biggest culprits behind increasing website load-times include:
- Social media plugins (Twitter or Instagram feed, Facebook like
bo x, share buttons without caching, etc.)
- Page Builder (for example, Visual Composer)
- Broken Link Checker (disable after use)
- Google Maps
- Comments plugins
- Contact forms
- Forum Plugins (Simple: Press, bbPress etc)
Use a sleek WordPress theme
Popular WordPress themes such as Avada, X Theme, Enfold, The 7, Divi, etc. offer many setting options, integrations, ready-made demos and/or a visual editor, which can greatly simplify the design of a website.
All-in-one themes also often involve the installation of many other plugins (eg sliders, contact forms, bbPress, widgets). Please also check the plugins that come with the theme, if you really use them.
For some themes, such as Avada, even individual functions can be completely turned off, so that corresponding CSS and JS files are no longer loaded.
In the end, though, it’s better to choose a theme that only has the features you really need.
Combine & compress JS and CSS files
You can remedy this by deactivating unnecessary plug-ins that increase the loading time and using a theme that is not overloaded (see the above two points).
On the other hand, you can make WordPress faster by grouping together as many JS and CSS files as possible to reduce the number of server requests and compressing them to reduce the size of each request.
This can be done manually, but this not only requires a lot of prior programming knowledge. It is easier to use the free plugin Autoptimize :
For most themes and plugins, there should be no complications when using Autoptimize. If something is not displayed correctly or is not working properly (be sure to also check the mobile version!), You need to look at what causes the complication.
Update To Latest PHP Version
By converting your server from PHP 5.x to PHP 7.x you can accelerate WordPress significantly. Sometimes your website gets twice as fast !
PHP 7 or higher is also recommended in the official hosting requirements .
You can usually change the PHP version from the cPanel of your server. If not, ask your host to do it for you.
Use HTTP/2 Network Protocol
HTTP/2, the successor of HTTP/1.1, offers significant speed advantages over the older version of the Hypertext Transfer Protocol, which was the transmission standard on the WWW for over 16 years.
If you are interested, which results in more speed: With HTTP/1.1 all requests are processed one after the other, with HTTP/2 several requests can now be processed in parallel. In addition, headers are transmitted in compressed form and, thanks to server push, the server can prioritize the requests that are most important to the user.
With this tool from KeyCDN you can test if your server supports HTTP/2.
If this is not the case, ask your host to implement it or take it as an opportunity to change the web hosting service. If you have a VPS or Dedicated Server with root access, you can sometimes even do it yourself.
Remove Gravatar Images
If a blog article has a lot of comments, it may slow down the load of the article extremely, because the gravatar image of each commenter is loaded.
A remedy is the FV Gravatar Cache plug-in, which helps to cache Gravatar images on your own server, which in my experience improves the loading time a bit.
Alternatively, you can turn off your own avatar images completely and replace them with a standard image. For this I use the following plugin:
There are some features in the WordPress core, which negatively affect the loading time and are not absolutely necessary.