How To Make Your WordPress Blog Load Faster

Success on social media sites can bring serious traffic to your WordPress blog. However, hundreds or thousands of visitors to your site in a short period of time can crash your web sever if. A good web host is essential, although, ensuring your blog not wasting valuable bandwidth on poorly optimized images, and unnecessary scripts and widgets is also important. So how do you optimize your WordPress install for the best performance? Here are some key tips:

Optimize Images

I think having attractive images in your articles is a key part of blogging, but I also think you need to optimize images so that they not any larger than they need to be. If you are lucky enough to have a copy of Photoshop, it is ideal for this task. A few rules which will help you out are:

  • Save images that use a limited pallet as .gif or .PNG. i.e a logo that just uses red, white and blue.
  • Save images that use the full color spectrum of colors as .jpg i.e a photo of yourself.

If you are saving for the Internet you should use “Save for web”. The aim is to get the final file size as small as possible without wrecking the appearance of the image.

PNG & Gif (indexed): Set the total amount of color to the lowest value possible without effecting appearance of the product. You can play with dither, for some images it will help remove artifacts, by adding a bit of noise. Raise the value of Web snap as high as you can go without making the final product look ugly.

Jpg (RGB): Lower the quality to as low as possible without making the final product look ugly, and without adding too many artifacts, you can also add some blur which may remove so ugly artifacts, but don’t get too carried away.

Make sure that if you are resizing images that you set the mode to RGB. Indexed images don’t resize well.

If you don’t have Photoshop, the same principles apply for any application. Make sure you use the appropriate format. And use optimizing tools to make the file size as small as possible without making the final product look ugly.

You should ensure that images are cropped to remove any unnecessary parts, and resized to the correct final size. Don’t waste valuable bandwidth by using html code to resize an image.

Use A Minimalist Theme

Attractive graphics and excessive use of plug-ins in your theme can add to the file size of your site, and raise your loading time. So selecting a minimalist theme is a great way to reduce the size of your WordPress blog. Here are some great minimalist themes:

CSSJuice -18 minimalist WordPress Themes

My Favorites include:

Upstart Blogger Modicus:

Warpspire’s Hemingway:

Brian Gardner’s Silhouette:

5thirtyone’s Grid Focus:

Compress the Stylesheet and Javascript files used

You can compress Javascript and the Stylesheet used in your theme. To compress Javascript you can use a Javascript compressor. For the CSS files, you can remove the comments, and remove blank lines and spaces using your favorite text editor. This will optimize your set up a small amount.

Enable Object Cache

By default WordPress doesn’t the enable object cache, but you can enable it easily by adding these lines at your wp-config.php files:

define(’ENABLE_CACHE’, true);

and to set it’s expiration time you can add this line :


Reduce Overall Latency by Reducing HTTP Requests

PlanetEnjoy writes about the importance of reducing HTTP requests:

Every HTTP request, or loading each item on your website, has an average round-trip latency of 0.2 seconds. So if your site is loading 20 items, regardless of whether they are stylesheets, images or scripts, that equates to 4 seconds in latency alone (on your average broadband connection).

So it is important to ensure that you are not including an unnecessary amount of HTTP requests.

Don’t Rely on Other Sites!

If you are loading content from other web sites it is going to slow your loading time. For example both the widgets at the bottom of this page load from other servers, Blogrush and Blogcatlog. If either of these servers are having bad days the widgets can take an age to load. This is part of the reason why I have them in the footer, so any lag doesn’t stop any other content from loading. Ad networks, badges, widgets, images, scripts may all be loading content from other servers. For optimal performance you need to rely as little as possible on other servers.

34 thoughts on “How To Make Your WordPress Blog Load Faster”

  1. Great work Simon. I blogged about speeding up wordpress earlier but I didn´t cover the image optimization and theme issues.

  2. nice tips – we had done some of those – and not others – so thanks. we use wp-cache and it seems to help a lot as well. We host blogs on a clustered server with super fast HD access.

  3. Putting stuff in footer is effective only if you don’t serve gzipped pages (or don’t have plugin WP-Cache enabled)

    It’s also worth considering putting all the JS scripts (jquery etc) in the footer, so that everything the javascript has to do is done *after* the HTML is loaded.

    As for relying on other sites, well, it *is* a good idea (if these other sites are reliable, of course). It will allow parallel transfers, for instance from for CSS and HTML, and from Flickr for images.

  4. Yes, you are right. Statical content can be lighter and that way visitors browser will spend less time to load all page parts. But slowness can be caused because of slow WEB application and that can be improved by easy magic 🙂

    Just turn on MySQL caching and install PHP caching engine like APC. I made benchmarking before and after these two steps and the gain was about 150% on empty WordPress with no modules.

    So if you have more articles and additional modules, you can expected even more.

  5. Does replacing various PHP bits in your templates (eg looking up your site’s name and description) with static text speed things up too (although you do then have to edit them manually)

  6. Does replacing various PHP bits in your templates (eg looking up your site’s name and description) with static text speed things up too (although you do then have to edit them manually)

  7. Much of the tips are standard speed-optimization, but you mentioned something I never thought about before – that each http request results in a small amount of latency. Added up, a large number of http requests certainly can add significant latency time. I have a site that has 33 HTTP requests, resulting in 6.6 seconds of lag time, which is unacceptable. Thanks.

  8. Great post. More people should read this one. I see people load sites up with images and website loads so slow people leave before it loads. You can also use thumbnails that lead to full images if you want alot on a page.

  9. I think using a cache plugin for wordpress can help speed things up for the visitor quite a bit.

    I can’t remember the name of it, but there is one that is quite in depth, wp super cache, or something like that…

    I am pretty sure a quick Google will find it 🙂

  10. good tips. i use wp super cache and love it. i have also installed a php cache like eaccelerator. and i have also done apache and mysql tuning. all those things really help a blog to fly.

  11. Hey great article for making WordPress blog to load faster. Really helpful, I'm going to do this now in my blog. 😛

  12. Hey great article for making WordPress blog to load faster. Really helpful, I'm going to do this now in my blog. 😛

  13. The GZIP Output plugin is a smart option. This plugin automatically compresses Javascript, CSS and HTML outputs and this in no way will affect what the readers see.

  14. I have seen that the WP-Cache 2 plugin improves the server performance. All dynamic contents are made static, it just triggers once on page creation and everything else is from the cache.

  15. excellent review. I have tried a few of the tricks and have found that my page loads much faster than normal. The cache methods is very effecient and I will recommend all to install the wp-cache plugin in their blogs.

  16. One of the ways I used is the wp-quick cache plugin. It really worked best. I don’t other ways to make your wordpress blog load fast.

    This article is pretty informative though.


  17. Thanks for the tips. I really need to start optimizing my pictures. I have a website that sells plastic patio chairs and there are a ton of pictures on the site. I never thought to resize them before putting them on the site.

  18. Thank you so much for this advice, i found the best thing was to delete all my unused plugins on my wordpress blog and i also moved it to a new host, a new web hosting provider made my site load a lot quicker also i payed a developer to optimise my blogs code to html5 and css3 and that made it quicker

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