Why Is My WordPress Site So Slow?

Discover why your site is loading slowly and how to fix it

Post by Jonathan Savage

Digital Marketing

WordPress is the world’s most popular Content Management System (CMS) used for 32% of the websites on the internet. It’s great for managing any website the design and functionality can easily be customised using themes and plugins. However, ensuring users are effectively able to navigate across a WordPress website without any sort of lag or slow speed can be challenging.

Slow page load speeds can have significant negative consequences for your business. According to data released by Google 53% of mobile users will leave a website that takes longer than 3 seconds to load. Poor load speeds can also have a detrimental effect on your website rankings in the search engines.

If you do have a slow loading website then it is something that you will want to address. Below we explain some of the factors that affect the performance of a WordPress website and what you can do to remedy these.

Measuring your website load speed

To measure any improvement to your load speed you first need a baseline. There are many tools on the internet that can help evaluate your load speed and help you identify how to improve or fix it. A great starting point is Google’s own website performance tool PageInsights:

Google PageInsights: https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights/

Factors negatively affecting page load speeds

  1. Media which hasn’t been optimised
  2. Plugins that are badly coded or not updated
  3. Poorly configured hosting
  4. Unnecessary external scripts
  5. Long css and javascript files

Media which hasn’t been optimised

Optimization covers the content used on the website including images, videos and any form of animations. If these aren’t properly optimized, then they will have a huge impact on how well the site performs. For example, if image and video files are too big and not properly compressed then this could very well affect the performance of the site as a whole. These can be easily fixed via image/video converters which can be found online, Tinypic (http://tinypic.com/) and Tinypng (https://tinypng.com/) are good examples of tools used to optimise images and videos.

Plugins that are badly coded or not updated

There are hundreds of WordPress plugins all over the web to choose from, each with their own purpose. Each plugin however, is coded differently and if their code isn’t compatible with a site or if they are coded badly, then this could lead to performance issues. Sometimes the number of plugins used on a website isn’t important but the quality of the plugins is. Out of all of the issues involved in affecting the performance of a WordPress site, plugins take the number one spot. When selecting plugins for your site, you need to examine each plugin in regards to: when it was last updated, its compatibility and if possible user reviews. This should help identify the most suitable plugins to add to the site without affecting performance.

Poorly configured hosting

Hosting is a very important aspect when running a WordPress site, there are various types of hosting to consider including free, shared, VPN and managed. If it isn’t configured properly then this can overall affect how the site runs. For instance, if a site isn’t configured to serve cached pages then this could cause the site to slow down and even crash entirely. So it’s a matter of picking a good web host with a hosting plan that will ensure your site is configured to handle performance, as well as making the commitment to ensure your site is fully optimised.

Unnecessary external scripts

External scripts include website ads and font loaders.These scripts can have an impact on performance as the load time of the site is increased due to the site having to download the external scripts.this also causes the page to load several times before the script can actually run, this can be easily fixed with certain plugins.

Long css and javascript files

Css files determine the appearance and design of the website whereas javascript decides what kind of functionality the site will hold. These types of files usually have long lines of code. However, these files usually have extra spaces and line breaks that the site doesn’t need to load. This can add a lot of load time to your site, a great way of dealing with this sort of thing is using a technique called minify which compresses files and removes any sort of break or spacing within it.

Next Steps
By working through the factors listed above you should be able to address the major causes leading to slow loading pages. If you want more help with fixing a slow loading website we are here to help. Simply fill in our contact form with the details.

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