Hosting

WordPress runs on PHP, so the PHP version and execution mechanism play a huge role for the performance of the website. CGI and FPM are the PHP handlers supported on our servers. CGI offers immense compatibility with older and more specific software applications and scripts, while the FPM handler comes with blazing fast execution of PHP scripts. It is paired with OPcache for even faster performance. The FPM handler with OPcache support is the go-to option for WordPress websites on our servers. Newer PHP versions often come with better security features and faster performance, so using the latest PHP version that is compatible with your WordPress installation is advisable.

Content Compression

Enabling content compression can reduce the size of pages of up to 70% for pages with mostly text. This can cause your website to load quickly and feel a lot snappier. This reduction of the data transferred between the server and the visitor will also reduce the traffic usage for your hosting account and the visitor, which is very beneficial for mobile devices. On our servers, the following content compression methods are supported - mod_deflate and mod_brotli.

Caching

WordPress websites use PHP scripts and MySQL databases to display content to visitors. The content is generated dynamically by requesting and loading elements one after the other, which in some cases can take a significant amount of time. That is why the best and easiest way to improve the load time of a WordPress website is to reduce the number of requests that the server should handle by utilizing cache. There are generally four types of cache that you can use - browser caching, server-side caching, object caching, and content delivery network (CDN) caching.

Browser Caching

To start using browser caching, you just have to configure your website to instruct the browsers of your WordPress visitors to cache content locally. This way static content like images and other media can be loaded locally from the visitor's device if requested repeatedly instead of obtaining the content from the web server. Enabling the browser caching for WordPress is super easy and takes literally few clicks. You can find more information on how to take advantage of browser caching for your WordPress website in our Optimizing WordPress article.

Server-side Caching

Server-side caching means that a server generates a static version of dynamic pages or content for faster delivery to the end user. We use an NGINX reverse proxy on our servers as a server-side caching mechanism, which can be easily enabled via the WordPress Manager of the hosting Control Panel. The process is explained in ourĀ Enabling server-side caching for WordPress article.

Object Caching

Object caching for WordPress helps improve the loading time of websites by caching queries sent from the web server to the database server. In recent versions of WordPress, there is a recommendation for enabling object caching for improved performance:


WordPress object caching recommendation

On our servers object caching is supported with Redis and Memcached. You can find details on how to enable this type of caching in our Using Memcached with a web app and Running a Redis Instance articles.

Content Delivery Networks

The last type of service which can be considered on the server's side, and that can improve the performance of a website, is a Content Delivery Network (CDN). Content Delivery Networks cache website content and store it on servers at different locations. When a visitor opens your website, the CDN will deliver the cached version of your website to the visitors from the server that has the best response time. Usually, this will be the server with the nearest location to the visitor. You can find instructions on how configure your domain to use the CDN service of Cloudflare in our How to Enable DDoS Protection and CDN with Cloudflare on your Website article.

Client-side Settings and Changes

You can make WordPress run faster by cleaning up and optimizing your WordPress installation. We will list below some of the changes you can make to your website to make WordPress work and feel faster. In general, they have the biggest impact on the performance of WordPress.

Updating WordPress and Its Components

Running older versions of WordPress, themes, and plugins is not only a security risk, but it can also be penalizing your website's performance. Newer versions often present security, compatibility, but also performance fixes. Just like using a more recent PHP version and other server technologies is recommended, the same is important for the WordPress core and its components. You can easily update your WordPress core and plugins via the hosting Control Panel > WordPress Manager.

Managing and Choosing the Right Theme and Plugins

Every time your website is opened by a visitor, your themes and plugins will have an impact on the website's loading time. The more themes and plugins you have installed on your website, the slower the website will load. Some themes and plugins continue to work and consume resources in the background, even if they are disabled. That is why it is extremely important to remove all themes and plugins that you do not use or need. After removing plugins and themes, you should also look for (and remove) leftover files, settings, or changes to your WordPress installation from the removed components as they could be slowing down your website.

Choosing the right plugin for the job is also very important. Here is an example - you need to add a specific feature to your WordPress installation that is not available with your theme or WordPress itself. You search for plugins that can add this feature for you, and you find only two plugins matching the criteria. The first one is a popular plugin that has the feature you need along with of other features, and the second one is a small plugin that adds only the feature you need. If you choose the popular option with many extra (and unnecessary for you) features, each of the extra features will add up to the settings of your WordPress installation and, essentially, slow it down. The same goes for your website's theme. If you go for a feature-rich theme, it may affect the website's performance, while if you go for a light theme, your website should run and feel faster.

Optimizing Content and Your Database

The size and number of the elements loaded on your website will affect the loading time of your website's pages. Larger files will take more time to be delivered to your visitors, and the larger the number of files that have to be loaded on your website, the more requests the visitor's device will have to send to the server. For this reason, you should consider optimizing the content on your website.

Reducing the size of the images on your website can reduce its overall size multiple times, so you should consider using the best image and size for the occasion. The same is true for JavaScript and CSS files. Loading unnecessary content should be avoided whenever possible, so removing unnecessary content from JavaScript and CSS files can help speed up your website. If multiple JavaScript or CSS files are loaded on your website, you can try to combine them with a plugin or manually.

WordPress stores a lot of its data and settings in the database tables. Tables with the MyISAM storage engine should be optimized regularly as they tend to store temporary records indefinitely. Since WordPress uses MyISAM by default for most tables, you should schedule the optimization of your database to keep WordPress operating normally. You can perform this task with a plugin or manually via the phpMyAdmin MySQL database management interface.