How To Make A WordPress Website Load Faster in 3 Steps

“…speeding up your website isn’t just something that can affect your search rankings–it’s a fantastic idea for your users.” ~ Matt Cutts of Google

I am done trying to get to make a WordPress website load faster using, Cache plugins, and CDN’s.  If you really want your site to load quickly you need to start from the beginning.

The average price for shared website hosting is $4.99 – $29.99 month.

When I start to work with clients I offer an option for both… and guess what the majority of my clients pick?

If you guessed $4.99 month you are correct!

Then I get done building their site and they ask how come my site does not load very quickly?

I have tried using Cloudflare, W3 Total Cache, MaxCDN, and on and on to try to get those types of hosting providers sites to run quick… but it just does not work. (I am NOT saying that these products don’t work, they do help.  You just can’t take a weak shared hosting service and make it fast.)


What Does Work For Speeding Up WordPress?


1. Premium level hosting

That can come in a few different forms.


  • Either a powerful self hosted option…. that is quite pricey for the average small business owner and requires time and skill tomaintain.
    • or
  • Shared Premium WordPress Hosting… like WP Engine, Websynthesis, or Get Fly Wheel
    • I have not personally used Websynthesis or Get Fly Wheel, but I know people who have and really like them.
    • I am an affiliate marketer for WP Engine and have built 100’s of sites on their platform and love them.

There is a Sale!  Sign up for an annual pre-pay self sign-up plan, and get 3 months free!

Sign Up Here: WP Engine

Just use the special offer code “HeatWave14” when signing up.

Code: HeatWave14

Valid Dates: Offer valid through 08/31/14


2. Optimized Images

There are many calls that your website makes when it is loading, and today designers are building image heavy WordPress Websites, those images are a load on your server.


In theory you want your page size to be <1MB in total size.   1 large image that is not optimized can be 3 to 5 MB!!

You can use Photoshop or Gimp to cut the size of images without taking away from how they look on your site.

Note: Generally speaking .jpg images are less dense than .png images.

You may also want to try using:

These tools compress the data in the image using a technology called Smart Lossy Compression. They are free and very simple to use.


3.  Theme and Plugins


Both your theme and each plugin adds a certain amount of load on your site speed.

Use only trusted and well developed Themes.  Period.  Genesis, Thesis, Elegant Themes, Woo Themes are a few.

Many themes on Theme Forest are good themes… but if you don’t know the difference it can really bite you in the butt.


Plugins can be a breath of fresh air or a slap across the face.  The right plugins will give your WordPress website added functionality, the wrong plugin can bring your site to a screeching halt.

Plugins can affect speed in a couple of ways:

1:  Hogging up to many resources

2. Having to many plugins on 1 site


WP Engine has a list of plugins that will not allow on their hosting environment including caching plugins and back up plugins because they do that for you.

In addition they list many “popular” plugins that they feel cause your site to slow down needlessly:

These plugins cause a high load on servers or create an unnatural number of MySQL queries:

  • Broken Link Checker — Overwhelms even our robust caching layer with an inordinate amount of HTTP requests.
  • MyReviewPlugin — Slams the database with a fairly significant amount of writes.
  • LinkMan — Much like the MyReviewPlugin above, LinkMan utilizes an unscalable amount of database writes.
  • Google XML Sitemaps — Recommend WordPress SEO and Google Sitemap Plugin for your Google XML Sitemap needs.
  • Fuzzy SEO Booster — Causes MySQL issues as a site becomes more popular.
  • WP PostViews — Inefficiently writes to the database on every page load.
    • To track traffic in a more scalable manner, both the stats module in Automattic’s Jetpack plugin and Google Analytics work wonderfully.
  • Tweet Blender — Does not play nicely with our caching layer and can cause increased server load.

Related posts plugins:

  • Dynamic Related Posts
  • SEO Auto Links & Related Posts
  • Yet Another Related Posts Plugin
  • Similar Posts
  • Contextual Related Posts

Just because you are able to send emails with WordPress, that doesn’t always mean that you should:

  • WP Mailing List

Other plugins:

  • Hello Dolly! — Sorry, Matt.
  • WP phpMyAdmin — Disallowed due to a fairly major security issue.

Some frequently used scripts are known to contain vulnerabilities:

  • TimThumb — Older versions of TimThumb are known to contain vulnerabilities. When our system scan identifies an older version, it will automatically update the script. After the upgrade has been completed, the system will notify you by email.
  • Uploadify — Access to this script is blocked due to known security threats. The reasoning behind this was largely informed by this blog post from our partners at Sucuri.


How I Increased My Load Speed to under 1 Second

I have tested “Premium WordPress Hosting” over the last few months and have put my site on:

  • Bluehost’s VPS – $29.99 month
  • DreamHost’s DreamPress – $19.95 month
  • Siteground’s Go Geek – $14.95 month
  • WP Engine – $29 month


Changed My WordPress Website Host to WPEngine

I was on Siteground’s Go Geek and this was my Pingdom Speed Test Results:

Siteground Hosted Speed Test

There are 4 problems with this speed test

1.  Then number of requests  —  I want this to be under 100

2. The load time  — I want this to be under 1 s

3. And the page size — I want this to be under 1.0 MB

4.  My DNS waterfall

Siteground DNS test results

My domain DNS and Server were taking 1.63s to connect… not good.


After migrating my site to WP Engine:

DNS tests on WP Engine

My domain DNS and Server are taking 15 ms to connect… that is FAST!


Optimized My Images and deleted Unnecessary Plugins

My page size was 2.0 MB, that is just to big.

My total requests was 113 that is just to many.

It does not matter what host you are using to make a WordPress website load faster if you’re trying to load too much information it just won’t be fast.


After reducing image sizes and turning off a few plugins my speed test results:

Jason Fox Speed test after WPEngine

My load time is under 1s!

Even with 102 requests and a page size of 1.5MB.


WP Engine Hosting

As I mentioned earlier I am an affiliate marketer for WP Engine and will make a small commission if you sign up for service using my link.

There is a Sale!  Sign up for an annual pre-pay self sign-up plan, and get 3 months free!

Sign Up Here: WP Engine

Just use the special offer code “HeatWave14” when signing up.

Code: HeatWave14

Valid Dates: Offer valid through 08/31/14

If you run a WordPress website, want it to load fast and do not have an IT department, I just can’t think of a reason you should not have your site hosted on WP Engine.


UPDATE **8/7/14**

I use a service called Pingdom to track my Uptime / Downtime.  The time that the site is live vs. showing a server error.

In all my years using shared hosting I have never seen this before:

 Pingdom uptime report

100% Uptime!

In the past I have received 99.?% Uptime.  Which seems like a big enough number.  Until you get a message from a potential client that they can not view your services because your website is down.


WPEngine Features:

EverCache Technology
WP Engine hosting services custom-built our EverCache technology to deliver WordPress fast enough for Google, and at scale.

Insanely Fast. Robust Scalabilty
Never configure a caching plugin again. WPEngine hosting architecture is hand-tuned to deliver you the fastest WordPress hosting around.

WordPress Hacked? They will fix it free!
Automatically scanning for, and fixing, hacking attempts to secure your site.

Backed Up. Secured. Proactively.
No more wrestling with (or paying extra for) backups! Includes a one-click backup and restore option — at no extra charge. WordPress security updates installed proactively — so you can sleep easily at night.

Expert WordPress Support
A lot of hosting companies say they have “great support”, but few can claim that a WordPress hosting expert will answer all your questions.

Sign Up For WPEngine