At WP Engine, we have created a specialized environment fine-tuned for optimizing WordPress for the best performance. In this article we will explore some helpful suggestions for optimizing WordPress for speed, scalability, and security, to ensure that you’re creating the best possible experience for your site’s visitors and users.
How to measure site speed
Before you can improve the speed of your website, you’ll need to learn how to accurately measure performance. Check out our video below detailing how to run a performance test using WebPageTest.org.
Advanced speed measurement
Measuring the performance of your website in greater details allows you to identify which elements are causing slowness. In this way, you’ll have an efficient strategy for reducing overall load time by targeting the biggest culprits.
Improving Site Speed
The following webinar was created by two members of the WP Engine engineering team. We’ve also detailed this information in the sections below.
You can learn more about caching in our article Tips Improving Site Cacheability.
WP Engine offers the ability to put all of your static content on a CDN with little to no configuration required:
- We manage distributing the content and rewriting URLs in the code.
- We give you control over enabling or disabling the CDN as needed.
In short, you just manage your site as usual, and we take care of making it faster and more scalable. CDN support is included at no extra charge. Learn how to enable and use CDN in this article.
We recommend the Autoptimize or BWP Minify minification plugins.
Large images can be a real drag on site performance. If you have large images on your site, we recommend using an image compression plugin.
Image compression plugins will automatically reduce the file size of the images on your site in a “lossless” fashion. This means there’ll be no perceivable loss of quality in the image, even though the file size has been greatly reduced. Smaller images means smaller pages, and maller pages load faster.
We recommend the Smush.it or EWWW Image Optimizer Cloud plugins to compress site images.
Stability & Security
Keep Plugins and Themes Updated
Keeping your plugins and themes up-to-date ensures that you will reap benefits from improved performance, increased security, and new features. Outdated software is the leading cause of malware on websites, so it is extremely important to update your plugins and themes often. This out-of-date code can also cause issues and conflicts that adversely affect site performance.
NOTE: Not all plugins and themes offer update functionality built in to them. If you have purchased plugins from a vendor, it is a best-practice to check for updates directly with the plugin/theme vendor.
Don’t want to worry about keeping plugins up to date? Read about our Smart Plugin Manager.
Disable and Remove Inactive Elements
If you have plugins or themes that are no longer used by your site, you should disable and remove them. Plugins or themes that may not be in use but remain active can still have hooks into your WordPress install, causing additional load on your site.
Learn More About Theme and Plugin Bloat
Use a Security Plugin
Security plugins add an additional layer of protection to your WordPress site. WP Engine helps provide security on the platform and server-level, but using a plugin for additional security is often a good measure.
Optimizing WordPress also means ensuring your users stay engaged on your site. The end user experience is an important factor in generating active users and sessions on your website. Even if your site is functional, it needs to have a good design and layout across all devices in order to provide a positive experience.
Using a responsive theme ensures that your site will display properly across all devices, because the theme will adapt to the size of the screen. By default, WordPress will help serve the correct image size to users on mobile devices.
Redirect Broken URLs
If you’ve changed the location of a popular post or page, consider creating a URL redirect from the old URL to the new URL. This way if anyone tries to access the old URL they’ll be taken to the new location of the same content.
You can learn more about URL redirects in our article Setting Up Redirects.
Use a SEO plugin
Using a plugin to help fine-tune your site’s SEO (search engine optimization) will help you in making your content easy to find, and easy to read. The most popular plugin for SEO is Yoast SEO, and MonsterInsights allows you to pull Analytics data directly to your wp-admin dashboard.