One of the most common questions we hear is, "How do I make my site faster?" And yes, making sure your site loads fast is important for your visitors' experience on the site. According to Akamai, nearly half of visitors will leave if the site's not loaded within three seconds. It's also a factor in how well your site ranks. So if your site is running slow, try the tips listed below...
One of the best tools to find out how to optimize your site for the fastest load times is provided by Google. "Google PageSpeed" is a handy tool that lists, in order of importance, various things you can do to improve the load time of your site.
You can install the "PageSpeed plugin" to Firefox and Chrome, but for those who either do not want to install anything or only plan on trying it out, Google offers a web version of the same tool called Google Insights.
We recommend downloading the plugin if you plan on making any changes, as it's much easier to run the test multiple times.
Google also offers the API for Insights and a guide to the PageSpeed extension.
Cache and Compress
Use a caching service or plugin. If you're using WordPress, SuperCache and w3 Cache are just a couple of popular ones. You should also compress images, especially if you're using lots of JPEG images. Some plugins help you do this right on your site and plenty of free 3rd party services. You can also use cPanel's Optimize Website, which can help clean up clutter from your site and make it run faster.
Reduce the Number of Elements
Much of the time spent loading your site is simply trying to download and assemble all the different elements on the page: images, scripts, stylesheets, etc. Each element will send its own HTTP request, so if there are lots of different elements to load, it's going to take longer.
Use CSS instead of images where you can
Limit the number of scripts and keep them at the bottom
Combine multiple stylesheets, so you only have one
Check for Domain Misconfiguration
If there's a problem with your DNS, it can lead to a slow loading site. You can check if there are any DNS issues by using one of these tools:
Leaf DNS (Probably the most user-friendly)
If you find any problems, you can work on them using the DNS zone editor found in your cPanel.
Minify Your Code
Any unnecessary code can impact your site's loading time—even things as simple as extra line breaks, spaces, or indentations. And WYSIWYG editors, which are very common these days, are notorious for sometimes creating sloppy code.
Use GTMetrix to test and optimize your site's HTML
Use Clean CSS to minify your CSS
If you run your server, automatically optimize your site by installing Google's Page Speed modules.
If You're Running Your Site on WordPress…
WordPress is popular for a reason. It's easy to use and extremely versatile. However, there are several ways it can end up slowing your site down.
Be mindful when choosing which theme to use. Some themes can be weighty and cause your site to run slow, while others are lightweight and run super smooth. Don't choose a theme that has tons of bells-n-whistles you probably won't even use. Pick one that's as simple as you can go while still fitting your needs. Here's a good explanation of what causes themes to run slow, as well as several recommendations.
Of course, you can always find a handful of themes you like and test them with Google's page speed test or other speed testing tools.
Plugins can help you add functionality to your site and enrich your visitor's experience while on your site. But if you use too many of them or plugins that hog resources, it can slow your website down.
Uninstall any plugins that you don't need. Then try to identify which plugins are heavier, potentially slowing down your site. There are several plugins/tools to do this (listed below). You can see how long a plugin takes to load, as well as how much each one is contributing to your site's loading speed. If you find a plugin that is drastically affecting load speed, consider whether it's something you really need or not.
P3 Profiler (While this used to be the best and the go-to way of doing this, keep in mind it hasn't been updated in over two years)
Over time, the databases that WordPress uses can become disorganized and cluttered with bits of data that aren't needed - temporary files, spam comments, drafts, etc. This can ultimately slow your website down and hog resources.
The easiest way to clean up your databases and optimize them is by using a plugin built to do just that. Here are a few that you can use:
Make sure you do a backup beforehand. You can find the backups option in the cPanel under File Manager.