How to speed up WordPress to 100% on Google PageSpeed
Recently I've been running my wordpress site up to 100% on google page speed insight for PCs and up to 97% (homepage) for mobile browsers. To achieve this result I had to take radical measures and change a lot of things on the site.
Why is wordpress slow?
Originally my website was made on the Sydney theme. I liked it because it had a nice slider design on the main page. It worked in conjunction with Page Builder by Site Origin and a set of widgets made for it. It was very handy for newbies, you drag and drop sections into them with your hands and build a grid of any complexity.
Since this theme was made for business, with it installed custom record types "Customer Reviews", "Our team" and other corporate niceties. Over time, my site got all sorts of "useful" at first glance plugins, scripts and files with css styles and became much slower.
I tried many caching plugins, but my wordpress optimization was not working. There was no significant increase in loading speed and I still couldn't break through into the green zone. I started asking Google more and more why wordpress is slow and how to speed up wordpress. Subsequently I gained enough knowledge and was mentally ready to go for a radical change.
Optimizing WordPress for Google PageSpeed
So, to speed up wordpress I took these steps. The first two steps I did on the server side:
- Turned on Gzip compression to compress html, css, js code and thereby reduce its processing time by the server. If you are hosting under the control of Cpanel, then find the tab "Optimize site" and activate the "Compress all content" button.
- Changed the version of php from 5.6 to 7.2. Compared with version php 5.6 in sevens has improved performance and reduced the load on the server. Change the version of php can also be in Cpanel on the tab "Choose a version of php".
- Changed the wordpress theme. I am accustomed to the Sydney theme, but recently did an online store on the Astra theme with the Astra Pro Addon and felt all its benefits. The Astra theme is positioned as the fastest wordpress theme of all time. Astra does not use jquery, it requires less than 50 KB of resources and loads in half a second in its default mode.
- Removed site-builder. Today, many wordpress themes are made with page builders. Elementor is considered the most popular, followed by Page Builder by Site Origin, Visual Composer and others. They work on the "drag and drop" principle and with them it's really easy to create page layout of any complexity. Whole sets of widgets come with them. And while it's convenient, page builders do slow down the loading of the page. I think that since the Gutenberg editor came along, page builders are no longer needed. Today, page layout can be done in the default wordpress editor Gutenberg. Doing away with builders greatly speeds up the loading of your site pages.
- Removed plugins that you can do without. For example, I removed Popup Maker. I believe that you should only leave critical to the site plugins, such as scripts to protect the site, Yoast Seo, Contact form 7, Cyr to lat.
- Optimized photos. Changed the size and weight of the background images. Converted photos to lightweight WebP format. I had to make some of them smaller in pixels and then compress them in Image Optimize service. The remaining images continue to gradually optimize with Imagify plugin, since the free version is given up to 25mb per month. As an alternative, you can use free WP-Smush.
- Removed some style connections. For example, cdn bootstrap library and google fonts api. Instead of google fonts you can use built-in fonts in the theme or load them into the fonts folder and then connect them in the functions.php file.
- Enabled page caching. I tested different caching plugins on my site. I found Autoptimize to be the best of the free ones. But it doesn't compare to WP Rocket. WP Rocket plugin quite lives up to its name. If you want to significantly speed up wordpress, then put it in.
WP Rocket plugin features
This caching plugin does:
- Gzip compression;
- Browser-side caching;
- Database optimization;
- LazyLoad - deferred loading of images and disables Emodji;
- Combines google fonts;
- Compresses and merges css and java script files;
- Works with CDN;
- Mobile device caching;
- Disables or reduces Heartbeat Api;
- Caches Google Analytics and Facebook Pixel code;
- Works in conjunction with the Imagify plugin and shows photos in WebP format to browsers that support it.
WP Rocket costs $49 for one site.
Although site loading speed is not the most important ranking factor, nevertheless fast speed is important, especially for mobile browsers with low internet speeds. To overclock wordpress do the eight points mentioned above and you will see an increase in speed and performance of your site. If this article helped you, leave your feedback in the comments and share it on social media. Good luck to everyone.