Wordpress performance

Optimize WordPress performance

The WordPress performance is already one thing in itself. WordPress, the CMS for blogs, has always been something of a "inert" and with all the WordPress themes and plugins, snippets and co, many users literally paralyze their blog. In the beginning, we were no different, which is why we quickly focused on efficiency and performance optimization in the WordPress area. Instead of using several plugins, we prefer to use a few of the best ones. Rather some quick and minimalistic snippets instead of extensive complete solutions via plugin. Abstain from an extensive framework, for more performance and instead of bold themes, rather use the minimal, with only a few functions, but perfect performance. Rather stay simple, set clear lines, relieve the server and thus satisfy all visitors.

There is a lot to consider when it comes to WordPress performance and over the years we have already introduced and explained a lot in this area. On this overview page you will find the most important contributions for all those who want to improve their WordPress performance and thus provide a little more performance on their server. Quasi a small Best of Performance to get a quick introduction to WordPress performance. Everything you need to know and everything that makes sense can be found on this page. As always, we have deliberately refrained from linking to everything, but instead present you with a filtered selection of the best content on the topic of performance, plus some very direct tips and tricks. Let's get started!

Important: This page is constantly being adapted, expanded, corrected and perfected. Performance optimization is fluent and therefore certain things simply change from time to time, as happened with HTTP/2, for example. New techniques often require a rethinking of performance and therefore I try to keep the tips and tricks here as up to date as possible.


Therefore you should implement our tips

There are a lot of self-appointed experts out there. A lot of them are selling themselves as... "Guru" and set up fastball systems and fake strategies, which they then market for expensive money. These are guides and webinars that sound great, have a strong name, but have nothing to do with WordPress performance or real optimization. You will not find anything like that in this report! The focus here is on the performance optimization of WordPress and no attempt is made to sell anything in this context.

Tools to test the WordPress performance

If you really want to significantly improve the performance of WordPress, you first need to know the current limits, but also the targeted goals of your blog. So it is necessary to check your own WordPress blog very carefully for possible weaknesses, to subject the performance to a test and thus to make specific optimizations that exactly serve your own system.

In our opinion, the following 3 tools are most effective here and present results effectively, meaningfully and graphically very well.

1. pingdom website speed test


Graphically surely the most appealing test and if one trusts the data also the most used test. The best location for testing can be selected via the region - in the case of German sites this would be "Stockholm, Sweden". The result is a short overview with the most important key figures such as "loading time, page size and requests. If you scroll down further, you can then get down to the nitty-gritty and all necessary data and values are really broken down.

Current drawback: because of the great popularity there are sometimes long queues before the own test is started. It remains to be seen if Pingdom will react here and can shorten this by more parallel tests.

2nd GTmetrix

gtmetrix check

GTmetrix is frankly and honestly our favorite and is also used as the 1st option in daily business. Basically, there aren't that many differences to Pingdom, but the display and especially the fact that there are hardly any waiting times until the test, make GTmetrix the no. 1 for us. The only disadvantage is the, in our opinion, missing and above all sortable display of the individual data sizes. This definitely makes Pingdom better.

3. google PageSpeed Insights


Of course, Google PageSpeed Insights must not be missing from the list. For many, this test is the 100%ige basis for optimizations to be performed. Here one must and should go a little bit astray. Surely it is important to achieve a high score in this test because these values are also used in the Google algorithm, but many points that are listed as negative in this test make no sense in individual cases or even worsen the user experience or speed. A good thing about the Google test is the separate consideration of mobile and desktop and some people are shocked how great their page is optimized for the desktop, but how badly Google "measures" it for the smartphone.

Of course there are plenty of other tools to test the performance of a site. In the following are some tools we have already tested.

Not much can actually go wrong with these tests and they provide quite solid, so useful results that you can work with when you are about to optimize the performance of WordPress. From stress tests to a simple server tool, everything is included. Just read on and test around a bit to find out the values of your server or your WordPress installation.

The article series WordPress on Speed was intended as a simple guide for beginners who want to get a little bit more power out of their WordPress blog, but don't really know how exactly optimizing their own blog actually works and what to look out for. Meanwhile the series of articles is often linked in various forums and generally used as a basis for WordPress performance optimization. Of course we are very happy about this and so we keep the series up to date, because it is the ideal basis for all important information about WordPress performance, including some very easy to implement tips and tricks.

This is one of the reasons why we have only recently revised and improved it once again, as well as adapted it to the current time and the current version of WordPress. After all, a lot has changed over the years and optimization or tuning has become more important than ever before (also for the Google Ranking). So if you want to improve the performance of your blog, you should read this series of articles to be up to date and check off the simplest optimizations. Only then it is recommended to take further measures for a better WordPress performance and to penetrate into the deeper areas of WordPress to ensure even more performance and efficiency there as well.

Reach 100 points at Google Pagespeed

Again and again people are preached, explained, presented with evidence and examples of successful blogs and sites that Pagespeed skillfully ignores. But let's face it, nobody listens to it anyway. No matter how often people are told that Google Pagespeed isn't everything and has little to do with real WordPress performance, 100 points don't always improve performance, or recommendations from the online test can have a negative effect on the performance of WordPress in some cases. No matter what is said, you still want it, the 100 out of 100 possible points at Google Pagespeed.

Unfortunately, this is not always useful and should not be the goal of optimization, but from a purely psychological point of view, it seems to play a really big role for bloggers. Especially beginners often can't get away from it and always try to improve their score with some crazy tools, like Google Pagespeed, instead of doing real WordPress performance optimization.

It has very little to do with such ridiculousness in the end. A page with 50 or 70 points at Google Pagespeed can be optimized faster and better than a page with 100 points. This is simply because Google's rules do not always and automatically provide better performance and do not always make sense. But why all these tedious explanations? Come on, take a look at our article on this topic and optimize your WordPress blog to 100 points at Google Pagespeed. This is possible and in the linked article we will tell you exactly how. After that, there are a lot more optimization measures waiting for you on this page, so please don't stop optimizing just because you do well at Google Pagespeed. Because as I said: WordPress performance has nothing to do with page speed and the 100 points are not necessarily the goal. At least they shouldn't be and every blogger should know that.

Understand & use WordPress Caching correctly

The caching of a WordPress blog is probably the most important aspect of a successful performance optimization. Without caching there is virtually no real scalability, without caching high visitor numbers are hardly feasible. WordPress eats up a lot of resources and is completely dynamic, which basically means that every page has to be completely rebuilt from the individual parts with every call. For each individual user. WordPress then combines the individual parts of your blog to a large whole and generates the finished HTML page. The sidebar is assembled together with the widgets, the article layout with the actual content is retrieved from the database and the theme builds the actual blog or blog post.

Quite a lot of effort for a single page view, especially if you consider that there are several of them in a row, or even at the same time, after all you have more than a handful of visitors and so the server is quickly bombarded with hundreds of requests. Dynamics has its problems in live operation, but to compensate for them, the mentioned caching is there. Fortunately WordPress makes things easy for you.

WordPress Performance Tuning to the limit

Of course, there are many areas that make for successful WordPress performance, and so there have been a lot of articles in the past about optimizations. Even though not all important articles have found their place here, I have made it my business to link and present the most important articles about WordPress performance in the best possible way. Perfect for all who want to improve the performance of their WordPress blog, but also want to understand what performance in the area of WordPress actually means and what an optimization is all about.

The best thing is to work your way through the articles one by one and then see what really makes sense and adds value in your case and on your blog. If you're done with that, you can also manually search the blog for useful tips and snippets. Our integrated search makes this very effective and comfortable.

Plugins for better WordPress performance

Normally, every additional WordPress plugin automatically results in a worse performance, at least if you generalize. However, there are certain extensions that are helpful for a better WordPress performance, or at least can be. For example when it comes to image optimization or caching, because both are only possible with a plugin.

So here are a few recommendations from us that should help in exactly this area. Plugins, which can really improve WordPress performance, if they are used correctly and purposefully. Sometimes directly and sometimes through a function that may claim some performance for itself, but in the end can also improve the overall performance of WordPress, or even provide a certain added value that is worth the performance losses. Be sure to have a look and try it out, because without caching and image optimization no blog should run nowadays. More about caching and how it works can be found below. There, I have once again dealt with the topic in detail, because this area is really very important for a successful optimization.

Especially the following article should be emphasized once again in which all tools and plugins are listed that are especially good for the WordPress performance. Caching plugins, image optimizers, but also hoster and online tests, all kinds of tools and extensions for WordPress, which help you to improve the general performance. Either directly by their function, or with their tests and analyses. The article is definitely worth a look, because it shows almost all relevant possibilities.

WordPress hosting

Everything on the Internet begins with the right hosting and the right partners. Most bloggers initially rely on cheap hosters or a cheap web space provider and later wonder why WordPress runs so miserably. But the truth is quite simple: A perfect connection simply has its price. You won't get far with cheap hosting in this segment, also because WordPress is known for eating up a lot of resources and needs a strong, perfectly optimized database. If you like to be convinced by pictures, I recommend this Infographics which shows different hosters in comparison. So from the outset on a large partner in terms of hosting and there best choose a package, which can be expanded later by appropriate upgrades at any time.

Managed WordPress Hosting is ideal here, as the servers are adapted to WordPress and various optimizations as well as regular backups are already included. That means: Managed WordPress Hosting generally delivers the best possible WordPress performance, through specific adaptations of the hardware, which is based on the needs of WordPress. This virtually guarantees a perfect performance of your blog, since the structure is exclusively intended for the CMS. But since the topic is very complex, I have chosen the right WordPress hosting has also created its own subpage. In addition, I will always include links to other offers or alternatives here, which I think are recommendable. For example tracking tools, which are particularly performant and fast.

  • Raidboxes (Managed WordPress Hosting from Germany)

Performance and the Google Ranking

It has been known for quite some time now that Google considers the performance of a blog not only important, but even very important. Performance has therefore also become an official ranking factor of the search engine and in the meantime often even makes the difference, for example in the fight for the top positions in the search results. Of course, this factor is only one of many, but in the meantime it is not to be underestimated. What many bloggers also forget is that the loading time not only accelerates the first page view, but also has a strong influence on the general user behavior. When pages load at breakneck speed, readers like to click through more than just one article, which is not the case when each article takes several seconds to load.

Google itself has also long been actively involved in ensuring faster load times, whether through AMPby Pagespeed and the different modules, or new compression algorithms like Brotli. Google wants fast loading websites, and has been doing so for years, long before the topic of performance even reached the masses, and with Google's urge to make everything faster and simpler, the ranking factor should not be underestimated.

According to many SEOs, slow loaders therefore rank significantly worse. Performance optimization is therefore also always a little search engine optimization and the CMS should simply be optimized and adapted in the best possible way to guarantee the ideal result in this area. What else is important in WordPress SEO, you will also find out on a separate subpage. After all, the topic is more than complex and can't be squeezed between the topic WordPress Performance.

Find high-performance WordPress themes

Another typical beginner's mistake is to fall for the feature promises of WordPress themes. Especially on marketplaces, several theme providers usually compete with each other and try to outbid each other with more and more features or feature promises and make the competitors look like. This succeeds because beginners often find all the functions very exciting, consider shortcodes to be practical and pretty animated menus, tables and co. simply look tempting. But the problem is: Such features should be outsourced to a plugin, where they are much more effective and also much easier to manage.

This becomes important if you want to change your WordPress theme, for example, because the deeper all the functions are stuck in the respective design, the more difficult the later change will be. I don't even need to start with the WordPress performance here, because less is simply more and playful functions may look quite nice here and there, but generally they don't bring much and don't increase the so important conversion rate, nor do they improve the bounce rate, in the end they are just superfluous and bad for the loading time of your blog.

So keep your eyes open when buying a theme and always make sure to license a minimalist and therefore extremely high-performance WordPress theme. Because the theme of the themes is also a bit more complex than it seems at first, there is also a separate subpage for the WordPress themes with all kinds of tips, hints and clear recommendations in this area. Because here too, perfectly optimized themes are preferable to slow and poorly programmed ones. Meanwhile there are hardly any providers left who still take the trouble to perfect their products accordingly. Clean code does not sell as well as visually stunning features with great sounding functions.

If you really want an ideal WordPress performance, you should also pay attention to something like this, because the theme lays the foundation or the foundation for the performance of a blog. If there are too many loops and theme files that are too complex, this quickly leads to a gigantic consumption of performance, which can hardly be recovered by other optimizations.

3 rules for perfect WordPress performance

If you follow a few simple basics of performance optimization, there is usually little risk that your blog will become a snail. It's not so much a matter of elaborate measures to optimize WordPress, but rather of very simple rules that everyone basically already knows, but unfortunately rarely follows consistently. But if you stick to the three simple rules, you are basically on the safe side and vice versa, you may already have made a lot of typical beginner's mistakes when it comes to WordPress performance.

Stay simple at all times

Stay simple, that is one of the most important guidelines for successful bloggers. The big services (Facebook, Google, Amazon) are all kept quite simple, because simplicity means performance and good scalability, not to mention the resulting high conversion rates. If you load a lot of scripts, images and elaborate animations, you are basically just wasting your resources. What's okay with 1,000 users a day and doesn't cause any problems, becomes a real brake at 10,000 or 100,000 users and causes your server to break down and performance to go down. Even overloaded WordPress themes are often completely inefficient. Themes do not have to be able to do everything, they should only be able to do ONE thing perfectly. If you buy a theme that can be used as a blog, portfolio, company website and more, you know beforehand that it is overloaded, because good themes can't do everything, they concentrate and focus on one thing and are then perfectly optimized for it and deliver the corresponding performance. If you want it all, you can't do anything right and in the end you are unnecessarily bloated. Focus on the essentials instead of being blinded by great animations and large graphics. Stay simple, that will bring you success and always works better than being playful and overloaded. Perfect performance means to do without everything superfluous.

Less is always more

Every WordPress plugin consumes memory and a fast blog quickly turns into a slimy snail if 10 to 20 WordPress plugins are active. So make sure you have efficient, cleanly programmed extensions and question each plugin several times before you think about using it. Do you really need it? Is the feature necessary or does it provide a real added value to your blog, or is it just a "cool" Gadget that you like, but which basically only costs unnecessary performance? Less is more, so every WordPress plugin has to justify itself several times to stay active. Deactivated extensions should be deleted completely, because some of them still establish connections to the outside world and therefore eat performance. Furthermore: A small snippet is usually more efficient than a big plugin, so check if the simple function really needs its own extension or if it can be solved easily via functions.php. As little as possible, as much as necessary! In addition, WordPress plugins should get regular updates and optimizations, so make sure you get the latest updates and support. Only if a developer continues to optimize and update his plugin, you are on the safe side and prepared for the future.

More statics, less dynamics

This is essential and extremely important. The less dynamic you offer, the better your blog will perform. Since there are also several strong caching plugins for WordPress, even beginners can quickly and easily improve the performance of their website extremely. But if you don't use a cache, you'll get problems at the latest when more than 1,000 visitors drop by on your blog. Without a cache it is always generated anew and thus completely dynamically, which also paralyses your server for many visitors and thus alienates most users, who then end up on an error page or an overloaded blog. So don't forget WordPress Caching, both via WordPress Plugin and via .htaccess. However, caching is really an absolute standard in terms of performance optimization, which makes it all the more amazing that I still regularly come across blogs that simply forget about it.

Performance is an attitude to life

Performance quickly becomes a kind of attitude to life, because performance always means to be a little bit minimalistic. Less is more, or as the industrial designer Dieter Rams once said: "Less, but better". There is a lot of truth in all these principles, because good products do not convince with exaggerated animations, playful design and elaborate code. Good products are so good because they are efficient, minimalistic and simply optimized in the best possible way. Discreet animations, clear design and clean code. No fat and bloated options in the admin, but the essentials, in clearly packed menus, that speaks for clean, high-performance programming and efficiency. A WordPress blog is nowadays also read on smartphones and they often have a limited data volume, so optimization is more than just a gimmick. WordPress performance is important, more important than ever, and only those who follow all the rules here and put a stop to WordPress plugins and themes from time to time in terms of power consumption will ensure that their blog will not only cope with 100 or 1,000 visitors at the same time, but also with 10,000 or 100,000, just like with users on smartphones, tablets and all the other devices. Performance is a way of life and once you commit to it, you can never go back. Less, more efficient, faster, instead of bloated and cobbled together. Optimization is addictive, especially with a system like WordPress, where targeted optimization can compensate for all weaknesses. Because WordPress is slow and needs your help to run the marathon. But with a little training, the CMS will be the first to cross the finish line.

About Christian

My name is Christian and I am co-founder of the platform fastWP. Here in the magazine I am responsible for the more "technical" topics but I like to write about SEO, which has been my passion for over 10 years now.

1 thought on “WordPress Performance”

  1. Hi,

    great article, unfortunately a lot of things are done wrong in this area and it is no longer thought that websites are for people 🙂

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