Are you looking to improve WordPress site speed? I managed to get my GTMetrix Page Speed from a D to an A. This took a lot of research and time trying various plugins and checking the speed after they were activated.
I’ve had a few requests for me to share how I’ve done this and I thought the easiest way was to do a post on it.
First of all, test your speed and page load times at GTMetrix.
There is a lot of talk over the internet on how to increase page speed by limiting what plugins you use, your host, theme and photo optimization. It is important to check page load times as it affects site performance.
Being new to blogging and not knowing anything about it, I prepaid for 3 years of WordPress hosting with Bluehost. I’ve been very happy with them but they don’t have the best reputation for support or speed. If you are starting out or looking to change hosts, Siteground, Kinsta, and Cloudways seem to be worth looking at.
I don’t want to pay for a theme at present so I researched a lightweight theme that I liked the look of and was versatile. I went with Astra but have just swapped over to Kadence.
I swapped Yoast for Rank Math a few months ago. It didn’t make any difference to my speed but I do prefer it for ease of use plus you can use more than one keyword in the free version.
Cloudflare is a free CDN that stores your website data on their servers. This will improve speed and performance.
Caching is really important in improving load times. I was using W3 TotalCache which is a free plugin but then I read so many excellent reviews of WP Rocket. It cost $49 for a year. You don’t have to renew it every year but you will lose support and won’t be able to update the plugin (which could cause problems to your site).
To be honest, I set it up but haven’t looked at the complete functionality of it yet. I’m sure there is much more it can do. It is also compatible with Cloudflare. It includes so much that it’s best to read the inclusions on WP Rocket’s website.
For image optimization, I use Photoshop to export as Web Legacy and reduce the size. The image then gets reduced further with Tinyjpg. I’m not sure if I will renew the Photoshop package so I am currently looking at free options.
At the moment, I also have the Shortpixel Image Optimizer plugin but will delete it once I’ve had the time to revive old posts.
Lazy Load saves on page load times by not loading the image until the reader has reached a certain point before the photo. Some themes come with this option but I use WP Rocket for this.
Plugins to improve WordPress site speed
So, after doing all the above, my site speed was still a D. There has been a lot of talk in various groups that Jetpack can slow your site down so I decided to put it to the test.
I disabled Jetpack and installed the following plugins to do the role of what Jetpack was doing (I wasn’t using all the features):
- Askimet for spam (I already had this one as a separate plugin)
- Mailpoet for Email Subscribers and Newsletters
- Easy Social Share for my social sharing buttons
- Updraft Plus for backups
- Wordfence Security for antivirus, firewall, and malware.
All of these are free. When I retested my website speed, it went up to an A.
I also use:
- WPS Hide Login
- Insert Headers and Footers
- Posts in Page
- Table of Contents Plus
Have you tested your WordPress site speed? Is there anything you can do to improve it?
Let me know in the comments if you use Jetpack, or not, and what plugins you use. What are your favourites? Are you happy with your host? What about your theme?
None of these are affiliate links nor am I being paid to promote them.