10 Ways to Improve Your WordPress Site Performance

In this post, we are presenting 10 practical ways to increase any WordPress site performance.

Since we’ve fixed a lot of website performance issues in the past, and each of them led to speed up WordPress site by 10x. So we thought to summarize our learnings in this blog post. Out of the many fixes made, we are sharing the ten most essential tips that would only take 10 minutes to improve your website performance.

Next, there is no regret in accepting that we failed in the beginning. It was because we began installing tons of WordPress plugins to speed up the website as most of us do. It’s the most common tip you’ll find on many blogs. But the problem strikes when you follow it without knowing the outcome.

Hence, there is not a single plugin you’ll see in the below tips. And believe us that WordPress offers a lot more than you think. Hence, we’ll tell you how to use it for setting your website for best performance and without using any plugin.

Also, we are sure that you would already have tried many performance plugins but still not satisfied. Then, you won’t regret reading this post as our tips are easy to use and serve to the expectations.

Next, probably you knew that the page load and rendering response time are the two most critical factors to run a successful blog. And our website performance tips will directly lead you to cut the load time of your site by 20% and quicken rendering by 5-7%.

We’ve tested these methods on multiple websites and seen significant improvements. That’s why we decided to group these methods and prepared to share with you.

Question: Why is the Website performance significant?

Website Performance or site optimization means to make changes that reduce the page load time and improve the rendering response.

And there could be many factors that can affect your website performance. For example, the higher server response time can slow down your site. Also, the delivery of CSS and JS can lead to slowness.

Let’s make the subject more practical and checks out research done by the team at Microsoft Bing. Probably, you know it as Windows Live Search. It will give you a fair bit of idea about the fallout of website performance.

The study clearly outlines the impact of just a 2-second delay in the page loading time.

  • User satisfaction down by 3.8%.
  • Per-user revenue reduced by 4.3%.
  • CTR dropped by 4.4%.

So you can see that no one likes to visit the sites with higher load time. Also, it leads to a higher bounce rate and lower earnings. Furthermore, Google counts site speed as one of the factors in its ranking algorithm.

Question: How can you determine the Website performance?

Try experimenting with any of the following website performance monitoring methods.

Solution: Ten Tips to Speed up A WordPress Site

Website Performance Tips to Speed up WordPress Sites

Website Performance Tips to Speed up WordPress Sites.

1. Speed up WordPress Site by Enabling Browser Caching

To apply this method, you’ll need to connect to your website using FTP. Via FTP, you can access all your website files.

The next step is to locate your <.htaccess file> which resides in the root directory of your site. Now we’ll be adding few lines of code in this file to turn on browser caching.

Copy paste the below code in the <.htaccess file> and save the changes. Go back to your website and make sure it’s still functioning normally.

For your note, if you’ve SEO Yoast plugin installed, then you can also use its “File Editor” tool to edit the <.htaccess file>.

<IfModule mod_expires.c>
    ExpiresActive On
    ExpiresByType image/jpg "access 1 year"
    ExpiresByType image/jpeg "access 1 year"
    ExpiresByType image/gif "access 1 year"
    ExpiresByType image/png "access 1 year"
    ExpiresByType text/css "access 1 month"
    ExpiresByType text/javascript "access 1 month"
    ExpiresByType text/x-javascript "access 1 month"
    ExpiresByType application/pdf "access 1 month"
    ExpiresByType application/javascript "access plus 6 months"
    ExpiresByType application/x-javascript "access plus 6 months"
    ExpiresByType application/x-shockwave-flash "access 1 month"
    ExpiresByType image/x-icon "access 1 year"
    ExpiresDefault "access 2 days"

## Cache-Control Headers ##
<IfModule mod_headers.c>
    <FilesMatch "\.(js)$">
        Header set Cache-Control "max-age=2592000, private"
## Cache-Control Headers ##

2. Improve Website Performance by Turning off Post Revisions

You can restrict the number of post revisions. By default, WordPress tracks every change you make in your pages and posts.

Preserving too many of these legacy files can drag down your website performance and cause it to run slow.

Locate your <wp-config.php> file in the root directory of the WordPress installation. Add the given line of code to <wp-config.php> file.

/**Restrict Post Revisions**/
define( ‘WP_POST_REVISIONS’, 3);

Alternatively, you can direct WordPress to not archiving the revisions at all. You would then change your code as mentioned below.

define( ‘WP_POST_REVISIONS’, false);

3. Speed up WordPress Site by Minifying Your Style Sheets

Google page speed tool lists all the style sheets used on the website along with their sizes. Pick those CSS files which are more than 1 MB in size. As per a study, it reveals that the ideal weight of a CSS should be 1 MB or less.

If you wish, please refer a good explanation on ideal CSS size from CSS-Tricks.com. Once you decide the style sheets, use any of the below online CSS minify tool to reduce CSS size.

4. Improve Website Performance by Turning off Hotlinking and Avert Leeching

Would you imagine if someone can just steal your images and use your direct URL to display on his website?

It’s a spurious action, called hotlinking which is totally unfair. The person behind this is not only fishing out your images but also eating up the bandwidth of your site.

Its impact can manifold if more and more people screw in your posts or your site images.

But you don’t need to worry, append the below piece of code in your <.htaccess> file. These few lines of code would alert your web server to turn down hotlinking and prevent leeching.

You just need to replace “yourdomain” with the real name of your site.

#Turn off hot linking to speed up website loading
RewriteEngine on
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^$
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^http(s)?://(www\.)?YourDomain.com [NC]
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^http(s)?://(www\.)?google.com [NC]
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^http(s)?://(www\.)?feeds2.feedburner.com/YourDomain [NC]
RewriteRule \.(jpg|jpeg|png|gif)$ – [NC,F,L]

5. Speed up WordPress Site by Cutting down Pingbacks and Trackbacks

Traditionally a WordPress blog interacts with blogs that have the ability to exchange pingbacks and trackbacks.

Whenever another blog references you, it notifies your site. And updates data on the blog post in return.

Disabling these notifications will not ruin the backlinks to your site. It will just invalidate the setting that generates unnecessary load on your site.

You can easily disable the pingbacks and trackbacks from your WordPress blog settings. This option is available under the Settings>>Discussion Settings property page.

There you just need to untick the checkbox with the label as “Allow link notifications from other blogs (pingbacks and trackbacks)”.

6. Improve Website Performance by Optimizing <jQuery> JS

It’s very simple to apply this method. You just need to change your WordPress theme’s <functions.php> file.

We are attaching the PHP source code for the performance fix below.

Please append this code to the end of <functions.php> file and save. Every WordPress installation comes with a theme editor which you can use to edit any theme file.

// FIX – Optimize your Jquery JavaScript.
function optimize_jquery() {
    if (!is_admin()) {
        $protocol = 'http:';
        if ($_SERVER['HTTPS'] == 'on') {
            $protocol = 'https:';
        wp_register_script('jquery', $protocol.'//ajax.googleapis.com/ajax/libs/jquery/2.1.3/jquery.min.js', false, '2.1.3', true);

add_action('template_redirect', 'optimize_jquery');

7. Speed up WordPress Site by Introducing ‘Async’ or ‘Defer’ Tag

Render-blocking JavaScript is one of the reasons for the slow loading of the site. It forbids above-the-fold content on your page from being rendered until the JavaScript has finished loading.

Such a script can ruin your page speed and in the end your ranking within search engines. It can adversely affect your user’s experience too.

This ‘async‘ or ‘defer‘ attribute directs the JavaScript to load asynchronously or stay deferred, therefore speeds up the page loading.

To apply this method, copy the below PHP code. And paste to the end of the <functions.php> file.

add_filter( 'script_loader_tag', function ( $tag, $handle ) {

    if (is_admin()) {
        return $tag;

    return str_replace( ' src', ' async src', $tag );
}, 10, 2 );

8. Improve Website Performance by Disabling Embeds

Lately, WordPress 4.4 introduced a JS file which auto embeds the videos, images, and tweets. Since most of us don’t use this feature, so it’s better to cut this off.

So to speed up your site, add the following code snippet to the tail of your <functions.php> file.

//Cut off the WordPress embed script.
function speed_stop_loading_wp_embed() {
   if (!is_admin()) {
   }//end of if
}//end of function
add_action('init', 'speed_stop_loading_wp_embed');

9. Turn off Avatars to Speed up WordPress Site

Probably, it’s one of the simplest ways to reduce the page loading time. Just open the WP dashboard, and go to Settings > Discussion.

And untick the <Show Avators> checkbox under the <Avators> section. It’ll remove the avatar images from the author and comment writer’s links. And instantly improve website performance.

10. Disable Loading of Duplicate JavaScripts and CSS files

It’s one of the tips that the GTmetrix tool recommends. When you run it on your website, it’ll tell you if the site is loading any duplicates JavaScript or CSS file.

If you see this issue on your site, then either fix it manually by searching for the scripts or use the below code. Add this method to the <functions.php> file.

function sanitize() {
   wp_deregister_style( 'dup_css_file' );
   wp_deregister_script( 'dup_js_file' );
add_action( 'init', 'sanitize' );

Also, to check out what GTMetrix says about this issue, so just browse through this link.

Final Word

We wish that you try the above Website performance tips and succeed to speed up your WordPress site. Hence, the message for you is that it’s possible to increase website speed without using any performance plugin.

However, we aren’t up against using any plugin at all. But you must do a reality check of plugins before you add them to your blog.

Also, we suggest that you should use caching and DB cleanup plugins. These plugins will help you in accelerating the performance of your site to an advanced level.

We’ll be exclusively talking about few of these advanced plugins in our next submission. Till then try out all these free and plugin-free methods.

All the Best,