Use the code PERFMATTERS for 10% off!

WordPress performance optimization tips

Combine the Perfmatters plugin with the tips below and you’ve got yourself a match made in heaven!

Our sites wouldn’t be as fast without following some basic WordPress performance optimization tricks. Below are the strategies we use, along with a list of tools, services, and companies that we stand behind 100%. Some of these are already included in the Perfmatters plugin.

  1. Managed WordPress hosting
  2. Image compression
  3. Content Delivery Network
  4. Fast WordPress theme
  5. Disable/limit revisions
  6. Disable scripts that aren’t needed
  7. Move to system font stack
  8. Only use the font icons you need
  9. Use plugins that are well coded

1. Invest in managed WordPress hosting

Nothing is more important than the WordPress host you choose to power your site. Think of this as an engine of a car. Do you want a Corvette or a Prius? We recommend investing in managed WordPress hosting. These types of hosts have environments fine-tuned specifically to speed up WordPress. They also include features such as an HTTP/2 CDN and free SSL. Our high-performance WordPress hosting is delivered by Kinsta.

Kinsta WordPress hosting

If you are serious about your business or blog, go with a host that you can trust. Kinsta delivers top-notch performance and removes all the stress out of worrying about your website. They also have fast server-level caching which means you never have to mess with a caching plugin ever again.

Kinsta was named the most reliable hosting company in 2016 by codeinwp.com and top tier for the third year in a row by Review Signal.

2. Utilize image compression

All the images we use on our sites and clients’ sites are optimized using lossy compression with ShortPixel. Images are also converted to the smaller .webp image file format. This ensures reduced page weight sizes and fast loading images that still look beautiful.

3. Use a Content Delivery Network

HTTP/2, Gzip content delivery is provided by KeyCDN. This ensures all of our assets (CSS, JS, and images) are delivered at lightning speed around the globe. The Perfmatters plugin now has a CDN rewrite feature to easily deploy KeyCDN on WordPress sites.

4. Fast WordPress theme

Nobody codes like GeneratePress! Whether you are a blogger, run a WooCommerce or EDD shop, or need a personal website, the GeneratePress theme is fast, lightweight, and will ensure your site still looks beautiful. In fact, we are using it on this website and all of our other sites.

5. Disable or limit post revisions

By default WordPress stores revisions of posts and pages when you make changes. This is definitely handy in case you need to revert back to an older version. The bad news is that there is no limit on how many revisions are stored. Especially on large sites, this can quickly bog your database down. How many revisions do you really need? Thankfully, we have an option to handle this in the Perfmatters plugin. You can disable or limit post revisions. We recommend limiting revisions to 3.

disable or limit wordpress revisions
Disable or limit WordPress revisions

6. Disable scripts that aren’t needed

A lot of WordPress plugins aren’t developed with performance in mind. This means that a lot of them load on every single post and or page of your site. This is not good as it can slow your site down. This is why we built the Scripts Manager into the Perfmatters plugin. This allows you to disable scripts and plugins from loading on a per post/page basis. One example of this would be with the Contact Form 7 plugin. With two clicks you can disable it everywhere except for on your contact page.

Perfmatters script manager
Perfmatters script manager

7. Move to system font stack

Custom web fonts, such as Google Fonts, make up on average 3.2% of a web page’s overall weight. While this is not a lot, it still contributes to your overall load time. And it could be a lot more than that. Some websites use a lot more fonts than they actually need. Big-name brands such as GitHub, Bootstrap, Medium, Ghost, and even your WordPress admin dashboard all use what they call a system font stack. This utilizes the fonts on your computer. A few years ago this wouldn’t have looked very good. But with today’s newer operating systems, they all have nicer looking fonts pre-installed.

By using a system font stack there is no need to load any fonts at all on the page! This is pretty huge. It can also help you get rid of any FOUT (flash of unstyled text) or FOIT (flash of invisible text) ugliness. Did you know this site (perfmatters.io) uses a system font stack? You probably didn’t notice, did you? That’s right, this site doesn’t load a single font. Check out this tutorial on how to move to a system font stack in WordPress.

8. Only use the font icons you need

Font Awesome is great, and millions of sites use it (including ours) on the web to display the icons you see on a daily basis. However, by default, it loads its entire library of icons for your site.

The best way performance-wise to approach Font Awesome is to package up only the icons you are actually using on your site. Here is a great tutorial on how to host font icons locally (only the ones you need).

9. Use plugins that are well coded

Unfortunately with over 56,000 plugins on the WordPress repository and many more premium plugins, there is simply a lot of bad plugins out there. Many don’t care about performance at all. The number of plugins you use isn’t as important as how well they are coded.

The good news is, there are developers out there that do care about performance. Here are a couple of plugins we use that we highly recommend:

  • GenerateBlocks: Ditch heavy page builders and take advantage of blocks! Our entire site is built with blocks.
  • Antispam Bee: Lightweight spam protection the way it should be.
  • Novashare: Our own social sharing plugin developed from the ground up with performance in mind. Easy UI, share counts, and no bloat.

And if you are still looking for help, you might need a web performance audit.