6 WordPress Hacks to Boost Speed and Performance
September 19, 2016
Speeding up your website is an essential step to offering a great user experience to your visitors.
According to a study, if a site is delayed for a second, conversion rate will be reduced by 7%. In addition, 40% abandon a website that takes more than 3 seconds to load and 79% of web shoppers say that they won’t return to a website to buy again if they found any trouble with the performance of a website.
Without a doubt, if you’re taking performance of your website lightly, possibly you’re losing lots of customers.
Plugins to Analyze WordPress performance
Before jumping in to implementing WordPress tricks to boost performance, make sure you analyze your WordPress website and learn how you could improve performance.
If you’re hosting your site on a cheap hosting provider, everything you do to speed up your site will simply fail. If that’s the case, you might want to consider using a premium WordPress hosting like WPEngine or SiteGround to reduce the downtimes and boost performance.
There are many ways to analyze WordPress performance.
Let’s take a look at a couple of tools that will help you analyze it.
Debug Bar plugin adds a debug menu to the admin bar that shows detailed debugging information like query, cache, etc.
When you’re installing Debug Bar on your site, make sure to enable both WP_DEBUG and SAVEQUERIES from your wp-config.php. Once you enabled them, it will also track PHP warnings, PHP notices and MySQL queries.
After you installed the plugin, you can find a Debug link at the top right hand side of your admin bar while visiting the front end of your site provided that you activated the admin bar.
By clicking the Debug link, you can identify the number of queries performed to render a page and if there are any PHP or MySQL errors.
Poorly configured plugins are one of the major reasons that negatively impacts performance of your site.
P3 plugin lets you profile your WordPress website by measuring their impact on your website’s load time. With P3, you can list down the issues that cause slowness on your site. It gives you a detailed report including but not limited to plugin load time, database queries per visit and more.
If you’re not a programmer who could analyze the results by yourself, you can email it directly to your developer right from your WordPress admin.
1. Check if your theme is maximized its potential
Though WordPress is a great publishing platform, most website owners are not maximizing its full potential. Maybe it’s because not everyone who uses WordPress is a programmer who could analyze the drop in WordPress performance and fix it.
However, even if you’re not a programmer you could still analyze if your site is at its full potential. The below code snippet will come handy when you’re looking to optimize your WordPress website for increasing the page speed. It tells you how long a page takes to load and how many MySQL queries the page is running.
Just copy the line of code to your footer.php file.
<?php echo get_num_queries(); ?> queries in <?php timer_stop(1); ?> seconds.
2. Limit post revisions
Post revision feature in WordPress lets you store a record of each saved draft or published update. It allows you to see the changes you made to a post or a page so in case something goes wrong, you can easily revert it back to earlier versions.
While this can be a great feature to review changes, at times, it can be frustrating for users especially who have a limited database space. The good news is you can limit the maximum number of post revisions being saved for each article.
All you need to do is to add this code snippet to your wp-config.php file.
define( ‘WP_POST_REVISIONS’, 4 );
The above code will limit post revisions for each article to 4.
3. Prevent image hotlinking
Hotlinking is a common practice followed by content scrapers. It is a process of stealing your bandwidth by serving your hosted images on their website without uploading it to their host. This practice increases the number of server requests and steals your bandwidth, which adversely affects your website performance.
In order to avoid hotlinking of your images, simply copy below code snippet on your .htaccess file. Before saving the code, make sure you replace ‘your-domain-name’ with your domain name.
RewriteCond %HTTP_REFERER !^$
RewriteCond %HTTP_REFERER !^http(s)?://(www.)?your-domain-name [NC]
RewriteRule .(jpg|jpeg|png|gif)$ – [NC,F,L]
4. Restricts bots access
Malicious attacks to your website will not only harm your website’s reputation by negatively impacting the performance of your site but also hurt your search engine rankings.
One of the best ways to prevent malicious attacks is by preventing vulnerable bots from accessing your website.
How would you do that? Just copy the following code to your .htaccess file.
SetEnvIfNoCase User-Agent ^$ keep_out
SetEnvIfNoCase User-Agent (pycurl|casper|cmsworldmap|diavol|dotbot) keep_out
SetEnvIfNoCase User-Agent (flicky|ia_archiver|jakarta|kmccrew) keep_out
SetEnvIfNoCase User-Agent (purebot|comodo|feedfinder|planetwork) keep_out
Allow from all
Deny from env=keep_out
5. Split comments into pages
If you’re attracting tons of blog comments and if you’re publishing all of your comments on a single page, chances are this might increase the loading time. For that reason, many bloggers disable commenting on old posts.
However, if you’re looking to nurture relationship with your readers you might not want to disable comments on your blog posts because it kills user engagement on your blog.
Did you know that you can easily split your comments into different pages without having to disable it?
This tactic lets you to publish all of those comments on your posts without increasing the loading time.
Simply navigate to Settings>>Discussions. Make sure you check the box next to ‘Break comments into pages’ and save it.
6. Split your long posts into multiple pages
You might have noticed that many websites split their long form articles into multiple pages. This can be a great strategy especially if you’re using many images on a single article. By this way, you’re improving the loading time and increases the number of page views, which likely generate more revenue if you’re monetizing your blog with ads.
For splitting a long form article, just add <!––nextpage––> tag in your article wherever you want to open a new page.