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How to Reduce Loading Time of Website Caused by Slow WordPress Plugins

Alsyd Eabidin
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We all use plugins for our website to make it look good, stand out from others, have fancy animations, have unique forms, and many more. But do you know that installing too many slow WordPress Plugins will increase the loading time of your website?

How to Reduce Loading Time of Website Caused by Slow WordPress Plugins


That doesn’t mean that you should have fewer plugins, but few plugins increase your website’s loading time. In this blog, we will talk about different ways to reduce the load time of your website, which is increased due to slow WordPress plugins.


Why should you care about reducing plugins and website loading time?


WordPress is the most popular CMS because of the plugin. Using plugins, we can make our website look good and user-friendly. But did you know that installing too many slow WordPress plugins will increase your website’s loading time?


Yes, it’s true. Having more than 5-6 plugins will increase your site’s loading time, but that doesn’t mean that you should have fewer plugins. Fewer plugins don’t increase your website’s loading time but few slow WordPress plugins do. In this blog, we will talk about different ways to reduce load time of your website caused by slow WordPress plugins.


Speed is one of the important factors for any website. Why? Because users are always attracted toward fast websites that load quickly rather than a slow loading website which has a high bounce rate and low conversion rate.


What are some common reasons which slow down your WordPress website?




The major factor that influences the speed of a website is the hosting of your WordPress website. It might seem like a good idea to host your new website on a shared hosting provider that offers “unlimited” bandwidth, space, emails, domains and more. However, the point that we usually miss out on regarding this offer is that shared hosting environments fail to deliver good loading times on peak traffic hours, and most fail to provide 99 percent uptime in any given month.


Shared hosting tends to deliver a poorer performance because you are sharing the same server space with countless other websites, and there is no telling how much resources others are using. Plus, you don’t know exactly how well the servers are optimized.




1. Use an effective caching plugin


Caching refers to storing data in temporary storage so it can be accessed faster in the future. This means whenever someone visits your website for the first time, all the data required to load the page will be saved to their browser cache or memory, which makes loading those files faster the next time they visit your site again.


The best way to implement this is by installing an effective caching plugin like W3 Total Cache or WP Super Cache.


2. Use a lightweight WordPress theme / framework


WordPress themes with a lot of dynamic elements, sliders, widgets, social icons and many more shiny elements are immensely appealing to the eye. But remember this: if they have too many elements and higher page sizes, then they will definitely cause your web server to take a thumping.

So, for building a website that is speed-optimized and can handle multiple visitors without flinching an eyelid, it is best to use lightweight WordPress themes and frameworks.

Lighter themes usually don't have many features like drop down menus, sliders and other dynamic elements.

Now you might be thinking that why would anyone buy a theme that doesn't even have a slider? Well, you can still add them easily using plugins. And as far as the speed is concerned, it is better to sacrifice some of the bells & whistles than having a slow website.

3. Reduce image sizes


Let's talk about images. Images are the single largest contributor to the file size of a given webpage. That's why optimizing your images can make a big difference to your load time.

The problem is, you don't want to compromise on the quality of the image just to reduce its size. If you tried to do it manually, through Photoshop or Chrome's Page Speed Insights extension, it would take forever.

Fortunately, there are plug-ins available for just about everything you can think of, including image optimization. The ones we recommend are Optimal, WP Smush and E
WWW Image Optimizer. Using any one of these plug-ins will drastically reduce image size without compromising quality—something that will dramatically improve your site speed in both mobile and desktop views.


4. Minify JS and CSS files



Minifying JS and CSS files of your WordPress website will improve its loading speed.
This is done by reducing the number of CSS and JS calls and the size of those files.
To do it yourself, you need to study the guides provided by Google, then do some manual fixing.

Alternatively, you can use plugins to get the job done; for example, Autoptimize plugin that can help in optimizing CSS, JS and even HTML of your WordPress website.



5. Use advanced caching mechanisms with a caching plugin



WordPress caching plugins have been around for quite a while, making the complex tasks of adding caching rules to your website elements easier. Combining such plug-ins with advanced caching mechanisms like Varnish can help you improve the loading speed of your website and ultimately speed up WordPress considerably.


6. Use a CDN


Imagine you have a website and one of your visitors is browsing it from the United States. Now, if your website is hosted in the UK, then it will take more time to load when compared to the site loading speed if the same website was hosted in the US itself. That's because of various functionalities provided by CDN (Content Delivery Network).


CDN helps you in improving your site-loading speed for visitors from all around the world. A CDN has copies of your website stored in different locations, known as datacenters. When a visitor requests a page from your website, a copy of that page is served from the nearest possible location to reduce site loading time. Cloudflare and Max CDN are some of the most popular Content Delivery Networks (CDNs).


7. Cleanup WordPress database


If you ever want to delete unwanted data from your WordPress database, here’s one way to do it:


  1. Go to the phpMyAdmin interface on your server and choose the database you want to work on.
  2. Once you have selected the right database, click on the SQL tab.
  3. Click on the Go button after that, and all the data you want removed should be gone!

8. Deactivate or uninstall plugins


If you've been using WordPress for a long time, it's likely that you have a bunch of plugins installed on your site. It's normal to forget about some of the plugins that you don't use, and keeping them on your WordPress websites can add a tremendous amount of junk to your web files.


Moreover, it will also increase the size of your backup and put an overwhelming amount of load on your server resources while backup files are being generated.


So, it is better to get rid of the plugins that you don’t use and also look for alternate methods to use third-party services for automating or scheduling tasks (like sharing of your latest posts to social media).


IFTTT or Zapier are two web services that help in automating such tasks and reduce the burden on your website and server resources.





9. Keep external scripts to a minimum




Using external scripts is a great way to make your page more dynamic. It allows you to access code that can be added easily to any page on your website, and it means you don't have to write fresh code every time you want to use an element that can be stored in a script.


That said, using external scripts has some downsides. For one thing, they increase the size of the overall web page, which can slow down the loading time of that page. And because the scripts are located externally, there's always the possibility that they might not load at all—if the connection times out or if something goes wrong with the server.


Don't let this deter you from using external scripts where they're useful, but try to keep them to a minimum by using as few external scripts as possible—or even none at all!



10. Disable pingbacks and trackbacks



If your website is getting bombarded by pingbacks and trackbacks, you may want to turn those features off. Pingbacks and trackbacks are two core WordPress components that alert you whenever your blog or page receives a link. This might sound useful, but there are other services to check the links of your website. Google Webmaster Tools, for example, can help you manage this task.



Keeping pingbacks and trackbacks on can also put an undesirable amount of strain on your server resources. This is so because whenever anyone tries to link up to your site, it generates requests from WordPress back and forth. This functionality is also widely abused when targeting a website with DDoS attacks.

You can turn it all off in WP-Admin → Settings → Discussion. Just deselect “Allow link notifications from other blogs (pingbacks and trackbacks).” This will help you speed up WordPress some more.


Conclusion



The bottom line is that if you have a slow WordPress plugin or bad WordPress theme, your site will likely be slow as well. Whether the plugin or theme developer is aware of the laggy code is unimportant. What counts is how you're affected as a website owner. If your site loads slowly even with just a couple of plugins installed, it's a safe bet that running too many plugins will only make things worse for you.





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