A beginners guide to speeding up WordPress on shared hosting.
There will come a time when the majority of you will start to notice that the speed of your beloved WordPress powered website no longer runs as quick as it once did.
Database driven websites require TLC from time to time, especially WordPress websites as they tend to accumulate junk data that most of us are not even aware of. This all happens behind the scenes.
But how does that happen you may ask?
WordPress was built as a blogging platform and although this was the intention of the creators, other developers have created third-party plugins that can extend the capabilities of WordPress allowing you to run e-commerce websites, directory websites, social media networks, property search websites etc.
Over time we will install and uninstall multiple themes and plugins until we find the right set of tools that work and suit our websites. Without you knowing, this will increase the size of the database unnecessarily causing load and speed issues.
Around 80% of WordPress themes and plugins leave unwanted data in your database when they are uninstalled. Some plugins and themes do come with options to remove all data from the database when you uninstall them – but they are very rare as it is just more work for developers to do and seen as most plugins are free why would they bother?
Don’t get tempted to go with a cheap hosting provider
Hosting plays a big part in the speed of your website. We recommend that you host your website with a reputable company. Read the reviews, don’t just go for the cheapest option as this will end up costing you more in the long run. Try to work with small/medium sized companies as large hosting providers such as GoDaddy, 1&1, 123reg etc oversubscribe. If you are UK based we always recommend using our very own WordPress hosting packages or someone like EZPZ or Krystal. If you are in the US then Siteground or Bluehost do a pretty good job too.
So what can you do to improve the speed of your website?
1. Try and avoid using too many plugins as this will takes its toll on shared servers that have very little resources and are oversubscribed. GoDaddy anyone?
2. Use clean un-bloated WordPress themes. Check that the themes are well written and that they do not impact the loading speed of your website. You could check developer reviews and test loading speeds on Google Page Speed.
3. Optimise your database from time to time, remove unwanted trashed/unapproved/spam comments and stale data. You should also consider removing unwanted database tables. This is a little more advanced as it will require some knowledge of working with MySQL. Read our short tutorial on how to remove unwanted database tables.
4. Use a cache plugin, this will reduce load on your hosting account and will serve pages much faster. Check out the Fastest Cache plugin or maybe something a little more advanced like WP Super Cache.
5. Use Cloudflare – CloudFlare is a free service that accelerates and secures your website by acting as a proxy between your visitors and your website. With CloudFlare, you can protect your website against malicious visitors, save bandwidth and reduce average page load times. This is ideal for websites who target a worldwide audience.