In this article I will show you how to reduce your average loading time for your DIVI based website and what steps you can make to keep up on speed. As you might already heard speed of your site is very important for multiple reasons, such as your SEO ranking, user engagement, bounce rate, pageviews count etc. All of these are important no matter if you are service provider, e – commerce or you just have a presentational or introductional website for your small business, the website speed is one of the major criteria for your online success. So there are much steps you can take to make your website faster. I will describe you the most important of them and put some explanations.
1) OPTIMIZE YOUR IMAGES (AND MEDIA)
This is commonly most “heavy” elements on your websites that can be reduced in size without loosing much quality of them. The most popular plugin for optimizing your images on your wordpress website is WP SMUSH which you should have installed from the beginning of development of your site as this plugin is compressing image sizes in the upload process. However if you install WP SMUSH later in building process (after you have uploaded images) you can bulk compress images using this plugin.
Either way, it is very nice to compress your images before you even upload them, as there are nice software available to compress your images on larger scale without losing much of quality. In my projects I am using Caesium image compressor which you can download here. After downloading, installing and opening it, just drag and drop or load images you need to compress in Caesium. Chose destination folder for your compressed images and set the quality of images in Compression options. I usually set quality between 50-60% as it provides me the best ratio between the reduced size and quality of compressed image. Usually if you compress your images bellow 50% of their quality that can result in lower quality of image that can be spotted easily.
2) PICK A GOOD HOSTING PROVIDER
The hosting you chose and hosting plan is essential to speed of your website especially when you have a high traffic website. Hosting plan is a set of services that is included to your server you will be using. What you need exactly depends on your or your customers needs. When you are choosing hosting don’t try to too much to save a buck or two monthly because cheapest solution is not always the best. Try to chose a bigger hosting company with 24/7 hour support with right amount of bandwidth and webspace you need for you project. When it comes to WordPress based websites I am using Siteground hosting services as they have one click install for WordPress and best overall configuration for my and my clients needs. Also there are others good hosting providers for WordPress websites such as Bluehost and WP Engine.
So in short some good and affordable hosting solutions are:
3) INSTALL AND USE CACHE PLUGIN (W3 TOTAL CACHE)
Most caching plugins have multiple features included for site optimization. The most complete free solution now is W3 total cache (In my oppinion). I will guide you to use most common configurations used for most websites that will certainly make some improvements for speed of your website. Just have in mind that not all servers are same, neither websites and data stored on them so the configuration set may vary but there are some common things that are good to be applied on majority of projects. I will provide you most common configuration I use for majority of my projects. So to begin:
a) Install W3 total cache
Go to your plugins section in WordPress dashboard and install and activate W3 Total Cache or download it here and upload it via FTP on your server.
b) General settings
Inside Performance menu item in WP dashboard go to general settings first. The most common settings you need to activate is page cache, minify and browser cache. Check three of them as enabled and save your settings.
Page cache is responsible for creating static cache pages for each page that is loaded, so it is not being dynamically loaded upon each page load. By having this enabled, you will significantly decrease your load time.
Minification reduces file sizes of your html, css, and js files by “compressing” your code in a way that it removes the unnecessary spaces and characters (white space characters, new line characters) in your code without interrupting its functionality.
Browser cache works in a way so that every time user visits your websites it downloads its content, like images, CSS, JS into temporary folder. That makes second visit of user much faster because they have portion of necessary files from page stored locally in their temporary folder. Beside just enabling browser cache we will setup additional settings for browser caching. Go inside performance menu and visit Browser cache. On the image bellow are settings I use on every project, which are useful in general:
You are done with W3 total cache for now.
4) USE CDN SERVICE
CDN stands for Content Delivery Network which delivers your static content from multiple cloud servers instead only from your hosting server. This will speed up your site and reduce overall server load. There are ton of CDN providers on the market. One that is usually recommended and directly manageable from W3 total cache plugin is MaxCDN. Read more about using and installing CDN service here on WP Beginner. Also you could make use of Jetpack feature Photon that is delivering your images trough their free service from their cloud server, which is great because images are delivered trough external source and don’t from your server which saves you bandwidth and improves your speed.
5) DATABASE OPTIMIZATION
On all my projects I am using WP – Optimize as a cleanup tool and database optimization tool. This plugin lets you optimize your database (spam, post revisions, drafts, tables, etc.) to reduce their overhead. There is also another plugins like WP DBmannager which allows you to do database tasks from dashboard. You can also use Revision control plugin so you can limit number of post revisions stored into your database.
If you have a lot of images and media content on your site or blog posts your overall speed time will drop because browser needs to download and load all the media files immediately. LazyLoad is the method of having only the images above the browser window load, so when reader scrolls down, the other images begin to load, just before they come into view. You can perform this on your website multiple ways trough code or by using plugin like this one.
7) AND COUPLE OF MORE THINGS…
I would advise you also to split long posts with lot of content into several pages with <!––nextpage––> tag. You should put <!––nextpage––> tag on the place in your content where you want it to split it. Then you will have pagination which navigates trough longer post.
Make sure you do regular plugin check and to keep them all updated as your theme also. Make sure to remove all unnecessary plugins to remove possible files that are loading in browser that doesn’t have any use at that moment. With every update of any theme or plugin there are always some improvements, which can include the code optimization which can speed up your site, so make sure you are always up to date.
So these are some essentials when it comes to speed optimization. I hope it helped you a bit. Also as an easy alternative for W3 total cache you can use WP Fastest Cache. This is more of a “out of the box” cache solution, where you have less options but it also does its job well. Only minus is that some of cache methods are only available in PRO version from earlier date, that are available for free in W3 total cache.