WordPress optimization – here’s how I improved my website performance

C’mon… You mean a 1001st blog post on this topic ??

Yes, I know there are so many resources available online on WordPress optimization. But still, I just thought of putting this post – some steps I took to improve the performance stats of this site. Maybe it helps someone and of course a quick reference guide for me for a future.

I have been working to improve the response time of my website. (That said, being a storage guy I would have taken the ‘response time’ factor in consideration earlier). I have spent some time selecting the right plugins and getting it configured correctly for the things to work. I was having a caching plugin installed from some time. Still, my GTmetrix scores were poor. That clearly said I was having something configured incorrectly (or not configured). This is how I managed to get things right.

First of all and the most important is the caching plugin. I found W3 Total Cache (W3TC) being much advised everywhere and the active install count (1M+) will underline that. I was having W3TC installed but was not properly configured. I believe this blog post will be a good guide for configuring W3TC.

check_sideEven after having settings in as advised for W3TC, GTmetrix was not happy enough with my website. Because I am not using CDN ? I decided to go for that next. As many suggested and as its free (yes, free except a very few pro features) I have chosen CloudFlare. This  YouTube video will walk you through the steps to configure W3TC with CloudFlare. One important thing to remember here is to keep Minify option disabled in W3TC if you are going to configure CloudFlare. CloudFlare will do the minifying task for you.

Once you have configured W3TC with CloudFlare, you can see many options in GTmetrix in green including minification, gzip compression, browser/page cache etc…

Note : If you are editing any of the WordPress configuration files, just be sure to have a backup in advance. I know you are smart.. 🙂

Next big thing for me to do was to deal with the images. Images were not optimized and were not scaled. I installed an image optimization plugin, and that did the optimization tasks for me. But for ‘serve scaled images’ warning, I had to manually adjust the size of the images. A huge task, especially when you have too many images listed in the warning. Not sure if there are plugins available to do this task.

There were many inactive plugins, too many old post revisions etc.. which needed cleanup. I have removed the plugins which were not in use and used a DB cleaner plugin for cleanup of the Database. I have removed the post revisions, etc… with the DB cleaner plugin.

Very few steps it look like, but I had to do a lot of experiments on these and I could manage to get a decent performance score. I still have a few more things to work on and I may be updating this post later. Based on the type of the content in your website, you may have to adjust few more things in addition for better page load speed. You may refer the missing points from GTmetrix report and of course the internet is there to assist you further.

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