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If you are running a decent blog that is pulling a fair number of visitors per month, chances are you are looking for ways to speed up WordPress for your website. There are a number of ways in which you can do that and we will run through them quickly in the rows below. The most important one is using a proper content delivery network. What is that and how can you implement one on your blog are questions we will answer in this article.
Because WordPress is the most popular blogging platform, this article will be include speed-up tips for it and advice on how to implement the CDN for WordPress. We will try to make articles for every major blogging platform in the near future. In the meanwhile enjoy this WordPress speed-up tutorial.
Firstly we would like to give you 20 or so tips on what you can do to make sure your website runs smoothly and quickly. If you wish to read a more profound approach, just check out out article on how to speed-up WordPress.
Use fewer images
Well, this one is fairly obvious. Fewer images means fewer requests, which translates in faster loading times. Make sure you get rid of unnecessary images, and only use the ones you need. Also all the images you use, need to be optimized. There are a number of ways you can optimize your images, such as Adobe Photoshop’s Save for Web function. If you don’t use Photoshop, no worries, there are a few online services that can help, like Yahoo Smush.it or the Online Image Optimizer from Dynamic Drive.
Update your WordPress
A very important step is to always have your WordPress updated. Aside from the security issues, you can always benefit from the latest optimizations and tweaks for the latest technologies.
Make sure you only install the WordPress plugins you need. With the high number of plugins available right now, the temptation to install more and more plugins is high. That isn’t necessarily a good thing, as having lots of plugins tends to slow down your website. Check regularly the plugins you use, and make sure using them is really necessary. Otherwise delete them.
Also, stay up to date with Plugins, whenever a new WP version is released, plugin authors enhance plugins for performance and other enhancements. If you publish your posts from desktop visit your dashboard often to check weather a new version of plugins is available. WP 2.6 now gives you a visual indication about the plugins that need your attention. It shows a red blurb with a number inside it, that number defines how many plugins need your attention.
Whenever you access your blog, or plugins access your blog, queries on your database are being made. If you have added a new feature to your WP blog by writing some PHP code that executes SQL queries; make sure that you minimize the load on the server by minimizing the queries executed.
Reduce whitespaces in your CSS files and use shorthand CSS. It will increase the speed time. Whitespaces are great and every coder uses them extensively for better reading. The solution to this problem is that you make a copy of code on you local machine, kill all the whitespaces and upload the optimized the file to server. That way you will have a mirror of the code that you can read and modify easily later. Use Pingdom to check wheather it makes any difference or not.
Firebug and YSlow
Use Firebug Firefox addon to quickly find errors on your page. Apart from this you can do tons of thing with firebug including monitoring network utility.
Install YSlow for your browser. YSlow analyzes web pages and tells you why they’re slow based on Yahoo’s rules for high performance web sites.
Other quick tips
- Remove duplicate scripts.
- Compress all CSS files.
- Do not put CSS documents outside HEAD tag.
- Check Firefox Error Console and eliminate errors from your code, if any.
- Check website load time using a cool utility called Pingdom.
- Check the response time of a website server with Bitcatcha
Ok, so you did all of the above. Now what ?
Well, you have 3 more things you can do : upgrade your server, use a caching plugin (we use W3 Total Cache) and, most important use a content management network.
As there are a number of tutorials on how to use and configure W3 Total Cache, we will be focusing on providing some information regarding a good content management network (CDN).
There a number of content management networks out there to choose from, but we would like to talk a bit about MaxCDN. It’s the content management network we are using for Crazyleaf Design Blog and we have been using for years.
So what exactly is a CDN ?
A CDN is a network of servers around the world which have a copy of your website and its small files, so when a visitor loads your website, the CDN delivers your website’s files from the closest server to them. The further the physical distance between the server and the user the slower the website becomes. So by serving from a closer location, the speed of the website increases.
Your users could be anywhere in the world yet your hosting is only hosted in one place, let’s say New York. Now if a visitor from England comes to your website they must load your website from New York. The distance the information must travel is very far and will make the website slow for this user. If you had a CDN, it would load your website from a local server, say one in England, so your website for this user would be very fast.
Basically this is what it did for us :
We have implemented MaxCDN in our WordPress blog through W3 Total Cache. You can see an implementation tutorial here.
The benefits a faster loading websites bring are obvious. Your users will be happier as studies have shown that a website’s speed is directly related to how pleased your users are and how they are more likely to come back to visit your website.
MaxCDN offers your website more scalability as your website grows. If your traffic goes up, MaxCDN helps your server handle the heavier loads by serving the content from their scalable servers.
Faster load times have proven to boost conversions. If your website loads faster and the user experience is smooth, it’s more likely users will converse to customers.
Last, but not least, actually probably the most important, the new changes in Google’s algorithm’s have put greater and greater importance on page speed. It’s more likely your website will be placed higher in the search results, if your websites loads faster. More on this can be found here.
So how much does it cost
You might think all this performance comes at a very high cost. Well, not quite. MaxCDN offers it’s services at very affordable rates compared to other content delivery networks. The price for this great service is $39.99 for the first 1TB of bandwidth which works out at about 4 cents per gigabyte.
For a normal high traffic blog, that pulls around 100.000 visitors per month, that translates in about 10 to 15 GB of traffic per day, so 1 TB of bandwidth is enough for 60-100 days. For a website that large this translates in pretty accessible rates, so there’s no reason not to use it.
Sign up for MaxCDN
As you can see MaxCDN offers heavily improved performance for your website at very affordable rates. If you are looking to increase your page loading speed you should sign up for MaxCDN using the link below.[button-green url=”http://is.gd/maxcdn” target=”_self” position=”left”] Sign up for MaxCDN [/button-green]