In this article, I am going to address the relationship between your page speed, caching, bandwidth usage, and your WordPress theme.
The primary purpose and function of WordPress, themes, and plugins, is to server as a content management system (CMS) for your website. Because of that, themes and plugins can sometimes be very “heavy” pieces of software. This is not necessarily a bad thing, since the size of it is the reason for it’s flexibility and versatility. But heavy software can lead to slow performance. Most WordPress programmers including us are committed to following strict coding standards, and keeping code lean, clean, and lightweight. But not even that is enough to have a fast loading website.
Test your Website for Performance
These are the two sites I use when I test the performance of a site.
The most common performance issues you will run across is:
- slow server speed
- too many file calls
- high bandwidth usage
- lack of caching.
How to Increase Your Website Speed
A very important part of your website speed is how good your servers are. Not all shared hosting companies are the same. And after trying many different shared hosting companies (most of the time being dissapointed), I have been most pleased with Bluehost’s Managed WordPress Hosting. Although more expensive, you do get what you pay for.
If you do not want to spend the money on managed WordPress hosting, then your second best option would be to get Bluehost’s standard hosting package. Different hosts have different server configurations, limiting the amount of resources you have available to run your site. The more computer resources you have, the faster your WordPress application will run.
WordPress Performance Plugins
If you are on a cheap shared hosting server, or want to speed up your site, there are WordPress performance plugins available to help your page load faster. I am going to go through the ones that I have had success with and what I think would be best for you.
Fast Page Loading
Every time someone visits your site, your WordPress site has to execute PHP code and retrieve data from the database and then display it. With a caching plugin, you can generate HTML files so that your visitors are instantly served a page from your site. I have a lot of experience with WP Super Cache, W3 Total Cache, and WP Rocket. I personally prefer using WP Rocket and would recommend it over all the other caching plugins.
Too Many File Calls and High Bandwidth Usage
I was so pleased to discover Better WordPress Minify. Plugins and themes will enqueue many different CSS and JS files. This plugin will combine and minify your CSS and JS files. This will decrease the number of file calls over the network and also reduce the total size of your script files.
Another HUGE bandwidth eater are your images. I have seen so many blogs insert full size images, 3000+ pixels wide and high, into their blog articles. I actually had one client, with a small amount of traffic, but using 300GB of bandwidth per month due to large images. To fix problems like I described, you can use Imsanity to go through all uploaded images in a WordPress site, and resize to a more appropriate size. You can even adjust the quality of the image, which also has an effect on the image file size.
What I outlined is a good starting point and will do a lot to help speed up your site. These are the steps that I have learned to take when helping a client increase their page speed. I hope this helps.