Once I learned the basics, I wanted to know why my website loads slow. So, I tested my website speed on GTmetrix and came to know that my website had the following errors:
- Order of styles and scripts were not organized
- HTML was not minified
- Images were not optimized
- CSS was not minified
I believe that these are the common issues that cause the website to load slow. The website should load under 3 seconds as website speed is believed to be a ranking factor of Google. I had only one option to test various plugins to increase the speed of my WordPress website.
So, today I am going to share the exact WordPress plugins that I installed to increase my website speed and lowered the page load time to just 2 seconds from 8.9 seconds.
Note: Please take a backup before installing the following WordPress plugins to increase your website speed. Don’t install all the plugins at once. Activate them one by one and if any plugin causes any issue, uninstall it.
Step 1. Optimize Images
Images with a relevant title and alt tags are a must for effective SEO but at the same time, they do also increase the page load time of a website. The solution is to reduce the size of your images to decrease page load time of your WordPress website.
There are various online tools available for free for image compression but that might be very time-consuming for you everytime you publish a blog post. So, the best solution to compress images on your WordPress website is WP smush plugin.
My images were not optimized, so firstly I installed WP Smush plugin. It will speed up image loading. If you have it installed, ignore this step.
Customizing the settings is very easy and you will be able to do it on your own.
Step 2. Install a cache plugin
W3 Total Cache and WP Super cache are the two best and most popular caching WordPress plugins that you can use. They both help in boosting your website speed.
But before that, you should know how caching works to increase your website speed?
By using a caching plugin, you can let browser store your website data so that it doesn’t load from scratch over and again. It stores up the temporary data and flaunts it when the same visitor visits the site next time. The cache plugins generate static HTML files that are shown to the visitor when he visits the next time.
If you are seeking my suggestion, I would suggest you to go for WP Super Cache. It’s quite simple to customize and doesn’t bug up with every new plugin you install.
Here are the screenshots of WP Super Cache settings that might help you.
Step 3. Install Autoptimize
Autoptimize plugin is the best plugin to automate the optimization tasks which otherwise would have required a lot of technical knowledge. It minifies HTML, CSS and defers the scripts to the footer. Scripts should always load after HTML and CSS. If they load during the initial page load, website speed would be slow. Autoptimize is a HTML, CSS and JS optimizer.
Autoptimize plugin help to make your code lightweight by compressing HTML and CSS.
Here is my Autoptimize plugin settings screenshot that might help you.
Step 4. Install Lazy Load
Lazy load plugin loads the image only when the user scrolls down to a particular image. Images take a lot of time to load as compared to the content on your pages. By using Lazy load plugin, the image won’t load unless the user scrolls down to that image.
Doesn’t require any customization. Just install and activate.
Step 5. Scripts To Footer
Scripts To Footer is a less popular WordPress plugin having just 10,000 WordPress plugins but it really helped me lower down my WordPress site page load time. It just moves the scripts to the footer, that’s it!
It doesn’t require any customization. Just install and activate.
This plugin might not be compatible with all themes. Kindly uninstall it if anything breaks on your site.
Step 6. Install WPOptimize
I am using this plugin since I started my blogs and use this plugin on a regular basis. It automatically optimizes your WordPress database and cleans up the unnecessary files with just a single click and improves the page speed of your website. It’s the best WordPress performance plugin I have ever used.
A huge database lowers down the page speed of your website. So, it’s necessary to optimize your database at least once in two months.
There is a list of options to select. It is completely up to you what do you want to clear up in your database.
Here is what all it does:
Once you install and activate all the above WordPress plugins, check out your website speed on Pingdom tools or GTmetrix. Please make sure you take a backup of your website before installing any+ of the above WordPress plugins.
Your website speed also depends on the hosting you use. UBT is hosted on SiteGround for last 3 years and it’s secured and fast. Want to give it a try?
So, the above were the best free plugins to increase the speed of a WordPress website. Do let me know if you have any queries.