Make my WordPress Site Faster

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“Speed up my WordPress site!” Everyone wants a faster site, and with the proliferation of plugins out there, there are so many cool things to add to your site.  Maps, analytics, social sharing, commenting, Forms, etc… are all necessary “add-ons” to any modern WP site.

The downside is that plugins can add processing time to your site as well as database load depending on how they are written.  Also, you can get to a place where you’re plugins start to “overlap” functions and you have two plugins that do essentially the same thing even though you may be using one of them for just one particular feature.

How does this slow down my WP site?

Think of plugins as “apps” for your WordPress site.  Just like on your phone if you get too many apps, your phone can start to lag due to lack of memory and resources.  Essentially that is why most smartphones will allow you to close apps that you aren’t using.  We’ll on your WP site the more “apps”, (plugins) you have activated, the more resources might be required on your server and database in order to keep your site going.  For instance, certain plugins look for posts to be published, while other plugins look for the header of your site to load.  Don’t let that scare you however, most well written plugins strive to keep site resources and database load as light as possible.

Think of plugins as “apps” for your WordPress site

Well, if there are alot of plugins looking at your site header loading, or adding additional scripts to run once your pages are pulled up, you and your visitors can get some lag on the site.  A lot of this depends on your webhost as well, but I digress.

So Again..How do I speed up my WordPress site?

There are a lot of ways to speed up your WordPress site and there are plenty of articles written on them- but one possible way is to use Jetpack, a plugin that you probably already have in your WP install.

What is Jetpack?

Jetpack is a WordPress plugin that is provided by Automattic, the company behind WordPress.Com.  They have essentially taken the tools that WordPress.Com users have for their sites and provided many of those tools for free to the self-hosted WordPress community.  The only thing you need to install Jetpack on self-hosted WP sites is a WordPress.Com login.

Some of Jetpack’s “Modules”

  • Photon
  • Publicize
  • Sharing
  • Subscriptions
  • Monitor
  • Widget Visibility
  • Contact Form
  • Related Posts
  • many more

A quick example of how this can save you resource wise –  Many people have some type of “Related Posts” functionality on their blog. Well, if you use many of the WordPress.org plugin solutions, you will see a hit on your database because the plugin essentially indexes your whole database in order to provide relevant results.  The larger your site gets, the more of a burden there is on your database because there is more to index.  Jetpack’s “Related Posts” module can help with that.

From the Jetpack site:

Unlike many other related post plugins, we do all the analysis, processing, and serving from our cloud, so there is no additional load on your server. (That’s why many plugins like YARPP  or Similar Posts are often banned by web hosts, but Jetpack Related Posts are allowed.)

Essentially, they have taken a large load off of your server and have provided you the same functionality.  With over 30 different modules, you may find 2 or 3 more things that Jetpack can handle for your site that you are using other plugins for – (maybe analytics for example).

For another example, Photon actually serves up your images from the WordPress.Com cloud so that your server doesn’t have to do it.  If you are on an inexpensive hosting plan, I can almost guarantee you that the WordPress.Com servers will provide a better and faster experience for loading your images onto your site.

From the Jetpack site:

Photon is an image acceleration and editing service for sites hosted on WordPress.com or on Jetpack-connected WordPress sites. That means less load on your host and faster images for your readers.

Downsides – Yes there are some

Jetpack itself is huge – There is a lot of functionality built into one plugin.  Additionally, once you install Jetpack, there are many of their modules are already activated for you- you’ll have to turn off any that aren’t necessary.  If you only want one feature it may or may not be worth installing it,  but if you see that there are 3 or 4 stand-alone plugins that Jetpack may be able to replace, you should probably go for it.

Another thing is that a lot of your site data will be going to “big brother” WordPress.Com’s servers – which makes some of the functionality of your site dependent on their uptime.  However, their track record has been pretty good and if they were to go down, your site would still function normally with the exception of some of the modules like commenting, and galleries.


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