Is Your WordPress Site Slow? How To Speed Up Your Site’s Performance

Is Your WordPress Site Slow? How To Speed Up Your Site’s Performance


Make Your Website as fast as a cheetah

You can really improve your website’s performance without spending any money. It is as simple as tuning up the delivery of pages, images and scripts using the tips given by the Google Page Speed Tools, Before I explain any further, let’s take a peak under the hood to see how a web page is built.

Have You Ever Wondered Where The Web Page You Are Looking At Comes From?

Here is what happens the first time a web page is visited.

When your WordPress web page is visited for the very first time, something like this had to happen behind the scenes:
1. Someone clicks a link to go to a page on your website

2. Your web server hears the call, finishes what it is already doing, and turns its attention to responding to the request.

3. The web server instructs the WordPress PHP programs to build the page that has been requested. WordPress looks in its database for the page or post HTML and text, then inserts the page header, footer and sidebars around the edges.

4. Having constructed the page HTML, the web server is finally ready to send the page to the visitor’s web browser. At this point typically, the page will consist of HTML markup, CSS and JavaScript.

5. When the visitor’s web browser receives the markup, if that further refers to any files, such as external CSS, videos, images or external JavaScript files (and most web pages do), the visitor’s browser gets these to their computer and places them in the browser cache. It then reads the markup including any external files (now locally held in the visitor’s browser’s cache) and renders that into something humans can understand.

6. Next the page is rendered onto the visitor’s computer screen, and any images or videos it had to fetch are placed in the appropriate places on the page, and any CSS is applied and any JavaScript is run

7. Once the page is rendered you can look at it, and no doubt you will click a link on it, whereby the whole process starts again for the next page.

So the apparent speed of your site boils down to how fast your webserver can re-construct each page and send it to the visitor’s browser.

What Happens The Second And Subsequent Times A Web Page Is Visited?

No matter what kind of server you keep your files either on, if you implement browser caching, when someone visits your webpage for the second or subsequent time, all the images and external CSS and Javascript files will already in their browser’s cache.

When a visitor comes to your site more than once, and the files associated with those pages (assuming he has not cleared his cache since his last visit), will have already been cached in his browser, so this will make the page appear faster to load.

So How Can You Improve The Performance Of Your WebServer?

Well, you can upgrade your hosting account to get a faster, more expensive webserver. But before you do that, you could also install a caching plugin. We use WP Super Cache. It’s a free WordPress plugin and it works quite well.

How Page Caching Works

When WP Super Cache is installed on your site, it remembers the HTML version of each page as it is visited, and stores it. So when the first person visits a page, the webserver still has to construct the page from scratch as described above, reading from the database and running PHP programs within WordPress. All very time-consuming.

Cache : In computing terms, a cache is a place where you place some data so it can be found the next time you need it, quickly and easily. This is done when the original retrieval of the data is work intensive. But once the page has been visited by a single person, because WP Super Cache holds onto the built page, the next time someone visits it, the webserver delivers the pre-built page without having to construct it each time. This saves time and makes your site run faster.4

Rebuilding the Cache With WP Super Cache

WP Super Cache can be set to rebuild the page every so often and the default value is every 3 minutes. This ensures that the saved version of the page is relatively fresh. You can of course set the value to be much longer – like every hour or more if you wish.

Now obviously if the page changes, the saved page will be out of date. Saved (or cached) pages are served up to
• Any user who are is not logged in.
• Any user who has not left a comment
• Any user not viewing a password protected post.

This means that anyone leaving a comment on your site will see the real page (not an out of date cached page). But in doing so they cause WP Super Cache to generate a cached version of the page for subsequent viewers. Read the section half-way down the page entitled : What does the Cache Rebuild feature do? to find out more.

How Can You Make Your Site Appear Faster To Visitors?

Once the page has arrived at the visitor’s browser, WP Super Cache has done all it can on the server. Any further optimization has to take effect at the user’s browser. To find out what performance improvements you need to make, use Google’s Page Speed Tool. Page Speed will help you identify all the areas on your site where performance improvements can be made.

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