WordPress is a free yet most powerful blogging and content management system with great tools and flexibility providing users with a lot of functionality for day to day operations and easy management of the blog and their website content. WordPress has become famous and it is estimated that almost 25% of websites on World Wide Web (WWW) are being operated on WordPress. Many users are unhappy because their website is slow. In this article, I will tell you what are the reasons behind the slow website and how to fix it.
WordPress is really user-friendly, as many of us are not really programmers and we use it just for writing blog content and mainly to make small changes to our websites. It provides a wide range of templates (themes) and plugins (modules) which can be installed to increase the functionality and convenience of the user from almost 0 to low cost.

With these great advantages, WordPress also has its own disadvantages such as website becoming slow with the passage of time or perhaps from the very first day of website launching. WordPress itself has nothing to do with the slowness; it’s dependent upon a number of things for the speed factor.

7 Reasons Why Your WordPress Website is slow

I am going to discuss 7 main reasons why your WordPress website is slow because speed matters a lot. And website speed is one of the main ranking factors of google search results.
  • Cheap or Unreliable Hosting
  • Outdated WordPress version
  • Outdated Plugins or Too Many Plugins
  • Large images/ Images not resized properly
  • Tracking, Heatmap, Subscriber Opt-in and Analytic scripts
  • Too many elements on Website’s landing page
  • No cache or cache system not properly configured

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1. Cheap or Unreliable website hosting

Website hosting is disk space allocated for your website on a server where your website becomes visible to the whole world. Major issues of any website or a WordPress website loading slow is due to hosting, you shall always be cautious while choosing a website hosting server as many of the companies offer website hosting cheap, but their resource allocation to the hosting accounts on each server is poor and it causes degradation to your WordPress website speed.
A good website hosting has following characteristics:
  • SSD Disk Space
  • Physical and Virtual both Memories on a shared hosting account to be at least 2GB
  • IOPS should be at least 2048
  • I/O Capacity should be more than 4090
  • Entry Processes should be equal to or more than 50.

How do we relate these things with the Slow WordPress Website?

WordPress is PHP Based CMS, it also needs a database server and a database on that to function, when you have number of visitors on your website, then with each visitor, there are number of requests being made to database which creates a havoc to the hosting if it’s not configured properly to handle such number of requests. Then there come SSD Disk Space, which boosts up serving of content, Physical and Virtual memories which keep your database requests Cached in them, then Input/output processes, which allows a maximum number of requests to be served in the minimal time. Mostly, the server limits the number of requests which also generate Gateway Timeout Error or sometimes 504 Not Available Error. Mostly it happens due to the very high number of requests being made to database and database server just limits the requests and some users are unable to visit a website.
If your WordPress website hosting has lower resource allocation, then there are very high chances that your website is slow and you will always be having issues with your WordPress Website.

2. Outdated WordPress Version

WordPress developers keep on publishing latest updates frequently which addresses performance and security related issues on regular basis. It is important to keep your WordPress website installation up-to-date all the time to avoid the hacking and malicious codes injection to your hosting space. Once you have malware on your website, then your website will become slow and that will also cause issues to your Search Engine Rankings. So, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Always keep your installations tidy and up-to-date.

3. Outdated Plugins or Too Many Plugins

Mostly free plugins are poorly coded and security cautions are not really taken care of them which are the main cause of website’s performance degradation. Always keep an eye on updates and if you notice that a plugin or perhaps some of the plugins are not being updated frequently, try finding a better alternative and use that. It will help you keep the performance of your website tidy.
Other issues we have nowadays is, we don’t really care about how many plugins are installing on our website to achieve the desired functionality. We keep on installing plugins, even if we are not using them, we keep them activated and they silently keep consuming server resources, adding extra load to the server. It is advised that always keep monitoring how much memory is being consumed and once in a while, check memory consumption by de-activating all plugins one by one. You will notice which plugins are culprits to make your WordPress Website speed slow. You can see the memory consumption in the footer of your website dashboard in plugins section with the help of Server IP and Memory Usage plugin.
If you are not using some of the plugins, remove them. It will keep your server and website a lot happier than ever.

4. Large Images or Images not resized properly

Large images used on websites is also one of the major reason for WordPress Website being slow. You really need to think twice about what the right approach is to add or update images to your website. Mostly, we just upload a large image which is of around 1.5MB in size and then use it inside our website page, or perhaps in the Hero section of our website, or may be in the Slider section of our website. Then to improve page look, we keep building more sections and images keep piling up as more sections are being added. Now we need to take a look back and see what we have really done to our website and ask ourselves why my WordPress website is slow.
  • The website has 5 sections, and each section has an image beside content and image weight is around 1.5MB, then the total weight of 5 images will be 7.5MB, which is huge.
  • It will increase your page size to approximately 9MB when loaded with all scripts and CSS files.
  • Your website is doomed! Bang.

How to avoid and how to check this issue?

First be certain what are the dimensions of the area where you want to apply an image in a website. Suppose a certain section in website needs the only image of 400 x 400px dimensions, but you uploaded an image of 1600 x 1600px dimensions, here you are adding an image with 300% bigger dimensions than needed and so is the weight of images going to be increased besides it.
It’s a big reason to worry. If you are not sure how to see if your images are bigger than required sizes, you can always visit GTmetrix and run a test on your website and you will see it’s recommendations and then start applying the respective changes.
Tools to compress images properly:

5. Tracking, Heatmap, Subscriber Opt-in and Analytic Scripts

Tracking and analytic scripts are used nowadays for a wide range of purposes:
  • Monitoring website visitors
  • Website’s incoming traffic
  • Checking user reaction to certain elements or buttons
  • Monitoring user behavior on the website
  • Conversion tracking for eCommerce
  • Monitoring of conversions from CPC Campaigns.
  • Displaying Popups to visitors to subscribe to your mailing list
  • Latest trends
  • Etc

Issue:

These analytical scripts are provided by major companies such as Google, Facebook, Opt-in Monster, Hotjar and a lot other as well which provide you the ability to track user behavior. These scripts cause your website to load slowly. Most of these scripts are directed to be added within the header area of the page which blocks the rendering of the website body and hence making your website to load slowly.

Solution:

It’s always better to add these scripts in a file and then load that file separately in the footer of the website by deferring it so it may not impact your website loading time. Otherwise, there is no actual way of preventing the tracking and analytic scripts to be deferred (delayed loading).

6. Too many elements loading on Home Page

Always keep your website’s Home or Landing Page short and tidy. If it’s a service` or informational website, then you need to make sure that you are not using too many images and all of the images being used are properly resized and compressed to the required sizes.
If you are running a blog and your home page has content loading from several different categories, then you are in a real trouble. You need to reduce the number of elements from the homepage and try dividing those to different pages and internal pages. Your homepage is a place where you shall just place Top and Latest updates, not content from all the areas.
You know each category makes its own request to the database to load the content and each request has sub-requests to the database and database gets easily flooded with the number of requests on each page load. It consumes all server resources and results in really poor performing website with very high loading time and higher bounce rate as well.
Reduce the number of items from Homepage if you want to keep your server and visitors happy. Too much information also distract readers which cause a higher bounce rate as well.
Here are some common elements which are frequently loaded on most blogs:
  • Many areas displaying blog posts.
  • Facebook, Twitter, and other social media widgets.
  • Subscriber boxes to signup for mailing lists
The best option is to avoid multiple usages of these widgets and plugins. It will make a huge impact.

7. No Cache or Cache not Configured properly

Cache is known as serving of data from the saved resources on the server and user’s browser. There is multiple types of cache:
  • Hosting server cache
  • WordPress caching plugin
  • CDN (content delivery network) cache
  • Browser cache
Research tells us that enabling cache can reduce the website loading time by 2.4s to 0.9s. Cache is the stored data that saves static files of your site on the web browser or the server. You can use cache plugins to store cache. The best plugins for the cache are WP Rocket, WP Super Cache, and W3 Total Cache.
As cache improves the speed of the website by storing it, it can become a headache. It sometimes stores the copy of the error you have fixed before and irritates you by showing it again and again. To avoid such issue configure cache properly to have a good experience on your website. Don’t use long expiry dates for the server, browser, and plugins cache.

Conclusion

Do you ever wonder why your website is slow? Website speed matters a lot to have maximum conversions and better user experience. I have discussed major reasons which slow down the speed of the website and how you can fix them in this article. Speed up your WordPress website for the betterment of your company.

Speed Up WordPress Website

Losing sales and visitors due to the slow website? We will optimize your WordPress website speed using best tools and years of knowledge according to Google Insights.